MAPLEWOOD, NJ — Durand-Hedden, Maplewood’s historic house museum, its age spanning from the late-18th-century through the mid-20th, offers a wide array of monthly programs that explore the area’s local and natural history. Events take place from 1 to 4 p.m. on selected Sundays. Check www.durandhedden.org or call 973-763-7712 for exact times and locations. The House, along with an expansive herb garden maintained by the Maplewood Garden Club and the Country Store, are located in Grasmere Park at 523 Ridgewood Road.
- What is the real story on ghosts? The answer can’t be found in Gothic novels, Hollywood movies or on TV. Bedminster author and paranormal investigator Gordon Ward believes he knows. He specializes in finding — and communicating with — beings on “the other side.” Survival of the human personality is a popular topic supported by mounting evidence. The word “ghost” is really an umbrella term that defines many types of paranormal phenomena such as apparitions and poltergeists. At 2 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 30, Ward will explain his views on ghosts, share his experiences investigating haunted locations, including “The Old Stone House” in Maplewood, show evidence, including audio clips and photographs, and teach attendees how to conduct their own, sound investigations without costly equipment. Questions are welcome. Ward is also a songwriter and performer and will be co-starring in a new television series about ghosts targeted to air in 2017.
- Cookbooks are so much more than a compendium of recipes. To researchers they are often irreplaceable family possessions that reveal much about the lives of the society that used them. American cookbooks have been woven into the fabric of lives since Colonial times. English-speaking settlers would have brought from England a copy of “The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy,” by Hannah Glasse in 1747. Cooks were soon flummoxed by the unfamiliar foods of the New World, and frustrated by a lack of familiar ingredients. As Americans tamed their environment and built a new country, over time they created cookbooks that reflected the specific resources and lifestyles of different eras. At 2 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 20, Claire Stewart will introduce attendees to these and other cookbooks as intriguing ways to study American history. A Durand-Hedden House trustee, Stewart is a professional chef who graduated from the Culinary Institute of America and is now an assistant professor at City University of New York. Her new book for Rowman and Littlefield publishers, “As Long as we Both Shall Eat: A History of Wedding Food and Feasts,” will appear in bookstores in spring 2017.
- All ages will enjoy the 2016 display of inventive entries to the annual Durand-Hedden Gingerbread House Competition. Those interested in being a contestant should enter by Dec. 10; see www.durandhedden.org for details and an entry form. Don’t forget to bring a camera to catch a photo of your children with Durand-Hedden’s live “Victorian Santa.” Shop the Country Store to find inexpensive and unique gifts for family, friends and teachers, while benefitting the Durand-Hedden House.