Monday, April 28, 2008

Could I have lived in the 1830's...?

The first "real" day of my fabulous vacation:

I was lucky to have my mom come and visit over Patriot's Day weekend. Did you know people actually celebrated this holiday? I didn't until I moved here. (For those of you who are wondering what this day celebrates, this is a day commemorating the beginning of the revolutionary war—“the shot heard around the world”—in Concord, MA. The Old North Bridge is in Concord, and this is the place where the first shots of the revolution were fired and where the first casualties occurred. There were a number of miscalculations and misinformation surrounding these event such as the British weren’t going out to Concord and Lexington to destroy the colonists, but to get additional supplies. Also, there were not hundreds of colonists waiting for the British in the Concord woods..., and so on. Because the local militia refused to lay down their arms and let the British in to claim the goods, the fighting began. The rest is history. And, if you're still clueless as to what I am talking about, please come visit me in Boston and I'll walk you through the ENTIRE thing. There are so many sites and re-enactments dedicated to this! Also, the Boston Marathon has also become a yearly part of Patriot’s Day celebratory activities.

Anyway, for most Bostonians, this is a day off. For schools and teachers, this is the start to a spring break (week)! (Mind you, we also had a winter break in Feb. for a week... but who's complaining? I'm surely NOT!) So, my mom came to visit me and to spend time with my grandfather. That always means I get to go eat at the Cheesecake Factory and the beloved "99 restaurant" :) (Please note the sarcasm with the word "Beloved").

To top off the weekend, my mom has always mentioned going to Old Sturbridge Village which is almost on the border of MA and CT. Patriot's Day seemed like the perfect day... and we were right. The weather couldn't have been more perfect for our outing.

Old Strubridge Village is a place where you "come face-to-face with the past and the events that shaped life from the late 1700s to early 1800s. The Village will catapult you into a country town, where everyday life was a series of struggles and triumphs.... [you become a] part of history as you journey into rural New England." And, it was AMAZING! (Plus, I also have to note that MA teachers get in for FREE any day and any time... so if anyone ever wants someone to go with them, I WILL!!)

I can't stress enough how perfect and interesting this day was. Upon entering, we were greeted by these musical soldiers (you can tell their musicians by their instruments, but also by the gold stripes across their chest). We were just in time to march with them into the center of the town and participate in the morning flag raising where we learned about the history of the flag.

You can see the flag pole in the distance (in the center of the commons). This is a picture from the center meetinghouse that was at the end of the commons.
My mom and I standing outside one of the barns owned by a farmer.
These are pictures of my mom and I at the far end of the village by the stream. We got to see demonstrations from the tin shop, the cider mill, the printing office, copper shop, blacksmith shop, etc. We also got to watch them make real gingerbread, and BUTTER (you wouldn't believe how much butter they ate in their diet... and trust me, it wasn't the "Smart Balance" brand!) and simple crafts they would have had during that time period.

The village had just welcomed in some new lambs a few weeks before. I was fortunate to make a new friend :) They were soooo cute!

We also got to walk through farm houses and local homes of that time period. It was so interesting to talk to those who would have lived there and learn all about their lives. What did they do with their time since they couldn't blog at night?!! Well, I found out and it was SO INTERESTING!!!

My ABSOLUTE favorite place to visit was the schoolhouse where we got to sit through a "lesson". As one who works in a school, I was captivated by what I learned and experienced.

Now, here's the quiz. In one of the houses we got to see replicas of what the occupants would have worn. Only in Boston would you see something like this... What's wrong with the picture below??? (answer at the end)

My visit was amazing and I would recommend it to anyone. The volunteers were so nice and knowledgeable and almost everything was "hands on" or something you could experience for yourself. For a few moments, I truly felt like I was a part of them!

So, as we were leaving, I asked myself... "Could I have lived during this time period and survived?" The answer is a big FAT "NO", but it sure is nice to visit for a few hours and I will forever admire and revere those who did live then. :)

(answer to picture question: Do you think the men wore RED SOX hats during the late 1700's? Doubtful, but the colonists insist they did :)

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