Wednesday, August 17, 2011

tourist trapped

Today, we went to Old Town. It's a state historical park in San Diego with old-timey houses and lots of Wild West fonts and at least two Wells Fargo stagecoaches. I'd mentioned it as an aside to Lucy as a possible outing. When really, I was thinking it might be better when she was eight, and then only slightly.
Because the truth is, I've been to Old Town before, and have never left impressed.
Old buildings with museums in them with lots of fine print? Dusty streets, with little shade? Many (many) tourist trap restaurants and stores? With a kindergartner and toddler?

No thank you.

But Lucy heard about it and would not let it drop. So it was that we pulled into the (notoriously overfull) parking lot...

and immediately found a space.

Thus began a charmed morning.

The first thing we wandered towards was the blacksmith shop, where a small sign hung out front. "Special event," it said.
What they had were real live blacksmiths who made Lucy a little funny face out of hot iron and then handed it to her to keep. Talked with us for about 15 minutes and showed her how everything worked, their tools, horseshoes, anvils, whatever. We were the only ones there, and Lucy's face was shining.
Then we walked past donkeys, who brayed quite convincingly, through tackle and rein displays, into a schoolteacher "show", in and out of old houses with old toys and clothes in them, saw a chamber pot, walked through the courthouse and appalling jail, and finally, visited a school house, where Lucy sat in a desk and saw a slate.
We ate some extremely touristy mediocre Mexican food (the only disappointment), then went home.

She had been fingering her blacksmith memento and talking about it ever since.

That was just about the coolest historical park I've ever been to.
Sorry for doubting you, Old Town. Trapped isn't quite right. Captured is better.

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