Sunday, July 16, 2017

A Visit to Old Sturbridge Village

The Fenno Barn and pasture

On the Fourth of July, family members and I drove the nearly 90 miles down to the heart of Massachusetts to Old Sturbridge Village, listed as "an 1830's working village and farm with costumed artisans and farmers." With plenty of sunshine and just-right temperatures, it was a perfect day.  A fife and drum ensemble tootled along various byways over the course of the day. A crowd gathered late morning to hear a reading of the Declaration of Independence plus patriotic poetry followed by a naturalization ceremony welcoming new American citizens who had chosen to be sworn in on that particular day and in that particular place.  And at 1:00, militia fired a cannon in celebration of the Fourth.

Our little party, in the meantime, was busy taking a gander at the turkeys plus spring lambs and chicks ... with a peek inside the Fenno House where one woman was carding wool, another twisting it into yarn, and a third wrapping it on a measuring rod.  Though not all shown everyday, OSV demonstrations include dying wool, weaving, blacksmithing, operating the sawmill, making soup over an open fire (and bread in a brick oven), grinding corn, making pots, shoes, and brooms, plus firing that cannon on special occasions.  All great fun.

We also discovered what is called the game of graces (from the French le jeu des graces), an early 19th century lawn game played with small hoops and sticks that young girls enjoyed and that supposedly helped them become graceful.  Basically, it involved tossing and catching a small hoop with the use of two sticks, one in each hand.

Here are some photos of our day.

Spring lambs

Coach ride

Center Meetinghouse

Friends Meetinghouse

Wrapping twisted yarn

Style of the day

Wallpaper in the Towne House

The Towne House dining room

A bedroom in the Towne House

Part of the Towne House kitchen

One of many flyers outside the general store

Tending one of the gardens

Making pea soup (right-hand pot) in the Bixby House

Carding Mill (in front) and Grist Mill

Inside the Carding Mill

Militia getting ready to fire the cannon

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