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The Wallkill Valley Land Trust (WVLT) invites you to volunteer for its 7th annual historic house tour, Houses on the Land: The First Highway - Huguenot Homesteads From New Paltz to Bontecoe, on Saturday, June 3rd, 2017. Its focus on the Town of New Paltz coincides with the Land Trust’s year-long celebration of its 30th Anniversary. Its closing reception will be held at a private farm on the Land Trust’s first easement.

This year’s tour explores the fascinating legacy of New Paltz’s Huguenots and their expansion northward along the eastern banks of the Wallkill River to Bontecoe on the Esopus border. The “Duzine” - as the first dozen settlers were called – built their houses on the terrace above the Wallkill River where vistas sweep west to the Shawangunk Mountains. Their descendants moved beyond New Paltz to cultivate the rich alluvial soil of the floodplain. Huguenot Street will offer a special orientation at the Fort, designed especially for this occasion, and a private visit to one of its stone houses rarely open to the public. The seven houses on the tour include examples of an early stone house, a charming modern interpretation of a Dutch-style stone dwelling, two Greek Revival structures –one a brick beauty, the other, a fascinating clapboard bank house, as well as a fanciful late nineteenth-century manor house, and a soaring labyrinthine barn converted to modern living.

As a volunteer, you will join a small team of docents for one of two shifts at one of the houses on the tour. Docents monitor and safeguard the homes, direct traffic flow, enforce rules, and share their knowledge of their assigned home’s history and architectural features, thereby enhancing the tour’s reputation as an interesting, enjoyable and smoothly run event. As a thank you for your service, volunteers receive one free ticket to the tour and the reception following.

Schedule:

  • Early-May: An orientation package will be emailed (or mailed if you don’t have email) to you about three to four weeks prior to the tour. It will include the history of the township, a description of your assigned house, a map of the tour route with specific directions to the house, and a list of fellow docents.
  • Mid-May: An orientation will be held at your assigned house with the house captains and docents.
  • Saturday, June 3: All docents are to arrive at their assigned house by 10:30 am where they will receive their registration materials and any final instructions

First Shift:                    11:00 - 1:45 (arrive 10:30)

Second Shift:               1:45 - 4:30 (arrive 10:30 for reg.  materials; leave at 10:45; return at1:30)

Reception:                  4:30 – 6:00 at a private WVLT easement

Want to participate?

  • Please email José Moreno-Lacalle, the Docent Chair, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., your name, mailing address, phone numbers (home and cell for day of tour).
  • Please also indicate your preferences:shift assignment, want to work with a friend, are willing to handle parking, have enhanced knowledge and/or experience to qualify you as a shift captain, or have special needs (transportation issues, standing and stairs).We will do our best to accommodate them.
  • Please respond by no later than May 1 and sooner if possible. We will contact you with further information soon after registering.

We look forward to hearing from you. We hope you will join us in supporting this important endeavor.
It will be an interesting and fun experience!