While we’re not suggesting that the loving restorations of Monmouth County’s historic places are watched over by benevolent spirits, Little Silver’s Parker Homestead has had its share of happy coincidences — witness the accidental uncovering of a Colonial five-foot high fireplace, big enough for several people to stand in — just as the hard work of cleanup and repair was really getting underway. Then there was the recent discovery of a cache of vintage wooden berry-picking baskets, just as preparations were being made for a first-ever Community Blackberry Pick.
Local families were invited to “put down the smartphones and pick up some blackberries” during the first scheduled pick on July 19 — and on Saturday, July 26, up to 50 groups will be able to participate (on an earlybird-gets-the-berries basis), as a second session takes place between the hours of 8 am and 12 pm, with a rain date of Sunday, July 27.
Little Silver residents and other early registrants are being provided priority pick position for the free event, while there’s still time for additional groups to sign up as well. Parker Homestead trustees and volunteers recommend that the guest “pickers” wear comfortable working clothes and shoes, in addition to a broad brimmed hat. Ice chilled bottled water and favorite Sickles and Parker family recipes will be available to participants.
The first annual Blackberry Pick comes just as preservation work commences on the three barns located at the historic Homestead. The pre-Revolutionary structures on the National Historic site property date to the 1720s, and were home to members of the Parker family. In 1995, Julia Parker — the last of eight generations of the same family to occupy the home — gifted the property to the borough of Little Silver, with the stipulation it be preserved as a historic landmark and for historic educational purposes.
There will be a donation jar on site to help support the restoration of the Parker Homestead-1665, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit. To sign up for the pick, email Bonnie Akey at BonW@aol.com.
The trustees of the Parker Homestead 1665, Inc. are also planning a fundraising event on Saturday, September 13 in conjunction with the Monmouth County Historical Association and Sickles Market, Little Silver. The party will include a reception with tours of the historic Parker Homestead, a tented farm-to-table community dinner, starlight dancing to live music, live and silent auctions and a 50/50 raffle. Underwriting and sponsorships are available. Please call Laurie Bratone, Development Director for Monmouth County Historical Association, at (732)462-1466 x20 for further details and information.