I am not an "events only" kind of living historian. Quite the opposite, to be sure. I enjoy dressing in my period clothing and venturing out to various historic locations as often as I can ...just because. Even though it may not be an actual event, I can still spend my time being immersed in another time and place, whether I go alone or with others. And if I have a few friends of the same ilk join me, well, all the better, for now we have *almost* become, shall we say, a community of sorts in the excursion.And that is exactly what we became on Sunday November 17. I am a member of the Northville Historical Society, of which historic Mill Race Village is its core, and am sometimes able to occupy a building here and there. So I asked if I could have a few of us who enjoy doing such things utilize the Cady Inn for an afternoon. I planned this little gathering a few weeks earlier as a sort of opportunity for my living history friends and I to enjoy a day in the past during what many call the off season for reenactments. It wasn't meant to be anything extraordinary - - just spending time in period clothing at a suitable location. And if visitors happened by, all the better, for now we can also teach!
So, no, 'twasn't anything along the lines of a reenactment at all, but instead a chance to enjoy the past with friends (and, in my case, family as well).
So, let's take a peek at how our day turned out. Frankly, I thought it went wonderfully well:
Food for the Hungry,
Drink for the Thirsty,
Home for the WEARY TRAVELER
|Travelling to the Tavern|
(aka The Cady Inn)
As for the Cady Inn, it was built about 1835, and is one of the oldest structures in Northville, Michigan. It was moved to its current location inside Historic Mill Race Village in 1987. This saltbox/breakback-style building was not only a tavern, but it’s believed to have been a stop on the underground railroad as well.
|For our time here, however, the Cady Inn suits us perfectly as a |
"publick house" of the 18th century along the lines of
historic Buckman's Tavern, from Lexington, Massachusetts.
|This is the entranceway to the larger tavern room that we occupied.|
Note our cloaks, wraps, and hats along the wall.
| "To avoid conversation is to Act against the Intention of nature. |
To live then as men we must confer with men. Conversations must
be one of the greatest pleasures of life."
And we also conferred with women,
since we were not in immersion here!
But I plan to make somewhat of an attempt sometime in the not too distant future past.
|Various activities took place during this|
Sunday afternoon, including sewing
projects, as you see my son and his
future bride doing here.
Hand-sewing, of course.
He is also a collector of historic flags - Vexillologist is what we can call him, I believe.
|The good doctor was willing to help any of |
ill health where a strong drink could not.
|The rooms here are well suited for me.|
These "publick houses" (or 'ordinaries,' as they were also known) have played an important part in social, political, and even military life, though we see them taking more of a back seat in their role in our Nation's history.
|Jackie & Charlotte brought along a craft to do. |
Idle hands are the devil's workshop, you know.
|Mrs. Carlson served tea and chocolate. I am not a tea|
drinker, I must say, but the chocolate was delicious.
|The mistress of the tavern, in anticipation|
of hungry patrons, busily prepared
food and drink.
|The commaradary we all had was uplifting. It felt good to be |
together with friends, for, aside from the country dance a few
weeks back, it's been since early October at Vermillion Creek
that we last did anything historical together.
|I also brought along my checkerboard.|
By the way, the first known game of checkers was played in the city-state of Ur in 3000 B.C.
Yes, it is one of the oldest games still played today.
|The good doctor and I had a close game going until...|
|...at the end something happened that neither of us expected: he |
clobbered me with a six-man jump! I congratulated him and gave
him the ceremonious 18th century high-five.
Yes, I lost, but what a way to go!
But we did not spend all of our time indoors. I mean, why make or purchase period winter wear if you only bring it to places...or only wear it in the car ride to your desired location?
This day had highs in the lower 30s with snow still on the ground from a rare mid-November storm that dumped 7 to 8 inches throughout metro-Detroit only a few days before.
|Standing at the front door of the inn is my|
son Robbie and his now fiance, Heather.
He asked her to marry him a couple of
weeks ago and we are happy to say she
Having snow on the ground really helped with the wint'ry feel. I'm sure we were quite a sight for the passersby who enjoy taking walks along the village road.
|I am very proud that the members of Citizens of the American |
Colonies and the 1st Pennsylvania are not afraid to venture out in
winter weather at a non-event, for it can add greatly to our
experiences, does it not?
|As we walked about the Village, we came across a photographer |
who took a wonderful photograph of those of us who remained to
enjoy the later afternoon after a few of the others left.
Photo very kindly taken by Christine Agius
|And then it was time to take our leave.|
Most everyone left at this point, finding their way
to their 21st century vehicles to bring them
back to the future.
But not all were ready to depart just yet.
A few of us wanted to continue to take advantage of the great outdoors on such a day and did a few poses.
|Tony and Tom|
|Walking along the edge of the banks of a stream, hoping to find |
the elusive turkey for our Thanksgiving meal.
|If we stayed another hour, it would have been dark and I believe |
the effect would have been very cool and atmospheric.
|I spotted a white-tailed deer: to help feed us for the winter.|
The group shot:
|This is who all showed up for the gathering at Mill Race Village.|
I certainly appreciate everyone taking the time and making the
effort to come out and become part of this small non-event.
Before I take my leave, I would like to post (and boast) about another happening that took place in November:
My friend and business partner Larissa & I did another of our historic presentations showing and telling of colonial farm life. This time it was for a wonderful group of musicians who play all kinds of stringed instruments, from the hammered dulcimer to the guitar to the fiddle and banjo and even the piano.
|The Paint Creek Folklore Society of Rochester, Michigan |
has been around since the 1970s, and they continue to
keep the wonderful old folk tunes and traditional
instruments alive in this day and age of hi-tech.
Why, of course we would!
And we did!
What we spoke on actually fit quite well with their own musical history.
|Looking very colonial, I should say!|
Yes, those are a few of the farming tools we show during our presentations.
It is very interesting to note the variety of places and clubs Larissa and I have presented at. Besides Paint Creek Folklore Society, we've done various reenactments, agricultural fairs, historical societies, libraries, school from elementary through high school, inside houses, for an Abraham Lincoln society, old barns, and, of course, the great outdoors.
|Larissa, by the way, shops at the same|
wallpaper fabric store for her dress!
Whether presenting life as it once was to the public or just getting together with like-minded friends, this passion for the past and love of living history is more than just a hobby for me. It's a way of life. And, to be honest, most of who I hang out with feel the same. We are a unique group, that is for certain.While many reenactors feel they should only go to "official" events, a few of us are on record as saying that wherever friends may gather while in period clothing, that itself is an event. As Tony, the head of Michigan's 1st Pennsylvania, has stated before, we'd like to try to do at least one event a month during the colder part of the year when reenactments are very rare. I feel the same.
Over the past three years I have built up a wonderful relationship with the fine folk who run historic Mill Race Village in Northville (Michigan). The members of my Citizens of the American Colonies living history group have participated in three Independence Day celebrations there, along with us hosting a reenactment in April 2019 for our first ever Patriot's Day commemoration, consisting of the Battles of Lexington & Concord.
Next year, 2020, should be no different.
And I thank them sincerely for allowing me and a few friends to enjoy spending an afternoon in the past.
With that, until next time, see you in time.
To read more about colonial-era taverns, click HERE
A colonial Autumn harvest, click HERE
Night time in colonial times, click HERE
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