By LEIGH C. MERRIFIELD
News & Journal Editor
The Fort New Salem Foundation is very passionate about the preservation of its frontier log house settlement located just outside of Salem. All of its annual activities strive to advance the educational, historical, cultural and social aspects of the settlement’s 19th century beginnings.
Those who originally made this West Virginia settlement their home over two hundred years ago were a blend of diverse cultures (Scotch-Irish, English and German) – from their music to their food, their skills, their lifestyles, and their beliefs. And when visiting during Fort New Salem’s upcoming annual ‘Spirit of Christmas in the Mountains’, attendees will witness all of those customs and traditions from this mix of cultures.
If you have never attended one of these celebrations, it is interesting to see how these settlers celebrated the Christmas holiday – from special foods they prepared to the making of decorations, etc. Heritage skills are demonstrated in the blacksmith shop and the Old Kitchen.
Thirteen cabins will be open, and modern interpretations of heritage crafts will be for sale from local craftspeople located in several of the Fort’s buildings. Guests have the opportunity to make their own candle and/or decorate a gingerbread man. It is a journey back in time as visitors witness how Christmas was celebrated in the Appalachian frontier.
Another activity taking place during the Fort’s celebration is chestnuts roasting on an open fire … which brings to life the song written by Mel Torme and recorded by Nat King Cole back in the…