Saturday, June 22, 2013

Claude Moore Colonial Farm

This farm museum just happens to be across the street from the CIA Headquarters on this little,  innocent-looking side road. Who knew?!
My family and I were spending a week down in northern Virginia and it was a good opportunity to search out the less-thought of places to visit. (So, we did not go into D.C.) One place that I was looking forward to was a small museum called the Claude Moore Colonial Farm. It was a delightful, inexpensive museum that was perfect for spending a few morning hours with small children. The walk to the farm and around the gravel paths was easy and just the right length for little legs. 

the tobacco barn
This single-family farm is set in 1771 where they are growing rye, tobacco, flax, garden produce, and various livestock like cows, turkeys, geese, and chickens. There were only two actual structures on the large property, but it was a lovely walk through woods and around fields.

My one trepidation about the place was that the costumed museum interpreters spoke in 1st person. Walking into the clapboard house and speaking with the eldest sister was awkward for me beyond belief! Besides disliking 1st person interpretation in general, being that I've been in this girl's shoes as an historical interpreter just made me so frustrated and a little annoyed! I wanted to drop the silly pretense and talk stays, hearth cooking, and gardening. The latter two we did talk about, but I didn't dare ask her about the first thing for fear of being ridiculously reprimanded for asking too personal a question. Ack! Overall, they were very pleasant, welcoming, and did a good job , but I had to bite my tongue whenever anyone said, "Good day!" instead of "Good Morning". I did have to laugh though when I asked her if they grew any tomatoes (I should have known better - it's 1771!), and she said, "No. No one grows tomatoes around these parts. Thomas Jefferson has been experimenting with them though." hahaha!

The eldest sister is making dinner over the hearth
- aah, the memories of my own hearth cooking days!

My son chasing a chicken away from the house.
I thought this style of house was interesting - the chimney is waddle & daub!

Their very weedy garden - we've been getting a lot of rain.
Those tall beans are scarlet runner beans and are just gorgeous!
Something new I learned - these are Loofa Gourds -  sponges you can grow yourself and something they would have grown back then. Ha! So cool!

Visiting their gift shop was an interesting experience. I'm afraid it was rather random and not very beneficial when it comes to proper museum gift shop stuff (If that sounds weird, there are marketing theories out there, okay?). The most bizarre, but strangely cool thing, was they had this corner of donated items like a thrift shop and a lot of them were antiques. Weird, I know! But I was thrilled to find a 1934 edition of a Nancy Drew book The Broken Locket in awesome condition for $3. Score! 

Friday, June 7, 2013

An Historical Outing

My family was able to go on a short little vacation down near D.C. while my husband was doing some training for work. It's amazing how many things there are to do within a 30 minute radius over by Dulles Airport! We took two trips to the National Air & Space Museum next to the airport - once with just me and the kids, and once with my husband after he got off work.

I'm not really into airplanes, but I am interested in technology and history geeky stuff, so there was plenty for all of us to enjoy. Here are a few things that caught my eye:

Dual prop plane to solve the problem of using a machine gun during WWI.

I'm not that interested in guns, but this machine gun is retro cool. 

The Enola Gay.
This one gave me chills because I actually remembered this plane.
It dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima during WWII.

Things from Charles & Anne Lindburgh's exploratory flights.

Had to get a shot of their awesome rations!

Another chill factor - flight gloves signed by Amelia Earhart!

I absolutely adored these sweet space toys!

Original Star Trek communicators - awesome.

Space Barbies?! Hahaha! Too bad they don't make these anymore.
Finally! An intelligent career for Barbie!

The most awesome robots ever.

The model of the Mother Ship used in "Close Encounters of the Third Kind".
The makers put in all sorts of fun things you don't see in the movie...

... including R2D2...

... and a cemetery! hahaha!

And one of the coolest things we saw - the Discovery Space Shuttle
A preservationist hard at work

I was also fascinated with the Restoration wing which was a gigantic room devoted to restoring and preserving the aircraft in their collections. You could watch the preservationists hard at work from a huge, long window. What a fun job that would be!