This past weekend we went to Historic Brattonsville with Brad’s Aunt Nancy and cousin Tamara. For those who haven’t been reading my blog a while, Historic Brattonsville is a local working farm with buildings from the Revolutionary War to the post-Civil War era (Reconstruction). They have interpreters who dress for the time period and buildings set up and farm activities run as they would have been back then. We love going there and try to go once or twice a year—we love the place’s dedication to forthright history and we especially love spending time with the interpreters.
It had been over a year since we last went because the times we tried going earlier this fall and last spring ended up having rain a few days before. Since there are no paved pathways and the gravel ones there can be treacherous for us, we have to go on the grass. So rain means mud which is no good for wheelchairs. Unless you love dirt all over your floors at home!
We met Nancy and Tamara in the parking lot, and headed inside to buy tickets. Brad got some pictures of us in the gift shop and entry area using mirrors to capture interesting lights on our faces.
Then we headed to the orientation room which has some historical artifacts and a movie about the Battle of Huck’s Defeat during the Revolutionary War, which changed the tide of the war in favor of the colonists. Felix was happy to watch the movie with us, though he was a little bothered by all the blood as you can see in the pictures! The pictures below show us looking at artifacts, reading signs, and watching the movie.
I stopped to use the restroom, and when I got out I saw that Brad had gone the most treacherous route in all of Brattonsville. Normally we avoid this section behind the visitor’s center because we always get stuck there. But I guess Brad forgot so he headed that way. I told him it was a bad idea, but he said it would be OK so I tried it and I got stuck. Then Brad got stuck! We spent several minutes trying to get unstuck! Nancy and Tamara had to push Brad’s wheelchair out, and I had to get out of my chair and push it while driving it through the gravel. Luckily we survived, but hopefully Brad will remember not to go this way in the future!
We headed down to the first area that we usually visit where the seminary is. It was actually the first house built on the property, but was later converted to a seminary. It is being refurbished right now, but there are other houses over there to check out and a monument. We went into one of the houses (I walked in and left my wheelchair outside while Brad took pictures) and Will was making Scotch eggs. We had an interesting chat with interpreters Lisa and Will in that house, and I put Felix on the ground for some of the walking around in areas that I didn’t have to worry about my chair going sideways going over tree roots or anything. Felix did a good job of staying next to me!
Brad got some great pictures of Felix and me, as well as some really nice beauty shots of cousin Tamara. In spite of trying to be goofy for pictures, Tamara does some very pretty posing, too!
We were feeling a bit hungry by then, so we stopped at some picnic tables and ate lunch that we had packed. It was a lot of fun to chat in the beautiful weather and fall foliage. Luckily no leaves fell on our food! But they did fall around us!
We headed across the street to the bigger section of Brattonsville, and saw some cotton picking going on. We also looked into the quarters of the enslaved people there.
Nancy and Tamara had to head back to the visitors center, so Brad and I waited for them and did an impromptu photo session! Unfortunately all the shots I took of Brad are out of focus, but someone passing by offered to take pictures of us together and those are in focus! You get to see Brad’s wild outfit which is a suit made out of silver-glitter-square material kinda like a disco ball!
While we were waiting for them to return, we saw our first chicken of the day. Felix had never seen a chicken before that close. He’d seen ducks and chickens from a distance at Sabrina’s house, but this one was much more interesting. He did bark once, so I decided that while we were in chicken territory, Felix would be on my lap. Just in case!
When Nancy and Tam returned, we headed to the back to see the sheep and pigs. I stayed back a ways because I was worried about how Felix would handle it. Hestia used to want to bark at the pigs, so I stayed at a Hestia distance away from the sheep and pigs.
Then we took a rest next to the barn and were greeted by a flock of chickens who were hanging out at the barn! They were so cool! And Felix was SO GOOD! They chickens got fairly close to us and Felix didn’t bark! It did help that I was feeding him lots of cheese to keep him focused on me LOL! Brad got pictures of us with all the animals.
We decided to head to the general store next. This is a newer area of Brattonsville, and one of my favorites because I love looking at the recreated historic labels on the goods they have in the store! Plus one of our favorite interpreters, Emmy, is usually over there! We were SO HAPPY to see Emmy, and then our other favorite interpreter Angie joined us!
I let them both pet Felix, as they had never met him before. We spent a very long time talking about history with Emmy (Angie had to go back to her spot pretty soon). She told us all about the history of the general store on the property, and all the details of the Bratton family’s involvement in the Ku Klux and how they ended up having to flee the country to avoid prosecution!
We also got to meet the Brattonsville cat named Calvin! He is an orange tabby with green eyes and he is extremely friendly! He really really loves Emmy, you can see they have a special bond. Brad got lots of pictures of Calvin! And many more of us talking with Emmy and sharing lots of laughs. Also included is a picture of Calvin’s corner in the gift shop.
Nancy and Tamara were pretty tired by this point, so we headed to the gift shop to look around with them. The shop was crowded but there was lots of cool stuff to see! Brad even got some raspberry jalapeño jam! Then we said goodbye to Nancy and Tamara, and Brad and I headed back out to see the last part of Brattonsville. I got to enjoy one of the candy cane sticks I got in the shop for the rest of our outing.
I think because Brad and I were in wheelchairs we had more stamina than Nancy and Tamara since we were able to remain sitting the whole time. So we headed back out to the woodworking area which we had skipped. Our friend Angie was there crocheting edges onto a Sontag she’d knitted to keep herself warm. It’s like a shawl but it criss-crosses entirely around you and buttons in the back so there’s nothing hanging off. It’s a very cool design!
I was telling her about my crocheting and was saying that it was a shame I didn’t have my crocheting here to show her… Later on I realized I had my whole wheelchair cover right there and I just totally forgot! I was just sitting on it so I couldn’t see it! Our friend Jai’Lyn came out, too, and we got to hang out with her briefly. We also got to see Rusty, who does a lot of woodworking and was heading out.
Angie took us back to the latest improvement to Brattonsville, which was moving the loom and weaving setup back to the Smith house. The Smith house has been on the property for a long while, but we have never visited it before because it’s kinda hidden back behind the pigs and sheep, and we always had to keep our distance from the pigs with Hestia. But Felix was totally cool with the pigs and the sheep were far away, so we ventured back with Angie.
She sat on the porch and brought out some samples of things that were made on the loom and we talked for a long while. It was really fun! Brad had us pose for pictures together, too, which we both felt very silly doing!
When we realized it was time for the interpreters to go back, we headed back with Angie. We passed the pigs and this time I made sure Felix got a good look at them. He didn’t seem to care about them at all! They are enormous, but they were just lying there across the pen. Maybe he would have cared more if they were moving around a lot? In any case, I was very happy that he was able to be near the pigs without barking!
As we walked back, Emmy came over to join us and held hands with Angie as we walked back to the visitor’s center. It was such a wonderful day! We had a great time with Nancy, Tamara, and our favorite interpreters! Can’t wait to go back, hopefully this spring!