A Visit to Old Sturbridge Village

The girls and I were back at Old Sturbridge Village last week. We planned our visit for the day after the Fourth of July because, if you’ve ever been to OSV on the Fourth, you know how congested it can be. Wanting to avoid that sort of thing (and preserve the illusion of having stepped back in time – something best done with as few tourists around as possible!), we delayed 24 hours. And, while we didn’t have the place entirely to ourselves, there was plenty of peace and quiet to be had and no crowds to be fought.

Here, you see the girls outside one of the farmhouses, chatting with the costumed interpreters who were doing the day’s laundry.

What a task! An all-day affair to be certain, and quite sweat-inducing, between the fires needed to boil the water and the scrubbing needed to loosen the dirt. One of the girls told me she’d worked ten minutes to get the black stains off of a single potholder. And, the soap they use is none too mild.

They do this once a week – on Wednesdays, I was told – so if you have a hankering to see wash-day first hand, that’s the day to go. (Thursdays, they iron).

Another warm job – gardening. I asked several of the interpreters if they found working in the costumes uncomfortable. Everyone I spoke with assured me the clothing kept them cooler than expected as it protected them from the sun and, in the case of the laundresses, the fire. Still, one gardener confessed that she wore white socks and shorts underneath her costume to give her some protection from ticks.

It really was a gorgeous day – summer is a lovely time to visit OSV.

But, it’s also nice to be able to duck into the various museums and escape the heat and glare, if only for a few moments. In the toy museum, I spotted this sampler.

I love samplers! This one was certainly a long-range project as its maker couldn’t count it complete until every family member had died. In fact, now that I think about it, more than one set of hands must have worked on it if the “Dorothy” who is listed as its maker was the same “Dorothy” whose name and vital statistics are listed in the family roster. Certainly, it’s a beautiful piece of work, and done with the tiniest of stitches on material that is so thin a to be almost transparent. Just gorgeous.

On our way home, the girls and I stopped off at the Palmer Library Loft where I found this on the FREE shelf:

It was published in 1962 and includes an entry for Old Sturbridge Village in the chapter on Massachusetts. The book calls OSV “A Time Machine!”, and the entry describes the village very much as it is today. One thing, though, has certainly changed. The entry fee for youths in 1962 was $1.00. These days, you pay $14.00 – thought currently, there’s a promotion on, and, for the entire month of July, kids are admitted FREE! (Please note, most weeks OSV is closed Mondays and Tuesdays).

From the dining room table, with the weather nothing like what you see in these photos (it’s a very soggy Tuesday morning, for sure!),

Mrs. Smythe

4 Comments on “A Visit to Old Sturbridge Village

  1. I LOVE historical villages. We are about an hour from Upper Canada village and I am really hoping to get there this summer.
    I found a crochet book years ago with patterns based on some from OSV: that was the first time I ever heard of it. Most of the patterns are done in afghan stitch and I was inspired to buy the proper hook. I later found out it is also called Tunisian crochet, but the OSV patterns are so much prettier than other Tunisian patterns I have seen.

    • That book sounds fascinating! I’ve never doe Tunisian crochet, but I love the way it looks.

  2. Elizabeth went to OSV camp one summer, dressed in period clothes and did chores, including Sweeping the outhouse and feeding the chickens. She loved it as she got to go where most visitors couldn’t.

    • Funny how chores can be fun when you’re wearing a period costume. 😉 Pepper would really enjoy doing that, I think. She’s been talking about wanting to volunteer as an interpreter.