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TOLLING FROM THE TOWER
Church and meetinghouse bells gave colonists their only way to broadcast news of births and deaths as well as tolling the time of services. Though some weigh upwards into tons, many of these big old bells have found homes in the hands of a few avid collectors.
Although it has its own history as one of Williamsburg’s oldest taverns, Edinburgh Castle took on a new identity when Bill Barker—Williamsburg’s official Thomas Jefferson stand-in—made it his home. We visit during the Green Spring Garden Club’s annual Christmas Homes Tour.
PRESERVING THE SAILOR'S ART
Often working in dim light on sea-tossed ships, sailors made bones, teeth, and tusks of whales, walruses, and other beasts into delicate engravings now cherished as scrimshaw. A contemporary scrimshaw artist shows how it was done, now with materials that do not threaten the survival of endangered species.
AMERICA'S OLDEST SYNAGOGUE
Built in 1763 by Sephardic Jews, Newport’s Touro Synagogue is a monument to America’s religious freedom and toleration that was first promoted by Roger Williams. Despite years of neglect, a 2006 restoration made the synagogue both a treasure to visit and a beautiful house of worship serving an active congregation.
THE CABIN THAT FRIENDSHIP BUILT
Bill Curry learned the value of the tools, skills, and hard work needed to build (and rebuild) log cabins. He was also a man of his word. When he couldn’t keep his promise to build a cabin for his wife, Ginny, his friends stepped in and finished the job.
HOW HAM BECAME COUNTRY HAM
Italy has its prosciutto, Spain has its Jamón Serrano, but only America has country ham. Low country colonists quickly learned it took both salt and smoke to preserve a ham properly—and that the combination also yielded a
great delicacy, on par with the world’s best. During the holidays, country ham graces tables across the country.
Visits to Plimoth Plantation so fascinated Brenda OnShin when she was a child that she has adopted the pioneer life in the New Hampshire woods. Now a confirmed re-enactor and tomahawk-throwing champion, she invites you to see her tiny cabin-cum-tavern that staunchly defends against modern conveniences (except running water) and maybe share a slice of cake—if it’s Wednesday.
MASONIC TRACING BOARD PAINTINGS
Freemasonry—which once held together communities in early America—taught benevolence and an understanding of God’s work. Learning its rituals and degrees was a complicated process that was aided by symbols painted on Masonic tracing boards, many of which were beautiful works of art.
TALES OF TENACITY
Personal stories of women who settled in Jamestown and the early Virginia colony reveal how women regarded and coped with the challenges of living in a new world, far outnumbered by men—and how their perseverance helped sustain the fledgling society.