Local Living History Farm Offers Guests Immersive Dining Experience
The sun has finally set, the temperature outside is slowly dipping and it's time for a hearty, homemade meal after a long day of work. Sound familiar? Imagine stepping back in history to experience this time-honored tradition during a bygone era. You can do that closer to home than you might think.
Earlier this year, Wunderlich Farm, an interactive history park committed to preserving the rich history of the Klein area, began offering historical dinners to guests for a unique, immersive dining experience that brings an intimate gathering of patrons back to a simpler time. Dinners are set in the 1850 Martin Frank Homestead at Wunderlich Farm, a Republic era house from the area that touches on the history of the three founding family nationalities that are featured at Wunderlich Farm. But this homestead wasn't always a part of the Farm.
In 2021, the fate of the house was uncertain when the acreage it stood on was for sale. Believed to be one of the oldest homes in the area by Steve Baird, Klein Historical Foundation director, the Foundation stepped up with an ambitious plan to save and relocate the home to Wunderlich Farm. With the help of museum supporters and local businesses, enough funds were raised and in August 2022, the house was moved in three large pieces to the Farm. After painstaking efforts over many months to repair and restore the Martin Frank homestead, the house was returned to it former glory and opened its doors to guests the following spring.
With preservation work on the Frank House complete, the first historical dinner was hosted in this historic home on May 19. Guests enjoyed a historically prepared meal by lantern light comprised of smothered steak, creamed potatoes, pan-seared Brussels sprouts and bread with butter. The meal was topped off with a special dessert and coffee, all while listening to music from the turn of the century through an amberola, just as it would have been during mealtime for the original occupants of the Frank House.
"We wanted to give visitors a chance to step into the story and history of the area. What better way than enjoying a historically prepared dinner and sitting around by lantern light in a historic house just like our ancestors did. People learn and appreciate the past much more when they can be a part of that history," said Baird.
Although historical dinners at Wundelrich Farm took a pause due to the extreme heat over the summer, guests have been welcomed back for this unique dining experience. Preparing everything from scratch with a wood-burning stove using historic recipes from the founding families, guests are served a prix fixe menu at each dinner. Once per month, as many as ten guests can be seated for dinner, which are typically hosted on the first Friday of each month. Guests normally arrive a half hour early for a guided tour of two houses on property by a Living History Specialist at the Farm. Dinners are served at 7:00 PM, with guests staying as late as 9:00 PM.
"Our guests sit exactly where the Frank family would have sat each night. They get to experience the smells, sight, sounds, and feel of what it would have been like with a large family sitting around the dinner table after a long day of work," said Baird.
The next dinner will be hosted on January 5, 2024. Sign up and payment information is usually posted to Wunderlich Farm's social media pages two weeks prior to each dinner. Those wishing to be a part of it can sign up by clicking the link provided to register, then remit payment through Venmo or PayPal, although guests can also pay by check at the museum. The cost for historic dinners at the Farm is $65 for a single seat or $100 for two seats at the table.
Historic dinners will not be held in December since the Farm will be preparing for the annual Old Fashion Christmas Market scheduled for December 2. Guests are invited to experience the magic and joy of the Christmas season at the Farm from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM with Kris Kringle, historical craft stations, children's choir performances, food vendors, shopping and more. Entry for the festival is $5.00 per person and a non-perishable food item.
To learn more about Wunderlich Farm, visit kleinhistorical.org.
Tiffany Krenek has been on the My Neighborhood News team since August 2021. She is passionate about curating and sharing content that enriches the lives of our readers in a personal, meaningful way. A loving mother and wife, Tiffany and her family live in the West Houston/Cypress region.