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Daytrip to Old Sturbridge Village

Daytrip to Old Sturbridge Village
1 vote, 5.00 avg. rating (89% score)

We are fortunate to live in New England surrounded by so much history and so many places and people who preserve and celebrate this heritage. Old Sturbridge Village is one of those magical places; a recreated village in Sturbridge, Massachusetts filled with relevant architectural buildings and characters from our region’s early days including a schoolhouse from Candia, New Hampshire circa 1800-1810, a grand home from Charlton, Massachusetts circa 1796, a modest farmhouse and barn from different towns in Massachusetts and Connecticut circa early 1800s, a wool carding mill from South Waterford, Maine circa 1840. And, to make the picture complete, the town is also filled with the people who would have made the town run. I could go on, but it is a testament to the work they are doing that all of these buildings and period details have been beautifully and authentically maintained in one fictional town that allows visitors to step back in time and see and hear what life might have been like in the early 1800s in New England.

Interior of one of the four bedchambers upstairs at the Salem Towne House, a grand home originally from Charlton, Massachusetts circa 1796 and moved to OSV in 1952.  Ella and Lucy walk along the dirt road in the center of town that leads to the Salem Towne House, seen in the distance.

Photo/Art by Heather MarcusInterior of one of the four bedchambers upstairs at the Salem Towne House, a grand home originally from Charlton, Massachusetts circa 1796 and moved to OSV in 1952. Ella and Lucy walk along the dirt road in the center of town that leads to the Salem Towne House, seen in the distance.

 

The Bullard Tavern was built in 1947.  Taverns were busy gathering places for local men and travelers. Detail of a board game.

Photo/Art by Heather MarcusThe Bullard Tavern was built in 1947. Taverns were busy gathering places for local men and travelers. Detail of a board game.

 

Interior of the Carding Mill originally from South Waterford, Maine circa 1840 and moved to its current location in 1963.

Photo/Art by Heather MarcusInterior of the Carding Mill originally from South Waterford, Maine circa 1840 and moved to its current location in 1963.

 

Blacksmith Jay Mullin shares a tale.  The Blacksmith Shop is originally from Bolton, Massachusetts circa 1802-1810 and was transported to OSV in 1957.

Photo/Art by Heather MarcusBlacksmith Jay Mullin shares a tale. The Blacksmith Shop is originally from Bolton, Massachusetts circa 1802-1810 and was transported to OSV in 1957.

 

I was lucky enough to take both of my two young daughters mid-week during their school vacation to experience the village en route to my sister’s in Pennsylvania. My parents had surprised us at Christmas with passes to OSV and an overnight stay at the Publick House. We had a perfect spring day and the afternoon turned out to be an excellent start to our vacation. Ann Lindblad who worked so tirelessly with our art director Lori Pedrick and photographers Sandy Hornick and Rick Rivlin on the Old Sturbridge Village photo essay in our November/December 2012 issue had lined up a couple of activities for the girls. We spent some time making tin heart shaped cookie cutters with tinner Richard Eckert and helped to shape some pots on the pottery wheel with potter Howard Forte who also just happened to be the model storekeeper from our photo essay in the magazine. A lovely man who used to make his home in Nelson, New Hampshire, not far from the Yankee offices in Dublin.

Tinner Richard Eckert works with Ella and Lucy to make tin heart shaped cookie cutters the Tin Shop originally from Sturbridge circa 1800-1850 and reconstructed in 1985.

Photo/Art by Heather MarcusTinner Richard Eckert works with Ella and Lucy to make tin heart shaped cookie cutters the Tin Shop originally from Sturbridge circa 1800-1850 and reconstructed in 1985.

 

Hundreds of examples of  handmade pottery line the walls and floors of the pottery shop. Potter Howard Forte has a captive audience while he works on the potter's wheel. The kiln outside the pottery shop.  Lucy helps shape a pot with Howard.

Photo/Art by Heather MarcusHundreds of examples of handmade pottery line the walls and floors of the pottery shop. Potter Howard Forte has a captive audience while he works on the potter’s wheel. The kiln outside the pottery shop. Lucy helps shape a pot with Howard.

There is nothing as beautiful as watching the wide-eyed enthusiasm of your child experiencing a place for the first time. We spent time literally running from building to building stopping to linger in some to hear a tale, bypassing others, basically following what spoke to one or all of us. To that end, much of our time was spent at the Freeman Farm. My older daughter Ella became something of a sheep whisperer and my younger daughter Lucy finally got over her fear of chickens. And, we were lucky enough to also help with the naming of the two 12 week old piglets who had arrived recently. Farmer Scott Corey agreed Ella and Lucy would make fine names. At the farmhouse, Ella had a good chat with quilter Laura Chilson about what she was working on and also learned about the very strong smelling pickling jars in the kitchen. Ella experienced the pungent odor first hand which she shared several times with her younger sister. We also talked with Laura about what was missing from her kitchen that we might have in our own homes today.

Farmer Robert Chumsae discusses chickens with Ella and helps Lucy handle eggs at the Freeman Farm.  The house was originally from Sturbridge circa 1810-1815 and was moved to its current location in 1956.

Photo/Art by Heather MarcusFarmer Robert Chumsae discusses chickens with Ella and helps Lucy handle eggs at the Freeman Farm. The house was originally from Sturbridge circa 1810-1815 and was moved to its current location in 1956.

