Saturday, February 14, 2009

Old Salem home school days

We went on a field trip to Old Salem on Friday. I took Luca out of preschool for the day to come with us, since it is about a 2 hour drive from here to there and I knew that there would be no way I'd be back in time. The kids and I enjoyed it quite a bit. It's a nice set up, where they have many of the homes open and activities going on inside. For example, at the gun smith's shop, they are making a gun. The bakery is open and working and smelled great too. We had lunch at the restaurant there, consisting of grilled cheese and soda. :) Which was probably better than having lunch at the Tavern anyway. We had stopped there to see, but it was full. George Washington stayed at the Tavern and ate there back in the day. We got to see them making shoes and someone mending clothes in the Single Brothers house.

Things we learned: Muskets are loud. Shoes were made to wear on either foot, and would mold to either your left or right foot, depending on which you wore it on every day. Cellars are cooler than the rest of the house. The street was lowered at after the original houses were built so some of the houses look really tall. Using a lever or a pulley can help you pick up things much heavier than you are. Beds were made of a lower straw layer with a feather layer on top of that. In the tavern, you could be put in a room with strangers, even sharing the same bed if there wasn't another room. If you had lots of money, you could request a room to yourself, but it did cost extra. The people went to Mass every day and sat with their choirs. This isn't choir like we think of it. Choirs were social groups, i.e. single women, called sisters, sat together. Single men, called brothers, sat together. Tradesmen with tradesmen, and so on. If you look at the pictures I posted on photobucket, link in separate post, you will see something called single brothers' house. This is where all the bachelor's lived. They were the tradesmen, apprentices, etc. The house was added on to so it looks almost as if it were 2 different homes but it's one big place. As Old Salem grew, they needed to add on to it. If you think dental tools are scary now, you should see what they looked like then. Ginger candy [eaten to freshen breath and help digestion] is strong but tasty. Niles likes chamomile tea [for headaches and belly aches.] Old Salem was founded by Moravians, which is apparently a German protestant sect. The water pump is easy to use once you get your rythm going. There were no Jews there. [This came up at the salting trough in the cellar at the Tavern. They butchered pigs there, which led to a discussion of not keeping Kosher.] And most importantly for Luca, there was no play ground, but Mom did consent to buy a toy rifle and a toy pistol before we left.

Apparently, they do homeschool days once in the spring and once in the fall. So maybe we'll get a chance to go back and see the things we missed, like the smith's shop, the puppet show at the toy museum and the singing in the church.

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