Previous tips included:
- Planning your trip in the Fall or Winter to avoid the heat and crowds.
- Staying in a Colonial House.
- Engaging with the locals.
- Visit the Wren Building
- Take the Rubbish, Treasures and Colonial Life Tour & the Behind the Scenes Tour
- Visit the De Witt Wallace and Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museums
- Tour the Governor’s Palace
- Tour the Thomas Everard House.
- Visit Bassett Hall.
- Get spooky with it.
Today we’ll touch on some odds and ends in Williamsburg and travel down the road to the current capital of Virginia, Richmond.
11. Stop in to see the craftsmen making things with wood. Bill likes woodworking so we spent time at the joiners near the Capitol on Frances Street…
Where they do ordinary work, like making sashes for windows and bellows for the Gunsmith Shop….
…and fancy work, like this decorative piece.
We also went to the Cabinetmaker’s shop, which is on Nicholson Street, closer to the Palace Green.
Both shops had beautiful sets of hollows and rounds for making moldings.
12.) Get your Ps and Qs in line at the Printers. Bill indulged my love of graphic design with a trip to the Printers. We had a nice long talk with printer and he was kind enough to let me have a go at the press.
13.) Stroll along Duke of Gloucester Street. We especially enjoyed the Blacksmith, the Silversmith and the Milliner.
14.) Stand witness for the prosecution at the Courthouse. Learn about the 18th Century justice system first hand with the Order In The Court program (it runs several times a day and is free with your Williamsburg pass).
We saw several civil trials which required audience participation.
You MIGHT even get a chance to be on the judge’s bench (even if you’re a woman == as long as you go along with premise that you are a man for the purposes of historical accuracy.)
15. EAT. There are four Colonial Taverns to choose from in the city, Christiana Campbell’s, Shield’s, King’s Arms, and Chownings. I liked King’s Arms the best because they have an amazing Peanut Soup. Dinner at any of the Taverns is by candle light and includes period entertainment, but be warned … it will be an expensive meal. You might choose to eat at one of the restaurants at Merchant’s Square (which is between Colonial Williamsburg and Williams and Mary. The bus that runs in a clockwise circle around the historic district has a stop at Merchants Square so you wont have to get in your car.) We liked the Cheese Shop on the square, and especially the Aroma Coffee Shop on Prince George Street. If you do decide to step into your horseless carriage just go out Richmond Road and you’ll find the usual suspect of chain eateries, an oddly prolific collection of pancake establishments and some rather nice restaurants of the non-chain variety (yes, there are still some of them out there.) We enjoyed sushi at Kyoto and American fare at Food for Thought (the best food I ate all week was the Food for Thought’s quinoa salad.)
Richmond is the capital of Virginia and during the American Civil War it was the Capital of the Confederacy. The city is ripe with monuments & museums to the South (and given the whole Slavery thing, that made me a mite itchy. But I do love my history, so…) While in the city you can visit the Museum and White House of the Confederacy, the Virginia Historical Society, Hollywood Cemetery or take a stroll down Monument Avenue.
We went to Tredegar Iron Works on the James River. You get two museums in one location here. One is run by the National Park Service and the other is part of the American Civil War Center. We went into the (free) Park Service museum and enjoyed the displays and movie on the third floor. The Map Room is a great way to orient yourself on Richmond’s role in the war.
The outdoor exhibits had seen better days, but this museum is a gem in the rough. I hope they get some funding and can restore all the exhibits to top-notch condition.
Next stop: Shopping. Carytown is Richmond’s “Mile of Style” and we enjoyed a mild weather stroll down the main drag of boutiques and unique shops. This quaint shopping district won Southern Living Magazine’s “Best Neighborhood to Shop In” nod by the magazine’s readers.
We ate at the Can Can Brasserie a beautifully restored building that made you feel like you’d stepped off the streets of Paris. I kept expecting to see Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec stroll by the table. The atmosphere was delightful, so was the food (I got half a Roast Chicken Salad and a half order of their Roasted Apple & Rutabaga Soup. ) And don’t forget to order a Eloise (their special version of a Shirley Temple.)
But our big find in Richmond, besides the wonderful company, was the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts… which I will talk about tomorrow.