When I first saw Doucet House in Rustico this past spring, the gray-blue sky appeared to sit on the roof of the old place.
However on this summer day, the house, believed to be the oldest on Prince Edward Island, looks like it is smiling. And no wonder!
The old house was built in 1772 by Jean and Marguerite Doucet, an Acadian family, on a site across the bay. There they had nine children. The house stayed in the family until 1982. In 1999, the new owner donated the little house as a museum and work began to transport it across the bay to sit next to the first Credit Union in Canada.
My husband and I couldn’t see the inside of the building in April but we could visit on this day. There are three rooms on the main floor. The largest contains the kitchen, with the stone fireplace in the center of the house, where food cooked over the open fire.
The original walls are visible today but sometime in the life of the house, were covered with sheet rock. It was removed during restoration but leaves its trace on the old wood.
Two bedrooms complete the main floor, a smaller room
and a larger with a double bed and a mattress filled with straw.
There is a half story above which was used for storage.
The furniture was donated by local Acadian families and includes items such as an old butter churn
and reminders of spinning
Outside, the community oven cooked bread and other staples for all the Acadian families in the area.
The fire started at the front of the oven and the coals were pushed to the back to make room for the food to bake.
There is a shed with the usual items such as a yoke for oxen
and a wooden seeder. An old manual washing machine, invented in the United States in 1846 and in common use until 1927, must have been a blessing to the women who used it originally.
We had our picnic outside as we imagined the ghosts of those first Acadians going about their daily lives all around us. They were great company.