Just because Christmas is over doesn't mean you can't squeeze a few more drops of fun out of the holiday!
Tonight, the women of my family are going to start a tradition: going to Holiday Nights at Greenfield Village in Dearborn, MI. If you've never been to Greenfield Village, you're missing out on a fantastic, unique Michigan experience that you won't find anywhere else in the world!
Henry Ford was an avid collector of historical artifacts, and opened the Henry Ford Museum to showcase all of them. This museum in and of itself is spectacular, with items like the chair that President Abraham Lincoln was sitting in when he was shot, George Washington's camp bed, and the bus that Rosa Parks was on when she refused to give up her seat.
But the most surreal experience of The Henry Ford complex is Greenfield Village, a collection of buildings that Mr. Ford assembled by moving them from their original locations to reside in the village. Among these buildings are Thomas Edison's Menlo Park laboratory, the Wright Brothers' shop where they built their airplane, and Noah Webster's home, among countless other historically significant buildings. Best of all, you can tour these buildings and get a taste of how life was back in various points in history - one of my favorite aspects of Greenfield Village is the Firestone Farm, a working farm that runs just as farms did in 19th century America. You can watch a farmwife bake bread in the fireplace, watch the farmer plow his field with an authentic plow, and learn about how children lived and learned while still helping their families.
Holiday Nights is a special event in which visitors get to experience the various Christmas celebrations of different eras of American history. Christmas carolers in period dress wander around, old-fashioned hot chocolate and warm cider is passed out, sleigh rides (or horse-drawn carriage rides, if there's no snow) transport you from building to building, and you can even see Santa! Each house is decorated with period-accurate decorations, and curators in period dress explain to you how Christmas trees came to America.
I've gone every year with various friends and family, but this year the women in the O'Hara family decided to go as a group and make it a special holiday tradition. I hope we'll keep it up, because it truly is a wonderful - and uniquely Michigan-ish - holiday treat.
Holiday Nights only runs through tomorrow, but check out The Henry Ford website for more information on the whole complex -- it's a Michigan gem!