Connecticut Open House Day at the Grave House & Gardens

Connecticut started the event 14 years ago and on Saturday, June 9th and over 230 houses participated.

A large crowd toured the Grave House observing and tasting a hearth cooking demo. The cooking included potato chowder, strawberry fritters, strawberry cornbread and a hanging chicken.

Farm tools, linen making, including growing of flax, spinning and weaving were on display with docents explaining the procedures as well as the furnishings of this 1685 house.

Visitors also toured the beautiful perennial and native plant garden maintained by the Garden Club of Madison.

Second Graders Step Into the Past

On Thursday, May 10th, Madison’s second graders stepped out of their usual classrooms and ventured down to the Congregational Church and the Green to get a sense of past Madison times.

In vintage garb, members of the Deacon John Grave House (DJGH) joined with members from the Madison Historical Society to facilitate this time travel. Some 200 students participated and moved from station to station to hear stories of the past, to experience a classroom from yesteryear, and to play with toys from long ago.

The DJGH members hosted at the toy station on the Green, giving some historical background for the toys and providing instruction about play in earlier times.

The toys prompted children to step easily into this aspect of life from the past.

Seniors From Strong House Have a Tasty Visit

On April 13th seniors from the Strong House in Madison were treated to a visit at the Grave House.

The houseguests tasted chowder and popcorn, fresh from the hearth.
They listened to the tales of daily life in yesteryear, the use of vintage tools and the importance of the weaver’s trade.

The guests lingered a final few minutes to enjoy the warmth of the fire and the hosts’ hospitality.

The Madison Lyric Stage Fundraiser A Success

The Madison Lyric Stage, an award winning professional theater company held it’s season fundraiser on Saturday evening, April 7, 2018 at their new home, the Deacon John Grave House and grounds In Madison”s “Historic District”.

The festive evening featured food, wine and beer. And a highlight of the evening was a silent auction featuring apartment stays, private dinners, original watercolor paintings, theater tickets and merchandise from the area.

Tours of the Grave House were provided throughout the evening.

Cast members from the MLS provided a musical preview of the 2018 season with numbers from ”Company”, “Turn Of The Screw” and “Godspell”. The entire audience joined in with a hand clapping version of “Day By Day”.

The Madison Lyric Stage will be staging two productions on the grounds with the barn as a backdrop and only a large tent separating the audience from the night sky.

The DJGF welcomes the MLS as we bring a new cultural venue to downtown Madison.

A Terrific Spring Tavern Night

On Saturday evening March 24th, the old house was packed with revelers who stomped and clapped to the rocking sounds of the five-man Deacon Grave Band.

The crowd enjoyed numerous appetizers, five different chilis, popcorn popped on the hearth and dessert along with beer and wine. It was also a successful fundraiser event for the Grave Foundation.


Girl Scouts Earn Cooking Merit Badge

On Sunday afternoon, February 18th, a group of Guilford Girl Scouts and parents visited the Grave House. A short history of the Grave family and tour of the house was provided.

Our hearth cooking crew dressed in period attire and demonstrated various aspects of Colonial Cooking. The children churned butter and made buttermilk biscuits. The biscuits were rolled, cut and then baked in a bake kettle on the hearth.

The scouts shucked dried corn in an antique husker and then made popcorn in a spider pan on the hearth.

Later they enjoyed playing with our collection of Colonial toys.

Holiday Members Party at the Grave House

Members of the Deacon John Grave Foundation and its Board braved the frigid 10-degree conditions for a fun-filled evening at the Deacon’s House.

To extend the holiday season, the house stayed decked with ornaments and greens for the January 7th event. A tasty array of goodies and a large roaring fire greeted the guests, who conversed with each other and listened to music by house favorites, ”Rick and Jim”.

The mid-winter celebration came as a perfect way to thank Foundation members for their generous support over the years.

Colonial Holiday A Hit With The Children, Great And Small

Annual holiday festivities returned to the Deacon John Grave House on Saturday, December 16th. Families attending the rescheduled Children’s Holiday Open House found all of the seasonal activity and good cheer that folks anticipate finding at the Grave House. This was a hands-on event for all ages, with a special focus on activities for the Deacon’s younger guests.

In the kitchen, the House board members had gingerbread families all set to decorate and bake in the hearth oven. Cookie artists found it difficult to choose from all of the decorative options. Many visitors directed their attention to the hot chestnuts that came fresh from roasting to be shelled and sampled, a traditional favorite.

While waiting for cookies to bake, guests adjourned to one of the other decorated rooms. As a chaser for the chestnuts and cookies, the adjacent back room offered coffee and hot chocolate for settling into friendly conversation among those gathered.

The fragrant scents from oranges and cloves beckoned visitors to the next room, where tables were set for the production of pomander balls to take home, as keepsakes from visiting the Deacon’s home.

In the main room, guests found another hearth aglow. Here, musicians played guitars and filled the house with seasonal music, only pausing for stories by the Deacon.

With stories finished, guests returned once more to the kitchen, where they identified their cookie creations to taste or to resist and wrap up for journey home.

The Deacon hopes to see you next year for a Colonial Holiday at the Grave House.




Happy Holidays to one and all from the Deacon!

“The Deacon” Hosts Open House After Madison’s Tree-Lighting

On the first of December, “Deacon John Grave” welcomed attendees of the town tree-lighting to his home for an open house. After the tree-lighting ceremony on the Madison Green, the Deacon’s house offered a friendly gathering place. Visitors found the Deacon John Grave House decked for the holidays with festive trees and greenery.

One hundred plus guests enjoyed hot cider and the warmth of a hearth fire at the Grave family home. Neighbors chatted with neighbors and newcomers to the house were introduced to each other. A few guests shared childhood memories of visiting the Deacon’s house, as school children in the Madison schools.

Downstairs, Deacon John Grave House board members kept the cider flowing, as they hosted incoming visitors. Some folks ventured upstairs, where another House member was on hand to provide some house history for the curious. Holiday music softly playing in the background and completed the evening’s experience of stepping back into the past, while enjoying traditions of the present.


Monster March Huge!

On Saturday October 28th hundreds of Madison residents and their children paraded in downtown Madison in Halloween costumes to trick or treat at the local businesses.

The procession ended at the Deacon John Grave House where snacks were provided. The large crowd enjoyed pizza, bagels, fruits, cookies and candies.

This has become a signature community event sponsored by the Madison Newcomers Club with the crowd increasing every year.

Our Foundation is delighted to participate.