Friday, October 7, 2016

Henricus Historical Park Virginia

All Saints Day, November 1, was a cold (52 degrees) rainy day in Virginia. Not the ideal time to be touring an outdoor historic attraction. As it turned out, it was quite ideal. The only people touring get to have the docents all to themselves, it meant a lot of individual attention. Henricus Historical Park is a living history museum and during the week there will undoubtedly be school children in attendance, on the weekend not so much.

Begin the tour in the visitor center where an entrance sticker is provided. There is a 10-minute video that can be watched before or after walking in the historic park.

The current site is not the correct location for the Indian village but it works well this way to get everything onto the available space. The name of the Indian village is Arrohateck and it is for the Powhatan people. A docent met us in the first hut and explained life in the village. This is the type of village that Pocahontas would have been born in.

A medicine man’s hut is located in the village as well and the docent will explain the human skulls that you will see inside.

Next on the tour is the hut where the soldiers would have lived. We spent a long time here discussing what life was like in the village and the importance of religion in the life of the residents. The year of the village is between 1611 and 1622 when a fierce and unexpected Indian attack forced the town of Henrico to be abandoned for a time.

From the soldier's area,  you walk to Proctor Plantation. This is not a plantation on the scale of the James River Plantation of the later years, this is the beginning. It is a cozy home with a few amenities and it would have provided ample shelter for a family.

A large tobacco barn protects the money crop of the area and one pig and two goats are also on display. Several small gardens are located in both the Indian and the colonist villages.

Rocke Hall is the home of the minister of the village Rev. Alexander Whitaker, it was he who is credited with the conversion to Christianity of Pocahontas. It was too dark on this day to actually tour that home but both floors are available.

Mount Malady is the first English hospital in the New World. You can walk around inside this building. The Patron’s Tavern which is an ordinary was locked so not available.

Allow at least a couple of hours to visit here. It is fascinating. You need to be mobile enough to walk around on gravel paths. A gift store is located in the visitor center. Restrooms are in the same building. Restrooms are also available in a building adjacent to the tavern.

While not as large or in depth as Historic Jamestowne, this is a fascinating place to visit and well worth the time and effort.

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