‘Tis the Season

Though the 2020 Pandemic put a damper on most events, Sloatsburg’s Harmony Hall was thrilled to open its doors once more for its Victorian Christmas on December 6.

Tucked away off busy Route 17, Harmony Hall is a hidden gem in the northeast corner of Rockland County. The Greek Revival-style home on Liberty Rock Road in Sloatsburg welcomed the Christmas season by hosting an open house, complete with music and traditional Victorian décor that delighted visitors from the tri-State area last weekend.

Built by Jacob Sloat in the 1840’s in the village that bears his name, the stately structure has, over the past 150-plus years, served as a home, a restaurant, a hotel and was used as a skilled nursing facility. When it was closed by the state in 2003, locals and members of Sloat family rallied to save the property, which was purchased by the Town of Ramapo as open space in 2006.

Since that time, the non-profit Friends of Harmony Hall has worked to improve the house and the surrounding property, its all-volunteer committee and supporters creating year-round events and has hosted the popular Highlands Bluegrass Festival for the past decade. “We’ve been blessed,” said MaryAnne Carroll, dressed in Victorian garb while greeting visitors at the door. “Our board and our members are 100 percent volunteer, and they are the most dedicated group of people you’d ever want to meet.”

If you missed its Victorian Christmas celebration, there’s still time to take in the beauty of Harmony House and its surroundings before the snow starts flying. On Saturday, December 19, Sterling Forest historian Doc Bayne will be returning to share local history with visitors, beginning at 2:00p.m. There’s no charge for admission, but donations are welcome.