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Fall Flavors at Museum of Old Newbury

Cider making has been a New England tradition every fall for close to 400 years. On October 16, the Museum of Old Newbury will host historian Frederic Detwiller for a nostalgic look at how cider mills, and related mill equipment and tannery operations, were major local industries prior to the rise of the temperance movement and prohibition eras. Detwiller’s presentation will begin at 7:00pm, with a reception preceding at 6:30pm. The program is free and open to the public, but space is limited and reservations strongly recommended; contact 978-462-2681 or

Essex County, and Newbury in particular, was once home to numerous apple orchards. Newbury’s first apple tree was planted around 1712 at the Adams family farm on Orchard Street in Byfield. Into the 20th century, apple harvests were shipped from Newbury to New York, Philadelphia, and even London.

Today, apple cider, whether sweet or hard, mulled or iced, is a quintessential fall flavor, and Essex County producers still flourish. Among them are Rowley’s Saintly Cider, who will be on hand at the program reception to pour glasses and talk about their craft.

Detwiller’s presentation includes historic and contemporary views of ancient orchards, mills and equipment both in New England and Europe, as well as the British Isles. Hand-drawn views predating the era of photography offer insight about people and places of early New England, especially of eastern Massachusetts and the North Shore. The recent rebirth of the orchards with dwarf trees and pick-your own produce has revived this popular New England pastime, and led to a rebirth of the fine arts of making and drinking both fresh and hard cider.

Frederic C. Detwiller is an architect with extensive experience in restoration, preservation, and historic research throughout New England. He holds degrees from Princeton University and Columbia University and has lectured and published widely on historic restoration. His professional affiliations include the Boston Society of Architects, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Society of Architectural Historians, and the Association for Preservation Technology.

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