Saturday, August 22, 2015

Colonial Williamsburg

We debated and debated about whether we should go to Colonial Williamsburg or not, but the fact that it's the biggest tourist attraction in this area eventually won us over.  Although it's mostly reconstructed (out of 500 buildings, 88 are designated as original, but bear in mind that many of the designated "originals" are privies, sheds, smokehouses and the like), it is, I think, a good approximation of a colonial town.

A backyard garden

The Governor's Palace

A view of the main street

Another street view

Viewing the town from the Courthouse, on one end

Many of the buildings have been turned into gift shops, some of which sell what might be considered "original" items, such as the silversmith, milliner and general store.  But the rest are overloaded with typical tourist souvenirs.

Costumed characters roam about the town and work in kitchens, shops and taverns (in which you can actually get a meal).  

A townswoman

A townsman

Another man about town

British soldier

The basket weaver
She was making the most amazing baskets.  None were for sale (darn, darn!) as they were being made to actually use in the village by the townspeople.

The village puts on reenactments periodically throughout the day and we were able to see a few.  The first was a reading of the Declaration of Independence by the town crier, followed by a rousing speech to the town about why they should all support the effort.

Reading of the Declaration of Independence to the townspeople of Williamsburg (and a few tourists!)

Discussing the state of war

The call to arms was a rousing speech by a militia officer about the need for volunteers to staff the fledgling army, followed by a little selling and the winning over of the family members staying at home.

"The Army needs you!"

"Enlistment will pay you a wage that will help support your family."

"Don't go!  Who will take care of us?"

We went into a lot of the buildings, either for tours, to shop or eat.

The apothecary shop
This woman was very knowledgeable about 17th century treatments.

The carpenter shop
They actually build furniture with the old methods that you can order for your own home.

Colonial food
This, surprisingly to me, was actually real food actually being prepared in the kitchen of the Governor's Palace.  The kitchen was in an outbuilding and the constantly burning fire made the room extremely hot.  Can't imagine cooking three meals a day there!

While the original capitol of Virginia was at Jamestown, it was moved to Williamsburg in 1699, where it remained until 1779 when it was moved to Richmond.

Inside the Old Capitol
The guide did a very good job of discussing the type of government existing at the time.

Entry Hall, Governor's Palace
What is shown is just a fraction of the armament displayed.

Not sure what room this would be considered, but I found the wig to be interesting.

The dining room/office of the Governor's Palace

The keeper of the Magazine
Sid was thrilled to discuss firearms with the keeper.  I asked if there was a reason why the building was the shape is was, but he didn't have and answer.  I also wondered why this building is called a Magazine and my research didn't come up with anything.  Any of you readers know?

The final reenactment of the day was to be a briefing about the status of the war and a display of the Fife and Drum corp, so we had to stay for that even though we were pretty tired by 5:00 in the afternoon after walking around in 90% humidity all day!  I'm glad we did - it turned out to be one the of highlights of the visit.

Sid needing a nap!

The Fife and Drum Corps
They went around and "recruited" all the kids visiting that day to join the parade.

On the parade ground

Giving a status update and pep talk to the townspeople

Inspecting the troops

A surprise visit from - George Washington
He played his role brilliantly!

Firing of the cannon on the town parade grounds

It had been a long day and with patriotic feelings at a high, we departed Colonial Williamsburg and returned to the 21st century.  But, you know, I always seem to find something a bit weird or quirky wherever I go.  So I'll leave you with some things to ponder.

Jail toilet
There were one of these structures in each jail cell.  I couldn't figure our why they needed to build it up like that, but they were all the same.

Even the residents of the Governor's Palace had to have a place to go, if you know what I mean!

Tavern entertainer
He played songs while we ate lunch at the tavern. Look closely at his...ahem....posterior.

A little closer
 I spent the rest of the day looking at the men's butts - all the pants in the colony were made the same way.  While I did ask a woman about her corset, even I didn't have the nerve to question this gentleman about his pants!

Until next time...

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