July 15, 2011

7/11/11 - Colonial Williamsburg

Going to Colonial Williamsburg is like suddenly walking into the 18th-century capital of Virginia.  There are homes, public buildings, museums and stores, preserved and restored to the way they were just before the American Revolution.  People wander around in colonial costume, and there are historic demonstrations and interactive programs all over the place. 
At the Visitors Center, we saw the movie, then followed the path out to the Governor's Palace.  We got there in time for a tour, then headed up Palace Green for a couple of blocks until we got to Duke of Gloucester Street.  The Capitol Building is at the far end so we headed that way.  
George outside Governor's Palace gate
We stopped along the way at several of the little shops where they were actually doing the work like it was done back then.

My favorite was Charlton's Coffeehouse, where we not only got a tour, but "Mrs. Charlton" served us coffee, tea or hot chocolate.  We both opted for hot chocolate, which is not at all like the sweet stuff served in this century!  Yum...   
 We toured the Capitol & the Gaol House (that's "jail" in American English), visited the weaver and the shoemaker, learned lots of stuff about the events leading up to the revolution and how people felt about both the British and the war.
Things pretty well shut down at 5:00, so we hiked back to the truck.  George had had his fill, but I hadn't so I went back Wednesday while George went to play golf.  I got to see the "Revolutionary City" dramatizations that we got there too late to see on Monday.  All over town actors dressed up like merchants and townspeople talking about the events that were affecting them.

We started out in front of Raleigh Tavern, then followed the actors up to the Capitol, over behind the coffeehouse and then back to the tavern.  The program that day was about the Challenge of Independence, and was about events between 1776-1781.  There was one skit about recruiting soldiers for the militia; one with Benedict Arnold after he'd gone over to the British; one about how the revolution was affecting slaves; another with General Washington just before the Battle of Yorktown.
Pretty painless way to learn history!  More pictures of Colonial Williamsburg 

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