Tag Archives: Colonial Williamsburg

Muffin Monday: Date Granola Muffins

Granola Muffin on plate single

When we went to Williamsburg last winter we stayed at one of the Colonial Houses and ate at the Williamsburg Inn for breakfast. They had the most wonderful Granola and I charmed a recipe out of the very kind staff at the Inn. I won’t share it here as it may be proprietary and I wouldn’t want to give away any secrets. But I will say that it was super yummy and if you ever get a chance to go to Williamsburg you should treat yourself to a stay at one of the Colonial Houses and breakfast at the Williamsburg Inn. [Click here for a link to Colonial Williamsburg]

My attempt at Williamsburg Inn Granola

My attempt at Williamsburg Inn Granola

That reminded me of a Granola Muffin recipe I came across a bit ago and I decided to adapt that for this week’s Muffin Monday offering. So without further ado I give you… Date Granola Muffins…

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3/4 cup dried Chopped Dates
  • 1 cup hot Water
  • 2 cups of All Purpose Flour
  • 1 1/2 cups of Granola
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 cup Milk
  • 1/2 cup of Vegetable Oil
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 tsp of Vanilla Extract

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray and flour a 12 cup muffin tin.

2. Soften the dates by adding them to the hot Water. Let sit 5 minutes. Drain.

3. In a large bowl mix the Flour, Granola, Baking Powder and Salt.

Granola muffins dry ingredients

4. In another, smaller bowl, combine the Milk, Vegetable Oil, Egg, and Vanilla.

5. Combine the wet and dry ingredients and mix well.

6. Stir in the Dates, carefully folding them into the mixture.

7. Divide into 12 muffin cups.

Granola muffins in pan

8. Bake for 20 minutes.  The muffins should be golden brown and pass the toothpick test. Remove from the oven and let cool a minute before loosening them from the pan (they should come right out.)

9. Serve with butter or applesauce.

Granola Muffin Side view 2

These muffins are delicious, but on the dry side so the butter or applesauce is a must.

The original recipe called for sugar. I took that out when I added the dates, and I’m glad I did. These don’t even register on the ritaLOVEStoWRITE Muffin Monday saccharine scale, but the dates give them just a hint of sweetness. Because of their dry texture and their lack of sugar pop taster Maggie suggested we come up with a new category: the “Buffin” (the Biscuit / Muffin). Since I love both biscuits and muffins… I’m down with that.

Taster Bill states simply that they are “Yummy with butter.”

This morning I had mine with tea and an egg over easy. It was a pretty nice way to start the week. IMHMO. (In My Humble Muffiny Opinion).

Granola MUffin with egg

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Williamsburg (part 4)

Textile 3

[This is part four of my What To Do in Williamsburg Blog for part one go HERE. For part two go HERE. For part three go HERE. ]

Previous tips included:

  1. Planning your trip in the Fall or Winter to avoid the heat and crowds.
  2. Staying in a Colonial House.
  3. Engaging with the locals.
  4. Visit the Wren Building
  5. Take the Rubbish, Treasures and Colonial Life Tour & the Behind the Scenes Tour
  6. Visit the De Witt Wallace and Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museums
  7. Tour the Governor’s Palace
  8. Tour the Thomas Everard House.
  9. Visit Bassett Hall.
  10. 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…

Saw envy at the Joiners.

Saw envy at the Joiners.

Where they do ordinary work, like making sashes for windows and  bellows for the Gunsmith Shop….

Making 1 of three large wooden panels for the bellows.

Making 1 of three large wooden panels for the bellows.

…and fancy work, like this decorative piece.

The craftsmen at the Joiners used a lot of fine carving skills to make this wooden ornamental panel.

The craftsmen at the Joiners used a lot of fine carving skills to make this wooden ornamental panel.

We also went to the Cabinetmaker’s shop, which is on Nicholson Street, closer to the Palace Green.

Bill has a talk with one of the cabinet makers.

Bill has a talk with one of the cabinet makers.

Both shops had beautiful sets of hollows and rounds for making moldings.

Hollow and round plains on the shelf.

Hollow and round plane sets on the shelf.

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.

First I inked the plate.

First I inked the plate.

IMG_0168

Added paper, cranked the carriage into place then PULLED the press down.

Rita putting paper on press

Cranked the carriage back out and lifted the paper tray and…

Gazette rita's pull

Taadaaa… my impression of a colonial paper. (Get it? IMPRESSION? It’s a letter-press. Never mind, it’s a printing joke.)

13.) Stroll along Duke of Gloucester Street. We  especially enjoyed the Blacksmith, the Silversmith and the Milliner.

Milliner

The Milliner shows off a hat that would have been popular around 1790. I like to think of it as a Mrs. Bennett or Mrs. Dashwood appropriate hat. (Yes that is Jane Austen reference.)

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).

Courthouse

The Williamsburg Courthouse is one of the original buildings and was still in use when Goodwin and Rockefeller began to rebuild the town.

We saw several civil trials which required audience participation.

A Williamsburg visitor takes on the roll of a townsperson who has failed to come to church -- an offense which was against the law.

A Williamsburg visitor takes on the roll of a towns person who has failed to come to church — an offense which was against the law.

