We are spending a lot of time reading about Thanksgiving, talking about the settlers and native americans, and I realized that all of it is going completely over my little one’s head. He gets the turkey, the pie, and family… but as far as why this feast came about… crickets.
So I headed to Old Salem, North Carolina for help. This is an 18th century historic neighborhood that is alive and thriving today. Beautifully restored private homes sit along side those owned by the museum and open for tour. They are complete with guides and educators dressed in period clothing who demonstrate the crafts and trades of the day.
While this experience represents colonial life about hundred years after that first Thanksgiving meal, it does get us closer. Good enough!
And what I loved the most is that C. really seemed to get a lot out of it. Even at 3, he was intrigued by their way of life. I feel like we added some more stones to the foundation here which really was my goal.
So here are my tips for a fun visit to Old Salem with a 3-year-old and alomst 1-year-old (yikes!)
TICKETS OR NO TICKETS: You can stroll the streets of Old Salem for free. It is a real historic district and therefore the streets, sidewalks and green space or public property. If you want to tour the houses that are owned by the museum, you’ll need tickets. All children 6 and under are welcome, free-of-charge. Here’s what I recommend for the adults – a two-stop ticket as opposed to an all access pass. Let’s face it, our little ones just aren’t going to have an attention span long enough for anything more.
STROLLERS: This is where our story gets a little sad : ( The houses on tour will not allow strollers (even though they are plenty spacious). So bring a baby carrier or a friend to stand stroller watch while you take your toddler into the historic houses. Also, the sidewalks are brick, so when choosing a stroller, bring your Bob!
FOOD: The bakery is heavenly, full of Moravian confections, a MUST visit. The Tavern is the colonial restaurant and after waiting 30 minutes for our table, the manager informed me I could not park the stroller next to our dining table. They did offer to let us leave it in the hallway, but since it was filled with a precious sleeping baby… um, no! So though their menu did look yummy, I have an even better idea. Pack a picnic. There is a great green space in the middle of the historic town, complete with a well pump.
SPEND YOUR MONEY HERE – Moravian Books and Gift Shop. It is a charming shop filled with things that will capture your little one’s imagination and yours! We picked up a gingerbread cookie cutter made there in Old Salem. Right now, this independently owned shop is stocked full of holiday decorations with an old world feel and toys inspired by antique play things.
- A direct connection to history
- Adventure and exploration
P.S. the photos I saw of Christmas decorations at Old Salem will make this a repeat trip for us some time in December!