For someone who loves New England and old buildings and history and old fashioned clothes and all the things, Old Sturbridge Village always sounded like a sort of heaven. An entire village made up of old buildings relocated in the hills of Massachusetts to form a little community full of costumed reinactors doing real things and inviting you to join them? Sign me up, please!
That’s why I was so excited when we all decided to spend the weekend of Independence Day in Sturbridge, exploring the village in all its old fashioned glory for two days.
Of course the day we got there I had come down with this strange cold, struck down by Yankee sniffles of some sort but by God, I was gonna do Old Sturbridge Village! (insert fist shake at the sky here.)
There was a town square, complete with bandstand and a rolicking patriotic band! There were shops and a workshops and farmsteads. Every inch of the place was old and authentic and the ambiance was amazing! The kids loved it, especially the school house where they may have coaxed all their parents to try to jump rope (turns out I’ve lost that skill!)
But more than anything, I loved taking a moment and stepping back and just watching. The young women in the garden, the young men parading down the lane in uniforms long since forgotten. The artisans at work at the potters wheel or forge. The general store in all its rich and exotic glory— everything seemed so much more special and beautiful on those gleaming wooden shelves. Romancing me by the concept that they’d been brought “all the way from Boston” which, long ago, might as well have been a thousand miles away.
As I like to do, I tended to disappear behind my camera, looking for scenes and vignettes, trying to get what I saw to seep into my mind for future painting reference. The sound of a marching band lilting through the woods from town. The way the sun glinted in through the antique glass of an old window. The smells of hearth cooking. The delight all the childen took in simple pleasures, and no one once asking about minecraft or a kindle.
I’ll be honest, I was in bed looking at catalogs and “antique houses for sale” adventisements and totally missed any fire works. The second day in Sturbridge, however, I was feeling much and we wandered back to Old Sturbridge Village— and back in time. The crowds from July 4 had subsided and we were able to wander around and have it much more to ourselves.
Visiting this place will always be such a special memory to me. Oh, how I wished I lived closer! I’d love to see it in all the seasons, and see all the fun events they have (battle reinactments! Sheep shearing! Christmas festivities!) But I will content myself with this lovely visit with so many special people. So glad I got to share this weekend with family and friends!
Now, keep watch! Some of these scenes might appear in future paintings! Only time will tell!~