Tuesday, December 02, 2014

A Weekend in Williamsburg: Family and Food

My parents' 40th wedding anniversary was this past Saturday.  To celebrate, my family, my brother and his family, and my parents all congregated in one of our favorite places ever:  Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia.  We first went there in the early '90s, shortly after moving to North Carolina -- my dad attended a pastors' conference there and we all went along to take in the historicity of it all.  We all fell in love with the place and went back whenever Dad had a conference there, which was every few years while I lived at home.

I wrote a whole article about my memories of Colonial Williamsburg for the July/August issue of Femnista, which you can read here.  Today, I'm just going to share a whole bunch of photos from our weekend there so you can get a small idea of what it's like :-)  I have So Many Photos that I'm going to break these up into several posts.

A cool decoration at our hotel

This is by far the longest post, as it's kind of where I'm putting photos of everything that doesn't pertain to gardens, Christmas wreaths, or the Governor's Palace, which are my three other post subjects.  I'll begin with some photos from our Thanksgiving meal there, at Shield's Tavern on Thursday night.

Turkey, gravy, stuffing, potatoes, yams, green beans, and cranberry relish!

Pumpkin pie, of course.  There was cardamom in the crust, and the filling was extra creamy.

Live entertainment while we ate.

Next are some shots from inside our hotel.  They have a lot of replica furniture, and they were in the midst of decorating for Christmas :-)

Trees tucked away in a corner, waiting for placement and decorations.

Furniture in a hallway.

This was up by the elevator on our floor.
The hotel was also putting up an elaborate gingerbread village the last days we were there.  It had a big train that ran around it, and by the time we left I think there were eight buildings.  Here are some of them:

Now some shots of us out and about in Colonial Williamsburg itself, doing fun stuff.

Cowboy giving both our girls a shoulder ride at the same time.

Headed to the candy shop!


Clam chowder with the shells included.

Cowboy and Sam in the Powder Magazine.  Sam asked six questions!

Stairs leading down to the exit in the Powder Magazine.

Here you can see the signs that mark where cars can cross the road but not drive on it.

Duke of Gloucester Street (pronounced Gloww-ster) is the main thoroughfare that most things are located on.

The courthouse.  People like Patrick Henry and Thomas Jefferson
made important speeches and decisions here.

Our menu at supper the second night.  You see the Crayfish and Shrimp Stew?  My favorite!!!

We rode in this carriage through the streets on Saturday.

Detail on the carriage.

Chowning's Tavern.  A great place for lunch.

An appetizer of goat cheese and roasted veggies at Chowning's Tavern.

I can't for the life of me remember what this tiny violin was called anymore.
As you'll recall, if your eyes haven't glazed over from all the photos by now, the whole reason we all gathered in Williamsburg was to celebrate my parents' 40th anniversary.  Here are a couple pictures from our celebration that evening:


A special dessert for my parents to share.

Now some more pictures from while we walked around outside.  These are all from Sunday, when my parents had left but we stuck around for most of the day to enjoy a few more sights and learn a few more things about life in Colonial America.

I love trees.

The open market by the Powder Magazine.  Think they have enough hats?

Another beautiful tree. 
Looking past that tree.

Another carriage.  The closed carriages only comfortably seat 2 adults and possibly 2 kids,
so we took one of the larger open carriages instead.

A powder horn and bullet pouch.

Machinery and tools used to make rifles.

I love this wall and gate.

This is the Post Office.  You can mail actual letters there, which I did.

The stairs going down beside the Post Office to the Printing Office and Bookbinder below.

Also behind the Post Office is a small bridge over a stream where you can play Pooh Sticks.
Which we did.  Four separate times.
(Only three of these kids are mine, and one of the men.)
We got to see the dying, spinning, and weaving demonstrations, which I thought would only interest me, what with my love of yarn and crocheting and knitting.  I was wrong.  Cowboy thought they were fascinating, and both Sarah and Tootie were extremely interested in figuring out where the spindle was on the spinning wheels, having recently learned the Sleeping Beauty story.

Dyeing pots.  They were using walnuts to dye things brown.

Small spinning wheel, used for spinning long fibers such as wool.

Large "walking" spinning wheel, used for spinning short fibers such as cotton.

Cotton, something I didn't ask about, and drop spindles.

They have two looms, one for each of you.

A shawl in progress.

Ohhhh, how I wanted to run away with all the yarn.

Spinning cotton.

The spindle!  Protected by a cork because yes, it is sharp.  The reenactor said she thinks Sleeping Beauty pricked her behind, not her finger, because she has herself backed into it by accident many times.

Raleigh Tavern, which we didn't get to go in.
Favorite meeting place of people like Thomas Jefferson and George Washington.

The Governor's Palace from a long way away.  More on that in another post!
We got to tour Bruton Parish Church, which is the original building from the Colonial era, not a replica like most of the buildings there.  Because it did not have a furnace, it never burned down.  It's now an Episcopal church, but of course it was originally Church of England when it was built.  Williamsburg was the seat of government for the colony of Virginia, and they needed a church big enough not just for the parish members but for all the important visitors and such as well.

Love that late afternoon light!

That green chair with a red awning is reserved for the Governor of Virginia.
Both Patrick Henry and Thomas Jefferson got to sit there.

A special Bible stand presented by Queen Elizabeth sometime in the last century, IIRC.

The front.  That stone baptismal font in the foreground is from Jamestown, and some people believe it's the one where Pocahontas was baptized, though there is no documentation to that effect.

The pulpit.
And that's all for now, folks!  I hope you've gotten an idea of the charming atmosphere of Colonial Williamsburg.  I took more than 600 photos in four days, and even after deleting more than 150 of them for being unworthy, and not posting any here with shots of anyone's faces cuz I'm just cautious like that, I still have gobs and gobs and gobs to share :-)


  1. Great pictures! I live not far from Williamsburg and have been there so many times I recognize many of the reenactors as playing multiple roles. I've climbed the tree by the Capitol many times, played Pooh-sticks on that same bridge, and eaten at all of those taverns. I've even been able to take part in several reenactments. The place is just so much fun! Fun tidbit: the carriage your rode in - Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip have ridden in it before.

    1. Awesome! Thanks for that tidbit about the carriage -- I've shared that with my family :-) How amazing it must be to go there often! I've been there three times since we moved here 3 1/2 years ago, and before that it was maybe 3 times for real visits, plus a couple stop-throughs.

      Fun tidbit back at you: the guy who owns a nearby antique store used to make costumes for Colonial Williamsburg. They'd send him fabric and patterns, and he'd send back costumes.

      Also, so glad you know what Pooh Sticks is! The guy who does printing press demonstrations was out stacking wood by the bridge while we were playing, and he'd heard of it too, though he didn't know you were supposed to play with pine cones. He asked if the kids had decided which Pooh characters they were, and it turns out Sam is Pooh, Sarah is Piglet, and Tootie is too shy to talk to strangers wearing funny clothes.

  2. How beautiful! It looks like such a lovely place to visit. So they don't allow cars in some of the old-fashioned sections? That's pretty neat.

    Oh, I didn't know you crocheted too! I've been crocheting since I was about eight, but I never could get the hang of knitting. I'm working on a thread-crochet lace doily right now.

    1. Most of the time they don't allow cars down the whole of Duke of Gloucester street at all, though there are a few places they can cross it. But we discovered that on Sunday for church services, they do allow cars along part of it so parishioners don't have to walk so far.

      I've been crocheting since I was 8 too! I even have an Etsy shop where I sell my original patterns. It's called Huggermugger. I learned to knit when I was I think 29, and I'm much slower and more boring at it -- I can knit and purl, and that's it. I only make straight things like scarves.

  3. Love this post!!! I want to visit Williamsburg right now! I love the Colonial period. Thanks for all the fun facts :) (I giggled at the part about the spindle!)

    1. I'm glad you liked it! Three shorter ones coming up soon :-) And definitely find time to visit! It's amazing.

  4. Wow! Wish I could visit this place! Maybe someday! :-)


    Ahem, sorry. Please excuse me for a moment as I revel in all the wonderful memories and sentiments I have for this place. *Emma drifts off*

    Okay, I'm back. This is awesome! So many pictures! I really enjoyed revisiting these places in my mind, and reading your little descriptions. Ah, I feel like I'm there again. :-) Looks like you had a wonderful time!

    Oooh, I don't recall a post office! We must not have gone there. Strange, since I'm a post-office/mail junkie, if there is such a thing.

    The magazine is one of my favorite places there. The first year we went to Williamsburg and went to the magazine there was this really....um....attractive guy working there as an interpreter, and so when we went back the next year we kept an eye out for 'the guy from the magazine'. We saw him around, but not at the magazine. (Instead, there was a very husky, very emphatic, very interesting man who explained to us about how the King's troops stole all the city's gunpowder. That's a very long story, that.)

    Oh, I could tell so many stories about the people there and the things we did. Maybe if we meet in real life some day we can share all our Williamsburg experiences with each other. :-)


    1. Yeeeeeeeeeah, I've kind of been waiting for a big, happy comment from you on one of these posts :-)

      But you've never been to the PO there? Oh my goodness! It's one of my favorite spots! I tend to spend like half an hour just drooling over the blank books and trying to decide on just one to get for a journal. Next time you're there, find it and go in. Glorious.

      The magazine is great. It's our landmark. "Is that to the right or the left of the magazine?" "Do you see the magazine? Okay, go toward that." Right now, they're building a new market building right by it!!! Or rather, they have the foundation done, I think, and now it looks like they're halting construction for the winter.

      That's really funny about the guy, though. I would totally have done the same.

      Maybe some day we'll meet up... in Williamsburg!

    2. BLANK BOOKS?! Yes, I really must go there! Oh, this is making me want to go back to Williamsburg so bad! :-) Heehee.

    3. Yes. Some of them come as a set with a quill pen, an inkwell, and powder to make your own ink. I came THIS close to getting one of the sets this year, but didn't. Perhaps next time.

  6. Aaaahhhh! Such loveliness! As I mentioned in the other post, I love Williamsburg! And these pictures bring back wonderful memories.

    I once listened to an organ concert in Bruton Parish Church and it was beautiful.

    And I'm totally jealous that you got to ride in a carriage there. I've never ridden in a carriage anywhere, and it had to be particularly awesome to do so in Williamsburg. :)

    I love history and there is simply something amazing about walking around a place where you know these people from history walked. The fact that you can stand where they stood and see firsthand what their life was like is just.....no words describe. I love it!

    Don't you just love all those twisty and awesome trees? I notice them every time I go. I love trees with character.

    Also the note about what the lady said regarding Sleeping Beauty and the spindle? I love it! Now that's what I'll think about every time I read/watch that story. ;D

    I haven't been to visit there for several years now and this post, along with the pictures my brother's family shared with us last Christmas from their trip in 2013, makes me want to plan a trip immediately! And Williamsburg at Christmas is so beautiful. I love all the wreaths and the fires that are built along the walkways at night. (I forget what they're called.)

    Such a great post and wonderful pictures. THANK YOU for sharing! :)

    1. Oh wow, an organ concert there? How wonderful! Their pipe organ looks lovely.

      My dad absolutely loves carriage rides, so I have ridden in quite a number over the years. I also remember one time on Mackinac Island when my dad rented a buggy and drove us himself. The joys of having a father who grew up on a farm :-)

      I really love history too, and you're absolutely right -- there is nothing like knowing you are standing where someone important once stood, or being where something important once happened. I remember going to Paul Revere's house in Boston when I was fourteen and choking back tears because I was so awestruck to be in my hero's house.

      The trees. I wanted to take pictures of all of them. I love those trees.

      The fires along the walkways! The ones in baskets on poles? My dad said they were called something like a "criss" or "cress," which he'd learned from a reenactor, but I have no idea how to spell it. They were super nifty -- I'd never seen those before.

      Glad you enjoyed it!


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