Bob and I have this sort of unofficial algorithm we work through every time we consider taking our three children out in public. It looks something like this:
Does the destination offer room for the kids to run around without disturbing others? And, when that fails (which it will), can it accommodate a stroller?
What decibel level can the baby’s shrieking reach before other people become visibly uncomfortable?
Does it offer anything for the kids to climb on? (Extra points if it’s some kind of artillery.)
Can we go there and not lose even one of our children? (And, lest you think I’m being dramatic, there was a visit to a very crowded Amish market earlier this month that tested this in earnest.)
= All factors weighed, we end up with a score on the official How Tired Are We? scale that we use to determine if whatever it is we want to do is worth doing.
Using the above equation means we’ve been hanging out at a lot of battlefields since we moved to the Richmond area. The good news is, there is no shortage of Revolutionary and Civil War heritage sites to tour around here. The bad news? We feel we may be instilling a zest for war in Charlie.
Eager to spotlight something other than cannons, we headed through the mountains this weekend to the Frontier Culture Museum in Staunton, Virginia where we found something most definitely worth doing.
The museum consists of a series of working farms representing different countries and time periods throughout history. It could not have been more fun. We traipsed through 17th century England, 18th century Ireland and 19th century Virginia. Most of the buildings are original and have been painstakingly transported great distances to be reassembled onsite at the museum.
Each farm has docents working in period costumes doing period things. Like blacksmithing, baking, weaving and sweating. Henry had lots of thoughtful questions for them and managed to stump a couple of “colonists” when he asked where the firefighters and police officers lived (because: safety!). The kids really had a great time with loads of room to run and so many things to hold their attention. Millie only had one meltdown and it was mostly because she was cornered by an alarmingly large number of chickens in 18th century Germany’s barnyard.
I think the best part of the whole outing was seeing Charlie with 1850s Virginia farm lady. In the spirit of the times, she announced there was work to be done! Down at the barn! Charlie offered to help feed the pig and the chickens and by the time we caught up, she had hoisted him over the fence and was carrying him all around the pasture feeding the sheep as well. Charlie can be… hard to resist.
In summary, you should go here. If not for the history, then do it for the golf carts you can rent and drive from farm to farm. I’m pretty sure that’s the only part the boys are going to remember from this adventure, anyway.