MERIDEN — Visitors to the Solomon Goffe House on North Colony Street can travel back in time to the 18th century.
A step through the paneled front door brings the oldest house in town to life, with replicas of the home decor and furniture that would have been in the home from, built in 1711.
“We get to use it, you get to handle it and you get to learn a little differently,” said Joshua Dummitt, assistant curator, of the hands-on approach of the museum.
Guests can participate in everything from playing a game of Nine Men’s Morris (similar to tic-tac-toe) to churning homemade ice cream at various events throughout the spring and summer.
As part of the tour, visitors can also taste-test homemade treats in the kitchen, circa 1811.
The kitchen was an addition in the 1800s along with a sitting area.
“They love seeing it,” said Karen Keene, curator. “They can’t believe it, especially when we do cookies. They’re always available for sampling.”
During a recent visit, Keene was making molasses cookies using a reflector oven propped up against the hearth.
Faux spices hung over the counter space, which displayed wooden kitchen utensils and a cone-shaped mold of white sugar.
“A lot of times mother would have the children do this for her,” Keene said of clipping sugar from the cone using a tool similar to pliers. “She would ask them to whistle while they were doing it so she knew they were not eating the sugar.”
Visitors can also tour the guest room where the lady of the house, Elizabeth Goffe, or later Mary Doolittle, would make sure guests were comfortable, with fine china and pewter displayed on New England-designed shelving.
“This is a way she could brag,” Dummitt said.
Throughout the house is history from the residential dwelling, to menus and brochures displayed from when the house was converted to The 1711 Inn and restaurant.
“With those prices, man I wish I had a time machine,” Dummitt said of the full course dinners ranging from only $3 to $7.
Even the floorboards in the 1711 parlor, or as Dummitt and Keene call it — “Solomon’s Room,” tell a story about life back then.
“We do believe that Solomon was of more of a middle class family,” he said pointing at the original floorboards. “The wider the floorboards, the more you were taxed on them.”
The house is open for tours and events the first Sunday of the month, April through November, from 1:30 — 4:30 p.m.
The house will also be participating in CT Open House Day, Saturday, June 8, 10 a.m. — 4 p.m.
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