To understand New Jersey history a littel better, sometimes you have to cross the river. The Whitall History Readers' Book Club took a field trip this week to Pennsbury Manor, just outside of Bristol, Pa.
For information contactwww.pennsburymanor.org
Pennsbury is open from August to December 2013. Our tour guide had been a military history man until he came to Pennsbury Manor, so knowing that we were from Red Bank Battlefield, we established an instant raport. He was one of thos extraordinary docents who can tell just how much information to offer. Since we are all sincere and enthusiastic history researchers, we were interested in EVERYTHING he had to tell us about the complex and fascinating William Penn.
There are 14 sites to visit at Pennsbury Manor including a museum with a gift shop. The house tour was very interesting.
If you ar driving and have a gps, the address is 400 Pennsbury Memorial Rd., Morriville, Pa. 19057,
My personal favorites were the Brew House in the kitchen outbuilding, where there were many tools I have never seen before including a 'hatchell' of which I have been curious because I have a special interest in fibers. It has been my hope to someday learn spinning and weaving, and I have already tried knitting. It seems magical to me that people learned how to turn a stiff fibrous grassy plant into flax fiber and then into yarn on a spindle and finally into linen. What a laborious process! The flax was harvested, most likely by scythe, then soaked, then 'hatchelled' then stripped though a tool the name of which I have forgotten, then the fibers were spun and the spindle, when full went to the weaver. My generation of chldren like many before me, were raised on fairytells that involved princesses making weaving deals with jealous and cunning little people with magic powers to turn straw into gold. They got their fingers pricked on spinning wheels and all sorts of adventures ensued. Natrurally, I always wanted to see spinning wheels.
We had lunch at nearby Bristol at the King George Tavern located at 102 Radcliffe St. The King George is the oldest continuously operating tavern in the COUNTRY. It was built in 1765 and was the headquarters of General Cadwalader during the Revolution. Among the predictable tavern fair food choices there are delicious vegetarian options available. I had potato soup and a hummus and avocado wrap both of which were delicious.
Bristol itself, boasts 50 historic sites on a self-guided tour brochure available at the King George Tavern. We didn't have time on this trip, but if you start out early and have a whole day available to you, the places on the list look interesting.