Old Sturbridge Village is a replica town right out of the early 1800’s. Most (if not all) of the houses are from that time period but have been moved to this site to create the town. You can tour their 59 buildings, walk nature trails, talk with costumed and knowledgeable “townsfolk” and take part in hands-on experiences. Events go on all day and they even have special event theme type days throughout the year. As I attend some of these events and learn and see some interesting stuff, I will be sure to fill you all in.
I went this past Saturday and it was a wonderful summer day, before this massive heat wave hit. I visited some of the houses (didn’t have time to see them all), walked a nature trail (learned about why there are few American Chestnut trees left) and enjoyed some demonstrations. I even got to try my hand at milking a cow (albeit a fake one, but still). I learned some interesting things about architecture of this time period that I had no idea about and thought I would share.
• During this time people hated wood floors – whereas today if you live in an old house you love to show off the awesome flooring. So, if they couldn’t afford expensive carpeting they used a floor covering (and when I walked in I was sure that this floor covering was not from the period because it was almost like linoleum). A floor cover was made of sailcloth that was painted beautifully and then had layers of varnish (or something like it) applied over the top. It looked beautiful but was less expensive.
• Ballrooms were almost always on the second floor of a two story house. This was so they could have expandable walls to change the room layouts – and you couldn’t do that with load bearing walls on the first floor!
• There was no such thing as a “bedroom” on a second floor – it was a “bedchamber”. Rooms on the second floor were called “chambers”, while those on the first were called “rooms”. Also, the naming for these “chambers” was after the room below it. So a room above the kitchen was called the “kitchen chamber” – even if it was a bed room.
I also wanted to share a video I took while I was there of a tavern song. The guy singing was actually my tour guide of the Towne House – who told me the above tidbits about architecture.
I hope to attend Fire & Ice day in 2 weeks where I will be able to check out some old school fire trucks and taste some handmade ice cream!
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