Today started with a 8-mile run and a visit to Cracker Barrel (their new Seasonal Offerings feature these awesome pancakes made with multi-grains AND granola!) in Waynesboro!
My mom and sister are visiting this weekend from far, far way so we had to pack in some good fun in one short weekend 🙂 Yesterday, we had visited Chiles Peach Orchard (which was definitely a hit!) and had some fun driving around town, showing off the Downtown Mall and the UVA grounds. Oh, and finally trying Splendora’s Gelato, too! I didn’t order any personally, but had some bites from both my mom and sis’ orders – Lemon White Chocolate, Almond, Mango and Salted Caramel! Nom.
But back to today!
See, we were brainstorming fun stuff to do, but also wanted to try something a little off the beaten path – after a few Google searches, the answer for today was clear: Staunton’s Frontier Culture Museum!
Just about 50 miles away AND with a Cracker Barrel on the way? Everyone was happy with this plan 🙂
The museum was very easy to find and there was plenty of parking available. The weather was perfect for an outdoor adventure! Once inside the information center, we purchased our tickets and took in the welcome video. It provided a great introduction to the facility and gave us some direction for our self-guided tour.
Disney World this place was not! But in a good way – no turnstiles, but just a sign that said that all visitors must purchase tickets – and (fellow CMs, hear this!) NO fee for ECV rental, but just a simple sign that explains their complimentary borrowing policy. Simple. I did have to giggle about the fee for wagons though! 😉
The park was laid out in a loose circle, then branched out into a second area that’s accessible by shuttle. The idea of the outdoor museum is simple – introductions to the many pre-America cultures and their ways of life and how they became incorporated into the broader idea of what we know today as the United States of America. Everything is hands on and immersive.
The first stop was an African Village. The thatched roof and mud construction was recreated for the museum from historical records.
We were amazed at how much cooler it was inside the huts! The clay really worked as a great insulator!
The next stop was a 1600’s English Farm. Once inside that main structure, we met a woman inside who was explaining the how the house had been transported from its original place of construction – then rebuilt, brick by brick here at the museum and let us know that we should all look for the “protector of the bed” in the master’s room upstairs…
Too cute! That was the friendliest cat ever!
The forge was occupied by a blacksmith and his apprentice. We saw how they worked with iron and we experienced the process of creating a nail! All the nails are still made the old fashioned way here, and are used in the museum fences and doors, as well as sold in their gift shop.
Moving right along, we found ourselves in Germany. This structure was also painstakingly reconstructed from its original and due to modern building codes is not fully accessible to the public. We were able to tour the first floor though!
We tried on wooden shoes and learned that they were actually worn by most Europeans back in the 1700s – not just those in Holland like most people think! It was their equivalent of steel toed boots in that their feet would be protected when performing dangerous chores like handling farming equipment.
Blasting from the past, we eventually made it (via tram) to 1740s, then 1820s and finally 1850s America. These farm houses (as well as a school house) showed modern adaptations like having plaster walls in the home, as well as imported furniture items and conveniences like wood-burning stoves in the home and other technological advances.
Another cool thing in the most modern settlements? Compiled recipes in cookbooks! It was fun reading through these.
Another fun feature? Lots of animals! We saw chickens, pigs, turkeys, ducks, geese and even sheep!
After hopping the tram back to the welcome center, we went to the gift shop for postcards and cold drinks. We also noticed the map of where visitors have come from! We had to add our respective hometowns – Yokota, Japan; Pullman, WA and Waterloo, IA!
The experience was worth every last penny of its very reasonable admission price, and I definitely see us visiting this fun place again. They have lots of events in addition to their regular museum operating hours that sounded really neat!
Sadly, after making it back to Charlottesville mid-afternoon, mom and sis had to head back up to Baltimore, where my mom’s doing some training for work. We had tons of fun though, so for that I am so thankful 🙂
How was your weekend? What fun things have you done this summer?