Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Stepping Back In Time

This past week, the kids and I have been on one of our whirlwind trips, gallivanting across the South. We began at the Great Wolf Lodge in Williamsburg, VA, and had a raucous good time! While there, the kids and I enjoyed a 2-day pass to Colonial Williamsburg where we had loads of fun stepping back in time and imagining ourselves living in 18th Century Virginia. The highlight of the trip for me was exploring the Great Hopes Plantation site, which is growing slowly and beginning to take shape.

They've been building this plantation for the last several years using all period tools and techniques, and it's been amazing to watch the progress. This trip I learned from one of the interpreters that this plantation would have had about 150 acres of tobacco and 50 acres of corn production, relying on only about 7-10 slaves to do that work, a number which I find absolutely dumbfounding when I consider the amount of work these people were required to do, knowing as I do now what it takes to farm just one acre.

Sam's favorite part, not surprisingly, was learning all about the weaponry and what it meant to join the army. We spent quite a bit of time at the magazine listening intently to all the descriptions of the guns, bayonets, militia, and military innovations. While the girls had their own costumes from our last trip about 3 years ago, Sam decided to rent a costume this year, which meant he was given a letter with several different assignments, one of which was learning to drill, which he was able to do both days much to his great pleasure. The girls were thrilled just to dress up and enjoy all the attention it garnered them throughout the streets. Em, particularly, was in her element as she role-played the entire two days we were there.

We spent our third day at the Jamestown Settlement where we spent a cold afternoon learning all about the voyage over to the New World on the Susan Constant, what it might have been like to live in Powhatan village, and the significant differences between life in a native village and a colonial fort. Of course, once again, the highlight of the day was learning all about the weapons and armor and getting to watch them fire a musket. Sam was thrilled to hold the shield for his musketeer, a very important job as the musketeer needed all his hands to load and fire. Although, just as interesting was the time was our time spent talking with a female blacksmith about the trade now and then. She had a wonderful way of talking with us, interacting with the kids on the same intellectual level as an adult, and I kept wanting to ask if she weren't homeschooled but never quite managed to work it into the conversation.

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