Saturday, July 11, 1987

1987 Sturbridge Village (7/11/1987)

Saturday, July 11, 1987
We were putting together a scooter when Gerald arrived at 10:30. Together we drove north on RI/MA 146 to the Mass Turnpike. Paid a 60-cent toll, and took I-84 to exit 3. It was heavily overcast, but the sun came through by the time we reached Old Sturbridge Village. I treated, paying the $9.50 each admission.
Old Sturbridge Village ticket
Old Sturbridge Village map
We began the tour at the Friends Meeting House, and in each building was at least one person in period dress ready to explain anything within the building and village. A man was hewing beams from a tree trunks, and horse-drawn carriages. The Center Meetinghouse was more elaborate, although the candle chandeliers dripped wax on the pews. The town pound was a place to keep lost or wandering livestock until they were reclaimed. A man was leaving the shoe shop with a new pair of shoes. Apparently all the shoes worn by the townspeople were made here. The schoolhouse was fairly full of “students” listening to the master lecture on teaching practices. The potter was at work at his wheel, and there was an amazing amount of unfired pottery. The kiln was not in operation today.
Pottery kiln
Onward to the Freemason farm with someone weeding the garden, and the farmer was sharpening his scythe on a grind wheel turned by a tourist kid. Bulls and sheep. Kent pointed out potato plants in a nearby field, and there was an orchard.
Potato field
The cooper explained indenturing, which happens by contract in Sturbridge Village. The blacksmith was looking for a specific punch, and he had a few glowing embers in his fire. It was getting oppressively hot.
The machines were in operation in the carding mill where wool was carded into batting, or longer strands for spinning. The gristmill and sawmill were not yet in operation. All the mills were run by waterwheels. We circled the millpond and crossed a covered bridge. Why did they cover bridges was the Yellow Pages question (?)!
Covered bridge
We ended up at the snack bar for a bite, across from the tavern where they have a buffet lunch and a cafeteria.
Next to the general store where one tourist wanted to know what every item was, and a kid screamed because there was no ramp to walk up, only stairs. The parsonage was fairly well-to-do, with wallpaper and paintings on the walls with cloth covers to protect the gilt frames in the summer. The law office was tiny and the lawyer was very old. The Knight store had a wide variety of goods, and the metalwork had to come from England since the US didn’t have foundries yet. People admired the sturdy shovels! The Fenno House was “interpreted” as a widow’s home, but had plenty of beds, and a few men’s things in one of them. Several women were making wide-brimmed bonnet-like hats. The Fitch House was more family-oriented, and The Thompson Bank was quaint.
Thompson Bank
The Grant shop was basically a souvenir shop. In the square, kids were rolling wooden hoops.
Village green
Bird nest at the Towne House
The Towne House was rather elegant, where a woman went into a spiel about shoes with a visitor who turned out not to understand English! The young girl with her translated in German dialect. Lots of space in the house, and the bedrooms had sky-blue ceilings, even with stars in one room. A girl played a spinet. At the printer’s, an ancient notice was read out loud. The cider mill was closed for the season. However, they sold cold cider from a barrel across the street. The barrel seemed attached to tubes coming from underground!
There was a fairly extensive glass museum with examples of New England ware. The Bake House was actually a snack shop. The firearms, spinning and weaving museum had a fan! A girl was spinning wool, and the looms were partway through woven items. The summerhouse had an exhibit on the “new” house they are putting in, with a mini-archaeology/architecture lesson, and a few artifacts. The lighting museum was so hot, we hurried past the candlesticks and oil lamps. The basket-maker showed off the strength of his baskets, and a girl nearly dropped the heavily-laden thing. The wool-dying exhibit was just an arbor with a couple pots over a fire, and racks of drying yarn. We wandered through the large herb garden with its variety of smells.
Gerald and Kent in the herb garden
Herb garden
The Clock Gallery was full of New England artifacts and many wonderful grandfather clocks. There was also a toy museum, children’s clothing, a window of pottery and one of brass. We went to browse in the air-conditioned gift shop and bookstore.
We headed home in Kent’s car, which thankfully was air-conditioned! Followed US-20 and stopped at Ronnie’s for a snack. I had a peppermint stick chocolate ice cream soda, and Kent had a raspberry freeze. Gerald had a chocolate and vanilla soft ice cream twist. We arrived in Providence at 16:30.

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