American History resonates throughout Fraunces Tavern. Sons of Liberty plotted our Revolutionary War. Then at its end, George Washington bid his troops farewell here.
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In fact, our leader gave this brief speech in the very Long Room shown in my video below. There’s no other place like this in the world. Downstairs remains a tavern. Come get a drink or lunch. John Adams, Alexander Hamilton, George Washington, and Thomas Jefferson all ate here. So, you’ll be in historically fantastic company.
Fraunces Tavern Museum awaits right upstairs. This is where your journey through American history gets real. My favorite rooms are the Long Room and the Flag Gallery. The Long Room’s where Washington said goodbye to his men when we won the War for Independence. In fact, visitors can listen to a reading of the exact speech. It’s quicker than you might expect – only a couple of minutes.
George Washington Spoke Here
The only restricted room in the museum, the Long Room is indeed long. They forbid photography and video. But thanks to an exclusive visit, here are vids and pictures from this special dining room. During the Revolutionary War era many men joined around these communal tables to feast. In those days you ate whatever they served in the Long Room. It wasn’t fancy, menu-dining like today. Tavern guests sat aside whomever happened to be there that night as well. It wasn’t refined experience in the Long Room. Of course, there were private dining rooms, often rented out, in those days too. In fact, Fraunces Tavern exhibits the Clinton Dining room as a fine example. Its glorious hand painted wallpaper still looks immaculate.
Fraunces Tavern’s Long Room, though, shares relevant and fascinating details of history. That includes oyster shells displayed on the period dining tables. In colonial times oysters were a common dish in the New York City harbor neighborhood. When you visit historic sites in New York area, oyster shells often fashion a path to the front door. This was a popular recycling method for these shiny white crescents back in the day. They kept one’s boots from slipping in any kind of weather.
Fraunces Tavern – Long Room
Oysters are only the beginning. Historical details abound. Many are even original to the tavern. An archeological discovery in the tavern was the very playing cards strewn about the table shown here. Card playing was a fun pastime while boozing it up, sucking down oysters, and awaiting dinner service. It’s edifying to remember that in those days cards were handmade, one at a time. It was likely a challenging shuffle with such an uneven and soft deck. But it may have also have made card counting easier. After all, tiny differences between individual cards make them more discernible.
Pipes are another cool table setting detail at Fraunces Tavern. These are the pipes of the day and in those days they were rentals. That’s right. Men paid to put their mouth on the same pipe as the man who came before them. But we don’t judge. After all, these are the same men who fought for our country’s independence. The days of yore were rough. Pipes granted them solace at a time when sensory sanctuary was scarce.
Many more fine points await in the Fraunces Tavern Long Room. From the original tile on the bright fireplace to the period fire pokers and stokers – it’s all engrossing. Make sure to book a tour. Guides share riveting stories about forefathers who ate, drank, and made history here. Some first thought of our country as independent while sitting in these very rooms. Fraunces Tavern Museum brings history to life as a fun, illuminating landmark site. Arrive hungry and leave satisfied.