Williamsburg (part 1)

[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.]

Textile 3

[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.

The Chiswel Bucktrout Kitchen, one of the Colonial Houses available for rent.

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.)

Williamsburg Inn. If you stay at a Colonial House you'll breakfast at the Inn's Regency Room.

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.

A first-person interpreter takes on the persona of founding father Patrick Henry for "A Public Audience with Patrick Henry" in the garden behind the Palace.

You can also meet less lauded members of society in the “Meet a Nation Builder” series.

Aggy tells her story.

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.)

Interpreter at the Payton Randolph house describes what its like to be a slave for one of the richest men in the city.

Continued tomorrow…

Treat yourself to a carriage ride down the 1 mile long Duke of Gloucester Street from the Capitol to Merchant Square.[Photo Credit: Bill]

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All photos were taken by Rita except where indicated.


About ritalovestowrite

Freelance writer, graphic designer, musician, foodie and Jane Austen enthusiast in Northern Baltimore County, Maryland. As a writer I enjoy both fiction and non fiction (food, travel and local interest stories.) As an advocate for the ARTS, one of my biggest passions is helping young people find a voice in all the performing arts. To that end it has been my honor to give one-on-one lessons to elementary, middle and high school students in graphic design and music. And as JANE-O I currently serve as the regional coordinator for JASNA Maryland and am working on a Regency/Federal cooking project. View all posts by ritalovestowrite

2 responses to “Williamsburg (part 1)

  • lucewriter

    I love Williamsburg. My favorite pics from when my kids were young was them in the stocks ;).

  • ritalovestowrite

    Now you can rent costumes for the kids to wear during their stay. I think this is new, and I don’t know if cost or if it is first come first served. (We didn’t travel with youngsters this time. But we did see a trio of kids who took advantage of the program. Talk about getting in to character!

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