Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Field Trip to the Frontier

Last week, we took a few days to drive to the Shenandoah River Valley to see The Boss's parents. The Boss and Baby BlueEyes were planning to help Grandpa clear some brush and cut some trees into firewood. The girls and I had big plans to read, watch movies and do our nails.

However, knowing that those three sedentary activities would NEVER occupy Mei Mei long enough to actually be relaxing for anyone, I reached out to one of my adoption groups to see if any of my on-line friends would be interested in a meet-up. It took a little back and forth but finally, my friend and I settled on the Frontier Culture Museum of VA.  I'm not being paid to say this, but GUYS! If you are ever in the vicinity of Staunton VA (just south of Harrisonburg), get yourselves there for a day. It will take a full day and you should wear good walking shoes and bring a good amount of water. But it is SO worth the admission fee and the effort. What a BEAUTIFULLY maintained and managed piece of living history this place was.

The museum traces the history of the three or four main people groups that left their Old World to make a life in the Americas. Beginning in the 1600's with the enslavement of West Africans and moving through the English, the Irish, and the Germans, each exhibit is a real, working depiction of that slice of history. MANY of the structures across of the huge "campus" (for lack of a better word) are original to the region that they depict, having been disassembled and shipped to the site. There were interpretive historians on site to weave stories and give us a glimpse of daily life at each major exhibit (except the West African site. That kid was a little bit of a dud. :) ). There were animals roaming in the pastures and ducks and geese in the paths squawking for our attention (which BBE happily gave. In spades! Oh my word.) We were all completely captivated.

Here's just a few pictures of our great day. Sadly, I didn't get any pictures of the West African exhibit. It was super dark in the huts. Plus the younger kids were a little unsure of themselves in the new setting with new people. Plus plus, my new friend and I were talking our faces off getting to know each other while the kids explored. Most of the photo credits go to LadyBug.

The 1600's English farmhouse was the second exhibit on the walking path.
The dining room, work room and family room all in this one space.

This beautiful side board is an original piece.
From the 1600's!
Yes, I was drooling. It was full of lovely earthenware dishes
and cookware. More drool.

The kitchen was quite small and off the main living space, behind the stairs.
It was quite drab compared to the adjoining rooms.

The front of the 1700's Northern Irish farmhouse.
It's an original home structure, from Ulster.
The side building attached there on the right is the Weaving Room.
Each family had to produce a regular quota of cloth to pay their rent to the English landlords. 

This sheep was fantastically large.
And sat in the shade of the pasture like a dog.

Here's my gang with our super-fun travel mates!

The 1700's German farmhouse had many pieces of lovely furniture
with hand painted finishes. Quite familiar to this PA history buff :)
 This trunk was huge and very intricately painted with
a faux wood grain finish, very typical of that era.

This is the 1820's farm that is mostly still the original structure.
It's typical of the farms in the post-Revolutionary era in this
part of Virginia and surrounding colonies.

Just a few of the HUUUUGE sunflowers
in the garden of the first farm house.
The gardens of this log cabin were fantastic!

This is a farm typical of Virginia in the 1850's .
It was a massive home, with several outbuildings
and barns to support the family. 

The two little peanuts that are responsible for
this field trip so the Mommas could take the friendship
from on-line support to real-life relationship.
I love what the adoption community has added to our lives!

A great day was had by all and we came away with a lot of great memories and some wonderful insight into the rich history of Virginia spanning several hundred years. Really, if you are in the vicinity, you MUST go! And take lots of pictures. I'll bet it is simply breathtaking in the fall with all the colors changing.

1 comment:

likeschocolate said...

Very cool! Glad you are having a great summer.