Monday, August 8 – Off to Historical Williamsburg! Once again, we walked till we nearly dropped. The flip side is we don't have to find time for our daily exercise (walking)!
We drove to the free ferry that took us across the James River.
From there it was a fifteen minute drive to the Williamsburg Visitor's Center. They have many ticket options, from a basic one day pass to a seven day Williamsburg, Jamestown, Yorktown, all inclusive ticket. We choose the One Day PLUS ticket which is actually a two day pass (????) that includes the guided tour of the Governor's Mansion.
From the Visitor's Center we took a short walk over the bridge to a re-enactment of an early settlement. It was called the Great Hope Plantation. Great Hopes Plantation did exist in the 18th century, but not where it is now. Plantations were the homes of most of the rural middle class, the ones who weren’t shop and tavern keepers or trades people in town.
One of the most interesting displays was two settlers making lumber. Can you see the guy underneath? They considered this a portable device. This was really an outstanding invention. When they were done cutting lumber in an area, they just took the planks apart and took it out to the forest. What a labor intensive job!
There was tobacco being grown and dried, cotton in the fields, and several girls working in a kitchen. We saw a smokehouse that is used with curing hams. Here is Paul checking out the smokehouse.
Tobacco drying house.
Slaves lived different lives on the farms than in the towns. Slave houses at Great Hopes are much rougher than house-servant quarters in Williamsburg, but the trade off was that rural slaves generally had more freedom of movement and control over their own lives than did town slaves, but no slave, rural or town, was free in any meaningful sense.
They dug holes under their beds to hid their few valuables.
Sure makes one appreciate the labor saving lifestyle we live today!
The Williamsburg settlement is HUGE! Williamsburg came to pass as a result of the failure of the first English settlement at Jamestown. Jamestown was first settled in 1607. It was set up to be the center of the Virginia Colony's government and commerce. However, the inhospitable swampy and insect ridden terrain at Jamestown eventually drove the settlers to higher ground to a place called Middle Plantation.
The original settlement of Middle Plantation had grown up around a 17th century palisade built as a defense against Indian attack. By 1690 it was a small village composed of stores, mills, a tavern, a church, and assorted homes. In 1698, the village of Middle Plantation became the focus for colonists who envisioned a capitol city equal to their aspirations. The name Middle Plantation was changed to Williamsburg in honor of William III, King of England, and building began.
We walked over to the Governor's Mansion. The Mansion was home to seven royal governors, Patrick Henry and Thomas Jefferson. Governor Edward Nott persuaded the General Assembly to authorize its construction with an act passed October 23, 1705, and building began the following summer. Henry Clay was the contractor. The word "Palace" was first used for the governor's house about 1714.
The gardens were beautiful.
View of the canal.
This tour is called “In-Period” meaning the tour guides treat you as guests to their 18th Century life. Our guide was fabulous. She asked where we where from and when Paul said, “Ohio” she responded, “Oh, you were with the Governor fighting the Shawnee, where you?” Of course, Paul played along responding how desperate the situation is in the Ohio frontier that they were now using old guys in the military. This humorous exchange then became a reoccurring discussion between Paul and the guide. Our tour took place when Earl of Dunmore was the Governor.
Our guide in the foyer. The display of weapons was to let all guests know that they were being protected.
Dining area…when guests visited.
Supper room…nightly meals
Very expensive coal burning furnace.
Nanny slept in the room with the children.
Mrs. Dunmore’s dressing room. She entertained guests in this room.
Crystal lighting fixtures all through the house.
Kitchen was in a separate building. It is still a working kitchen.
The Grand Ball room…WOW!
This visit will take a few blogs to get through. More Williamsburg blogs to come later.
Thanks for stopping by. Hope to see you real soon.