Old Sturbridge Village

Fri, 08/13/2010 - 20:50 — Carrie

I took my kids to Old Sturbridge Village today. It's a village similar to Colonial Williamsburg, but on a smaller scale. From this experience, I gleaned two insights.
1. The kids I nanny for are extremely well behaved in public.
2. I am far too scatterbrained to take field trips of this kind too often.

I shall now expound.
I arrived at work at around 8:20 and, after much scurrying and rushing to get everyone dressed, and get lunch packed, and get the car ready, and get the stroller and car seats (and kids) in it, we were off by 9:15. I wanted to get there early since, although the park opens at 9:30, it was Free Friday Fun day, and I was expecting a crowded parking lot. I needn't have worried, however, since it appeared most people were waiting 'til later morning to arrive.

Our first stop was KidStory, a fun, interactive place where the kids could dress up in old fashioned clothes, play in a section set up like a house (complete with plastic vegetables and a pretend fireplace) and collect plastic eggs from the stuffed chickens in the colonial barn. They enjoyed themselves very much and, after about 1/2 hour of play, we headed to the town common where they were having an organized game of Tug-O-War. Aislinn and Donovan joined in on two games and managed to pick the winning side both times. Bolstered thus in their excitement, we headed around to the tin shop, a few colonial houses, and the colonial church before heading back to the common for a sack race. Donovan was less than enthusiastic about it and, after the began the race, he let his sack drop to the ground and came over to stand by me. Aislinn was not so daunted, however, and, despite tripping once at the start, raced in fine form and managed to come in not-last.

After that, we went to the barn nearby, to see the young steers. We missed them, but found fun in the barn where the kids climbed on the wagon, learned about making hay, and milked the plastic cow. Only water came out, but they enjoyed themselves and the rest of the day Donovan kept asking to go back to the place with "the cow you can squeeze". Once finished there, we discovered some sheep out back who were crowding the fence to be fed. It was a unique experience and all three kids loved it.

We headed over to another area of the village and played the Game of Graces, then. It involves one small hoop, adorned with ribbons, placed on two sticks and thrown through the air to a fellow player with two sticks, who catches it and throws it back. Donovan was more interested in digging in the dirt with the stick, but Aislinn stuck with it and was very proud of the catches she made. We also tried the game of Hoops, wherein you roll a large hoop along the ground with a stick. Aislinn did well at first, but had a hard time keeping it up. Donovan missed the point of the game entirely and just liked to shove the hoop as hard as he could and watch it roll across the field. Sinead watched, laughing, from her seat in the stroller.

We decided to head toward the farm, and stopped at the picnic area on the way for lunch. Lunch completed, we made our way to the barn, stopping to watch a very loud musket demonstration on the way. The barn was boring, since the cows were all out in the field, and the one calf who got near enough the fence to be touched, had moseyed along by the time the other kids made room for Aislinn and Donovan. By now it was early afternoon and the kids were getting weary. Sinead was napping in the stroller and Aislinn kept complaining that her feet were getting tired, so we stopped for a rest on a nearby bench. The kids were soon revived with the promise of lemonade from the bake shop, and we headed in that direction.

The farmhouse came first, where the kids learned about making cheese. (Aislinn: "It takes sooo long, and they couldn't even put it in the refridgerator, cause they didn't have them, then, and did you see all the flies that they were letting fly around? Gross!")
The schoolhouse came next, tand after trying their luck on the stilts (I love the stilts. Once, years ago, when going to OSV on a less busy day, I walked up and down the path for 20 minutes on the stilts, just because ^_^) Then we went into the schoolhouse where Aislinn was awed by the desks and the thought of everyone in one schoolhouse, regardless of age or grade. We also learned an interesting fact: the word 'Hello' was not invented until the telephone came along. Everyone greeted with the phrase 'good day'. I think this fact amazed Aislinn more than most things she learned today.

