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Time Travel October 8, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Life Balance, Sustainable Living.

Each time we visit Manatee Village Historical Park, we step back in time to 1912.

What a difference a century makes.

Yesterday, taking advantage of cooler temps, we escaped the incessant demands of internet, cell phones, computer passwords, and cyber speak.

Instead of text messages, tweets, and cyber misunderstandings, we engaged in real time, face-to-face conversations with several of the village docents.

Leo Stanford, a transplant from New England, delighted us with tales from the early days of Manatee County, and his wife Sandy invited us back to celebrate a Cracker Christmas on December 11th, when the village will be decorated from head to toe with period trees, ornaments and costumes.

As we wandered the grounds, we enjoyed a brief flashback from modern mayhem and complexity to simplicity.


The Settler’s House, a “Cracker” Cottage, built in 1912, delighted us with its three outside porches, a central breezeway to catch the breeze, and gaps in the floorboards to attract cooler air from under the house.

No phone, no pool, no pets ~ just an oasis of calm serenity in the middle of pines and palms.

We toured the Wiggins Store, built in 1903, with shelves lined with every thing the early settlers needed ~ from thread to barbed wire, fabric to dry goods and gadgets.  And not a single iPod or laptop in sight.

We visited the relocated boat works, a time capsule sealed in 1944 (when Captain Bartholomew “Bat” Fogarty died) and reopened and restored in 1993.  We toured the Blacksmith Shop, a Smokehouse, a Turpentine Still, a Potter Barn, the Old Meeting House (circa 1887), and learned some interesting trivia about Outhouses.

Even in the pioneer days of Florida,  justice needed to be dispensed.

And what a gorgeous dispensary!

Cases ran the gamut from cattle rustling to trespass to divorce to disorderly conduct to public intoxication.

The fine for public intoxication?

Ten cents!


1. booksphotographsandartwork - October 8, 2010

No pets! Oh my I wouldn’t know what to do with myself.

I love the idea of a central breezeway. And porches! Oh how I would love a porch.

The loose floorboards is an interesting idea. Kind of scary though.

And outhouses! Yikes! I need my indoor plumbing.

nrhatch - October 8, 2010

Actually, I just stole that line from King of the Road . . . the settlers had dogs as “pets” but also for survival to keep the snakes and other critters out of the breezeway at night.

The floorboards were placed with small gaps between the boards to allow air circulation. Great in the summer, probably a bit chilly on the feet in the winter.

The outhouse . . . yup. I like my modern plumbing.

2. Agatha82 - October 8, 2010

I saw this come up on my email and laughed as I was in the middle of writing that Fiction Friday story you commented on. I’d love to live somewhere with no mobile phones, though I’d miss the internet as it’s my way of connecting to the outside world, however, I’m sure I’d get used to not having it since I didn’t have it 20 years ago lol

nrhatch - October 8, 2010

As long as the internet exists, I want to be plugged into it . . . most days, anyway.

But if it crashed, and I no longer had any web passwords to remember and update and protect, I might be happier. 8)

3. cindy - October 9, 2010

That’s just charming, Nancy. Would give my eye teeth to visit the place 🙂

nrhatch - October 9, 2010

I gravitate toward restored villages.

I grew up near Allaire Village in NJ ~ a restored village with an steam locomotive train running around its perimeter, and acres of land with restored buildings sprinkled throughout.

I went to college in Williamsburg, VA with hundreds of restored buildings lining (and adjacent to) the mile long Duke of Gloucester Street which ran from the Wren Building to the Capital. My fave: four restored taverns serving Colonial Fare ~ all within jogging distance of my dorm!

In Winston-Salem, the restored village of Old Salem boasted a bakery, shoppes, and several other well preserved and restored buildings. We ate at the Salem Tavern on numerous occasions, complete with servers in period costumes.

In MD, Furnace Town, a restored village in Snow Hill (20 minutes away from us), beckoned to us on a regular basis, especially for its Celtic Faires.

And now we have Manatee Historical Village Park about 15 minutes away from us.

I should have been a History major. 🙂

4. Judson - October 9, 2010

I love Old Salem. So much of it is original rather than recreated.

So you attended William & Mary? That must have been really cool.

— Judson

nrhatch - October 9, 2010

Loved Wm & Mary and Wmsburg. Beautiful campus and adjoining historic area.

Also love wandering around Old Salem. Tried to do most of my Christmas Shopping in its shops ~ tin angels, handdipped candles, pewter, etc.

5. Greg Camp - October 9, 2010

Ah, 1912. That year has long held a different set of feelings for me, since the events of 14 and 15 April symbolized the end of the way of life that you described. Alas, nobility and breeding couldn’t do much when the bulkheads didn’t rise high enough, but we’ve been relying on technological fixes for our problems ever since.

There are many times when I wish that we could rewind the social clock, so long as we could bring the genuine advances with us, but that’s not how life works.

nrhatch - October 9, 2010

Yes. I’d want to pick and choose. I like modern plumbing and electricity (including air conditioning), but some “progress” holds us back rather than leaving us time and energy for the simpler things in life.

Just think about movies. Back then, a few movies a year came out. If you watched them, you had to go to a theatre. Now, we can watch them over and over in our living rooms, on our computers, in our cars, and they seem to come out with increasing frequency (thought not increasing quality).

But I like refrigerators and washing machines and . . .

Maybe we just need to work to maintain life balance.

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