Saturday, July 4, 2009

Independence Day in Virginia

We've had a full and very pleasant day! We drug ourselves out of bed at 7:30, after staying up way too late last night, ate breakfast, and took off for Staunton again to see the Frontier Culture Museum. We missed going to this 10 years ago when we decided to stay in Dayton so the boys could take part in the 10th VA regiment's march during a local festival.

Here's where we're staying, by the way. Our neck of the woods, apparently the discount side, doesn't look quite this spiffy.

We would have really enjoyed it ten years ago with the whole family, but Joseph and I did our best to enjoy it enough for the whole family today. Someone had a vision many years ago and has worked hard to bring it to reality. They have recreated (and actually moved and reconstructed original buildings from Europe) of a English farm from 1692, a 17th century German farm, a late seventeen-century Irish farm, American farms from 1820 and 1850, and a log cabin which is in progress. They are also starting a West African farm.

It was so fun to step back in time and imagine what many of our ancestors may have left behind when they immigrated from Europe. Reenactors were cooking and gardening, but most weren't too pushy, and we could just wander through the houses and gardens at our leisure. The German barn reminded me a lot of the barn in the Rubens painting of the Prodigal Son.

Hey, girls, doesn't this look like that Rubens painting?

The English house. It had a picket-type fence of thinly split wood all around its garden that I think would look quite charming around our garden, too keep the chickens and ducks out. Joseph says it would be too much work. Maybe for our 100th anniversary, he says.

My dream fence (the vertical portion)

We could see how the walls were constructed in each house, and the Irish blacksmith told us all about thatching roofs (rooves?). It was very interesting, and it sounds like you boys should be glad you're putting shakes on your cabin and not thatch.

Each place was very picturesque. We took a bunch of pictures, thinking some would be good drawing and watercolor subjects. The American settlements had a fiddle and guitar player sitting on a porch playing things liked Red Haired Boy, and they had special activities for the kids. It reminded me of the old days with you kids at Sauvie's Island Wintering In.

The Irish blacksmith in his thatched roof blacksmith shop.
He pronounced Ireland kind of like Island.

These two dufferpuds (Joseph's term) made me think of you guys (except you play better).

Our favorite stop was the log cabin, since it was such a familiar sight. A young man about your guys' age was working on drilling a hole through a log with an auger. We talked to him for a long time, comparing cabin-building notes. Then we took a trail through the woods, back to the main visitor center, where Joseph restrained me from gathering more travel brochures of local attractions, because we were trying to get back up to Harrisonburg (25 miles away) in time to join in on a history walk through town with Dale MacAllister.

Part of the shingles are white oak, and the upper ones are red oak.
It's just a bit smaller than the one you guys are building, with no loft or windows.

So we drove back good old Route 11, through all the scenic little towns, and back to Harrisonburg. We followed Dale through town as he told us and many others about some of the main figures of Harrisonburg's history. After talking with him some about Joseph's research project, we thought we should find out if Kline's Dairy Bar really had good ice cream like the locals claimed. It did...

New question-of-the-day: What flavor of milk shake did Joseph get?

Now, determined to do better than we did last night, we are going to bed before 1 a.m. for the first time this trip. More tomorrow! Independence Day in Virginia is great!


  1. Bev says: Arrrgh...I just typed a post and it ate it!!!! Ok now I only have time for the essentials....exciting pics...thanks for writing.....looking forward to more....glad you are having fun....cabin familiar...coconut pecan milkshake. Have a great Sabbath.

  2. That fence is LOVELY! It would look really nice around your garden! :)

    The old european houses are really cool! Thanks for taking so many pictures to show us.

    My guess is strawberry.

    Keep having fun! :)

  3. Hannah wins! Really, Bev, coconut pecan? Going for the unusual? Hannah wins a strawberry milkshake at Scotties! (if they have them...) Have a good time on your trip to your grandparents! Be safe.