History in your backyard

Published 5:37 pm Thursday, May 30, 2013

Area children are watching these last days of school dwindle while thoughts of summer activities are dancing in their heads. While that is exciting for the children, parents often begin to dread the time because they feel sure that in a matter of days after the school doors close, the phrase “I’m bored” or “There’s nothing to do” will replace the anxious anticipation that rings in their voices now. Here at Historic Bath we are more than willing to help parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles fill some of those empty hours with tours and activities, sneaking in some learning without the children (and adults) even knowing it!

Daily at Historic Bath (we are open Tuesday – Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.) we offer at no charge a 15-minute orientation film, the Van Der Veer House exhibit building, St. Thomas Church, and a walking tour map. If you prefer a more structured visit, we offer guided tours of the Palmer-Marsh and Bonner Houses on alternating hours for a modest fee of $2 for adults and $1 for children.

Day care centers, home school families and other groups can contact the Visitor Center for more a specialized visit. We can offer groups our normal schedule of events or you may enjoy a visit that will allow you to participate in some hands-on activities such as ropemaking and quill writing. We can offer this type of visit to groups of 10 or more.

We will once again participate in the state-wide 2nd Saturdays program which this year is June 8th, July 13th and August 10th. This program began in 2010 and offers free events at all North Carolina Historic Sites in hopes of encouraging visitors to venture out and experience the wealth of history specific to different areas of the state while developing an appreciation of the crafts and cultures North Carolina has to offer. The events at Historic Bath are as follows: June 8th, 10 a.m. – “America Without Indians: An Imaginary Journey”. Dr. David LaVere will ask audience members to imagine that the Western Hemisphere is truly a virgin land, devoid of Indian peoples and then start on a journey of how the nation may have developed, allowing all to come away with an understanding of just how essential Indians were to the development of the United States. This will take place in the orientation room of the Historic Site Visitor Center.           

July 13th, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. – “The British Invasion of Ocracoke – July 1813”.  This event will commemorate the British invasion of Ocracoke in July 1813. Featured will be living history interpreters representing both British and American forces as well as civilians of the time. Other activities include weapons and drill demonstrations, uniform and equipment talks, and camp life. This will be held at Bonner Point located at the corner of South Main and Front Streets in Bath. 

August 10th, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. – “A Woman’s Work is Never Done”. Learn about women’s chores from the past through demonstrations by the Tar Heel Civilians. Watch spinners and learn how to card wool and view the group’s collection of tools and vintage undergarments.  Try your hand at cleaning with a washboard and we’ll bet you’ll never complain about doing the laundry again! These activities will be held at the Historic Bath Visitor Center.

While at the site, stroll through our educational garden. Informational plaques are placed at each raised bed explaining the origin of the plant to this area of North Carolina and how they were used in other gardens such as those of Thomas Jefferson and George Washington. Throughout the summer as the fruits and vegetables mature, you can take home these pesticide-free products for a small donation that is used to replenish the garden seasonally.

Don’t wait! Now is the time to begin thinking about how to make memories during the Summer of 2013! We hope that you will have time to visit at least one if not all of our 2nd Saturday programs or feel free to contact us if you would like to arrange a special visit with demonstrations. It is our mission to serve not only the people of North Carolina but visitors from all over the world by interpreting our historic site in such a way that will “enable visitors to explore North Carolina’s rich and diverse heritage in an engaging, relevant manner.” So load up the car with family and friends and make the trek to Bath. Give us an hour, an afternoon or a day and we will do our best to make your visit fun and memorable. The bottom line is we need YOU to make our mission a reality!

Would you like to receive a monthly email of Historic Bath events? If so, please send your name and email address to bea.latham@ncdcr.gov.

The Historic Bath Visitor Center is located at 207 Carteret St. in Bath. You may call the Visitor Center for more information at 252-923-3971.  The center is open Tuesday – Saturday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. We offer tours daily but we can also tailor a visit (with advance notice) to meet your needs depending on the size and ages of the group and their interests. Please call us to learn what we can offer you and to schedule groups of more than 10. During our non-operating hours, walking tour brochures can be found outside the front door entrance.