It was the kind of night where you would put on a sweater before turning the heat up any further. The fire was low, yet it did the trick in taking the chill out of the October air. A thin film of smoke hung lightly in the room. It reminded me of how much I enjoyed the sweet smell of hard wood burning. Three torchieres were positioned in the the corners of the room and their light was dim. I was aware of the size of the room and how much light was being given off by each lamp. There were five windows with elaborate built-in seating for each one, though one window had been boarded up with paneling that matched the rest of the decor; an obvious correction to the original structure when an addition was put on. The panels on the wall as well as the boards on the floor were a soft white pine (from the colonial New England forestry trade); wide and stripped of any finish. Each board had to measure 18-24 inches across. The paneling on the walls were hand hewn raised panels with mortis and tenon joinery. The windows themselves were double sashed and multi-paned, which was typical for the style of the architecture and a hallmark of the colonial times. The wavy glass added to the mystery of the surroundings.
As I waited for our class to begin my mind wandered. I wondered what would it have been like to be far away from my native home and brought into the wilderness of New England in 1701. That was just 9 years after the Salem Witch Trials happened in neighboring Massachusetts. Would I have been an accuser, or an accused participant? Would I be able to survive in this environment without indoor plumbing or central heating?
Our class began the same way it had every other night except this time the visual aid was not a power point presentation, video, or replicated document. We were enveloped by the actual artifact of history. We could touch, feel, see and smell the essence of the time period we were studying and learning about. I can't fully explain the heightened sense of learning I have regrding our Granite State College class inside the Colonel Paul Wentworth House, but it was truly an amazing experience, one that will remain with me for quite some time.