Sunday, July 24, 2011

Synergy Takes Me Where I Need to Go

Most people have their own ideas on what constitutes synergy. The dictionary tells you it is the cooperation of two or more. My idea of synergy is the universe and I working together to bring the events or experiences that I need into my life. I must admit the universe and I don’t always agree immediately. Sometimes it takes me some time to see the light. The synergy of something that I need right now suddenly being plopped right in my lap astounds me. That’s how I look at yesterday. My friend Jane and I set out on one of our adventures. Of course, they always include food so we had brunch before continuing. We do this every few weeks as a way of keeping in touch.

Since my mind is always on Herself, my book, I have been making the rounds of historic houses and museums. Luckily, Jane loves old houses too. I thought we were going to Hill-Stead House so, of course, was surprised when Jane turned into the Stanley-Whitman House (

The Stanley-Whitman house, built about 1720, it was a great opportunity for my research purposes. We were delighted to find out that they admit veterans free, both Jane and I are veterans. They offer both self-guided and docent-led tours and we decided to have a docent tell us the whole story of the house.

Rebecca, our docent, was delightfully informative. She really brought the house to life. She started by showing us a colonial-era map of Farmington, which put where we were in perspective. During the tour, we saw many fascinating eighteenth century items, such as a bed that had hinges and folded up out of the way. Those colonials were very clever people. One undated chest has the most exquisite and intricate designs etched on it.

The house itself, although extremely interesting, was built a few years later than Herstory women would have lived in. However, by going into the lean-to addition, I got a good idea of what the first houses in East Haddam would have been like. Lean-to houses were what the first settlers built in the seventeenth century. It was great for me to see what a buttery looks like with the cheese press and the butter churn that the women in Herstory would have used. We also saw a weaving loom and spinning wheels, as well as the actual flax they would have used as their raw materials. In studying the makeup of the weaving loom and spinning wheels, I marveled at the incredible ingenuity it took for these pioneers to produce the tools they needed.
Some other enlightening aspects of the Stanley-Whitman house are the authentic seventeenth and eighteenth century gardens. I just learned recently that the colonists used raised beds for the kitchen and medicinal herb gardens. Here, I could see them, as they would have been. They even had each plant named. I hate it when I go to a garden site and they haven’t named their plants and there is always at least one I’m not able to identify. Very frustrating.

I also saw their library, which researchers can use by appointment. I will be doing that soon.

I would recommend a visit to the Stanley-Whitman house for anyone with an interest in history. If you want to find out more about them check

Have you ever been to this museum? What museum you've visited, do you like most?

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