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Published: July 18th 2016
I guess we should add Virginia since we've been here a few days.
Day 17 - Colonial Williamsburg
Williamsburg is about an hour from Virginia Beach. After a nice buffet breakfast on Atlantic Ave (we drove this time), we arrived at the settlement early and beat the heat and the predicted afternoon thunderstorms. From the visitor center, you can take shuttles or walk a medium ways to the town. We recommend that you walk, no matter the weather, or you will miss the plantation (our favorite stop) which is a reconstruction of an 18th century Virginia plantation. It is a working farm so the docents and volunteers all work on various tasks to keep the farm running. There was a group making a heartburn remedy out of oyster shells, another group making parts for a new building in town, and a couple of farmers working in the tobacco field. As it turns out, nearly all of the building material used for new buildings and repairs is actually created by the docents on site. Bricks, shingles, food... As much as they can make themselves using authentic period methods. All of the docents and volunteers were extremely knowledgeable about what they were doing and were happy to answer any questions we had. Michelle helped pound
we love hugs
the oyster shell and check the tobacco plants for horn worms. There was also a pair who were there to talk about the life and living conditions of the slaves on the plantation. The slaves of the late 1700s were very different from those during the time of the Civil War. There were not as many slaves in the late 1700s and they had comparatively more freedoms than slaves of the 19th century. The Interpreter was able to pull up specific facts and figure to compare the conditions of the two ages and gave a great lecture on how the colonists attitudes on slavery changed over time. After leaving the plantation we headed to the main township and were immediately greeted by a reenactment of a confrontation between the royal Governor and a local landowner over the removal of some ammunition and powder from the town arsenal. The site was set up so that the events of the day started with the years and months leading up to the revolution and the afternoon followed with the events just prior to the signing of the declaration of Independence. Michelle was really interested in seeing the tradesmen and tradeswomen working so we
This was our first stop, so Michelle wasn't quite sure the rules. She was going to grind all of that oyster shell and then finish the project... would have taken hours. The curators were kind and helped her learn how to do living history.
moved on to those sites. We visited a brickworks and a cabinet maker first. All three of us took off our shoes and helped to mix the clay with our feet and at the carpenters Michelle got to sit down at a harpsichord and play. She is very interested in woodworking and especially the tools involved. There were so few people at Williamsburg that we had a chance to go into in-depth discussions. Michelle spent at least 15 minutes talking with the cabinet maker and going over tools, why some were better, which could be made locally vs. purchased, and why. We were extremely impressed by the cabinet maker, who was working a music stand, a chair, and a few other projects as well. Over the day we also saw a shoemaker, a wig maker, the blacksmith, a baker, a printer and book binder, a weaver, and the tin and silver smiths. Each interpreter added to our knowledge of the way people lived around the time of the revolutionary war. We ate lunch at the local tavern and toured some of the buildings that were reconstructed, including the jail and the governor's palace. It was worth the visit and we
Looking for Bugs
The farmers there are really farming. Actual varieties of corn, tobacco and other plants that matched what the plantation actually grew in the late 18th century.
could have spent several days there instead of just one. The heat of the day finally got to us and we headed back to Virginia Beach around 4:45. Unfortunately the weather finally caught up with us and between rush hour and the thunderstorms the 1 hour drive ended up taking almost two and a half hours. Much of it in a heavy downpour, and one flash flood which we quickly escaped. We did get to see some nice lightning and we made it back to the trailer in time to get all our wet items picked up before dark. Since it was still raining we finished the night with a movie and a trip to IHOP and the grocery store. Tomorrow we pack up early.
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