Friday, October 27, 2006

Day 5: Colonial Williamsburg (part 2)

The carriage ride through town was nice - the driver told us to imagine that she was "an older black slave" since that's who would be driving around people rich enough to own the carriage we were riding in. She pointed out many sites throughout the town and interesting facts. There is so much institutional knowledge in the employees that dress up every day and come to work in Colonial Williamsburg.

After our carriage ride through town, we headed immediately over to the Powder Magazine where Michael had a chance to "drill with the militia". He learned how to line up and load and shoot a musket. The drill sergeant was great - he has been working there over 15 years. He demonstrated each step of loading and firing a musket and then showed how quickly he could load his weapon - shooting 4 shots in 1 minute (yes, that's one shot every 15 seconds with a reload in between). He was a typical drill sergeant too - he "barked" at them like a drill sergeant and didn't tolerate the "sloppy" drilling that the new militia performed. Michael even thought he was serious when he dismissed the troops until 6:30am the next morning when they were to return and drill again!

After lunch, we took tours of the Capitol building and the Governor's Mansion, as well as many of the trademen. I feel certain I had toured the Capitol before, but if I had toured the Governor's Mansion, I didn't remember.

The Capitol was designed to house the "two" houses of Burgesses. One represented England and one represented the colonists. The adornments in their chambers clearly represented how they felt about each group - the "Governor's" side (which represented England) was elegantly adorned with velvet chairs and many decorations. The colonists side was sparsly furnished, with a wooden table and chairs. The Capitol was designed with a "meeting room" in the middle where the two houses were supposed to "come together" to resolve issues.

The Governor's Mansion was adorned to depict decorations of Governor Dunmore, the Governor at the beginning of the American Revolution. The first room we visited had a large portrait of Governor Spotswood, the first Governor to occupy the building. Michael was excited to hear that because we had read a chapter in our Virginia History book about Governor Spotswood.

One of the neatest thing about walking the streets of Colonial Williamsburg is the number of people dressed in period clothes. There is a parade in the late afternoon and leading up to that parade, there were many times that almost everywhere I looked, I saw "colonial" people. We even saw a colonial baby!!

After a few more visits to local tradesmen, and a quick shopping trip for some "authentic colonial items", we headed back to the Visitor's Center. We went to our second hotel this night - the Great Wolf Lodge. I will write more about the hotel tomorrow.

1 comment:

Martha said...

Ah, fond memories! Hubby took me to Williamsburg back when we were first dating (we were living in NoVa at the time), for my birthday. Williamsburg in October looks much more appealing than it was in July!