Authentically Rural Weekend to Explore Rural Heritage


On the first-ever Authentically Rural Weekend, October 5-7, 2018, Ithaca Heritage welcomes residents and visitors to explore Tompkins County’s rural heritage.

A Finger Lakes wine and paired tastings reception kicks off the weekend on Friday, October 5, followed the next day by rural heritage tours of farms and rural landmarks in Dryden, the Dryden Homestead Heritage Fair Day, and a farm-to-bistro harvest dinner at Coltivare on Saturday, October 6. The weekend closes with a homestead brunch at the Schickel family’s Maryhill Farm in Dryden on Sunday, October 7. The weekend is a New York State Path Through History Weekend.

Ithaca Heritage ( has organized the weekend to showcase Tompkins County’s enduring rural heritage and its continuing impact on our cultural and economic vitality. Ithaca Heritage is a heritage tourism collaboration between Historic Ithaca and The History Center in Tompkins County to attract visitors to our region through guided and self-guided tours and other events. Primarily focused on vibrant rural areas in Dryden this year, the biannual event will spotlight other areas in the county in subsequent years.

The weekend coincides with the Dryden Town Historical Society’s Dryden Homestead Heritage Fair Day on Saturday, October 6, with a chance to enjoy rural heritage crafts, traditional music, and local food vendors.

Each event gives participants an opportunity to appreciate how vital rural areas are to our county’s cultural life and how these traditional lifeways have evolved.

A morning guided bus tour on Saturday, October 6, explores both a large-scale farm and a smaller one and includes an architectural history tour of the Village of Freeville. An afternoon tour takes visitors to a heritage homestead that dates back to the early 19th century and includes stops at two unique octagonal structures: a restored octagonal barn and a living history schoolhouse.

Saturday’s harvest dinner showcases the farm-to-bistro program at Coltivare, run by Tompkins Cortland Community College. At the dinner, Firelight Camps CEO Bobby Frisch, whose ecotourism company has been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Conde Nast Traveler, speaks about how he helped turn an underutilized rural site into a haven for an “elevated camping” experience.

Sunday’s homestead brunch at Maryhill Farm in Dryden completes the weekend events with a meal catered by Serendipity Catering. Schickel Construction founder Bruno Schickel discusses how his parents founded and ran the farm and how he and his siblings are keeping the farm in the family.

Tickets can be purchased for individual events or as a full weekend package at Registration deadlines are imminent, so purchase your tickets now.

Sponsors for the Authentically Rural Weekend include Serendipity Catering, Coltivare, Taitem Engineering, Johnson-Schmidt & Associates, Architects, Dryden Mutual Insurance Company, Wegmans, and Boiceville Cottages.

The programs of Historic Ithaca are made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. This project was made possible in part by a grant from the Tompkins County Tourism Program.

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