Stepping into the Past

Yesterday Michael and I took his daughter to Tryon Palace which was the governor’s mansion of colonial North Carolina when New Bern was the capitol.

George III was, like, everywhere. Paintings, seals, insignias. His portrait hung throughout the home – and countless other homes that were an ocean away that he’d never see – really provides some insight into this dude. Maybe they only hung it up when someone official was coming by because, let me tell you, he wasn’t much too look at (unless you’re into that powdered-wig-silky-pantaloons look).

The visit was interesting for a number of reasons – mainly because history is cool (duh), but also because Mike and I both remembered going on field trips there as kids and hadn’t been since. We both specifically remembered making candles and were pretty bummed no one offered to let us do that.

I’ve been to Biltmore in Asheville much more recently so for me it was reminiscent of that but being at Tryon did bring back some memories, at least I convinced myself I remembered some of it. Unfortunately we got there a bit too late to gaze in wonder upon “the actual bed where George Washington slept!”, but they’ve done a great job recreating the time period and displaying everything.

I even learned something new! Though I’m pretty sure people actually did used to be shorter, the tour guide said the beds in historical homes like that always look short because they were custom-sized. The width of them is odd and unexpected to our modern eyes, thus making them look short because they tend to be more square versus rectangular.

It is always hard for me to resist the urge to touch things – especially the books – I guess that is an urge that never really goes away as you get older. “What would happen if I just reached over and touched those giant books of colonial laws that are screaming out to me with both their visual appeal and that old musty smell that nerds of my breed simply can’t resist?” Someone should bottle that old book/old home/old-artifacts-are-everywhere scent, like 3% of people would go nuts.

When possible, I never pass up the chance for a good historical tour – it’s a shame I’ve already seen most of the local stuff. Give it a chance sometime if you haven’t, it made for a fun day.

In the spirit of playing tourist, I took some photos – enjoy!

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