Stomp the (brick) yard

Colonial Williamsburg historic interpreters aren’t afraid to get messy (Scarborough photo)You wouldn’t think that historically-rich Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia would feature a great way for kids and adults to get filthy.

To find out how you can join the fun, visit the Brickyard, one of many restored Colonial-era trades shops where you can see the 1700s brought to life in an approachable way that never feels fakey.

In warmer months, costumed interpreters make bricks the old-fashioned way, out of clay, and visitors are invited to climb into the clay pit barefoot and stomp around to their heart’s content mixing the clay.  There is a washing area nearby for those dirty feet.

My 7 year-old son had a blast.

Adults are told that clay-stomping has great exfoliating benefit for the feet, so I was tempted, but had to decline when I was caught up in a minor camera memory stick crisis (I was shooting photos and taking notes for an upcoming article in Automotive Traveler.)

In October, the workers fire up the kiln in what has become an annual celebratory event.

The one with the big grin is my kid (Scarborough photo)

According to the Brickmaker section of the (excellent) Colonial Williamsburg Web site, “Bricks made on site at the brickyard have recently been used in [the restoration project to build] the Peyton Randolph smokehouse, dairy, and lumberhouse foundations, and the foundation and center chimney of the Randolph kitchen.”

Listen to podcasts about the various trades  (click through the “Daily Life” category to “Trades” to hear about basketmaking, saddle/harness making, tailoring, making wigs and more from the people who authentically interpret these trades every day.)

You never know what you’ll find when you start poking around in history.

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  1. Douglas Bregger Reply