As much as we love to travel and try new activities in new locales, we have the most fun in our own city. Finding new events, restaurants, and happenings right here at home is not only cheaper, but builds our sense of community, which is really important since neither of us are originally from here.
This weekend, we attended a very interesting event at the Duke Homestead State Historic Site called Widows and Wakes. The Duke Homestead was the home of one of Durham’s most prosperous tobacco farmers and is now an historic site and tobacco museum.
The event was a special candlelight tour of the home with costumed actors that depicted in the Victorian era “how doctors attended a dying patient and prepared family members to say goodbye, widows grieving their loss at a wake held in the parlor, and the reenactment of a period séance in the dining room.”
It wasn’t the typical Halloween haunted house and that’s what I loved about it. It was curated by a historian that took time to research the traditions of families in the late 1800s so it was an accurate interpretation of how people dealt with death and illness. The actors contracted “consumption” (now known as tuberculosis), made the last arrangements for their deceased loved one and later contacted them in the afterlife through a spirit guide. Afterward, our group gathered around a roaring fire pit and the curator answered any questions we had regarding what we had seen and life in general in those times. It was very entertaining and I will happily attend next year.
This was our first visit to the homestead and I’m already making plans to visit again for other events to help preserve our town’s history. I definitely recommend looking into what your own town has to offer and making good use of it. You never know what you’ll find and will probably have a blast doing it!