Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Fanshawe Pioneer Village

I showed you our trip to Upper Canada Village back a month or so ago.  As you know, I am somewhat of a history buff.  On Saturday we had the opportunity to visit another historical village on the far side of the province.

We had gotten Eldest's dorm room pretty well appointed on Friday, so I went looking for something to do on Saturday as our last family hurrah for the season.  On line,  I was able to locate the website for the Fanshawe Pioneer Village.  It looked like a miniature UCV from their site, and was quite close to where we were staying and to the University.

Saturday morning, we went and did a bit more shopping for missy's room.  Then it was off to see if we could find aforementioned village.

When we drove into the parking lot, there were only a handful of cars.  But there was a Walmart greeter-type there to welcome us to the village, a very friendly chap, obviously a volunteer whose job it was to make sure our visit went well.

The oldest building of the site, an 1820's era Irish shanty.

Inside the shanty with our first interpreter.
The tiny school room.  Unfortunately no school-marm greeted us here.

The blacksmith at his forge.

Games room in the tavern. A fascinating precursor to Battling Tops.  Youngest was quite successful, Yours truly, an abysmal failure.

The carriage house

The missus herding the muscovies. Isn't there a famous painting reminiscent of this?

While the village did not have the scope of UCV, it was still a most enjoyable afternoon.  There were probably only twenty other visitors, so we were completely unhurried.  We were able to stop at each building, and spend as long as we wished talking to the various interpreters(and we did much to Youngest's chagrin).  Each village has its memorable characters.  Fanshawe's is undoubtedly the printing press operator.  We must have spent the best part of an hour with this gentleman, while he regaled us with tales of printing lore and many other topics.  As I said to the girls afterwards, we learned far more in that hour, than you will learn in ten lectures this year.

The printer, his press, Eldest and Youngest

The Missus tantalizing and terrorizing the ducklings or was it the other way around.

Missus and the proprietor of the heritage orchard.

The village boasts a heritage orchard.  Now from someone who had such a venture of their own, this was entirely fascinating.  We sampled (shhh.... they were windfalls) from such exotic sounding apples as Fillabaskets, Cox's Orange Pippins and  Wagoners.  Of course the presence of a very friendly little woodchuck only served to make this particular stop in the village all the more charming.

The farm wife at the Jury farmhouse.

Children's toys from a bygone era.  Note the skunks have their own ark on the far right.
The chooks.

The brewery/distillery.  I'd have really liked to see an interpreter at this one, because I thought most of the early alcohol was produced in illegal, cleverly hidden moonshine stills. I have so many unanswered questions.
The sawmill - strangely quiet.

The village restaurant was noteworthy.  Bowls of hearty homemade beef-barley soup, slices of sourdough bread seasoned with fresh rosemary, started the meal.  Then it was the ploughman's platter, slabs of cold meat, salads, coleslaw, pickles and cheeses.  The feast closed with the piece de resistance - homemade blueberry pie.  Never since childhood, have I tasted such pie - it was truly outstanding.

Then off we waddled to see the rest of the village.  It was a great afternoon, and a fitting end to our summer holidays.

And that is about all I have to say for today.

Musings and meanderings from the Musical Gardener.


  1. This place looks great, and of course I love the Muscovies. I wish it were closer! I really enjoy historic print shops. It's amazing how things have changed with the advent of computers. I think typography has suffered as a result.

    Have you ever visited the Glengarry Pioneer Museum? You should check it out if you are ever out this way.


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