Saturday, July 30, 2016

Colonial Williamsburg

After a week in Washington D.C. we moved our motor home to Williamsburg.  Our son Dan and his wife joined us there, taking a cabin near where our motor home was parked.   Our plan for the several days we were there was to visit Colonial Williamsburg, Jamestown and Yorktown- all important places during America's historical first years from 1607 to 1781.
Colonial Williamsburg is a total immersion experience which takes the visitor back to the late 1700s.  It was not unusual for us to see people as Commander George Washington riding the streets on his horse.  Or to experience Thomas Jefferson or James Madison engaged in political discourses.  Actors dressed in period clothing are everywhere in the village.  They only know what is going on currently in their lives.  We ate lunch at the Kings Arms restaurant where a woman greeted us and asked where we were from.  John launched into his usual spiel about our lifestyle living on the road in a motor home and she immediately stopped him. She inquired as to what he was talking about.  John then realized his mistake- no person in the 1700s could begin to understand the concept of automobiles, much less living and traveling in something as big as a bus!
Williamsburg is a small village which has been built around 88 original buildings dating back to the 1700s.  More than 400 other buildings have also been faithfully reconstructed in this 300 acre city of taverns, trade shops, homes and community buildings.  The Randolph house, pictured above, is one of the original buildings.  It was here that Peyton Randolph (born 1721 and died 1775), a wealthy land owner and public official lived.  He was speaker of the House of Burgesses, and first President of  the Continental Congress.  The docent who gave us a tour of the home asked us to consider that many signers of the Declaration of Independence visited and dined in this house.  Pictured below is the dining room, where many of those important personages took their meals.
The docent also asked us to think about the 27 slaves serving the Randolphs.  They must have been privy to many discussions about freedom and independence, but that was not to happen for them for another 100 years.  Britain had already freed their slaves, and offered the slaves in Williamsburg their freedom.  Two of the slaves took that opportunity, one of them had to return to captivity several days later when the British lost the Revolutionary War.
One of the rebuilt buildings in Williamsburg is that of the Governor's Palace which served as the executive mansion for Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry.  Over the doorway both outside and inside is the crest of the King of England, and inside are a few portraits of English royalty- reflections of the fact that the colony of Virginia once belonged to England.  I found the entrance hall quite impressive with its awesome display of guns and swords.  This was common interior decoration of the day for English buildings back in the 1700s.  We were informed by the staff that Colonial Williamsburg has one of the biggest collection of Revolutionary weaponry in the world.
All total in this town there are about 100 lush gardens.  The palace gardens are pictured below.  There is no way we could have covered this historic town in one day.  We did miss many of the homes and trade shops.  Our son Dan and his wife were able to see and experience more than the rest of us.  They had not been there before as we had and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.  The heat was also quite oppressive while we were there.  It is just another one of those many places we hope to return to some day!

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