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Events Calendar

The Cottage is an ideal destination for viewing historic events near Saratoga Springs and the Capital Region.  The Cottage hosts numerous public events throughout the season such as family days, our Porch Chat Series of history lectures and portrayals, as well as acknowledgements of Grant's death and funeral.
Most events are free with tours of the Cottage at their regular fee.  Please check below for this year's calendar listing and descriptions.  

                   2016 PROGRAMS at the COTTAGE

The 2016 calendar of programs and events is currently underway...please check back periodically for the latest updates!

In the meantime, our docents and staff continue to tell the story of Grant, the Cottage, and Civil War-related themes during the off-season at various locations throughout the region. 

Please view our Speaker's Bureau schedule for upcoming lectures, programs. and events.

July 9 - 1pm
Gettysburg Then & Now 

Historic and present day photographs are part of a short film about the Gettysburg battlefield. Filmmaker  Kylen Clark has always been interested in the Civil War.  Kelen has a degree in history from Skidmore  pursues  a master's degree at Stony Brooke University and volunteers in the NYS Military Museum  Civil War gallery.

July 10
Secret Agents in Hoop Skirts - 1pm    

Women in the Union and Confederate Armies, served as spies during the Civil War.  Women also served in regiments.  Their military service is documented in pension records.  Dave Hubbard annually provides programs on our historic porch.  The examination of 6 female spies from the North and the South will surprise and entertain cottage visitors.

July 13
Keeping Time in Grant's Time - 1pm

A display of original Grant era time pieces and the iconic cottage clock stopped at the time of Grant's death are included in a presentation by Grant Cottage volunteer and horologist, Stephen Betts. Keeping time in the 2nd half of the 19th Century depended upon manually wound clocks and watches.  Visitors will be able to view the innermost workings of 150 year old time pieces and gain an understanding of how they operated.

July 17 - 1pm
Lincoln and Grant Funerals

A model of the Lincoln funeral car and a NY National Guard helmet (the type worn at the funeral and procession for Grant) will be displayed at the power point presentation by NYS Capitol educator and coordinator, Stuart W. Lehman.  Mr. Lehman will share information and answer questions about the presence of two deceased presidents in Albany.

July 23 - 1pm
Grant Remembrance Day

One hundred and thirty-one years ago, at age 63, Ulysses S. Grant bowed to the enemy who could defeat him – cancer.  It has become a tradition to mark this somber occasion by recreating the Grant family circle and allowing those who loved him most to speak about Grant as a friend, husband, father and grandfather.  Reenactors in period clothing will gather on the Cottage porch to celebrate the extraordinary life of the man they loved and respected.  Speakers Ben Kemp will portray Col. Frederick D. Grant and Steve Trimm will portray Grant’s physician, Dr. John Douglas. Refreshments, including baked items from vintage recipes, will be served on the porch following the program.

July 27 - 1pm
Voice from the Civil War


Because a grieving mother saved her son’s letters, the service of a soldier in the 89th NY Regiment can be shared with Grant Cottage visitors. Historically dressed as her great grandmother, Sarah Englis, author Eileen Patch, looks back 20 years and reads excerpts from a son’s letter to his mother.

Sunday, July 31 - 1pm
W.J. Arkell

W.J. Arkell played an important role in the development of the Saratoga, McGregor and Lake George Railroad which brought Ulysses S. Grant and his family to Mt. McGregor in the summer of 1885.  Arkell was also involved in the development of the Hotel Balmoral, a short distance from the cottage in which Grant completed his military memoirs that same summer.  Site interpreter, Dave Hubbard, provides an entertaining presentation about W. J. Arkells of Canajoharie and the familiy’s contribution to business and the arts in this area of New York.

August 7 - 1pm
Flags at Half Mast

Historian, author and educator Brooks D. Simpson will draw from three of his books:  The Reconstruction Presidents, Ulysses S. Grant, Triumph and Adversity and Let Us Have Peace in his presentation..  Brooks Simpson is the commemorative speaker at this annual event which acknowledges Grant’s funeral in August of 1885.   Images from the funeral procession in New York City will be viewed in the Visitor Center later in the day.

August 14 -- 1pm
Thank You President Grant

National Park Superintendent, Amy Bracewell, will share information about President Grant's steps to sign into existence the world's first national park in 1872 -.Yellowstone.   Grant played an integral role in the protection of our nations' treasures  This year is the centennial year for the National Park Service which President Wilson signed into law.  Following Supt  Bracewell's presentation visitors will enjoy birthday cake acknowledging the park's 100th birthday.

August 17 - 1pm
Our Wealthy Neighbors to the North

In 1880’’s a nearby village on the Hudson River supplied power, lumber, paper, lime, and textiles to growing industries.  A buckboard company catered to the rich and famous.  Join Chapman Museum educator, Kim Harvish, for a glimpse into the life of Gens Falls, our wealthy neighbors to the north in 1885.


