Monday, December 3, 2012

National Colonial Farm

The day before Thanksgiving we wanted to do something as a family but it had to fit a few criteria: cheap (or free), close, and Ada-friendly. We thought about Mt. Vernon but at 15 bucks a head we nixed that idea (for now). While looking nearby Mike saw the National Colonial Farm which is just across the Potomac River from Mt. Vernon.

The farm as part of the Piscataway Park which was "founded in 1957 to protect the view from George Washington’s Mount Vernon across the Potomac River." I found it a little bit funny that this huge park's primary purpose is to protect the view from the hot-shot tourist attraction accross the river, but I'm grateful nonetheless that it's there. We loved spending the morning at what they call a "living history museum" which is actually a big working farm. The Accokeek Foundation (who manages the park and the farm) describe it as, "a Maryland middling family farm on the eve of the American Revolution. Through heritage breed livestock and seed saving programs, nearly extinct heirloom crops and animals are preserved for future generations."

Enough history.

I spy my two favorite people and a tiny Mt. Vernon in the clearing across the river.

All you need to know is that the animals were beautiful (you know those portrait-worthy white speckled hens? and brightly colored roosters with the green iridescent tails? and huge cows with long horns? and a wavy-hair amber colored oxen? like that), the view across the Potomac unreal, and the company top notch. Did I mention we were the only ones there? Perhaps aside from Yellow Fever and Smallpox, Colonial Farm life seems so dreamy.

The weather was bright and clear. We wore sweaters and roamed the farm like we owned the place. We poked around the little log structures but spent a majority of our time chasing chickens, catching Daddy, mooing at cows and sharing half an apple pie that we brought for lunch.

It was a nearly picture-perfect morning. The image of Mike and Ada chasing a flock of Canadian geese, forcing them into flight will probably stick with me forever.


See? Chickens, chickens, and more chickens make for one extremely happy baby. Maybe we should take a hint from Ada and move to a farm. Wendell Barry makes it sound great enough. And if I can have sheep with wool as soft as the wool I sunk my fingers into and buried the tops of my hands in, I'll be a happy woman. They were amazing (and so friendly!). The cows, however could have cared less that we were there, trying to communicate.


 
 Maybe it's because I'm a "city girl" (as Ada's pediatrician called me today, though I tried to protest insisting that I grew up with half a dozen horse pastures in my neighborhood and spending loads of time outdoors) but I have never known how tobacco was cut and dried—at least during Colonial times. I'm betting the process looks a bit more industrial now. . . regardless the process looks beautiful, almost like an art installation.

The structures on the farm were made of original wood and reconstructed with a more sound frame. The wood was so beautiful and weathered with bits of pants growing on it and signs of time on the surface. The Tobacco house was quite impressive to me. And so was seeing rows and rows of tobacco hanging nearly floor to ceiling inside.

Everyone should go. It's not touristy, it's not difficult to find, it's not tiring. It's just beautiful, impressive, historical and free. We loved it. Especially Ada who found a big pile of leaves and planted herself firmly, not wanting to leave.

5 comments:

Brianna Smith said...

So fun! Great pictures! I will have to add it to my "To-Do" list out here.

Linae said...

the fourth picture looks even more impressive on my computer screen. amazing composition. you have such an eye for beauty and aesthetics, paige. ah, and i miss you. sigh.

Shannan Monson said...

These pictures are gorgeous. I love love love. We need to hang out more. Next adventure trip we are invited. Deal? Yes please.

Michelle said...

The tobacco house was growing pants on it? Weird.

Anna Peterson said...

So beautiful.

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