When I mentioned a while back that Colonial Williamsburg would not provide us with media passes to do a story on the place, blog readers Ron and Verdis Knight offered us a couple of free tickets they had acquired at some event. So Thursday we went to check it out. I have to say, I was very impressed. We have been to quite a few living history museums over the years, and Colonial Williamsburg ranks right up there with the best of them.
We started our visit with a tour of the Governor’s Palace, where Colonial governors lived when Williamsburg was the capital of Virginia Colony. Our tour guide was nothing short of amazing. She was funny, she really knew her topic, and it was obvious that this wasn’t just a job to her, she really enjoys it. That always makes things better.
In the old days cooking was often done in a separate building, which kept the house cooler and helped prevent fires. When we stopped by to check out the kitchen, the smells of the food being prepared in the old style made me really hungry.
We wandered around town, poking our heads into the different shops and stopping to chat with the costumed interpreters. The shoemaker was turning out shoes made from some of the softest leather I’ve ever felt.
This fellow paused in his whittling to talk for a moment and to allow Terry to take his photo.
These two ladies were busy making baskets, which were used for many purposes on the frontier.
Colonial Williamsburg’s biggest attraction is the opportunity to meet and interact with the many actors in period costume, who stay in character when they talk to you and involve you in the events of their day. It was fun to just listen as they gossiped and discussed the things going on in town.
And there was a lot going on, what with news of the war against the King and then the announcement that the Capital was being moved upriver to Richmond.
There are many ghost stories about Colonial Williamsburg, and one of the most haunted sites is said to be the Payton Randolph house. Among the spirits that have been reported are a young soldier who fell ill while staying there, an older woman dressed in a flowing white gown, and a young girl who died in a fall down the stairs.
While we were on our way to Colonial Williamsburg, I got an e-mail from blog reader Jan Couperthwaite, telling me that her husband Bob is a coachman there and to look him up. That was good timing! We found Bob, or actually he found us, and we visited for a few minutes before he went off on his next tour.
A little after 4 p.m. we were sitting on a bench catching our breath when Jan arrived. We took a carriage tour of town, with Bob pointing out the different buildings and telling us stories about the people who lived there during Colonial times.
Here’s a picture of me with Bob and Jan. She’s the pretty one.
One of the most popular events at Colonial Williamsburg is when the fife and drum field musicians march down Duke of Gloucester Street from the Capitol to Palace Green, with the crowd following along and joining in the parade.
Once at the Green, General Washington rode in on a fast horse and stirred the assembled troops and the crowd, vowing to drive the British from nearby Yorktown and end the infernal war.
Then the soldiers marched across the open field and presented a demonstration of musket firing. I’m sure glad the rifle the Army gave me worked faster than those old weapons!
We had a wonderful day at Colonial Williamsburg, made even better by getting to meet Bob and Jan. Thanks so much for making time for us!
Have you entered our latest Free Drawing yet? This week’s prize is an audiobook of Ben Rehder’s Gun Shy, part of his excellent Blanco County mystery series featuring hardworking game warden John Marlin. But I have to warn you, don’t try this book unless you have time to read the entire series because I know you’ll get hooked on Ben’s great combination of humor and suspense. To enter, all you have to do is click on the Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening.
Thought For The Day – Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. – Margaret Mead