Enchanting Discoveries

Last week we visited Coggeshall Farm, a very small-scale living history museum by a bay in Rhode Island.

Coggeshall (pronounced like: cog-shawl) Farm depicts a small farm at the close of the 1700's, as its only original building, shown here with Colette on its doorstep, dates to that time period.

We enjoyed our chat with a friendly and soft-spoken docent, who told us about the challenges of hearth cooking and of following 200-yr. old recipes.  She was attempting to get biscuits to rise by using "skimmings of beer" (the very last bit left in one's tankard).  Things did not look hopeful.

It made me think of how spoiled we are to have pictures in cookbooks these days, so we can also see what we're making is supposed to look like.  But it also caused me some reflection on how few girls these days are taught cooking at their mothers' side. Whereas in the past, there may have been no need for illustrations, because surely simply everyone would know what biscuits made with skimmings of beer were supposed to look like, because they'd been making them with their mother for years.

We fell in love with the gentle, simple beauty of Coggeshall Farm and all it contained that we love:

Smells of woodsmoke and apples cooking at the hearthside...

Bunches of fleecy sheep "baa-ing" at us...

The beauty of tools commonplace to every goodwife's skilled hands...

A tidy pantry with bowls of milk (from the farm's cows) setting to let the cream rise...

And even vintage dance manuals, as though the place could get any better...

Enchanting, in every respect.


  1. These scenes remind me of my favorite Laura Ingalls Wilder book, Farmer Boy. What a lovely day it must have been!

  2. Yes! That's my favorite Laura Ingalls Wilder book too! I think all those vivid descriptions of lovely domestic scenes and the self-sufficiency of their farm just draw me into their story. That and all those adventurous and hilarious tales...like those rough boys in the schoolhouse!

  3. How enchanting! I love to visit historic places - especially those places where you can interact with others, observe and learn about the time period.

  4. Yes, our family are big living history lovers too!

  5. Enchanting indeed! I want to go there too. ;)

  6. I think you should go there, if you're able. It's lovely!


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