156 Scituate Ave.
Cranston, RI, 02921
Bear and I took a couple of her besties to the Holiday Open House at Joy Homestead earlier this month. We were all charmed by the place.
The girls were delighted to find a real fire going in the hearth (we could smell the woodsmoke as soon as we got out of the car), tended by a woman in period dress. A continental soldier and honored guest George Washington were also in attendance. General Washington was kind enough to pose with Flat Stanley for my nephew.
General Washington told us that he and his troops had marched up what is now Scituate Avenue and past the Joy Homestead with General Rochambeau and his French contingent in 1780. They ultimately arrived in Williamsburg, Va. in 1781.
The "keeping room" and second floor above it were, according to our hosts, the oldest part of the house, built in the 1760's. Homestead founder Job Joy, his wife and their 11 children lived in the space. Job was a shoemaker, and traded his services with the other local artisans and farmers. The house may have been a good size, but the Joys weren't particularly wealthy and often fell on hard times, according to the Homestead's site.
Although the house was decked for the holidays, it's still easy to imagine how it must have been, crowded with 13 people. There are fireplaces at both ends of the room, so it was likely relatively warm in the winter.
Over time, the house had additions put on, including a parlor which now has dolls of General and Mrs. Washington on the mantel.
The parlor also boasted a small tree with some 18th century period-type toys. A local Boy Scout and our friend the continental soldier were very engrossed in those.
Opening off the parlor was a small bedroom.
Another room, accessible from both the parlor and keeping room, called the "inner room" also had a fireplace. This is where the cookies and tea were served, and naturally was the girls' favorite spot.
We all loved our visit, and will certainly go back again. It's not only entertaining, but historically informative, too.