Monday, November 30, 2015

Mondays are for Grace

“The joy of brightening other lives, 
bearing each others’ burdens, 
easing others’ loads and 
supplanting empty hearts and lives with generous gifts 
becomes for us the magic of the holidays.” 

-- W. C. Jones

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Virginia Vacation Day 7

Our last day in Colonial Williamsburg could not have been more beautiful! We began at the "small plantation" and observed what daily life might have been like for the more average landowner.

I was excited to find a kitchen with plenty going on! This kitchen was a separate building a good distance from the house -- very common back then.

The kids got to take this bowl of scraps down to feed the pigs. They were utilizing vegetables from their own garden out back.

 In the field, cotton was beginning to ripen.

After the small plantation we went to the governor's palace. The governor would have been appointed by the king in England and sent to Virginia to live. To make up for that "hardship" his life in Williamsburg had to be pretty nice.

It did look like stepping inside an English manor house:

There were fancy bedrooms:

And a ballroom:

And look at the green in this room!

The governor's palace also had a functioning kitchen as one of the outbuildings. These cooks made some very fancy dishes. I wanted a piece of the fruit cake in the bottom left of the picture. It looked SO good. Rachel wanted one too. Since then she and I have made two that we are feeding in preparation for Christmas.

Down the street from the palace is the George Wythe house. Previously, I knew nothing of Mr. Wythe. However, he was a very prominent man in his time: the first law professor in America, a judge, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, and widely loved and respected in his time. I am currently reading a book about his murder which I will review when I'm finished.

The Wythe house was staged to show what it would have looked like when George Washington took over the house to make it his headquarters just before the siege at Yorktown. Incidentally, it is probable that the Wythes removed to the Powhatan estate during this time which is where our condo was located (remember that beautiful mansion house on the property? That was Wythe's in-law's house.)

I loved this scene with the papers, pens, and candles:

The rooms were set up like dormitories for the soldiers with Washington.

Note the boots, hat, wool blanket....

 Back on the Duke of Gloucester street (DoG for short :). You can see how lovely the day was.

The wigmaker was fascinating! The whole idea of everyone wearing wigs is interesting to consider. But, it sounds like wigs went out of fashion after the war because no one wanted to imitate England anymore.

I couldn't resist another stop at the coffee house for some more of their hot chocolate.

It's as thick as melting a bar of chocolate -- apparently, that is what they do. But they add spices like cinnamon and cloves.

This time at the coffee house we heard from a woman who told about life as a free black woman in Colonial Williamsburg.

Laura enjoyed her chocolate too.

Another view out on the street:

Here is the cobbler's shop:

Look at all those shoes!! Imagine having shoes handmade for you!

Our tour of the Randolph House got interrupted because we had to rush off to meet some of the kids. But, I did have time to enjoy the incredible gray paint in the house and to know that someday I need a room in that color. Unfortunately, the camera didn't capture it very well.

A view of Bruton Parish church:

Near the gardens there was a shop selling wreaths. They were beautiful!

 And the gardens were beautifully kept!

We found the basketmaker and learned about this important skill which many families had.

 The weaving house was gorgeous with all the light streaming through the window onto the dyed wool.
The day ended with a parading of the troops in front of the courthouse.

It's amazing how technology has advanced in the last 240 years but its too bad that we still have the need for wars.

 Had to make sure to grab a picture of Michael and me. How about a nice house like this?!

 The next day we had lovely weather for the drive home and the rolling hills/mountains of Virginia and West Virginia were just gorgeous!

We are very thankful for the chance we had to go to Virginia's Historic Triangle and to see all that we did! We definitely recommend it to others!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Mondays are for Grace

"Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good;
His love endures forever."

Psalm 118:1

(woodcut by Gustave Baumann, IMA)

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Virginia Vacation Day 5

It's time to finish up the vacation photos because today is Rachel's birthday and next week is Thanksgiving and there will be plenty more to blog about by then.

One of the most fascinating things we did on our vacation was go to visit historic Jamestowne -- the very place where the first successful English settlement in the New World took place.

Here's a replica of one of the three ships that arrived in Jamestowne in 1607.

Rarely do we get to see history of this length in our country. In Europe and other countries it's old hat to see things from the middle ages or Roman times or before but here in America something is old if it's 200 years and really ancient if it is 400 years!

 We were recommended to take an archaeology tour and we cannot recommend it more highly! It was fantastic. One of the archaeology assistants took us around and for an hour and twenty minutes told us the most interesting history of this fort and what they are currently finding and how textbooks are being re-written because of what they find right here. It was only a few years ago when no one even knew where historic Jamestowne was. In fact, many speculated it was washed away in the James River. However, one determined young man pursued his dream and made the discovery. Check out this website and you can see what the archaeologists dug up in October! This is real history!!!

Statue of Pocahontas:

This view looks out to the James River with this half-built building showing the perimeter of the church:

Here is a model of the fort:

And a panoramic view. This site was chosen because the settlers were so afraid of the Spanish and it is situated in such a way that the ships would come around a certain bend and not be able to aim their canons on the settlement until the settlement had fired on them. Otherwise, the location was terrible due to bad water and other factors.

We learned about the four people buried here in the church including one person who was buried with a Catholic relic (Catholicism being illegal in England at this time).

Inside the museum we viewed more artifacts.

And we saw the skull of "Jane", a servant girl who was cannibalized during some of the starving times.

Captain John Smith. Jamestowne was the first capital of Virginia but in 1705 it was moved to Williamsburg. Eventually the capital moved to Richmond in 1779. It was interesting to view Jamestowne and think about how it had been the capital and had looked much like Colonial Williamsburg. Jamestowne does not have reconstructed buildings and most of the evidence for a city is gone.

After our visit to Jamestowne, we went around the corner and took the free ferry across James River.

It was a great adventure for the kids and felt like we were out on the ocean even if we weren't.

A view of Jamestowne from the water, thinking about how it might have looked to the settlers when they first arrived.

And look where we were on the other side!

We drove around a little bit and stopped for ice-cream. I was delighted that we passed several cotton fields and the kids got to see this important historic crop in real life.

The all important cotton plant:

 Back at our condo in the late afternoon we took some time to either swim or play putt-putt. Laura loves putt-putt and is quite good at it.

And I had a little moment for some tea and books!

I think this was one of the most memorable days because of the archaeology tour and getting to be that close to very important and ground-breaking discoveries. Research at its best!!!