Sunday, September 1, 2013

Inspiration: Plimoth Plantation

On Friday, my family went to visit Plimoth Plantation. I hadn't been since I was seven years old, when my second grade class went on a school field trip. I remember loving it there though, and a recent perusal of the Plimoth Plantation website made me really excited to bring my family for the first time.

It's about a 45 minute drive from our house and it was rainy the entire trip. Luckily for us, the clouds parted and the sun came out as soon as we parked in the lot!

We visited the Wampanoag Homesite first, a recreation of a 17th century Wampanoag village. Boo was most excited by the small Wampanoag children running around in loincloths and no other clothing. He thought that was incredibly naughty since he isn't allowed to run around without pants in public. Personally, I was intrigued by the demonstrations of boat burning and the man making his own moccasins. The best part was talking to all the actual Wampanoag Indians who were native to the Plymouth area and working at Plimoth Plantation as reenactors.

Next we moved on to the Craft Center. This is where we spent the most time. It's only one room in a large modern building, but it's where modern craftspeople are preserving the historical skills of the settlers and Wampanoags. There was a potter, a man creating gorgeous feather headdresses, a seamstress, a weaver, and a woodworker.

I spent about 30 minutes chatting with the seamstress and the weaver. I love historical costuming. I learned all about card weaving, an art that I'd read about but never seen. Now I can't wait to give it a try. As for the garments, I've made the same clothes that she was sewing as I'd worked on The Crucible in the past, so it was fun to discuss historical resources and technique.

My husband and son spent the whole time chatting with the woodworker. He was building the most amazing carved chairs, tables, and chests. I can't wait until my husband retires so he can start building like that in his free time!

We also visited the potter and saw all of his gorgeous wares. Boo immediately asked for a potter's wheel when "he was a big boy", and of course I said yes. Even if he never uses it, I will! I love to throw pots, even though it's been almost 15 years since I last got to play with clay.

Lastly, we visited the recreation 17th Century English Settler Village. We poked our heads into all the different homes and buildings in the village and chatted with all the costumed historical reenactors. Boo got to help a housewife made bread and loved poking the dough. He also loved climbing onto all the cannons in the fort. The Fellah loved talking to the settlers about the politics of 1627 and examining their gardens. I just loved talking to them about their crafts, be it sewing, knitting, barrel making, or cooking.

All in all, it was a really fun visit. We spent about 3 hours there, a long time for a 3 year old toddler. We left around lunch time, just when the crowds picked up, and made it hope in time for nap. I spent the rest of the afternoon looking up all the things that got me inspired! I now want to make preserves and pickles, sew more clothes for my family, get back into spinning, convince The Fellah to make all of our furniture, and of course, bake. Luckily I need to bake 4 challah, an apple pie, an apple cake, and a lemon birthday cake, all in the next 6 days. That should give me a good fix!

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