I have been very much in need of a vacation as of late, and since that isn’t feasible with Loving Husband’s work schedule, I have had to pacify myself with looking through our photos from vacations past. One of my favorites was to Colonial Williamsburg in the fall of 2009. I had always wanted to go and even though I lived 30 minutes south of it for a year, I was never able to make it unless I wanted to go alone. During that time, LH was always on deployments and had very heavy work schedules when he was in port, and it would have been no fun to go by myself. I was so excited when I finally was able to go see it for myself. While seeing it online and reading about it in books is pretty great, it still is nothing compared to being in the middle of it all. When you are surrounded by it, it’s like having been sent back in time.
The first really impressive building that you see as you enter via the farm side is the Capitol building (both above). This structure sets the tone for a lot of what you will see reflected in the government buildings. Williamsburg is full of so many interesting and educational experiences, we just loved it! I wish that we had more time there, but the Navy called and we were unable to visit for any longer than we did. Some of the places that you can’t miss are the museums (housed in one building), The Cheese Shoppe, the milliner’s, the gardener, the Palace kitchen (and garden) and you must take the Candlelight Ghost Tour that meets at the William & Mary Bookstore in Merchants Square (we loved it!) We were lucky enough to arrive just as the newest edition to the collection of buildings, R. Charlton’s Coffeehouse, was being opened to the public. Make sure you stop in and try the authentic period hot chocolate; we bought a whole bag to take home with us! On the subject of period treats, there are several restaurants on site that serve period correct foods. We tried a few of them, but our favorite was The King’s Arms Tavern. I had a delicious prime rib and LH had the lamb chop. The atmosphere in the evening is so unique, very romantic. If you plan your visit out before you go, you’ll be able to hit just about all of the displays, parades, lectures and demonstrations that you’d like. You are not allowed to enter ALL of the homes, as some of them are actually privately owned residences, but there are several buildings, especially along the main street, that you are allowed to poke your head into. Some places, like the printer and the farmer, are a little tucked away, but worth investigating. Even if you don’t enter any of the buildings, the area is laid out and planned so well that there is something picturesque and charming around every corner.
The tour of the Governor’s Palace (above) and its formal gardens (above also) is something that you have to do if you are as interested in how the other half lived 200+ years ago as I am. They take you through the main house, the gardens, the kitchen garden and the kitchens. If you like taking photos of yourself, I would suggest doing this here early in the day before you get messy from walking around the dusty streets for hours. There are so many picturesque backdrops here, including tunneled tree avenues! Loving Husband and I took a few of ourselves while we were there and they came out so pretty.
These gorgeous white pierce work dishes are part of the massive and amazing collection of the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum. If you ever visit Colonial Williamsburg, you absolutely have to check it out. Their permanent collection is full of so many beautiful objects. I was unable to take very many photos because by this time my camera card was completely full and my spare was malfunctioning. Perhaps if LH and I are ever able to return, I will have an empty card! I know that these images below look like they are very scratchy, which they are somewhat because of the museum lighting, but they look the way they do because I have uploaded them in full size so that you will be able to click on them, and enlarge them to really see all of the gorgeous hand stitching covering every inch of them. The items are part of an exhibit called “Quilted Fashions” that was featured at the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum. Most of my photos did not turn out well; these four below are the best of the ones that I took. The display included many quilts, jackets, vests, coverlets and several quilted petticoats. The stitching was truly amazing!
If you can’t make it all the way to Virginia to visit in person, their website has so much information that I have never been able to get through all of it. Most of their museum collections are online, there are videos, podcasts, recipes, costume information, maps, and thousands of articles on countless historical subjects. It is well worth looking around!