Friday, April 09, 2010

Ye Olde Williamsburg

When I wasn't being pampered, I was wandering around Colonial Williamsburg. I didn't get to much of it, because I was unprepared for how much of it there was to see! I spent about six hours taking in the historical sites, and here's what I was able to take in:

The Governor's Palace (shown). So beautiful! So opulent! Built for the governors appointed by the King to rule Virginia (which, in those days, even included Illinois). After the Revolution, Patrick Henry and Thomas Jefferson lived there as the first patriotic Virginia Governors.

The Peyton Randolph House (shown). The home of an aristocratic family (Jefferson was a Randolph cousin) that was a pillar of society both before and after the Revolution. Fascinating to tour to see not only how the family lived, but also their slaves. While the Randolphs considered themselves good owners because they saw to it their slaves learned to read, their slaves didn't agree. When a slave child born at the Randolph House came of age, Randolphs had no issue selling that child, thereby tearing apart families. So, when the Crown offered freedom to slaves to fight with the Brits to defeat the patriots, the Randolph slaves went for it. After the war, Mrs. Randolph's favorite, Eve, was returned to the House, like the piece of property that she was.

I also visited dressmaker's shop (even young children wore stays to help them maintain their perfect posture), the apothecary (the patient who is buying the potion is responsible for bringing the bottle, jar or cloth drawstring bag to carry it home), the brickyard (hot, back-breaking work), and the courthouse (the most frequent misdemeanor charged in those days was for missing church more than once a month).

At Chowning's Tavern, originally opened in 1766, I had a popular drink of the time, The Royal Apple (light rum, apple cider, lime juice and sugar). It cooled me off on these hot, hot days, just as touring these restored buildings satisfied by geeky old history-loving heart.

PS I am familiar with Lincoln-era Springfield and was surprised to see how little things changed between the mid-1700s and the mid-1800s. I mean, think about how very, very different your kitchen and your local post office are from those in 1910.

1 comment:

  1. The nerd in me is so excited by this vicarious trip!