Sinead was up by this time and, after one more run on the stilts, we continued to the bake shop. The line was long, since the park was, by this time, quite crowded, and we had to wait awhile before getting to the counter. On the way, I spotted an interesting looking cookbook. "Your Mother's Cookbook" it was called, and was filled with neat looking recipes from the 1700's. I flipped through it and decided to buy it, placing it on top of the stroller. Then we got up to the fudge counter. Aislinn and I looked and were immediately hooked. The fact that they were passing out fudge samples may have added something, as well. Whatever it was, we decided to buy some fudge, and after much deliberation (interspersed with Donovan's opinion that we should get the M&M fudge, simply because he wanted the M&M's, since he doesn't even like fudge) we decided on the Chocolate Chocolate Chip. Then we were at the counter, buying the fudge, the lemonade, digging for the purse, finding the purse, and getting the stroller maneuvered out of there. 10 minutes later, while digging for the diaper bag, I discovered..... the cookbook. Unpaid for. Don't worry, I did return it before we left the village. I would have even if Aislinn hadn't reminded me every 20 minutes. Tongue

We sat on the common and drank our lemonade, then watched a demonstration of a hot-air balloon. The balloon was about the size of two large beach balls, and the used a small black stove with a tall stove pipe to fill it up. It went high, and the interpreters did it 7 or 8 times. Donovan and Aislinn loved it and even Sinead was enthralled. Laughing out loud

We headed for the story barn, next, for a puppet show. It failed to live up to it's expectations, however, since the interpreter went on for nearly 15 minutes (to a crowd of mostly 1st-4th graders) about the history of puppet shows. In a monotone voice. On the bright side, the barn was emptier when the puppet show did actually start. It was shadow puppets, and it amused the kids enough to keep them still for 20 minutes. Then it was off again in the direction of the riverboat ride, which I had been promising the kids all day. It cost money, but not much, and I figured it would be a nice, relaxing 15 minutes. How wrong I was. Tongue

We got to the ride and the line was long. There were 3 boats, however, and they left the dock every 5 minutes with quite a few people, so I knew we wouldn't have too awfully long to wait. After around 15 minutes of waiting, however (and with at least 10 still ahead, plus the 15 minute ride) Donovan announced he needed a restroom. Now. Aislinn groaned in consternation, since we had hit the bathroom immediately before coming to the ride. (and witnessed several extremely bratty children, which made me glad for the ones I had with me) He really had to go, however, and it was just at this moment that it dawned on me I'd have to pay for the ride with cash, and I had exactly 3 dollars cash. The kind, friendly Russian folks behind us were happy to hold our place in line while we ran (literally) back to the bathrooms. Leaving the kids waiting in line, (no, there were not out of sight, before you think me an irresponsible nanny) I went over to the cafeteria and tried in vain to use my card or check book to get cash back. "There's an ATM at the Visitor Center" they helpfully replied, but that was a 15 minute walk back, and the boat rides only lasted for another hour. Plus, right around this time, I realized that in my haste I had left my camera on the ground in the boat line.

The kids were done, and we again rushed back to the boat to retrieve the camera, so we could rush to the ATM, so we could rush back to the boat. On the way, Donovan was not paying attention and he ran into me, falling and scraping open a nasty scab on his ankle. We were not 200 ft from the boat line, but by the time we got there, he was already crying in pain as the blood ran down his ankle. The friendly Russians had not only been saving my spot, but they had seen the camera and had it with them. I thanked them profusely, while explaining about the money problem, and then went back to the now sobbing Donovan. I felt so terrible for him, but thankfully had remembered to pack the bandaids and neosporin. We got him cleaned up and sitting in the stroller (since ankle wounds make it hard to walk) and then headed back through the village. At this point, in a wonderful flash of maturity which made me both extremely proud, and eternally grateful, Aislinn said that it was okay if we skipped the river ride, despite the fact that she'd been looking forward to it all day. I think the length of the day was getting to her, as well as the rest of us.

