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Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Old Sturbridge Village - An Introduction

If you happen to be in New England or planning to take a trip here at some point in the future and are looking for something interesting to do, consider stopping by Old Sturbridge Village. I just moved into Southbridge, Massachusetts – which is the next town over – and already dropped by to get myself a membership to OSV and I know I will be there frequently.

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!

Copyright © 2010 by The Maiden’s Court


  1. Foolishly, I never got to Sturbridge when I lived within an easy drive of it. One of these days I'd like to see it!

  2. Isn't Sturbridge great? My parents took me there several times when I was a kid, and I still enjoy it as an adult. How lucky you are to live nearby! You look like a natural at milking, too - watch out, or they may recruit you for the real thing. :)

  3. I had actually went a couple times when I was in elementary school - we used to camp nearby - but I don't remember any of that. I think that you can enjoy these types of things more as an adult because you know/understand more.

  4. Very cool! We have a similar living history museum nearby, but I haven't been in years. Definitely something to take advantage of!

  5. Oh Rowenna, what is the museum? That sounds cool.

  6. We went to Old Sturbridge Village man, many years ago. It has grown and changed since and we need to go back. We just need to get back up to that part of the country.
    Thanks for an interesting post.

  7. I grew up in NH and we visited OSV during summer breaks several times. I don't think I appreciated it as a child as much as I would now. I'm so glad that you went and shared your pictures, I'll have to dig some of my old photos out and compare.

  8. How cool, Heather! And the fact that you'll be right nearby whenever you are craving an escape to 18th century refuge, it'll be right there for you!

    I'm so excited for you and Nick and your new apartment. Hope you guys are loving it, and tell Nick I say hello! :)


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