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March 20, 2005
King’s Landing Historical Settlement - New Brunswick. We like history and try to visit as many historical sites as possible. One of the most talked about attractions in New Brunswick is King’s Landing, the recreation of a nineteenth century settlement near Fredericton. It’s easy to see why people love to visit the site. Saint John River and Courser’s Cove are most striking backdrops for King’s Landing Historical Settlement. The attraction was developed when a dam that was to be built across the river provided the incentive to move a number of threatened buildings to a three hundred acre site out of harm’s way.
As we found out, the recreated settlement is so large it took several days to see. There are more than seventy buildings, thirty-one of them with costumed interpreters on hand. Many date back to the days of the United Empire Loyalists, 1784 through to the late 1900's. Many of the Loyalists came from the northern United States and their families still have roots in the area. In particular, the Scots, Irish and English cultures are featured at Kings Landing.
Your visit should begin at the Information Centre where the River Heritage Gallery features displays using the museum’s more than 70,000 artifacts. Be sure to get a detailed site map before setting out to explore the settlement. A horse drawn wagon does take people around the settlement but walking is preferred, at least part of the time. Be forewarned and wear comfortable shoes.
The earliest building at Kings Landing dates to1828 and the latest to1909. We loved the c1828 Jones house, very Scottish in design and built into the side of a hill. The1870 Perley house has a rosette window that is particularly interesting The indoor plumbing in the 1840 Ingraham House was amazing for the time as was their octagonal privy. The tiny c1830 backwoods Killeen cabin is an historic gem.
What impressed us most is the layout of the settlement, the attention to detail and knowledgeable interpreters. Each building is a little capsule done to a specific time period. All feature excellent artifacts and present a total surround-a-round of things historical.
Each staff member adopts the story of an individual and did a very good job of maintaining the role throughout the day.
We ate at the Kings Head Inn. I’d heartily recommend the Salmon Chowder and Acadian Sugar Pie. Teddy consumed Acadian tourtiere and maple-brandy squash pie. Before the main course, we both had Salmon Chowder. Hot cider came with the meal. Mmm good! There is a full restaurant and bakery at the Visitor Centre and several places in the settlement where you can get cold drinks and ice cream.
One of our afternoons was spent touring the sash and door factory, carpenter shop, saw and grist mill, cooper’s shop and general store. A grist mill and saw mill at the head of Courser’s Cove are so well placed we thought they were original to the site. In fact they are both recreated buildings. The Grist Mill is one of the most photographed in Canada.
As visitors stroll village byways, they notice a definite lack of twentieth century intrusions. Ox carts pass by. Guests are greeted as though they are old friends. Interpreters keep up their in-character patter, making people feel that they were indeed caught in a time-warp and have been transported back in time, to a special time and place.
Many special events are held in the settlement. We enjoyed strolling musicians and a Victorian melodrama in the Ingraham Barn Theatre. Temperance in a Tea Pot and Pauper’s Auction weekends are popular events. Folk Days at the beginning of August are all about music, song and dance and are foot-stomping family fun.
Your final stop should be at Kings Landing Museum Store at the Visitor Centre that has a large selection of New Brunswick-made crafts, foods and reproduction furniture. I had to be pried out of the book section.
IF YOU GO:
P.O. Box 130
Fredericton, New Brunswick E3B 4Y7
St. Andrews, New Brunswick E5B 1A1
Prince William, New Brunswick E6K 3W3
Fredericton, New Brunswick E3B 5H1
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