August 20 -- 1pm
THE MALTA ROCKET TEST STATION – America’s First Step into Space

When we think of the American space program, Cape Canaveral and Houston come to mind---- but the first American rocket test facility was tucked in among the pines of the Luther Forest Preserve. The race to the Moon began in Malta, NY. On August 20 Paul Perreault, Town of Malta Historian, will tell how the German V-2 rockets were taken directly from the battlefields of Europe to  be studied by General Electric scientists and engineers at the Malta Rocket Test Station.  Perreault has been the Malta Town historian since 2009. He is a retired school administrator from the Ballston Spa School District. Previously he taught history at Shenendehowa High School. He received a BA in History from Siena College and a MA from SUNY Albany.

Sunday, August 21 - 1pm       
Saratoga War Horse

Robert E. Lee called James Longstreet " My old war horse." General Longstreet ( portrayed by Grant Cottage tour guide Steve Trimm ) will join us today to talk about the real war horses, like Grant's Cincinnati and Lee's Traveller, and the indispensable, contributions they made to the Northern and Southern war efforts. General Longstreet will also talk about the special bonds of trust and affection that can develop between men and horses. The second half of the program will be presented by Bob Nevins, founder and director of Saratoga War Horse. Bob will explain how Saratoga War Horse supports veterans of more recent wars who are suffering from PTSD " by providing a confidential peer-to-peer, action based, equine-assisted experience that initiates immediate and empowering change. " For more info, visit:  

August 24 - 1pm
Freedom Journey USCT

Through detailed letters, recruit rosters and pension records,Dr. Quinn, professor of history at Hartwick College, shares the story of 35 free African American Civil War soldiers.  It is the story of NY black soldiers from Westchester County who risked their lives for the sake of freedom as soldiers in the United States Colored Troops.

Saturday, August 27 - 1pm       

"Politics and Patriots" with the Lost Radio Rounders

Before there were political attack ads, there were attack songs! For this 2016 Presidential election season acoustic duo Lost Radio Rounders have created the perfect musical/historical program. “Politics & Patriots” blends harmony, history and humor to both inform and entertain.
From our nation’s earliest campaigns to the days of F.D.R., politicians created “songsters,” booklets of lyrics promoting themselves and tearing down their opponents. These lyrics were set to the melodies of classic folk songs or popular tunes of the day. “Oh Susanna,” “Auld Lang Syne,” “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” and many others lent their melodies to a candidate. “Politics & Patriots” shows that issues such as suffrage, abolition, and prohibition were also addressed in song.


Sunday, September 4 - 1pm        
General Grant Remembers President Lincoln

When you settle in for today's Porch Chat, it will be September, 2016. But when the program begins, it will become September, 1866. It is 18 months since the assassination of President Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant, still in command of the nation's armies, has finally gotten over the shock of the Great Emancipator's murder. He's now able to put Abraham Lincoln, and his place in American history, into perspective, and his own feelings into words. Join us for an intimate moment as General Grant reflects on the life of his President, his Commander-in-Chief and his friend. General Grant will be portrayed by Grant Cottage tour guide Steve Trimm.

Saturday, September 10 -- 1pm
Citizen of a Wider Commonwealth:
Ulysses S. Grant’s Post-Presidential Diplomacy

Former President Ulysses S. Grant’s two-year world tour (1877 to 1879) took him from Liverpool to Yokohama with stops throughout Europe and Asia.  Grant biographers touch on his tour briefly and generally treat it as a pleasure trip filled with sightseeing, shopping, wining and dining with diplomats and heads of state.  Grant’s travels, in fact, constituted a diplomatic mission sanctioned by the United States government – the first diplomatic mission undertaken by a former U.S. president – and marked a turning point in America’s role in world affairs.  He was accompanied throughout his travels by his wife Julia, who played an essential part in the success of their trip.  Together they impressed people around the world with an enduring image of an American president and his first lady.

Author Edwina S. Campbell will discuss the significance of Grant’s post-presidential travels illuminated in her recently published book, Citizen of a Wider Commonwealth.  Her book establishes the importance of the eighteenth president as a key diplomat whose work strongly influenced the direction of future U.S. foreign policy.  Dr. Campbell is a former U.S. Foreign Service Officer with the Department of State and university professor (American foreign policy, national security studies).  Refreshments will be served following Dr. Campbell’s presentation, and book-signing opportunities will be provided before and after the program.

September 18 --  10am to 6pm
Grant Cottage Arts Festival
On Sunday, September 18, the historic grounds of Grant Cottage in Wilton, New York, will host a day long arts festival. Mt.McGregor,  Ulysses S. Grant’s last residence, provides panoramic views and  settings for participating artists in the mediums of: painting, photography, sculpture, watercolor, printmaking, drawing, watercolor, digital art and mixed media.


September 25 -- 1pm
Images of the Past

US Grant was one of the most photographed men of his time. Images taken of him at Grant Cottage immortalized his last days and are on display at the historic site. Renown local photographers Seneca Ray Stoddard and Jesse Wooley both visited Mt. McGregor to capture it's stunning beauty in images. Learn about photographic methods of the 19th Century with antique photography enthusiast Ann Clothier, Education Director at the Saratoga County Historical Societies' Brookside Museum. Local Tin-Type Photographic Artist Craig Murphy of Glens Falls Art will be on hand to demonstrate photographic methods and offer Tin-Type sessions for guests.

