Twelve Drummers Drumming...
A weapon I hope to never become intimately acquainted with...
Last weekend our family headed five hours southeast to Colonial Williamsburg. Neither my husband nor myself had been there since childhood. And despite on-going archeological digs, the paramount sights are still as intact and untouched as they were thirty (or three-hundred) years ago.
Bonneted women in brittle buckled squash pumps and dusty stockings, petticoats, and tiny spectacles, peddled quills and ink wells, peanuts, wool tri-corner hats, billowy undergarments, and silver teaspoons smithed by a most chatty thin-lipped man (unlike my own thin-lipped man who is more on the tight-lipped side).
The silversmith explained in detail and with great enthusiasm, where the term "dollar"
came from, as well as how to make your neighbor green in colonial times. Like for instance, purchasing a silver tea service that costs a year's wages then inviting them over for tea just so they can see your recent pricey acquisition.
It seems that "keeping up with the Joneses" hasn't really changed that much in three-hundred years, only today, the pricey acquisitions are rarely as timeless or functional as a silver tea set. I believe the silversmith called such luxury items "portable wealth".
Not only did we see Santa and Mrs. Claus on a motorcycle and sidecar, we braved 20 degree weather and windburn to hear a Barbershop-style grouping of male William & Mary students caroling in Market Square
, dressed in khakis and sport coats. They sounded just as as lovely as they might on a temperate September evening (but with red cheeks and runny noses).
We patronized several colonial eating establishments but one tavern stood out, Josiah Chowning. Josiah Chowning offered house-made beer and root beer, as well as salty virginia ham covered in beer-cheese on toast-points (a definitive no-no for anyone with hypertension). Their meat pasty (a smaller, crispier version of the Cornish pasty but without rutabagas) and Brunswick stew were also worth ingesting.
The colonial taverns all serve the standard "spoon bread" which is a creamy and airy souffle-like corn pudding, but perhaps much naughtier. Servers don period-specific costumes as musicians sing pre-revolution Top-40 melodies. Songs lamenting how hard it is to get out of bed when it's cold outside as well as solemn lyrics that explore the strong character of the British soldier.
But the best entertainment may have been at the outdoor postage-stamp ice rink at Market Square. Watching twenty+ Virginians skate on a wavy fenced-in flat covered in glazed divots sounded just as painful as it looked. No red, but a whole lot of black and blue.
We took in a little surprise exercise during our extended history lesson, clocking several miles on the Fitbit both days because only walkers and horse-drawn carriages are allowed in the colonial area of town. We walked as there was no carriage for six...which was a good thing since I inhaled a vat of calorie-bomb spoon bread...
Here are a couple more of the better photos (it's hard to take pictures when you can't feel your fingers):
The coachman is inside having a beer to warm up...
The two original jail cells pictured above are where the last of Blackbeard's crew, fifteen total, awaited trial after capture. Blackbeard was ultimately killed in waters off of North Carolina but his surviving crew
members were shipped to Williamsburg. This was the most exciting part of the trip for our brood.
That is, until I told the kids that the raised wooden box they kept sticking their heads in was the cell privy.