Sunday, October 6, 2013


My Aunt Janet moved to Williamsburg last year, and she extended an open invitation to all family members to come on down. We took her up on her generous offer and planned a Spring Break excursion. Aunt Janet is the most generous of hosts and met us with hot Brunswick stew, a welcome respite since this turned out to be an unseasonably cold Spring Break. She also planned a special tea party with the American Girl dolls, which Emma had long been anticipating, complete with pink lemonade cupcakes and shrubs - a sorbet-based drink that is a Williamsburg tradition. 

Janet is also a generous gift-giver. She was prepared with gifts for all the April birthdays in our family. Here is Emma with her new Felicity activity book and a mob cap borrowed from Janet's costume closet, ready for a day in Colonial Williamsburg. 

Janet and I took the kids downtown, and I was expecting to purchase a day pass for everyone. Adam was back at the house working. (It's a blessing and a curse to work remotely. Blessing because he can work in the car on our road trips. Curse because he can take work with him and can't always join in all our fun). When we arrived at the Visitor Center, we discovered that they were offering VA residents an annual pass for the same cost as a day pass. SOLD!  

We started off in the small Presbyterian Meetinghouse, where I snapped and "Pathed" this photo to keep Adam abreast of our adventure. All hats courtesy of Janet.

Williamsburg was the Capitol of VA from 1698 to 1774, when VA Governor Thomas Jefferson urged that it be moved to Richmond which, in addition to being a safer distance from the James and York Rivers and, therefore, the British fleet, was also considerably closer to Monticello, Jefferson's home. This is a replica of the original Capitol, part of which was sold for the brick, and part of which burned as did so many of the buildings of that era. 

Janet, Spencer, John, and Emma in front of the Capitol Building. 

Here we are taking the tour of the Capitol. It was nice to get out of the wet and cold for a bit. 

Here's my John looking out the Capitol windows. A poster child for Colonial Williamsburg if ever I saw one.

And here we have another poster boy. Brett was the BEST baby. He snuggled into the Baby Bjorn and slept through the tours, nursed while we listened to Martha Washington, and then slept again. This picture of him in the revolutionary hat is a favorite.

 Here we are outside the gaol. Spencer got a book from Aunt Janet that is a piece of historical fiction about the gaoler's son. Text to self connection!

Here we are meeting Martha Washington, or at least the actor who plays her part. Martha asked Emma if she had knew her "courtesies," and Emma responded with a lovely curtsy. She had worn a dress just for the occasion and was pleased to have a chance to show off her colonial manners.

In this photo, I believe we are waiting to go down to the print shop, a favorite of the day. 

Hard to beat the blacksmith, though. Spencer could watch him for hours and we have made return trips. When Spencer asked how the blacksmith learned his trade, the gentleman replied that initially he tooled around in his own backyard before going to trade school. That lit a fire in Spencer's imagination; he is always asking for metal that he could use to "make things." 

Adam joined us the next day for some touring, and we made sure he got to experience the stocks. From one ball and chain to another. 

This was sort of unreal. Emma and I were checking out the inside of a store to see what colonial wares they had. The boys headed for the livestock out back. We joined them to discover that a lamb had just been born and then watched the mother ewe push out its twin and eat the afterbirth. Biology lesson covered for the week. Aunt Janet used to raise sheep whose wool she sheared, carded, and wove. This brush with nature opened the door for some fun sheep tales, my favorite being the time Else Marie ran away and Papa, with the help of some high school buddies, had to help retrieve her in Grandpa Cummings' convertible. 

Jail time. Nothing makes Johnny happier than talking about "police offithers" and jail. 
Much more to come!

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