Good news folks: I got a book at the library to help me with this post. It's a National Geographic picture book entitled "1776: A New Look at Revolutionary Williamsburg." We're going to be fine.
So Monday morning we woke up in a chilly Williamsburg. (Hard to believe this morning, as it's going to be 90 today in G'ville.) We headed over to the Colonial Williamsburg Visitor Center and Ann Marie smartly found some sweatshirts for my freezing little Florida bugs. Then, our experience back in time began (with the help of tennis shoes, windbreakers, and the BOB stroller, mind you). We walked about 1/2 mile right into the heart of "the world's largest living history museum--the restored 18th-century capital of Virginia, and Britain's largest and wealthiest American Colony." (Linds, you probably could have busted that description out on your own, but I'm glad I have this book to help.)
The place was awesome. Homes, businesses, city gardens, fences, all restored to look exactly like they would have around 1776. We started at the Governor's Mansion (My book tells me that Lord Dunmore occupied this last, which is probably what I learned during the tour of the Mansion. He left town in the spring of 1775 though, as relations with the pesky revolutionary citizens of Williamsburg "reached a breaking point."). We first went out back to the meticulously kept gardens:
There were flowers and trees and a maze for the kids and a fabulous terraced home garden that I should have gotten a picture of, watered by the rain water runoff from the Mansion. (There were no gutters on any of the homes. Instead, there was an upside-down-triangle-shaped "gutter" on the ground around the perimeter of each one. One of my favorite details that I also didn't get a picture of.) I love this final shot, as it describes Annie's attitude towards Grandpa (whom she affectionately called "daddy rah" during the trip). Guarded, distanced, yet curious, almost willing:
Next, we wandered through the many buildings used to accompany the Mansion--the kitchen, the scullery (laundry?), the outside bathing tower (didn't use the book for that description, as you can imagine), the smokehouse, the servants' quarters, and on and on. Zane loved the "dungeon" (wine cellar) most. Brandon noted that most prisoners of that particular "dungeon" would have been pretty comfortable. Here our little prisoner is, "sneaking" around one of the buildings:
And here's one more picture of the Mansion taken later in the day, from the front, with my favorite person in the foreground:
From the Mansion, we walked south on Palace Green Street, a wonderful old-school, looped "street" for pedestrians and horses only with a large, tree-filled, grassy field in the middle (think Prexy's pasture, you Wyoming-ites)(and for the rest of you, the photo above shows the field--now picture an old street on either side of the shot. you've done it. you're there too now). By this point it was nap time, so I looped around this street with Annie in the BOB while the rest of the group toured the "Wythe House," one of the few completely original buildings on site.
After the Wythe House, we visited the Magazine (where all the weapons were kept) then had lunch outside a little tavern on "Duke of Gloucester" street. We walked east, stopping at the bakery, the tailor's (all that hand-sewing, wow!), and the blacksmith shop (where most of us waited outside for big boys):
Here's Z outside with Grandma Ross, whom Annie also affectionately referred to as "daddy rah" the entire trip.
Next we spent time at the Capitol. Brandon, Annie, and I stayed outside and rested/played with the seashell roads while the rest of the group toured and toured and toured:
You may have noticed that we bought the kids' sweatshirts a little big. This detail came in handy at this point in the day, as Annie had soaked through he pull-up/skirt during her nap, and her sweatshirt had to become her sweat-dress:
ooo, look at those legs!
After the capitol, things started to wind down. We stopped at the jail (Zane loved that 1: there were pirates there at one point and 2: that there was a staircase up to a throned "potty" in each of the cells. A throne for a potty? Imagine it!)
We stopped at the gallows:
Then we dropped half the group off at the Palace Green to chill while a few of us tried to see the church (closed) and the fabric-making shop (also closed).
By that point, we were tired. Well, most of us were tired. Zane the jumper:
And Zane and Annie the sword fighters:
were not so tired. Ironic that they were the ones who got to get in the stroller at that point, no?
We walked through one more street, saw a couple more homes like this:
(Brandon knows exactly whose house this is. He even reminded me who it belonged to a couple of minutes ago before he left for work. And yet, now as I type, it's escaped me. Sigh.)
Then we toured one more house, The Randolph House. The woman giving the tour here actually did a fabulous job, especially sine it was 4:45 by then and my children were ANTSY. I would have even told you that night that I thought I would remember details, but guess what. :) not anymore. My book tells me that a year after the Boston Tea Party, during the first Continental Congress in Philedelphia in 1773, Peyton Randolph was elected president, and members voted to stop trading with Britain. And we toured his house. Okay so maybe it wasn't exactly his house. At least a family member's, though. I really AM HOPELESS!
Okay okay so by that time our brains were fried and we started the same 1/2 mile walk back to the visitor's center (which seemed much longer at that point). We found some really yummy dinner at a little place across from William and Mary, then came home and crashed. And I mean crashed:
So there you have it! Colonial Williamsburg--lots of fun and history.
Tomorrow: South Carolina and the BEACH.