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.)

Court House Judge Rita

Yes, that’s judge Rita conferring with the bearded judge to the right on the fate of some poor soul. Don’t worry I was very easy. Every body else was a hangin’ mood, but not me.

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.)

carriage riding down the roadTime to travel down the road and into the present, leaving 18th Century Williamsburg for 21st Century Richmond. Well, almost… there’s still a lot of history to explore on this trip.

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.

Photograph of the Tredegar Iron Works, shortly...

Photograph of the Tredegar Iron Works, shortly after the Evacuation Fire of 1865; despite the original caption of the image, the works themselves survived largely unscathed. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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.

Flower Power Case at Anthill Antiques, Carytow...

Flower Power Case at Anthill Antiques, Carytown, Richmond, VA (Photo credit: kayadams.com)

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.


Williamsburg (part 2)

Textile 3

[This is part two of my What To Do in Williamsburg Blog for part one go HERE.]

Yesterday’s tips included:

  1. Planning your trip in the Fall or Winter to avoid the heat and crowds.
  2. Staying in a Colonial House.
  3. Engaging with the locals.

Today we’ll focus on some [FREE] tours.

4. Visit the Wren Building.

The first State House of Virginia was in Jamestown. But it burned down. Then it burned again. And again. And a fourth time. The governor and the citizens of Jamestown thought they’d better look for a better location for their capital. They chose Williamsburg (then known as the Middle Plantation) because the town already had a market, a church — Burton Parish, and a school — William and Mary. The architectural gem of William and Mary is the Wren Building. It sits at the opposite end of Duke of Gloucester Street from the Capitol and it is definitely worth a visit.

English: The front of the Wren Building at the...

English: The front of the Wren Building at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, USA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The building began construction in 1695 and was completed in 1699. It is the oldest restored building in Williamsburg. It has suffered three major fires (in 1705, 1859 and 1862) and been rebuilt each time. Between 1928 and 1931 it was restored to its Colonial appearance. Every student at William and Mary has at least one class in the historic Wren Building during their time at the college. The college counts three US presidents among its alumni; Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe and John Tyler. Their portraits hang in the Great Hall.

Free tours of the building are available M-F 1-5 when school is in session. Hint: As you climb the steps to the front door look for a patch of darker red brick to your left. You’ll see the initials of some of the school’s earliest residents carved in the bricks.

Wren Building from the William and Mary Campus side. (Photo credit: Bill.)

Wren Building from the William and Mary Campus side. (Photo credit: Bill.)

5.) Take the Rubbish, Treasures and Colonial Life Tour.   Rev. W.A.R. Goodwin, the pastor at Bruton Church convinced John D. Rockefeller Jr. to join him in a dream of restoring the sleepy little 1920’s country seat back to  the glorious colonial capital it had once been. That took a lot of money, a lot of research and a lot of digging.  There is no better way to learn about how that transformation took place than on the 90 minute Rubbish, Treasures and Colonial Life tour. Meet members of the staff, learn about how archaeological methods have changed over the years, and see the treasures that await their turn to be cataloged. Tickets are FREE with your Williamsburg Admission Pass, but you must make a reservation prior to the tour.

Glass fragments are sorted by type in drawer in the Archeology labs in Williamsburg.

6.) Another great free tour is the Behind the Scenes tour. This tour takes place at the Bruton Heights School and focuses on preservation techniques (as opposed how the objects are found, put together and cataloged.) You’ll see the studio where educational videos, Emmy Award winning broadcasts and blogs are made…

Film Studio at Williamsburg's  Bruton School facility.

…then go to one of the restoration labs to see work being done on an 18th century item. We visited the Textile Lab where they were restoring some quilts for an upcoming show at the De Witt Wallace Museum.

Over sized quilt being restored at the Textile Lab

Over sized quilt being restored at the Textile Lab
Detail from an over sized quilt being restored at the Textile Lab.

Detail of quilt

6.) Go to the De Witt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum and the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum. With a substantial permanent exhibit and wonderful traveling exhibits we have never been disappointed by a stop at the twin museums that are accessible through the recreated Public Hospital on Frances Street.

The Frenchman's Map was on display as part of a temporary exhibit on maps and mapmaking. Drawn when the French moved into the city after during the Siege of Yorktown, It is the Rosettastone for Archeologist trying to restore Williamsburg.

The Frenchman’s Map was on display as part of a temporary exhibit on maps and map making. Drawn when the French moved into the city after during the Siege of Yorktown, It is the Rosetta stone for Archeologist trying to restore Williamsburg. The Bodleian Plate, another key to what the Colonial Capital looked like, is also on display.

This is a terrific way to spend a rainy (or cold) afternoon. And if you are traveling with youngsters the Children’s room in the Abby Aldrich Museum is delightful.

Looking up to the past.<br /><br />A young visitor finds both human and equine re-enactors equally fascinating andfriendly on Duke of Gloucester street.

Looking up to the past.
A young visitor finds both human and equine re-enactors equally fascinating and friendly on Duke of Gloucester street.
  • To read my article on Williamsburg: A Winter Escape in 2011’s Mason-Dixon ARRIVE Magazine click HERE and scroll down == it is the third article on the page.

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