LIVERMORE, Maine -- Lace up those skates, dig out the sleds, and join the annual Ice Harvest next Saturday at the Washburn-Norlands Living History Center. This event re-creates a vital activity for many 19th-century farmers, when family and neighbors would gather to cut large blocks of ice from a frozen pond to store so they could preserve food during warmer weather.
The term "ice box" was coined in the 19th century and referred to a kitchen storage cabinet that was usually lined with tin, said Regina Ketcheson of the history center. It typically had two compartments, one for food storage and the other for a large block of ice, which kept the food cold.
At the Ice Harvest, costumed interpreters will be by the pond with a team of horses and old-fashioned ice-cutting tools. Participants will have a chance to try their hand at cutting ice, strapping it to a sled, and dragging the blocks to an ice house, where they will be stored for later use in the center's educational programs. There will be history demonstrations and sleigh rides throughout the day.
Participants can enjoy cocoa, hot cider, and homemade doughnuts, as well as a hot lunch served at the historic 19th-century pondside cottage. The event typically draws several hundred people, Ketcheson said.
Ice Harvest, Feb. 17, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Washburn-Norlands Living History Center, 290 Norlands Road. 207-897-4366. norlands.org. Admission free; lunch $5 adults, $3 children. Directions: Livermore is about 160 miles or almost three hours from Boston. Take Interstate 95 north into Maine. Take exit 75 (Route 202) east toward Auburn. Route 202 becomes Route 4. Go through Livermore, then turn right on Route 108 east. After two miles, turn left on Norlands Road. ELLEN ALBANESE