A Plein Air Painter Takes a Detour

  Last year, Jo-Ann Osnoe reconvened the watercolor class she was teaching outside. Each week, the Yardley artist and her students would meet at a local park, usually Washington Crossing Historic Park, to paint onsite. “There are endless amounts of inspiration and subject matter there,” Osnoe says. “And during the pandemic, it was a lifesaver. We could spread out and paint on our own. Then we’d come together at the end, wearing masks, to discuss our work.” Osnoe has long favored painting outdoors – a style called plein air painting – and at the park, particularly, because of the historic Read More

Park Spaces Benefit from Reduced Mowing Practice

Washington Crossing Historic Park is now undertaking a reduced mowing approach to land management. This long-term sustainability land use practice benefits native and local wildlife and saves energy and taxpayer money. Reduced mowing means less fuel and more time for staff to concentrate on repairing and maintaining historic structures and other projects to beautify and enhance the park. Native flowers like milk weed, butterfly weed, bee balm, and cone flower (echinacea) are just a few that thrive with reduced mowing. Native and warm season grasses and wildflowers have larger root systems that help maintain soil, deter erosion and help sequester carbon. Encouraging native wildflowers Read More

Caring for a Historic Flock

If you’ve spent any time at the Thompson-Neely Farmstead, you’ve likely seen the beloved sheep and goats that call Washington Crossing Historic Park their home. The flock of eleven sheep features several heritage breeds that could have been found in colonial America. Five are Leicester Longwool, an English breed developed in the 18th century and found in George Washington’s flock at Mount Vernon. This breed was once popular in early America, but nearly went extinct in the 1900s. It’s now considered “threatened” by the Livestock Conservancy. The flock also has three Dorset sheep and one Cotswold – both are English Read More

A Painter Enamored with the Overlooked

“I’m mostly interested in light,” says Shirley Mersky, an oil painter who lives in Newtown Borough. “The subject doesn’t matter to me as much.” But that’s not entirely accurate. One of her paintings that was included in a recent exhibition at the Stover Mill Gallery, in Erwinna, depicts the Stockton, New Jersey, restaurant Via Ponte Ristorante Siciliano. The rear of the restaurant. “There were all these interesting shapes jutting out from the back of the building,” Mersky says. She couldn’t resist. A couple of her other paintings in the exhibition are of alleys. So the subject does matter to Mersky, Read More

Next Book Club Pick Examines the Ten Crucial Days from a Personal Perspective

The Washington Crossing Historic Park book club will begin a new book, Ten Crucial Days: Washington’s Vision for Victory Unfolds by William L. Kidder, at its July meeting. The meeting will be held July 19 at 5:30 PM on Zoom. To register, please visit DCNR’s website. Zoom meeting details will be provided upon registration. Participants should be prepared to discuss the Introduction through Chapter 4. The Wider Context of the Ten Crucial Days While Ten Crucial Days is not the only book to provide a play-by-play account of the Christmas night crossing of the Delaware River in 1776 and the Read More

One Pennsylvania Mill Was Vital to the Revolution

Most of our pantries contain a five-pound bag of flour from the grocery store. Although you can purchase flour ground at the park’s Thompson-Neely Grist Mill, locally ground flour is fairly rare in the twenty-first century. Not so in George Washington’s day. From a family’s kitchen table to Washington’s army, let’s take a look back at how grain products – and the mills that made them – played an essential role in colonial life. The Power of Flour It’s hard to overstate the importance of flour and cornmeal in the 1770s. Both could be used in many different ways. In Read More

A Painter Discovers Her Earliest Inspiration at the Park

One Christmas, about 40 years ago, Leslie Austin’s husband gifted her a set of paints and brushes. She’d never thought of herself as an artist in any formal sense, but she started painting later that day. She’s painted virtually every day since. Through the first 25 years or so, Austin was entirely self-taught. She devoured books about painting, putting new techniques into practice as soon as she read about them. It wasn’t until she and her husband retired in 1996 – they were both teachers at the New Jersey School for the Deaf in Ewing Township, New Jersey – and Read More

Restoring History: $8.7 Million Building Rehab Project to Kick Off Soon

Washington Crossing Historic Park is best known for preserving the spot where George Washington and his troops crossed the icy Delaware River in December 1776. But it’s also home to many historic buildings. Eleven of those structures will soon undergo a major rehabilitation thanks to $8.7 million from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The project is slated to kick off in the next few weeks and take about a year and a half to complete. “This certainly signals the start of a long-awaited and strongly supported transformation at Washington Crossing Historic Park, one that reflects the work of so many toward Read More

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