Monday, September 26, 2011

Sturbridge Sojurn

After our sojourn into the land of Revolution, Dead Writers and Enchanted Ponds, we left Concord behind and asked Michelle, our faithful if not congenial, GPS guide to take us down to Sturbridge, the home of Old Sturbridge Village, an authentic recreation of a 19th century farming town. 

Michelle still had a little “tude” over the Skippy incident, but after an hour so she delivered us to our very nice hotel.  We checked in, relaxed for a while, then off for a pleasant dinner at a highly recommended restaurant, followed by lights out at 11.

Yes…we are known for our recalcitrant late night partying ways.

The next morning, we’re up bright an early, dinning on our complimentary “enhanced” continental breakfast, meaning there was some egg like substance and sausage to sample in addition to the normal assortment of muffins, cereal and fruit.

The eggs were okay, but I only had 2 helpings instead of my usual 3 since after awhile in the warming tray, kids started playing bounce ball with them.

Old Sturbridge Village, as I mentioned, if you were paying attention, is an old 19th century farming community, restored and brought back to the future, sans Michael J Fox. 

Unlike Plimoth Plantation—that’s not a typo, Mr
Spell Check person. Pilgrims were notoriously bad spellers, so that’s how they spell the place, so deal with it and back off— where the “interpreters” as they’re called really get into it and refuse to acknowledge the present in any way, shape or form, bordering on creepy, the Sturbridge folks take a more laid back approach and, while they dress the part and work the part, they talk to you like people from the here and now.  Like the Blacksmith, who after making trivets all day, and apparently pretty sick of it, regaling us with the tale of ye old sump pump failing during the hurricane a few weeks back and his subsequent and apparently ongoing  battle with his insurance company over damages to his finished basement including his plasma TV.

But the trivets were nice….

Being attentive to detail as she is, Z looked it up and saw that the old village opened at 9:30 AM, SHARP.  However, anxious as we were to get a jump on the day’s activities, I didn’t want to be the first over anxious loser tourists to pass through the gates for fear of catching a couple of farmers or tradesmen grabbing a last minute smoke or something. 

So I insisted we wait until 9:45….

Driving down the entrance road, past all the little flags featuring all sorts of 19th century folks cheerfully welcoming us to the past, the first thing I noticed was the parking lot seemed a little uncheerfuly sparse. Still, we parked and sidled up toward the main entrance gate passing several grumbling seniors and an assortment of other tourists; also not happy.

“They’re not opening until noon!” one of the disgruntled seniors announced.

  “Noon?” Z said. “Noon…?”

But to her credit, despite the fact that this was putting a crimp in our finely tuned schedule, Z handled it well. And as it turned out, the poor informative senior only sustained a slight sprain of his right arm, instead of a fracture, as we at first feared.

Okay…of course I’m kidding. We knew it was just a sprain all along….

Z doesn’t like to have her schedule messed with.

After the ambulance left and we finished filling out the incident reports I inquired to some of the maintenance crew that were milling around as to why they weren’t opening until noon.

The explanation I received was that a micro burst had passed through the area overnight and took out some trees that took out the electricity. 

“Uh…isn’t this supposed to be an early 19th century rural village?  They don’t need no stinkin electricity, so what’s the problem?”

But of course, the problem, as in most things, was money. Without electricity they can’t operate their computers, which operate the cash registers, which collect the money.

So even the 19th century isn’t immune.

After consulting a couple of brochures, Z and Michelle figured out a backup plan to kill some time over in one of those little hard to find gift shops, located in one of those little hard to find nearby towns. And lo and behold, we found it and actually purchased several items that we never would have found, whether we actually needed them or not.

Then back to the old village and our delayed trip back in time. 

It was a fun day, despite the couple of mini micro bursts that rained down on us from time to time—past or present; I wasn’t sure any more—but equipped with our 21st century umbrellas we were good to go and soon found ourselves right back on schedule, much to the relief of many of the interpreters, who had heard about Z through ye old grapevine.

We learned about cooping from the cooper, tinkering from the tinker, ministering from the minister and pie making from a nice lady making some sort of a custard pie in a rustic old kitchen, swarmed by a thousand flies having their way with all the ingredients; the genesis, I suppose, of the famous shoe-fly pie.

Z also got into it a bit with the town printer—well deserved this time, I have to say— who seemed to have an attitude over what he decreed to be silly questions. 

I don’t know…do you think I was wrong to ask what was the oddest place he found ink on himself when showering?

Anyway, cooler heads prevailed and we soon found ourselves back on the road with Michelle, en route back to the 21st century and home, where a trip to the Bronx Zoo awaited the next day.

Staycationers never rest.

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