Historic Cold Spring Village by Ann Witmer
Seven miles inland from the Wildwood’s wide, sandy beaches is shady Historic Cold Spring Village, a living-history museum where costumed craftspeople make shingles, shape tin and bind books, and historic buildings open their doors to meetings and events.
Since the 30-acre village opened in 1981, 26 historic buildings from throughout Cape May County have been moved there to re-create what life was like from 1789 to 1840. The buildings are from 100 to 321 years old.
One of them, a stately white two-story with a red door, is the village’s Welcome Center. It is also available for meetings of up to 100 people, said Anne Salvatore, executive director.
Other restored buildings, such as an 1817 farmhouse, a country store from the 1700s and an old stagecoach inn, can be used for breakout sessions.
The only building original to the site, the Old Grange Hall, built in 1912, is now a restaurant and is used for events.
The oldest surviving building in Cape May County is part of the village. The small wooden structure, 321 years old, was once part of a grand hall built by a wealthy Englishman who owned 95,000 acres of New Jersey land.
In 1717, Daniel Coxe’s grand hall was sold to a man who removed this little wing and made it his home. Why? Winters were cold then, and it was too hard to heat the big place. History does repeat.
Historic Cold Spring Village is open from mid-June to September. Levi, the massive resident Percheron, takes people on carriage rides Tuesday through Friday.