Monday, March 23, 2015

Colonial Dinner at Historic Morlatton Dinner

 For our first stab at reinstating an annual dinner--a long lost tradition of the Schuylkill River Heritage Area--we opted for a colonial meal in the 1762 White Horse Inn at Historic Morlatton Village. After months of planning, and days of cooking (by our caterer and volunteers!) we finally pulled it off. Here's how it went.

First, let me set the scene for you. The White Horse Inn isn't an operating inn or restaurant these days. It's one of four really amazing 18th century buildings in an old Swedish Settlement known as Morlatton Village, owned by the Historic Preservation Trust of Berks County. The trust purchased the White Horse Inn in 1970 and fully restored it. Renovators had the foresight to include a  full working kitchen to accommodate private events, like ours.

Tavern room
So, the beauty of the White Horse Inn is that it's rustic, beautiful, and so authentic you feel, stepping into it, like you've gone through a portal into the 1700s. Our partners at the trust know how to maximize that feeling. They lit fires in fireplaces in the three dining rooms. They used period appropriate dinner ware. And, the lighting consisted entirely of candlelight!

If the setting was perfect, so was the food, served by a waitstaff in period costume. The menu included Chicken Pot Pie, prepared according to a closely guarded recipe by Zachary Long (shown with bread basket below), and delicious Cider Ham and Stuffed Mushrooms, cooked by Brian Boyer, engineer and part-time caterer.  The food was augmented by a hearth cooking demonstration.


In addition to great food, the evening included live harpsichord music performed by nonagenarian Helen May. She kept up the mood with some truly delightful tunes that added a delicate touch to the event.
Attendees also had the opportunity to tour the Village and learn about the other buildings on the site including the Mouns Jones House, Berks County's oldest home, and the nearby Fulp House. Shown below is the George Douglass Mansion, which is currently undergoing a complete restoration.

The evening ended with a series of prize drawings. Prizes included gift baskets, a $250 gift certificate to Tri County Bicycles, and an Emotion Glide Kayak. Congratulations to our winners! But really, everyone who participated was a winner because the event not only provided a unique dining experience, but it supported the Schuylkill River Heritage Area.