2007-04-26 / News

17th century at Smith's Castle: soldiers, sailers and privateers

Smith's Castle, in collaboration with Roger Williams National Memorial, will host Bridge to the Past on Saturday, May 5, and Sunday, May 6, from noon to 4 p.m.

Visitors are invited to return to the 17th century as re-enactors, soldiers, sailors and privateers, sutlers and traders, take over Smith's Castle's grounds, transforming it to appear as it did when Richard Smith built his trading house on the banks of Cocumscussoc in 1637. Visitors will be treated to the sights, smells and sounds of the 17th century along with tours of the Castle.

This year's musical entertainment will feature Bruce Major playing the psaltery, an instrument of the harp or the zither family. His performance, in full colonial costume, is made possible with the support of the North Kingstown Arts Council.

Re-enactors will help visitors spend a few hours getting to know what Rhode Island was like more than 100 years before the Revolution. Re-enactors attending will include: The Free Men of the Sea, a pirate group; Benjamin Church's Company of Soldiers, The Dartmouth Militia, and The South Coast Historical Associates, who act as fur trappers.

Children and adults alike may go 'round the Maypole, play the games of Graces, Cat's Cradle, or Stilts. There will be a colonial broom making demonstration, gun display and woodworking table.

Outdoor cooking demonstrations will include "boarding a fish" over an open fire, bread baking and butter making.

Visitors can stroll the pathways of the dye plant garden to learn how early settlers colored their cloth, observe the early flax plants that will yield the fiber for linen cloth later in the season and visit the squash garden to watch as the ground is prepared for planting using resources from the sea for fertilizer.

Admission is free for members and $5 for non-members. Children ages 6 to 12 are $1, and under 6 are free.

For more information, call 294-3521, email smithscastle@ earthlink.net, or visit the website at www.smithscastle.org.

The Castle is located at 55 Richard Smith Drive in North Kingstown, RI, just off Rt. 1, about 1 mile north of Wickford village and directly across from the State Police barracks.

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