The adventure was far from over, as I soon discovered. Halfway back from the boat, I suddenly remembered that, to calm a whiney Sinead while standing in line, I'd given her the only thing I had on me. My car key. She no longer had it. In a slight surge of panic, we went back to the boat line, established that there were no keys (and gained the sympathy of a mom who, having been in line ever since the original bathroom episode and knew the whole story, said to me 'this just isn't your day, is it?') Retracing our steps toward the bathroom, Aislinn, who was viewing this as an exciting adventure, scoured the path. No keys. When we were almost to the bathroom, it suddenly occurred to me to check my pocket. Sure enough, there they were, where I must have placed them at some point in the whole hub-bub of the afternoon. With much rejoicing, we continued on our merry way to get some promised ice cream for Aislinn, as a reward for being such a good girl all day.

On the way, I spotted a church friend on the common and headed over to have a chat with her, while Aislinn participated in another sack race, doing even better than the first time, and came in much closer to the front. My friend Kathy, upon hearing the saga of the boat ride, said "No more field trips for you!" Little did I know how right she was, for, even now, when I thought my troubles were behind me, it was not. over. yet.

We got our ice cream. It was delicious. Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup. Both Aislinn and I got a small, but they were huge! Donovan didn't get any, since he doesn't like ice cream. (No fudge, no ice cream, no cookies, what is wrong with this kid?!) We ate about half before deciding we might just not be able to finish it. At this point, I decided to take a picture of Aislinn, her huge cup of ice cream and her chocolate grin. I turned to the stroller. No camera. I dug. No camera. I double checked the stroller. No camera. I panicked. Where on earth did I leave it *THIS* time. At nearly the point of despair at my own scatterbrainedness (seriously, is there something wrong with me? Tongue) we asked at the ice cream window, then returned to the common. No camera. As a last resort, I began walking toward the boat line, thinking just maybe (although I didn't think so) I'd left it there while fixing Donovan's ankle. Meanwhile I called the village in hopes someone had found it on the field of something and had turned it in already. Just as I was getting connected on my phone, the boat line came in view, and there was my camera, sitting safe and sound under the bench where I'd sad the crying Donovan nearly 45 minutes before. Praying many prayers of thankfulness (and let me tell you, it was not the first prayer I'd prayed that day) we headed toward the gift shop, where I finally returned that cookbook. One more visit to a small, one room house (where Aislinn was awed by the fact that the kitchen, living room, and master bedroom were all in one room the size of her kitchen) and then, in an exhausted state of mind, we trooped back to the Visitor Center for one more short visit to KidStory before leaving the park, packing the kids into the car, and driving them home. Donovan was asleep before we'd left the parking lot, and Sinead not long after. We got home, and I carried the sleeping kids into the house, unpacked the car, had a nice long drink of cold water, and came home, exhausted, but oh so thankful that the day turned out quite as wonderful as it had, despite so many set-backs.

Aislinn proclaimed it much better than our last visit, which was 2 1/2 years ago, during the pouring rain, when we were only able to stay 2 hours, and saw nothing but one barn, and KidStory. I was glad she thought so. I did too. Smile

:applause applause:

Loved to read it! Big smile

Too many things to comment on. I wish I'd been there. ^_^

"Your Mother's Cookbook" from the 1700s....gee, I didn't know your mom was that old. :runs:

You have this thing about losing cameras. o_O

And I love Aislinn. hehe.

sugar low

I immediately made the connection - all the disasters started happening after the fudge. So you're problem is not that you're ditzy, it's just that you all were on a sugar low so your brain wasn't functioning right. LOL We always bring along nuts and granola bars to take care of this lil problem.

Sounds like a fun day overall - brought back a lot of memories!

Fun fun! I never get to take

Fun fun! I never get to take my kids on outings, so yours sounds fun to me. Smile


Hehe, sounds like quite a

Hehe, sounds like quite a day. Tongue At least I'm not the only one who can be rather scatterbrained at times ^_^


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