Saturday, August 16, 2008

Hats, Graces, and Coaches

Earlier this month, my husband and I took a day trip to Old Sturbridge Village, a 19th century village in Sturbridge, Massachusetts. I had been a few times when I was younger, but I wanted to go again. It is set up as a New England Village in the 1790-1830s era. You can visit the general store, tinsmith, gristmill, blacksmith, schoolhouse, and much more!

Here's a photo journey:

An overview of one of the farms

Me playing "graces." I teach this one to my students every year. I think it's fun too! It's supposed to help you become more graceful!
A room in one of the "new" houses. Most of the buildings are authentic New England buildings carefully taken from their original location and placed in the village. This house was a house completely built from materials in the village.
I don't think that applies to the wallpaper though!
This is the "owner " of the house. She was braiding straw to sell. When she braided enough straw, she would sell it to someone who would make hats out of it. Hmm.... A new craft to try!!!
These women were making fried cucumbers (table) and also were making a raspberry pie in a dutch oven. The men doing work outside were eager to eat it!
This is the shop of a woodworker. He was making milking pails!
The new village stagecoach. Wouldn't you love to put on a regency dress and climb right in?!
A bedroom in one of the fancy houses

A living room in the fancy house. My husband asked if it was a piano forte.
Have I ruined him or what??
I liked this sign. I made it my computer wallpaper!It was an enjoyable 19th century day!

Edited to add a link for "graces" instructions: Graces


  1. Oh, Keri! What a wonderful place to visit! I really, really wish I could go there. I love the clothing the women were wearing-so plain and simple, yet so practical and pretty! I too would love to learn the art of braiding straw. Did you ask what material or what sort of straw they use? Just wondering if perhaps I might have the raw materials, you know. I thoroughly enjoyed this post.
    P.S. How do you play 'Graces'? I'd like to become more graceful myself (really I would). Also, how much of a fee do they charge for visiting that village?

  2. Yaya,

    The straw looked like raffia that you might buy in a craft store. She was braiding it quite tightly though.

    For graces you need two smooth sticks (you can even use wooden spoons turned upside down - 19th century children did!) and a hoop (like a wooden embroidery hoop). You cross the two sticks in the hoop. To toss the hoop, you just uncross the sticks and the hoop flies off. The other person catches the hoop with the sticks, crosses, and uncrosses to toss! It's easier to do than explain. My husband graciously played with me. I'll come to Texas to play with you!

    To make the hoop pretty, you might wrap it with ribbon and tie some ribbon to dangle.

    As for the fee, it cost us $20, but I was free because I'm a New England teacher. So ordinarily it is $20 per person. The village is 200 acres and it takes about 4 hours to see everything.

  3. Thank you for all the helpful info, Kerri! Graces looks like it might be a tad bit complicated to play, unless you're very agile and coordinated, LOL! But they say learning new things keeps the brain healthy, so I'm adding to my list of things to learn.

    Someday, I'd like to travel to the Eastern seaboard area, I especially want to visit NYC. A visit to one of those quaint little villages would definitely be on the itenerary.

  4. I just had to let you know that is hilarious that Josh asked if it was a piano forte. It took all I could to not laugh out loud at work :). I don't think you ruined him, I think you have helped him out ;)

  5. How delightful! I will certainly keep Sturbridge village in mind if I ever get to visit the Northeast again (and I hope I will!).

    Thank you for sharing your visit!

    Yours in Christ,



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