The National Historic Landmark Village of Waterford, Va., is said to be named for a homesick Irishman. Founded by Quakers in 1733, this quaint little hamlet remains rooted to its past with many of its houses and other buildings relatively unchanged from the late 1700s and early 1800s. This year Waterford marks its 20th anniversary as one of only three National Historic Landmark villages in the United States.
Each year on the first weekend in October the village offers hospitality to scores of tourists who flock there for the annual Homes Tour and Crafts Exhibit. As Virginia's oldest crafts fair, it has become a showcase for traditional crafts with over 100 nationally recognized craftspeople displaying their wares. Many of them are chosen for their ability to teach and allow visitors a hands-on experience in 18th and 19th century crafts. In one case basketmaker from New York begins his craft by splitting ash logs for material to use in his baskets.
Two special events this year will be Civil War battle re-enactments on Saturday and Sunday and an authentic Civil War military ball on Saturday evening. There will also be appearances by the 54th Massachusetts Volunteers black re-enactment unit, featured in the movie "Glory," and the Maryland Militia, who will demonstrate musketry and camp life of the Revolutionary War period.
Sixteen private houses and buildings, the largest number in recent years, will be open for tour, including the Hague-Hough House (circa 1700) and Mill End, built for the town miller's daughter in the 1800s.
And there still more to see . . . three floors of juried crafts at the Old Mill, a barn filled with dried flowers, a juried art show, demonstrations of antique farm steam equipment, children re-enacting a school day of the 1880s and street performances by various groups ranging from Appalachian bluegrass and cloggers to a fife and drum corps to Morris dancers. There will also be authentic period foods for sale, like Brunswick stew, corn muffins and Dutch funnel cakes.
The fair runs from Friday through next Sunday, with extended hours this year from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. Admission is $10, free for children 12 and under.
Take Interstate 70 west to U.S. 340 to U.S. 15 south; turn west on Route 7 for five miles past Leesburg, Va.; then turn right onto Route 9 for one mile and right on Route 662 and follow to village. For information, call (800) 752-6118.
*The Railroad Renaissance Festival Saturday and next Sunday ia celebration of 100 years of railroad heritage in Brunswick, a town that grew because of the railroad. In 1890 the B&O railroad purchased most of the town, known then by it old name, Berlin, and established its railroad yards there. The town changed its name and became one of the country's industrial boom towns.
Today the railroad yards are still there. You can see the roundhouse and turntable, visit the restored train station and the Brunswick Museum, a favorite haunt for railroad buffs. Next weekend's celebration will be one of the highlights of Brunswick's centennial year, with train excursions to Harpers Ferry every hour on the half hour, bus tours of the railroad yards, carriage rides through town, railroading exhibits, movies, memorabilia and auctions, along with children's activities, food, crafts and continuous free entertainment in Railroad Square next to the station.
Saturday's full agenda starts at 9:30 a.m. with railroad music on the entertainment stage and continues with a magic show, the arrival of the Maryland Mainstreet Special train from Baltimore, bluegrass music, a storyteller, square dancing and a musical tribute to Brunswick. Sunday's events include a foot race, children's scavenger hunt, pet show, community worship celebration and another full schedule of entertainment.
For information, call (301) 694-6040 or (301) 432-8209.
*Harvest Days will be held Saturday and next Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. at Landis Valley Museum near Lancaster, Pa.
The largest museum of Pennsylvania German rural life, the museum complex consists of about 20 buildings, including farmsteads with animals and gardens, a tavern, country store, 1850s hotel and potters shop. Harvest Days is one of the museum's biggest events of the year, with over 70 living history and craft demonstrations. Many will be related to the harvest, such as drying fruits, grinding cornmeal and making cider, meadow tea and beer. Other craftspeople will demonstrate shoemaking, hatting, cigar making, gunsmithing, rug braiding, early timber construction and many more activities. There will be programs of folk music, a children's sing-along, steam engine rides to the pumpkin patch, lessons in an 1890s schoolhouse, carriage rides and quilt raffle.
Admission is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors, $3 for ages 6 to 17, free for ages 5 and under. The museum is just over two miles northeast of Lancaster on Route 272 (Oregon Pike), a marked exit off both U.S. 30 and U.S. 222.
For information, call (717) 569-0401.