A Busy Winter on the Trails of History

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Please consult the February program page for upcoming events.

Regardless of what the various groundhogs saw earlier this morning (I schedule these posts ahead of time – I’ll update when I can), we’re approximately halfway through the winter. At least that’s what I’m telling myself. Some sites on the PHMC’s Trails of History are closed to the public over the winter and more of them reduce their hours. Often, winter (whether closed or not) is a great time to catch up on projects that go on the back burner during the busy summer season or that require more time and attention. That said, some sites ramp up their programming in the winter to provide visitors with alternatives to cabin fever. So here’s a sampling of both. Enjoy.

Dave Smoyer whitewashing a fireplace in the Sisters’ House, Ephrata Cloister (via Facebook)At Ephrata Cloister, the site is open through the winter but it’s a slower time. They recently posted a series of photos (including the one above) showing maintenance repairman Dave Smoyer doing repairs to whitewashed walls and fireplaces. According to the Facebook post, Dave has developed his whitewashing techniques through lots of practice: “White-Washing is a tricky process that has involved almost 14 years of trial and error. [Dave says] ‘Put it on too thick and it flakes off. Too much water and it takes off the layer of clay beneath it. The trick is to put on a number of very light layers and eventually build it up.'” In addition to maintenance, Ephrata uses the bleak season for its popular Winter History Class, which features a wealth of speakers on a wide variety of topics (see details). And they’re starting a new history discussion group, which debuts Feb. 7 (learn more on the Facebook event page).

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