One Day in the Virginia Colony

October 2, 2011

Costume rental at Colonial Williamsburg came with instructions on proper deportment.  Both girls practiced walking like this most of the day. Later on, we bought them some flint and a steel, after which they spent the rest of the day making sparks, unconcerned that their enthusiastic efforts might be burn little holes in the dresses.

Only in America would this count as entertainment, or education.  I’m quite sure she picked these up for the purpose of being photographed. We visited a shoemaker, a milliner, a courthouse, and a tavern.  The jail where Blackbeard’s pirates were held before being tried and executed was also a hit.  Girls were surprised to learn that the jailer’s five children were responsible for helping to feed the prisoners.

Other colonial activities we enjoyed today included shopping for souvenirs, pretending to lock one another in the stocks, eating Doritos and Twix bars in the hotel room, and watching Terra Nova on cable.

This scene, on the lawn in front of the Governor’s palace, was particularly adorable.

I coveted, but did not purchase, a straw hat.

On his first trip to Williamsburg, in the early 1980’s, DH spent the day playing his pennywhistle for tourists for cash.  This time around, he spent most of his time asking the girls little Colonial Era quiz questions, which they aced.   

Grace just finished reading Johnny Tremain for school, and took great pleasure in asking the re-enactors in various stores about their political opinions.  The townspeople were largely reluctant to announce their support for anybody but King George, which was why we were so surprised at the end of the day when all the actors got together by the Capitol building to read the Declaration of Independence.

The choral reading was not historically accurate, in that the female and African American actors chimed in, and got to declaim parts of the text that the founders never intended to apply to them.  It also occurred to me, for the very first time, that if the Tea Party crazies read that thing one too many times, they might actually try to dissolve our government by force, which would be a huge bummer.

Still, I found the whole thing strangely moving.

And the girls had a really great day.


Terence October 3, 2011 at 5:06 am

What an American experience. We will have to show Hannah and Margaret this post. Hannah frequently tries to recreate bonnets out of anything at hand. She recently announced that helping her mother clean up was “not something Laura Ingalls Wilder would do.” As we responded firmly, and this post confirms, it is most certainly what an 18th or 19th Century daughter would do!

Launa October 3, 2011 at 6:40 am

I tried that whole Laura Ingalls tactic on my girls to no avail.

GailNHB October 3, 2011 at 7:16 am

It looks like you all had a blast. It never occurred to me to have my children don the costumes, roll the circle toys, or carry buckets around when we were there. I wonder why that is…
Seriously, it looks like a lot of fun was had by all.

The part I would relate to most was what you ate and did back at the hotel.

And I giggled at the earlier reference to what dorky white people like to do – and how much you are embracing those things and doing them with gusto. Why the heck not???

T. October 3, 2011 at 7:28 pm

Gorgeous photos of gorgeous girls. I cannot wait to do this same trip with my kids. Thanks for sharing.

Launa October 3, 2011 at 7:54 pm

Thanks! I do find them quite lovely, myself. It’s a great trip, and I can give you lots of planning ideas if you want them!!

denise October 6, 2011 at 12:17 pm

Your photos are wonderful. And I think I like experiencing Williamsburg through your post more than I actually did when we were there; perhaps my kids were just a tad bit too young? We were just there in September.

Launa October 6, 2011 at 12:52 pm

I did not include any evidence of our crankier episodes…. but trust me, they certainly happened! I would say that kids need to be VERY adept at long walks and have some serious historical interest to make this a worthwhile trip! I wouldn’t bring kids younger than age 8.

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