Bring your imagination and your most comfortable shoes; you are going to be taking a walk back into the world of 1830. Old Sturbridge Village (OSV) is a non-profit living museum founded in 1946. The buildings were brought to this site from all over the country. This is not a real village but rather a recreation of a village of 1830.
Your first stop should be the Friends Meeting House. Here you can sit and view an orientation video. This will help you to understand what to expect from your visit. There are 40 structures on over 200 acres of property. This is not a stagnant place, there is always something changing. They are in the process of constructing a small house using the tools of the 1830’s. Every step of the process is being documented.
This is a great place to visit with children. There are plenty of farm animals and, in warm weather, there is a boat ride on the little lake. They are in the process of setting up a skating rink on the green.
I love visiting the church. Families purchased their box seats in the church; they are all decorated a little differently with carpet, cushions, and small stools. You needed small comforts to survive an hours-long religious service.
The village has several exceptional shops. There is a great bookstore and they have a catalogue for their regular shop, which includes items made by the characters in the village. There is wrought iron made by the smithy, pottery from the potter, barrels from the cooper etc. Everything made from authentic material in an authentic fashion.
This is truly a living history museum. You will be tantalized by the smells of cooking in many of the homes. We watched as a seed cake was cooked in the fireplace and in another kitchen, they were using the leftovers from the Thanksgiving feast to make a pie. If you want more modern baked goods, there is a bakery that makes one particular cookie each day, our day was chocolate chip. You can also get a cup of hot coffee as you walk around.
You needed a whole day to appreciate OSV and if you have your ticket validated when you leave, you can return free within 10 days. Walking around the village involves a great deal of exercise. We did see someone in a wheel chair but it will not be easy to cover the whole grounds. Depending on which season you visit you may see the fields being plowed, the seeds being sown, vegetables being planted or picked. Every season has its own interesting work going on, just as it would have over 170 years ago.
Children will particularly enjoy the schoolhouse. Here the teacher will discuss the curriculum as well as the timing of school. Many children in 1830 only attended during the very dead of winter when they were not needed on the farm to help.