I have been traveling since I was 3 years old…it is part of who I am. But for several years I traveled with a companion whose lack of interest really diminished the experience. His method, like many people, was to have a list of things he wanted to do and wanted to see. But never did he bother to understand what it was that he was visiting. He appeared in a location and checked it off. That is not my type of travel, and so I needed to repeat some locations.
When the Jamestown Settlement established its Charter in 1619, it established the House of Burgesses, a legislative body. After several fires, the legislature moved to the larger and new city of Williamsburg on April 21, 1704.
Williamsburg had a huge role in Colonial America and it is worth a visit if you have any interest at all in the history of the United States, especially the time during the colonial era as it evolved into the Revolutionary War.
This was one of Rockefeller’s projects. The area now part of Colonial Williamsburg contains many original structures but some have been moved to that setting and others are reconstructions. The brick house in the photo is actually a residence located across the street from the village setting. You can see how well maintained the structure is and how beautiful the grounds are. This white clapboard cottage had a marvelous herb garden; one plant was hosting a Giant Tiger Swallowtail.
I believe that cottage was the one that I stayed in the first time I visited Williamsburg in 1981. Being able to stay in one of the colonial style homes that are part of the Williamsburg Inn was very special, but my traveling companion had no interest in exploring the Village.
It wasn’t until a return visit three years ago that I actually went into the buildings and heard the stories of life in the 1700s.
The church, called Bruton Parish, was modeled on the original Burton Parish church in England. The basic design of the church is used here in Huntington at St. John’s, the church where Graham is a member and we sing in the choir, so it was interesting seeing what some at home refer to as “the Mother Church”. This one had traditional box pews and a beautiful pipe organ in the front balcony.
The Governors appointed by the King lived in a large residence, which they called the Palace. It was later occupied by the elected Governors before the Colony of Virginia formally became a state and the capital moved to Richmond.
One elected Governor was Thomas Jefferson, well before the Constitutional Convention and certainly many years before his election as President. As a student at William and Mary, Jefferson spent a lot of time in Williamsburg.
The Palace has some interesting decor. The swords and muskets decorating the entry foyer provided decor as well as weaponry ready at hand.
I was a bit surprised at some of the colors in the Palace. I had seen the Prussian Blue in a pre-Revolutionary War mansion I had worked as a docent when I was a Girl Scout eons ago in New Jersey. I had never seen that bright green before, but the Palace docent assured us that the color was in vogue at that time.
Always interested in cooking techniques, Graham spent quite some time speaking with the Palace chef. He explained that all the food that was prepared for the Palace residents and guests was the best available in the era. He had prepared the dishes on the table that morning authentically in the colonial era kitchen, cooking over the coals or in the brick oven part of the eight-foot wide hearth.
He also explained the system of employment today in Colonial Williamsburg. He and the other tradespeople we met actually served an apprenticeship of 2-4 years before they could work on their own. They all use the authentic techniques and materials of the time. The chef, the printer, and the blacksmith all explained their jobs speaking as 21st-Century people.