Ask someone to list traditional summertime activities, and they will probably mention picnics, family reunions, beach vacations, mountain getaways, and baseball games. Their list is likely to include going to the fair as well. The fair as a summer pastime is a long tradition and, like many American traditions, can be traced back to the … Continue reading Summertime Fun: Colonial June Fair
Editor’s Note: Looking back in time, people’s personal hygiene, fashion choices, medical treatments, and more sometimes look, at the very least, bizarre, if not outright disgusting. When confronted with these weird or gross practices, our first reaction can be to dismiss our ancestors as primitive, ignorant, or just silly. Before such judgments, however, we should try … Continue reading Summer Stinks!: The Odoriferous 18th Century
Despite issues of poor roads, lack of transportation, financial considerations and simply an absence of places to go, colonial Virginians fancied a summer vacation just as much as we do today. In fact, getting out of the city, or away from hot, steamy climates and hordes of mosquitoes in the summer months was actually necessary … Continue reading Summer Vacation, 18th Century Style
In this video, we make switchel, a summertime beverage popular in the 1700s. Its ingredients contain a lot of potassium which replenishes the body's electrolytes. Learn more about switchel and other methods used to say cool in the 18th century on this blog post.
“You must be hot in that. I don’t know how colonial people wore such things.” “I am a little hot, yes. It is hot out today. Aren’t you hot in what you’re wearing? “I’m sweating buckets.” “That’s funny, because I’m not.” I have a variation of this conversation every time I’m in 18th-century dress. Modern … Continue reading “The heat is beyond your conception:” Staying Cool in 18th-Century Virginia
Typically, when modern Americans think of summer barbecue food, they think of meat grilled over an open flame. While that would certainly appeal to an eighteenth century audience, it is not necessarily what they considered ‘typical’ summer fare. Large livestock like pigs and cattle were usually slaughtered and butchered in the late fall/early winter when … Continue reading Summer Greens from the Colonial Garden
In this video, we talk about how people, including George Washington, picnicked in the 18th century and take a closer look at one particular piece of furniture used while on a picnic 200 years ago. You can read more about picnicking customs of the 1700s here.
In the summer of 1770, George Washington came to Fredericksburg for an extended stay. His time here would seem familiar to anyone who has gone back to their childhood hometown. While in town he visited his mother, went to the tavern to play cards with old friends, and stayed with his sister and brother-in-law. But … Continue reading “Dined at the Barbicue”: Washington Goes Picnicking
Historic Kenmore's beautiful grounds and gardens require much work to remain beautiful. On a recent morning, staff mowed and weeded flower beds in the unending effort to make the flowers and grounds look their best. Historic Kenmore and George Washington's Ferry Farm always need volunteers to help with our gardens. If you might be interested … Continue reading Video: A Busy Morning at Kenmore
Scenes from the Demonstration Garden at George Washington's Ferry Farm on a peaceful summer morning. The garden contains a variety of colonial-era plants that would have been grown by the Washington family like tobacco, corn, and squash. There are also modern flower species plus birds and other wildlife.