Upper Canada Village is an historically accurate village set on 60 acres beside the St. Lawrence River. There are over 40 historic buildings, populated by interpreters in period costume living as if it was the 1860s: dressmakers, blacksmiths, farmers, musicians, cabinetmakers, a schoolmarm, and so on. The beauty is in the details; prescription glasses are made in the style of the time, baskets are handwoven, and the costumes are hand-sewn. Interpreters stroll the streets and inhabit the homes, and we are the time-travellers.
I absolutely LOVE anything to do with the pioneers: their stories, music, crafts, arts, and skills. I often say, "Imagine the pioneers!" when turning on my washing machine or using any of the appliances that today's mothers take for granted. I do wonder about past lives, because when I stepped into this tenant's farmhouse
I felt a chill of recognition; my throat closed with emotion and I had to breathe deeply to stop the tears from spilling from my eyes. It just felt like a place I knew, a familiar place...home. There was a custard pie cooling on the hearth (baked in a pot surrounded by coals); every item in the little dwelling was both beautiful and useful, with no need for superfluous decor.
Outside, her husband worked the fields; notice the lack of power lines.
If anyone out there is familiar with Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series (I tried to link it and couldn't settle on just one...there are fan sites galore, youtube videos of who people think should play the roles if a movie is made, and groups on Ravelry that attempt to recreate the patterns from the novels), you can imagine the feeling of finding oneself out of time, out of place. All else disappears: iphones, digital cameras, the internet, and current fashions mean nothing. It was so peaceful, quiet, and beautiful.
(If you HAVEN'T read the Outlander books, get thee to a library or bookstore!)
For the mamas of girls about age 11-12 or so, I HIGHLY recommend the book The Root Cellar by Janet Lunn; this is the one that sparked my passion for time-travel and historical fiction. My niece read it recently and we discussed it as we strolled around Upper Canada Village...that looks just like the Morrisey house! There's Will! Sarah was so excited to see this story come to life right before our eyes (the book is set in Upper Canada). That was a complete tangent; my passion for literature and history shines through...
What struck me most was the realisation that no matter the year, we humans all crave and need the same things: nourishing food, serviceable clothes, a safe dwelling, community, and the love of those around us. Our adventure gave this nouveau pioneer mama lots to reflect upon as we embark on a year of reduced income, continue to sort and purge our home, and raise our small children.
(having a snack in the pioneer schoolyard)
PS: A funny thing happened on our way into one of the pioneer dwellings: a woman who was coming out said "Hello!"; in the spirit of this traditional community, we replied, "Hello!"...then we realised that she was talking on a cell phone. Sigh.