 

Farmer Nate Schlegel with 12 week old piglets at the Freeman Farm. Authentic wooden buckets filled with water for the livestock.

Photo/Art by Heather MarcusFarmer Nate Schlegel with 12 week old piglets at the Freeman Farm. Authentic wooden buckets filled with water for the livestock.

 

Ella holds a wooden handled shovel inside the barn at the Freeman Farm.  The barn was originally from Charlton, Massachusetts circa 1830-1850.

Photo/Art by Heather MarcusElla holds a wooden handled shovel inside the barn at the Freeman Farm. The barn was originally from Charlton, Massachusetts circa 1830-1850.

 

A sheep looks out from the Freeman Farm barn. A wooden rake hangs in the rafters of the hayloft in the main barn.

Photo/Art by Heather MarcusA sheep looks out from the Freeman Farm barn. A wooden rake hangs in the rafters of the hayloft in the main barn.

 

Jams line a kitchen cupboard in the Freeman Farm house.  Quilter Laura Chilson demonstrates her craft.  Lucy points to a child's bed in a room just off the kitchen.

Photo/Art by Heather MarcusJams line a kitchen cupboard in the Freeman Farm house. Quilter Laura Chilson demonstrates her craft. Lucy points to a child’s bed in a room just off the kitchen.

 

We sat in the schoolhouse and learned from schoolmaster Thruse Hammer that the building was originally from our home state of New Hampshire, that in a typical school of that day, there would be 20-50 students packed in a single room with students of all ages starting at about age four or five and going well into their mid-teens, that there was no school in spring and autumn to accommodate planting and the harvest. I’m not sure the girls processed all of it while they were trying out every seat in the room, but I was taking it all in understanding how different our lives are today. Easier in some ways, but definitely more complicated in others. One of our last stops was at the shoemaker’s cottage. Lucy I think was most taken with shoemaker Peter Oakley that day. She sat on a cobbler’s bench enthralled by the process of making a single shoe as he methodically tacked small wooden pegs into the sole. Ella was a bit more anxious to move on, ready to hit the general store with money burning in her pocket from her father. Our official last stop came soon after at the store, where we found a few trinkets to take home, a tin whistle for Lucy, a stuffed chipmunk for Ella and a wooden puddle jumper for one of their cousins.

The district school is originally from Candia, New Hampshire circa 1800-1810 and was moved to OSV in 1955.

Photo/Art by Heather MarcusThe district school is originally from Candia, New Hampshire circa 1800-1810 and was moved to OSV in 1955.

 

Shoemaker Peter Oakley works on a man's shoe at the village shoe shop originally from Sturbridge circa 1800-1850 and moved to OSV in 1939.

Photo/Art by Heather MarcusShoemaker Peter Oakley works on a man’s shoe at the village shoe shop originally from Sturbridge circa 1800-1850 and moved to OSV in 1939.

 

Woodstock, Connecticut lawyer John McClellan's office circa 1796 was moved to OSV in 1965. Ella runs across the town common at the center of the village.

Photo/Art by Heather MarcusWoodstock, Connecticut lawyer John McClellan’s office circa 1796 was moved to OSV in 1965. Ella runs across the town common at the center of the village.

At the end of the day, we found our way down the road just a couple of miles to the Publick House in town. We had a relaxing dinner in the pumpkin room and we learned the room was aptly named for the wide pumpkin pine walls surrounding us. We quietly headed up the stairs to our room directly above our dining spot and tucked into our king sized bed together. Even the town bells and mild chatter of the diners downstairs couldn’t keep us from sleep and dreams of another place and time.

To visit…
http://www.osv.org
http://publickhouse.com

To see hornick/rivlin’s photo essay…
http://www.yankeemagazine.com/article/features/old-sturbridge-village

Heather Marcus

Author:

Heather Marcus

Biography:

Heather Marcus is the photo editor for the magazine. She works closely with the art director and a large group of contributing photographers. Living in New England, she is inspired by the people, the landscape and the wonderful visual opportunities the region affords.

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4 Responses to Daytrip to Old Sturbridge Village

  1. CATHERINE HICKMAN June 1, 2013 at 12:43 am #

    i have always wanted to go to OLD STURBRIDGE VILLAGE. But seasons turn into years, and i still haven’t gotten there. I keep seeing women making quilts, participating in quilting bees, or showing their antique quilts. I WOULD LIKE TO BUY ONE! i can’t quilt anymore due to RA in both hands, if anyone knows where to buy one, please reply to this message. I will be forever grateful.
    thank you,
    CATHERINE

    • Heather Marcus June 5, 2013 at 4:14 pm #

      Hi Catherine,
      It is a lovely place to visit. Here are a couple of suggestions on where to find quilts in new england.
      Rocky Mountain Quilts in Maine, owned by Betsey Telford-Goodwin, specializes in antique quilts
      http://www.rockymountainquilts.com
      Newfane Country Store in Vermont stocks over 100 quilts for sale. http://www.newfanecountrystore.com
      Thanks for your interest.
      Heather

  2. Lori Pedrick June 5, 2013 at 10:23 am #

    Wonderful blog Heather. So well written. AMAZING and BEAUTIFUL photographs. Thank you for sharing your experience with us. I can’t wait to take my son there too and let him discover as Ella and Lucy have done. One of my favorite places in New England.

    • Heather Marcus June 5, 2013 at 4:15 pm #

      lori, you are much too kind and it’s definitely one of my favorite places too. hopefully a road trip for us in the fall. –heather

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