Moms and daughters, dads and sons enter the warm, welcoming farmhouse in Delaware County. A kind volunteer, wearing an apron-covered gingham dress, greets the visitors of Gallant Farm Preserve by making cocoa on a vintage wood stove.
Gallant Farm, a living-history museum at 2150 Buttermilk Hill Rd., opened in October. The recreated farmstead recalls a simpler time during the Depression era, when butter was churned in gallon jugs and clothes were made from feed sacks. Guests can explore a one-story house furnished with period pieces such as an antique Victrola and a Maytag washer. The 19-acre property also has a barn and a fishing pond.
The farm is located across the street from Gallant Woods Preserve, which offers 2 miles of trails and a sledding hill. The land, originally owned by Charlotte Gallant, is operated by Preservation Parks of Delaware County, which cares for the county's unique, natural habitats. According to the 2010 census, Delaware County is the fastest-growing county in Ohio.
I recently visited Gallant Farm with my two young children, Rosie and Max, who enjoyed investigating objects in the home. While Max picked up a Mason jar of colorful marbles and poured them onto a braided rug, Rosie tried on lacy hats before a mirrored-dresser in the bedroom. I made myself at home before a Christmas tree decorated with paper snowflakes and garlands of popcorn and cranberries, and topped with a corn-husk angel.
Visitors also can participate in one of the farm's many educational programs, such as learning how to play Chinese checkers and other board games of the 1930s and '40s. Our host showed us how to make puppets out of old socks, and dolls from discarded thread spools.
What I didn't miss was a television or electronic games. But, guests can listen to radio programs, like "The Shadow," while munching on homemade popcorn balls.
Hours are noon-5 p.m., Thursday through Sunday. Admission is free, although some crafts cost $2 and require preregistration. For more information and to view a schedule of events, visit www.preservationparks.com.