Thursday, December 30, 2010

Pioneer Village

After we left John and Martha's we spent two nights at a hotel in Flint, Michigan. We arrived sometime after lunch on Wednesday and spent the rest of the day relaxing, lazing around, swimming and watching TV (a novelty in our home). On Thursday we spent the day at Crossroads Village and Huckleberry Railroad. This was definitely an enjoyable day, as parents and children we were able to learn and take things in. The girls love anything pioneer and Matthew absolutely loved the train!!

The village is truly set up like an old village with a main street that has the general store, print shop, barber, completed with wooden sidewalks, a school house, church, upper, middle and lower class homes, blacksmith, flour mill, cider mill, ice house and much more. The best things was that at most stops they did little 10 minute presentations so that you could better understand how things were done in those days. The even better part was that they had just had their busiest days of the year a few days earlier (Thomas the Train comes to visit) and since it was a cool and rainy day the place was empty the day we were there, so we got one on one at each place we went. We really had a wonderful time, the only problem being we didn't have enough time, the village was only open from 10am - 5pm and we had a hard time fitting in all the stops/shops/demonstrations in that time.

A walk down Genesse Street. I love the tall, full trees on each side


The print shop. Wow, what an amazing amount of work went into putting together a simple paper ... putting each individual lettering into place and then putting each individual piece of paper through the ink press. I had heard how it was done before, but to actually see it and realize what a slow and tedious job it would have been was a whole new realization.

The blacksmith had many more jobs besides just fixing horseshoes as you always seem to see on TV. Since they don't need to fix horseshoes at the Village they instead design different items like candlestick holders and such that you could purchase.

The highlight of the day for Matthew was the train ride on the Huckleberry Railroad. The steam locomotive is so slow that it is called the Huckleberry Railroad because you can jump off and pick some huckleberries and then jump back on the train and carry on with your trip. This railroad began operating in 1857 and the trains currently used on the track are from the early 1900's. It was a good reality check to see how they travelled long distance back then ... and to think that they thought it was fast. This "rough" ride is no comparison to the comfort and luxury of our cars. This ride resulted in Rob back in the van for a nap due to the motion causing him to feel ill again.

Ready to roll on one of the coaches.

While Matthew was very excited about a ride on a "Thomas" train his excitement turned to aprehension once we started going and he wasn't so sure about this idea anymore. He hung on for dear life, especially when I opened the window to take some pictures.

The locomotive that took us for our 40 minute ride.

Rob spent some time (as in long enough that we carried on without him after waiting "patiently" in the rain for some time) talking with the brake man ... the mechanic in him shining forth. He learned lots of neat stuff and was quite fascinated by these old engines.

After our ride we checked out some of the other coaches and of course had a look at the caboose.

While Rob was busy talking to the brakeman we carried on to the Opera House to watch a magic show. I'm not sure where the magician and magic show fit in with the Village theme, but it was a great show, so we'll forgive them for not keeping the olden day theme consistent :)

Once again it was nice that it was a quiet day as both girls were able to go on stage to be part of the magicians show.

Marietta video taping Rebecca on stage

Rebecca was part of a rather funny act where the magician kept pretending to hand her the wand to wave over the bag and make the cloth disappear, but as she would reach out to grab it he would keep talking and pull the wand away. Since Rebecca is a bit of a anxious/nervous person I felt a bit bad for her at first when she didn't realize what he was doing, and then when she clued in and didn't know what to do. But she had good laughs about it later

Since the magic wand was not doing the magic of making the cloth disappear the magician kept asking for a bigger wand and it was Rebecca's job to wae it over the bag (that the magician is holding in the picture). As you can imagine she had a bit of a struggle waving this one :)

Marietta also got her chance on stage doing a card trick.

Another part of the Village is the Genesee Bell which is an old paddlewheel riverboat, similiar to those used on the Mississippi River. Due to the time restriction of getting everything done in a day we opted not to go for a ride on the riverboat but did take a chance to have a peek at it. Matthew called it a combine (because of how the paddle turns like a bean header)

We all found the Toy Barn very interesting. It was filled with various toys that children (and adults I'm sure) would play with in the olden days. Some of them were quite interesting and you were allowed to play with them all and give them a try. The kids (including the biggest kid in the family) all spent a fair amount of time trying out the stilts. Rob actually managed to get a round a bit on them.

An old buckboard wagon ... just like in Little House on the Prairie

At the barber shop ... hmm ... a girl in the barber shop?? The back of the barber shop was the doctors office since in many towns the barber also acted as the doctor if there was not an official doctor. They also explained that if there was a doctor it was often only the men that would see a doctor and not so much the women .

It was a busy and long day and also a very nice day ... even if it did drizzle most of the day. We had barely left the parking lot and Matthew was sound asleep, proudly wearing his new conductors hat.

No comments: