Friday, December 05, 2014

A Weekend in Williamsburg: The Governor's Palace

Finally!  I've got time to share more pictures from our Colonial Williamsburg adventures.  Today, I'm focusing on the Governor's Palace.  This was where the royal governor lived, the guy appointed by the British king to rule the richest and most populated American colony, Virginia.  The original building burned down, was rebuilt, and burned down again -- in fact, this restoration has stood longer than both of the original buildings combined.  It's based on detailed floor plans drawn up by Thomas Jefferson, plans that included exact dimensions, where furniture was placed, and so on.  Very thoughtful of him to make those, huh?  

Anyway, I feel like this place is as close to the homes of rich people in English novels as I'm likely to get, at least for a long, long time.  It makes me imagine a little of what Pemberley might have been like inside.

As you can see, they were decorating inside and out for Christmas while we were there.  These are the front gates:

Those white statues on the pillars are of a lion and a unicorn.
Our guide told us what they symbolized, but I've forgotten.
Because it was Christmas time, they gave us a slightly different tour than usual.  We only got to see one bedroom instead of several, though it was very nice.  It belonged to the governor's daughters an the 1760s.  I managed to snap a shot of their bed:

Then we went on through to a room used by the governor's wife to receive guests.  The walls were covered in a deep red fabric, though it looks pink here:

And during the era they were portraying, the family had a fairly new baby, which the governor's wife would put in this display crib to show off to visitors:

That was all we saw of the family's private quarters because they wanted us to see what a someone would have seen if they were invited to Christmas festivities there.  So we spent lots of time in the ball room:

I can't remember if that's a harpsichord or a piano-forte.  Don't you love the carpet and the wall color?

One of the cut-glass chandeliers in the ball room.
Then we progressed to the Supper Room, which was adjacent to the ball room.  This is where they would have served various refreshments to their party guests throughout the evening and into the night.

Again with the bright carpet and walls!

Detail of the molding on the chair rail and around the door.

The Christmas decorations were very simple, mostly just greenery draped over the doorways and windows.
Some of it had pine cones, and some didn't.  Christmas trees weren't a thing yet.

A special coal-burning stove to keep the supper room warm.
The ball room would have been plenty warm from all the dancing bodies and didn't need heating.

Some of the display food they had set out in the supper room.
Don't you love the molding around the window?
From the supper room, we exited out into the gardens.  They had formal gardens directly behind the house, surrounded by a brick wall with several gates.

The rear of the house as seen from the gardens.

A nifty tree.

An arbor walkway ran down each side of the gardens.

Outside an arbor, looking back toward the palace.

Gates at the end of the formal garden leading out into other parts of the grounds.

Part of the wall.

Looking back at the palace from outside the wall.

Isn't that an alluring gate, standing half open and leading into the mysterious woods?

A bench under a very Christmasy holly tree :-)
I grabbed a few more shots of the grounds as I walked back around the palace to the front entrance again.

A mounting block to help people mount horses.

Walkway to a little side garden area.

The little garden to one side of the house.

And I grabbed a couple shots of the "servants" while were inside, just for fun :-)

That's all for today, folks!  Hope you enjoyed your tiny tour :-)


  1. Love the pictures!!! And so glad you got to see at least a few Christmas decorations! ;)

    And as a minor carpeting patterns are not at all what I would generally expect. Very interesting!

    1. I'm so glad too -- they weren't decorated everywhere in Williamsburg yet, but there were still quite a few in different places, and more every day after Thanksgiving.

      I know! Aren't those carpets bold? And the wall color choices? I mean, we think we're all shocking and modern with our bold colors today, but yeah... not so much. Personally, I think the blue in the ballroom is beautiful and wouldn't mind having a room that color myself. Wouldn't go with any of my furniture, but... maybe in the basement? 8-)



    Makes me long for the Georgian period. I'd love to live in a house like that. The corset, on the other hand, I could do without.

    1. Exactly. I like the elegance, but I'm unwilling to give up my comfy jeans.


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