Although outside the valley (roughly 30 minutes from Kentville) the Ross Farm Museum makes for a fun and informative afternoon and is well worth the drive. For over 150 years, five generations of Ross family lived and worked on the farm. William Ross was given the land by the Governor of Nova Scotia in 1816; it was sold to the New Ross District Museum Society in 1970.
The Ross Farm is a living museum that is open year round, but with reduced days in the winter. The people working the farm are all dressed in authentic era clothing and demonstrate the different chores that are required to keep a historic farm running. There are many heritage animals that live on the farm that are all fed and cared for in return for their services. There is a pair of oxen that help do the work that on a modern farm would be done by tractors. Even though they are work animals they are both very friendly and seem to enjoy when people come up and pat them. Other animals include sheep, pigs, cattle, poultry, and of course the horse team.
Taking the horse drawn wagon or sleigh ride, depending on the season, is a great way to quickly see the majority of the farm property. The ride starts at the Ross barn where the animals live and upstairs houses a display of old farming equipment. Once the ride starts it will take you past the workshop which would have been used to repair items on the farm. The workshop also puts on demonstrations creating different wood products for daily use. Next you will see Rose Bank Cottage, it was the home of the Ross family and shows how the family would have lived. At the cottage they put on different displays, tasks that would have been performed in everyday life. One of the highlights of the cottage is the fresh treats that are prepared. The farm also has its own working mill which will be the next building on the trail. Down a hill leads you past a duck pond and to the Blacksmith and the Cooper shop. The Blacksmith is in charge of the metal work on the farm, including horseshoes which you can see being made. The Cooper shop makes wonderful apple barrels with the wood that has been milled right there on the farm. You can purchase a number of different size apple barrels which give a great country look and feel and can be used for many different things. Now we take a turn in through a wooded area and down past the beautiful Lake Lawson. The ride now does a loop and repeats the same path back up and ends at the Ross barn.
One of the first buildings that you come to when entering the farm is the old school house, complete with a school bell on the roof. This is a one room school house heated with a woodstove in the middle of the room. You are able to go in and sit at the old style desks and see what it might have been like to go to school in the early 1900's.
These are only some of the sites and experiences that are available at the Ross Farm Museum, there are constantly different and interesting demonstrations going on throughout the property. If you are in the valley and looking for something to do for an afternoon be sure to make the drive to New Ross and get a sense of Nova Scotia's agricultural history.
For more information visit the Ross Farm Museums' website http://museum.gov.ns.ca/rfm.