Originally published on 18 August 2012.
And now we’re on day two! First up: FREE fancy breakfast! The deal I got on the hotel included two food vouchers, so that took care of both Alexis and me, both mornings. We are lucky ladies!
So, fuel intake: check!
Comfy shoes and tank tops (it was HOT!): check!
And we’re off! We wanted to go to the Governor’s Palace first, but there seemed to be a crowd gathering, so we decided to forgo it for a little bit. We stumbled into the gunsmith’s shop. He let us hold a rifle and other metal work he’d fashioned, such a buckles, shoe horns, etc. He said there is a 7-year wait for a gun made in Colonial Williamsburg—wow!
He also explained a phrase we use every day in America, but I had no idea it had anything to do with Colonial times. People would often trade animal skins and other things for expensive items, such as guns. Usually, a doe or buckskin would be worth a lot, and of course hunters are the ones who need rifles. Ever told someone “that costs 16 BUCKS,” or “give me some DOE” or something similar? That’s where those phrases come from! Many people think money, when referenced as “doe,” is spelled “dough,” and maybe it is from another reference, but the colonists referred to money as “doe” and “bucks” to reference how many hides were needed to pay for things… like rifles.
Next up: the court house—mostly because we wanted to try out the pillory and the stocks! The court house is one of the only buildings in Colonial Williamsburg that has not been completely rebuilt, so that was pretty amazing to see, since it was built in 1770. The docent in the courthouse was a lot of fun, and very good about explaining things well.
Not voting was a misdemeanor, so you would be put on trial, fined, or jailed for not voting—it was each free man’s duty! Also interesting is that the jobs in the court were not paid, and they had to be held by the upper-class gentry folks. Even though they were unpaid positions, it would have been an unbearable shame to the family if the husband, brother or father refused to serve in the court. After all, they didn’t have any other jobs (all their money was family money), so why would they need to refuse serving?
Next up was the magazine, which is the building that houses gunpowder, firearms, and other military supplies! The colony of VA owned the gunpowder and weapons in the magazine, but the Governor apparently stole all the gunpowder at one point! That was an important tipping point in the people of Williamsburg deciding to side with the rebels instead of with England. The docent here also explained that we were all English subjects and should remain loyal to the Crown; if he caught anyone speaking otherwise, he would have to report them for speaking treason!
We got our fill of combat and military talk, and off we went to the print shop, then the shoe store, and finally we came to… the Governor’s Palace! Honestly, we were most curious and impressed with the kitchen outside! It’s really interesting to see people cooking over open flames and in true Dutch ovens the proper way, and seeing that it really works! It’s funny how people think doing it that way (without electricity and “exact” temperatures) is so backward, when in reality it was faster, and in a lot of ways our docent said it was better!
The house tour was a good one. Our guide spoke as if it was really June of 1775, and the Governor Dunmore and his family had just fled the city the night before, so we were in his house without his knowledge. =) The front hall was the most impressive by far. All the walls were decorated with swords and guns!
After a quick snack at Raleigh Tavern, we headed back to the hotel to dress for dinner at the super fancy Christiana Campbell’s! The food wasn’t our favorite (that honor goes to Chowning’s!), but the atmosphere was wonderful, and our waiter was awesome! He was excited that we were asking him questions, and he thought it was great that we were there doing research for Gadsby’s!
Campbell’s is supposed to be the highest-end Tavern in Williamsburg, specializing in seafood. I could tell you about the food, but I know you’d prefer I just show you!
Again, there was a performer going around explaining Colonial instruments and playing traditional songs of the time period. This guy played the “hurdy-gurdy,” which is a cross between a violin and a bagpipe. Sounds funny, but that was all the charm of it!
And after dinner, we’d planned to attend an organ concert at the church! It was very nice classical organ music, very calming, and lovely in a dimly-lit building. We felt so refined!