[Something happened with the formating on this blog post, so I took it down and am reposting it here. No new content but I wanted to have it available for those who were interested in reading all the Williamsburg posts. Thank you for your patience.]
[If you hadn't noticed... last week's blogs were a bit off. That's because I was away from my lovely desktop Mac and trying to survive remotely with an iPad I still haven't quite gotten the hang of. My husband also let me borrow his laptop -- thanks, dear! We had gone to Williamsburg and Richmond Virginia, and this week I thought I'd blog about some of the cool things we did.] [Skip to Part Two]
Williamsburg — A Capitol City
This was our fourth trip to Colonial Williamsburg, so I have a little advice to share.
1.) Don’t go in the summer. Why sweat with the crowds when you can have the city practically to yourself in the fall and winter? We’ve been in November (this time) and December (in 2010) and it has been lovely both visits. The exhibits are all open and the tradespeople have tons of time to talk to you. It’s easy to get a reservation for dinner and tickets to events. You might get lucky and see some snow (as we did in ’10) then the town takes on a wonderland effect and you feel as if you’ve just stepped into a giant snow globe.
If it gets a bit nippy, no worries, just step into the newly constructed Charlton Coffee House. Charlton’s is steps from the stone fence of the Capitol. There you’ll learn about the Coffee House from first person interpreters and sit down to a hot cup of tea, coffee or chocolate with the proprietor.
2.) Stay in a Colonial House. Colonial Houses line Duke of Gloucester Street (the main drag of Williamsburg), Frances Street and Nicholson Street. They are furnished with Colonial Era reproduction furniture, but also host modern amenities like a heat/air, cable TV and indoor plumbing. Stay by yourself at one of the smaller structures like the Chiswell Bucktrout Kitchen (perfect for a romantic getaway); upgrade to a multi-room house and bring the family; or go for a tavern style vacation at the Brick House Tavern. You’ll get a full breakfast at the wonderful Williamsburg Inn each morning. Look for packages, like the Holiday Decorations Package, that will also include a tour and gift card. (Word to the wise, Frances street is a 21st Century road, so there is bus, truck and car traffic. For a quieter stay book early and stay on Duke of Gloucester.)
3.) Engage. Talk to the interpreters and crafts people. The more you ask the more you’ll get out of your 18th Century adventure. Be sure to catch a “Public Audience” with George Washington, Thomas Jefferson or Patrick Henry.
You can also meet less lauded members of society in the “Meet a Nation Builder” series.
Slaves made up a large portion of the population in Williamsburg and their stories are represented throughout the city in such programs as His Natural Wife — the story of Aggy the common law wife of her master; and a slave’s perspective on life in the Randolph house (Payton Randolph had more slaves than any one else in the city.)
- Trip to Colonial Williamsburg shows how much presidential debates have evolved (wtkr.com)
- Colonial Williamsburg Gears Up for Weekend of Jazz Featuring Great Atmosphere, Music, and Food (prweb.com)
- The Colonial Williamsburg Tavern Cookbook, by The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation (bfgb.wordpress.com)
- A Walk through Virginia’s Historic Triangle – Williamsburg, VA (travelpod.com)
All photos were taken by Rita except where indicated.