British Loyalist village in New Brunswick brings a past century alive
Escaping the cannon fire of the American Revolution, Loyalists made their way north to Canada to rebuild their futures on the peaceful banks of the St. John River in modern-day New Brunswick. At self-sustaining Kings Landing Historical Settlement, you can experience daily life as the Loyalists lived it, from the 1780s to the early 1900s. Authentic details really bring history alive here. Victorian fabric crafts are recreated. Villagers (aka employees) grow their own wheat and vegetables, milk the cows, chop the wood and stoke the fire. And you’ll see a fashion show through history in the costumes of the interpretive guides.
Staffer Krista Rae confirms that the Kings Landing wardrobe department does its historical research well. “Our village spans the whole century. There were many different styles. The same as today when fashion changes in the blink of an eye.” Expect to see interpreters in full petticoats, flounces, figure-enhancing bustles and ever-changing bonnets.
Rae explains, “Women wore day caps inside, because of the ashes and smoke from cooking over an open hearth. Later, when cook stoves came in, a head covering in the home was not as necessary, so they might have worn only a crocheted snood.”
The buildings at Kings Landing are equally accurate portrayals. Rae says one of the most popular is also the oldest, dating back to the 1780s. “It’s actually a privy,” she laughs. “Octagonal in shape and a four-holer.”
At Kings Landing, visitors can watch women spinning, weaving and candle-making and hover over the blacksmith hammering out nails, hinges and hooks. In the village’s 13 family homes, the aroma of fresh-baked buckwheat bread welcomes workers home from the field and farm. The squawk of chickens mingles with the grinding of the village sawmill. Over at the King’s Head Inn, a minstrel group just may burst into a rousing rendition of “Oh! Susanna” on the fiddle and the penny whistle, or kick-start a jig, a reel or a waltz during sunny afternoon barn dances.
Kings Landing Historical Settlement is open summers from mid-June to Thanksgiving weekend.
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