I have written before about my love of King’s Landing, a re-enactment of a historical settlement village located within an hour’s drive of our hometown. The love affair dates back roughly 20 years now, to when I was a child. In all honesty, I don’t even remember my first trip there – was I taken by my parents? was it a school trip? I’m not quite sure. I just know that I have many years worth of memories of the place, and that I still visit annually, of course now with my children in tow. In fact, we visit frequently enough each year that we buy a family season pass. This past Friday’s visit marked our third of the summer.
Few people understand my fascination with the place, they wonder why I keep going back. After all, how many times can you walk through the same buildings and still be entertained? In my case, it would appear many. I sometimes even wonder myself what the appeal is, and I’ve realized that there are many reasons. On a personal level, I think it’s perhaps my yearning to be part of a simpler time, even if only for a moment in time. There is a truly a feel of peace and tranquility, along with good ol’ fashioned fun, on the grounds of King’s Landing. It’s a place where the buzz of technology and the rat race of modern life are noticeably lacking. King’s Landing represents a time when people worked hard and played hard – together, as families.
As a parent, I like taking the children to teach them appreciation for all the modern conveniences that we take for granted. It is also refreshing to see them using their imaginations at the Long House, as they dress up in period costumes, or play with battery-and-plastic-free historic toys like rag dolls, wooden dominoes and peg games and rough wooden blocks and animals. Outside there are even more toys and games such as the old hoop and stick, an old wooden ride on horse, or a traditional croquet set. I think they could spend hours in that one house alone if I would let them.
Of course, as a homeschool teacher, King’s Landing holds great educational value. It is one thing to have my children sit and read a history lesson about the Loyalists, or about life during the pioneer era, or even about technology of old – it is quite another to be able to see that time lived out before them, with their very own eyes. To be able to sit at the spinning wheel and spin wool or flax, to churn butter, or to walk through the house realizing there is no bathroom!
But also the appeal is, is that every time we go, it’s a different experience. Oh sure, the buildings are the same, but walking through the buildings is only a part of what King’s Landing has to offer. Every time that we go we have different interactions with their characters – we talk to different people, hear different stories, we see different parts of history acted out. For myself, as an (amateur) photographer, there is always something different for my lens to see. As a nature lover, the rather idyllic setting of King’s Landing on the Saint John river offers a beautiful landscape that changes with the seasons.
The hands-on experiences change each visit as well. On our various visits to the settlement, my children have milked a cow, bottle fed a baby calf, filled buckets of water from a well to feed the pigs, spun wool and flax, threshed flax, helped wash the horses at the end of the day, gone to “school”, and printed bookmarks on an old printing press, among many other experiences.
More photos from our adventures at Kings Landing below:
Hands on Adventures:
*All photos sole property of Sandra Hanson and/or From the Heart Photography.