October 7 -- 7:30pm to 10pm
Grant's Grand Ball 

One hundred and fifty years ago, Ulysses S. Grant reached the rank of four start general. A grand march, music, light faire and more than 20 historic figures, including Grant and Twain, celebrate the 1866 achievement. The US Military Museum, 61 Lake Avenue, Saratoga Springs, will host this event. 

Reservations are required.

October 8 -- 1pm
Meet the Union Generals

Please join our end of the season program with more than twenty historic figures.  The Confederation of Union Generals will host a press conference at the historic site. at 1pm.  Members of the 125th NY Volunteer Regiment and the United States Naval Landing Party will direct visitors on a commemorative walk to the Overlook.  Muskets will be fired and taps played.


May 7 - 10am-Noon
"I Love My Park Day" -- Volunteer Spring Cleanup at the Cottage

It's the 5th annual state-wide I Love My Park Day spring cleanup event to spruce up parks and historic sites throughout New York State to prepare them for the upcoming season. Join us atop Mt. McGregor to ready the grounds around the cottage for our opening weekend at the end of May.  

Bring rakes, brooms, tarps, leaf blowers, work gloves, water, etc. 

Lunch will be provided by the Friends of Grant Cottage.

Please register yourself or your group for this event at: 

May 29 - 1pm      

Oliver and Martha Welcome You

Oliver and Martha Clarke were the husband and wife team who served as the first caretakers of Grant Cottage ( 1890-1941 ). Oliver was a Union veteran and a survivor of Andersonville. Martha was the Oneida County girl who became the love of his life. Today Oliver will recount his experiences as a POW, discuss how Andersonville nearly destroyed him, and how, after he came home, Martha convinced him that life was worth living. Mr. & Mrs. Clarke will talk about their life together, with special emphasis on their years at Grant Cottage. Oliver will be portrayed by Grant Cottage tour guide Steve Trimm, Martha Kelsey Clarke by Melissa Trombley-Prosch.

June 5 -- 1pm
A Taste of Upstate NY 

People are part of every Grant Cottage season and Chuck D'imperio is interested in people.  His humorous voice adds to our understanding and interest in Upstate cuisine.  As you start to make your summer plans, join us on the historic porch and consider the recipes and places you might explore.

June 12 - 1pm    

Confederates In Vermont!

In the Fall of 1864, the Confederate government authorized a series of raids into the Union states from Canada. The hope was to draw Federal troops from the South to the northern border. And, because Canada belonged to Great Britain, to provoke an incident that would bring England into the war on the rebel side. The most successful raid was the attack on the village of Saint Alban's, Vermont. General Ulysses S. Grant will take a close look at the Saint Alban's raid and discuss the other Confederate terror attacks launched from Canada.  General Grant will be portrayed by Grant Cottage tour guide Steve Trimm.     

June 19 - 1pm
Ice Cream, Games, and Toys

Join us any time 1-3 pm for ice cream a scavenger hunt, Quaker rifle drills, and games. Elementary age children will be able to try on Civil War era clothing and meet Sam Willet who guarded the cottage and entertained the Grant children in 1885. Walk to the overlook, bring a picnic lunch and discover the 20+programs offered this season.

June 26 - 1pm
General Grant & the U.S. Navy         

Grant who began his Civil War career drilling Illinois recruits,  understood that naval cooperation was vitally important.  Michael Dziewulski’s digital images of strategic Confederate held rivers and tributaries will help visitors better understand Grant’s Western Campaign.  Following an opportunity for questions and answers, period music will be provided by the United States Naval Landing Party 

July 2 - 1pm      
A Conversation With President And Mrs. Grant

The year is 1880. The Civil War is over and so are the years of the Grant Administration. The former President and First Lady have recently returned from a trip around the world. They hold no special titles now and proudly claim the most important distinctions of all: being ordinary American citizens. Today, informally, they will meet with their fellow citizens, share family stories, and answer questions about their lives ( he the son of an abolitionist, she the daughter of a slave owner! ). President Grant will be portrayed by Grant Cottage tour guide Steve Trimm and Julia Dent Grant will be portrayed by Melissa Trombley-Prosch. 

July 3 - 1pm        

G.I., Gantter's Infantry

Grant's Memoirs are celebrated as the definitive account of the Civil War. Today we share another memoir from another war, a book that is recognized by scholars of WWII literature as a small gem. Roll Me Over, An Infantryman's WWII was written by Ray Gantter of Syracuse, New York. Ray fought in the Battle of the Bulge and the conquest of Nazis Germany. And was the uncle of Grant Cottage tour guide Steve Trimm. Today, as we prepare to celebrate Independence Day, Steve will reminisce about Ray Gantter the man and share excerpts from his extraordinary memoir.