If the dictionary meaning of ‘museum’ is ‘a place where things of historical, scientific or cultural importance are stored and exhibited,’ I would say — Ardenwood Farm in Fremont, California is nothing less than one.
Ardenwood is a historic farm that dates back to the mid 1800s. It is a farm still in operation, cultivating crops and rearing farm animals just as it did a 100 years ago. What makes this farm stand out is the fact that it has kept its past intact and now proudly shows it to those who might be interested in agriculture or curious to know what life was like back in the day.
I belong to the latter category — the curious. And I wanted my little one to be exposed to some farm history, so visit, we did. At the entrance of the farm we were welcomed by a huge ancient tractor tiller, almost like a promise that this place had interesting things to show to us.
We walked to what might have once been Ardenwood Depot’s ticket counter, picked up our tickets and headed inside the farm. What caught our eye next, was an old fashioned waiting room and wooden rail cars — proof of Ardenwood’s own rail history. And one of the first few info. boards that got my attention told the story of a time way back in the late 1870s, when railroads were being laid in this part of the world. It said that George Patterson who owned this farm was not in favour of it and did all he could to prevent the railroads from intruding his property. But when he was away honeymooning, the railway people influenced his guards with the help of a few bottles of intoxicants and barged into the compound and did what they were there to do.
The tracks remain to this day and are still used for joyrides around the farm. The farm — I must return to talking about it — still wears most of the farm equipment and still treasures its age-old farm machinery and also preserves the tractors that graced its fields over the years of its long history.
Ardenwood farm is the place to see Hay Forks, Scythes and Hay Knives used in the olden days. We also saw corn shellers and a few other machinery used in the corn room. Then there were old wood burning stoves and utensils that have now become antique pieces. Other things that stood out were the tractor shed (with out-moded tractors standing tall within them), really old wheelbarrows, wooden trailers and even what looked like charming (horse-drawn) carriages from a long time ago.
What I liked most about this place was seeing its historic farm equipment and machinery lying around the farm instead of being placed in neat rows in an air-conditioned room where they look out-of-place and almost uncomfortable.
- Ardenwood Historical Farm is at 34600 Ardenwood Boulevard, Fremont, CA.
- The farm is open from 10 to 4, Tuesdays to Sundays
- You might also want to check out The Patterson Mansion and the Blacksmith Shop, both within the farm premises. The blacksmith is open Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays.
- If you are interested in seeing some olden days’ farm tools you might want to step into the visitor center at the entrance.
- And if you are visiting with kids, you could show some farm animals, even take them on a train ride in the farm.
- The cafe maynot be open so it wouldn’t be a bad idea to carry some snacks and water, maybe even a picnic lunch.