The N.C. Department of Cultural Resources has sponsored Second Saturdays at state historic sites and museums this summer, and the program wraps up Saturday. You'll find music, arts, crafts, re-enactments and more at sites from the mountains to the coast, and a lot of the programming is free.
Let's take a look at Somerset Place, a restored plantation in Creswell in Eastern North Carolina. Somerset Place, a restored antebellum plantation, was once one of the largest plantations in the upper South. At this site, you'll find reconstructed slave homes, overseers' quarters, a formal garden and more. Among the educational programs are hands-on activities that include candle dipping, gourd bowl making, hearth cooking and rope making. The Second Saturday program theme, Music of Many, will explore the musical background of the plantation's past residents: British, African-American and native American.
Details: 252-797-4560; www.nchistoricsites.org/somerset/somerset.htm.
You'll find free admission - and special programming - at other Department of Cultural Resources locations around the state. Among the highlights:
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Bentonville Battlefield, in Four Oaks - between Bentonville and Goldsboro - will focus on the importance of community dances as a diversion for soldiers and civilians from the harsh realities of life during the Civil War. The site staff will host a community picnic and a social dance highlighting the art of Victorian dance. Re-enactors will provide dance instruction and demonstrations; artisans and vendors will have goods for sale. Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Fort Fisher, in Kure Beach, spotlights "Living Our Civil War History," stepping back in time to explore the world of 1865, with period-style crafts and goods for sale. The staff will offer costumed tours and weapons demonstrations. Period music will be performed. Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
At Bennett Place, N.C. authors will share their works with audiences on the grounds of the Bennett family farm in Durham, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Authors include Michael Hardy, Jim Wise and Betty Schiefelbein.
Details on these and other "Second Saturday" events: www.ncculture.com.