Williamsburg, Virginia

9/24 - Friday Arrived in Williamsburg at around 4 pm. We made good time from Alexandria. The route was well marked once you figured out their system.

The Williamsburg Lodge is VERY dated. We chose to stay there because it is really just yards from the main street of Colonial Williamsburg which made walking around really easy. The room really needed renovation, but the appointments were charming - big leather easy chair, wooden rocking chair, jacquard bedspread, folk art on the walls, wooden 4 poster bedstead.

We linked up with Ron, a longtime friend of Will and his best man for our wedding, for dinner. Ron is a "front line interpreter" meaning that he portrays a character and interacts with the public as if he is that person. This involves learning all about the person and trying to, whatever extent possible, to talk using words, thoughts, and knowledge of that person. He has been doing it for 10 years and is VERY good and well respected by those we came into contact. Ron had agreed to a "busman's holiday" to show us around Williamsburg and Jamestown.

Friday dinner was fish at a locals restraurant - the Backfin. Time to catch up and share tales. Ron's wife's family was also visiting to dropped by there for a bit and to see some of his new "toys" and their library. Both of them are cooks and costumers so my list of necessary additions was long.

9/25 - Saturday Quick breakfast, or at least as quick as you can get a breakfast in the south, at the hotel. Then off to meet with Ron. Will had never been into the Governor's Palace so that was the first stop. It was wonderful grounds as well. The maze is boxwood and feels quite dense from eye level. The arbor was a nice cool path to some of the out buildings. The kitchen was closed so we left that for another day [click to see kitchens] and the scullery was being used for beer/ale brewing. Unfortunately it was not for public consumption.

The finest of the houses at Williamsburg is the Randolph Peyton house. The main house is fascinating and well appointed. The kitchens were interesting and like Mt Vernon set in an attached house. [click to see Kitchens]. At a couple places they have first person interpreters in the house to give you an idea of what life was like.

We lunched at Chownings Tavern in their outdoor garden. A nice respite from walking and standing. Then on to some of the workshops - cooper, mill (got to watch the mill being turned - yes they periodically turn the wholel mill so the works don't freeze up), silversmith, bookbinder (excellent overview with books at each step of the way to show methods), etc.

Ron dropped us off and made ready for his evening performance. For dinner we had made reservations at Christiana Cambell's. Fabulous sweet potato muffins and spoon bread.

For the evening, we went to see Ron play the magistrate in Cry Witch. A play where in they involve the audience. It is taken from the real life account of a witch trial. Lots of fun and very educational.

9/26 - Sunday Another attempt at a quick breakfast. First up the DeWitt Museum. They were having a special program on "pockets" so of course wanted to see their textiles. Fabulous museum with lots of stuff relevant to reenactors 16thC forward - really made all the daily life objects come alive. Click here to see more - kitchen, plateware, textiles/costume. Definitely not enough time to explore all they had in the drawers or special galleries.

Then off for more stores and buildings. Went by the Governor's Palace kitchen, the millinary shop, the saddlemakers and bootmakers, the weavers (excellent - click to see more), etc. Will and Ron went off for a pint and I went back to the room to lay down before dinner.

We had made reservations and met up with Ron, his wife and her parent for dinner at the King's Arms. They call it an 18th C chop house. Will got to have his game pye and I the roast beef. Their tidbits were 4 relishes (ham, red pepper, ...) to try and some Sally Lunn bread. Yummy!

9/27 - Monday It was threatening to rain as we again prepared to encounter the edge of a hurracane. We decided to just do Jamestown and leave Yorktown for another time. Needless to say the 2 "seadogs" had lots of fun at Jamestown (click for pictures).

On the way back we stopped at P&GGlassworks. They make much of the reproduction glass you see around. Needless to see we had to take advantage of their seconds table and their kind offer of shipping.

We left Ron as he was off to do Cry Witch again. This time as the Governor. Would have liked to see the difference, but it wasn't to be. We made reservations and went to a local fine dining restraurant - The Trellis. They are known for their dessert "Death by Chocolate" which we didn't have. We did indulge in a wonderful flourless chocolate tart made with pieces of apricot.

9/28 - Tuesday The rain had arrived. Managed to start out at 11 am for the drive to Upperville. Fortunately most of the drive wasn't too bad.

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Photos and text copyright Robin Berry & William Ringer 2004.