Summer In New England: Old Sturbridge Village

    Good morning! Are you ready to travel through New England again with me? Think you can stand another salt box house, gorgeous homespun interior, and historic atmosphere? Hehehe, of course you can! That’s what we love isnt it?!

   Ah, and today….today we go to an amazing place….where we step back into time to the 1830s….where that old fashioned New England life comes to colorful life…to Old Sturbridge Village!

   Old Sturbridge Village is like no other place I’ve ever been. Its an amazing living history museum that is not just a house…but an entire community. There are homes and shops nestled around a town square— and even a church as well.  A little farther down a wooded road there’s a school, farmhouse, mill and forge….an old fashioned covered bridge, and quintessential New Enland rural beauty. It is said that Tasha Tudor used to come and walk around in her old fashioned clothes, no doubt feeling supremely at home.

   We were lucky enough to visit for the second time last summer with our good friends the Heatons, and spent a lovely day rambling through the acres and acres of living history together. For me, as a history lover and now a living history volunteer here in Oklahoma (you can find me at Hunters Home in Tahlequah for most events), I loved how all the bits and pieces of history come together there to give you a real feel for the era.

   I loved the old hat boxes in the general store (can you see them in the pic below?) really seeing the women cook in their kitchen (despite the alarming amount of flies!) and people working in the garden. It just brings to life those bygone eras so wonderfully, it makes my heart ache a little…

   I also love seeing the people in period dress out and about, doing their chores and visiting. Is it just me, or were things just more beautiful in ‘the olden days?’  The lovely fabrics, the pretty underthings, the hats, the accessories (Oh, the accessories!) I know when I am dressed as interpreter for the 1840s, people always say ‘Oh, you must be so hot!’ and yes, its hot– because the house has no AC and its 100 degrees in Oklahoma in the summer— but the clothes aren’t really that hot. Skirts and petticoats were designs to keep off your legs (corded petticoats and hoops made that bell shape of the dress that was pretty, but also encouraged air circulation).  Even the fabrics, which were natural materials like cotton or linen, breath much better than synthetic fabrics, so it isn’t smothering.

   Another favorite aspect of the village to me, of course, were the homes…I loved getting to peek at the interiors of the old homes, and see the things as people would have really lived with them…the pretty dishes in the cabinet, the children’s toys laying about….I couldnt help but snap many photos of these beautiful interiors…

  Through the day, there are often little ‘events’ going on around the community— like this family coming together at the farmhouse to have their midday meal! The food had been prepared and cooked in the kitchen all that morning, and then we were able to see the interpreters all sit down to enjoy the meal. I loved that— as it truly made the rhythm of their day come alive…they weren’t just doing ‘old timey things’ in a stand-alone fashion. They were truly living the day, and enjoying the fruits of their labor…

   Old Sturbridge Village is located in Sturbridge, Mass., a lovely little town. I feel so lucky to have been able to visit it, in the company of such good friends. They do all sorts of programs throughout the year, so if you find yourself in the area, take a look at their website and see what’s going on. (This isnt a sponsored post of any sort— I just really enjoy my time there!)

   And I hope you’ve enjoyed looking at these little bits and pieces from the museum…I love looking at them, even now. They are so sweet, so simple, so beautiful. Everything was handmade and natural. Sometimes we forget in our modern world that that is even possible. But it is! Our past gives us so many ideas on how to live in a way that is not full of plastic, waste, and mass produced items. While I am not under the impression that the past was a perfect time without its darkness— we’ve come a long way in the right direction in a lot of ways— I do find inspiration in the simple ways we used to be able to live. And I think places like Old Sturbridge Village can inspire us to bring some of that simplicity back into our lives, and keep alive those old skills and traditions we all used to know…..so that we might use them again.

Take Joy, my friends!~
And thanks for coming along on another New England visit with me…
~H

Read more Summer in New England posts HERE

4 thoughts on “Summer In New England: Old Sturbridge Village

  1. Love Sturbridge Village! Love staying at the Publick House! Love visiting Plimouth Plantation not far away in Plymouth! Love touring the replica of the Mayflower! In fact, love so very many things about the northeast! Such amazing history!

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  2. Hi! Thanks for stopping by Pandora's Box. I am sure you will love all of Susan Branch's books – I browse thru them often! Love this post on Sturbridge. I grew up in Mass and went there often as a kid and I have fond memories of it.

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