Sunday, October 30, 2016

vacation: colonial williamsburg

Bob and I went on vacation recently to Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia.  We haven't been there since our honeymoon way back in 1996.  Now that we own a house from that time period--1700s--we figured we'd take a trip down and call it "research."  I've been wanting to see some houses from the time period firsthand so I can get an idea as to what the window treatments should look like, furnishings, etc. I can see it online, but it's so much better in person.

The first day was spent in the historic area.  During the day the streets are closed to cars (the employees and others live in the historic houses), so it's nice to be able to roam freely without worrying about crossing the street.  We saw most of the area that day, and I had no problem making my daily step goal by noon.  We had a very late lunch at Chowning's Tavern, which is a historic tavern.  The food was good, but I felt it was a bit overpriced for what we got. I had the Welsh Rarebit with salty ham (very salty!) and Bob had the warm roast beef wrap. I think the fact that I was able to finish my plate is a testament to the quantity of food received.  (Although, now that I look back at the menu I realize mine was actually an appetizer.)

The next day we went to the Yorktown battlefield and the new Victory Center. Yorktown is the place where the battle was won that lead to the end of the Revolutionary War. The Victory Center is new, in fact it opened the weekend we arrived. We thought it was great:  it's large, contains lots of artifacts, and is easy to navigate.  They also have a small Continental Army encampment out back, which was partially open. We got to see a canon being fired, which is always interesting. And loud! We also drove around the battlefields and walked the trenches, and also took a small walking tour led by someone from the National Park Service. I bought a book:  Washington's Spies. I love the series Turn:  Washington's Spies, and now I want to read the book.  That night we went on a ghost tour in Colonial Williamsburg.  It was more of a storytelling by actors, but it was fun nonetheless. We got to go into one of the houses, which is what I was most excited about.  Also of note:  we saw the rocket that was launched from Wallops Island in Virginia.  The rocket was sent to the International Space Station to supply the crew that's on board. I took a picture, but it's really hard to see so I didn't include it here.  It was cool to see it in-person, though. Especially in the middle of a ghost walk in a historic town, which was led by women in 18th century clothing.

The next day we took it somewhat easy and visited a few antiques stores and Yankee Candle.  I picked up an old cast iron frying pan at an antiques mall, which had been professionally cleaned and re-seasoned.  Bob bought a small match box for the fireplace mantle.  We're not sure how old it is, but it fits in with the house.  I bought a few room fragrances at Yankee Candle, but not much else.  Later on we took another ghost walking tour in the historic area.  This one was strictly outside and it told true stories of recent ghostly encounters within the historic area. It was interesting.

On our last day we went to Jamestown, which also has a new visitor center. It tells the story of the first English settlers, which arrived in Jamestown in 1607.  It was pretty good, but I enjoyed Yorktown more. Plus it was hot and we'd already had three days of walking and sightseeing. That night we grabbed some fast food and bought a few items in the general store, which was walking distance from the hotel.

We had a good time. Lots of walking. LOTS of walking, gorgeous weather, and nice sights. We also picked up a few odds and ends to bring home with us.  I bought some loose chocolate tea, which is simply roasted cacao shells. It's the first tea I've had the truly tastes like chocolate. I also bought the  chocolate mint tea, which was also delicious and had lots of flavor. I got some Virginia peanuts for my coworkers, a few t-shirts, and some others miscellaneous things. We didn't spend much on shopping.

We saw these guys upon entering the historic area. I guess the second one had had enough of me trying to take pictures and decided to trot away.

The Governor's Mansion

The Governor's Mansion garden. I paid much attention to the gardens in Williamsburg, because I'd like to do something in our large side yard that is period-correct. Gardens were modeled after English gardens and were usually laid out in a geometric pattern. Each side and/or corner mirrored the other sides/corners.

Veiw of the Governor's Mansion from the garden.

The maze in the Governor's Mansion garden. I'm glad I didn't go into it, because we can see from here that there's no way out except to go back the way you came.

This was taken at the pond in back of the Governor's Mansion. Very peaceful.

I took these in one of the historic houses, although I can't remember which one at the moment. I've discovered that either shutters or wood blinds were the window treatment of choice, and that four-poster beds with canopies were standard.

This is me in front of the Governor's Mansion. 

An 18th century garden.

I hung out with these guys for awhile at the Yorktown encampment.  

The Peyton Randolph house. Supposedly the most haunted in the area. We went inside and although I didn't witness anything, I did have an uneasy feeling a couple times, especially when I was the last one to leave the room.


  1. I found your blog today via a comment you left on Ask A Manager. Just wanted to say hi!