Over the years we have formed many acquaintances and friendships in town and it is always such a pleasure to reconnect (thanks for lunch Mr. M.!) and to meet new friends each time we visit. In particular on this visit, we began a great friendship with a family from Virginia. We had been reading their blog for some time, eagerly following their descriptions of their visits to CW and their accounts of their studies in history. It was so nice getting to meet them at last! We ended up spending quite a bit of time together over the course of our stay, and we had so much fun bonding over our common interests, experiences, and costuming adventures.
Ashley (left) and new friend Miss C. sharing stories
On Tuesday evening, we also joined John Millar and his group for an evening of English country dance at Newport House. Thank you to all of you for your warm and enthusiastic welcome!
Ron Carnegie as Washington
We also had the opportunity to spend some time in the St. George Tucker House, meeting fellow donors and volunteers from all over the world, and taking a much needed reprieve from the heat! One of my personal favorite programs at the Tucker House is the informal presentations given by some of the “Nation Builder” interpreters. This setting not only allows the interpreters to share stories and answer questions that a larger audience might not permit, but it also provides the opportunity to communicate with the interpreters out of character. This can be a rewarding experience for both visitors who might be new to the concept of first-person interpretation and for those (like me) who are studying the practice. During our stay, we had the opportunity to visit with two of my favorite founding fathers (and interpreters!) Thomas Jefferson/Bill Barker and George Washington/Ron Carnegie.
Bill Barker as Jefferson at the Tucker House
One "serious" change (at least to us!) was the introduction of plastic wrapped goods in the Raleigh Tavern Bakery. As we understand it, the division of CW that runs the restaurants and taverns recently assumed control over the RT Bakery, which necessitated an imposition of their set of regulations on this premesis as well. I understand the concepts of sanitation and all that, but it was the experience that really made a difference. Even with the paper cups and the cash register, walking into the RT Bakery was always such a special experience; those signature smells of freshly baked ginger cakes and Sally Lunn bread have now been replaced with baskets full of plastic wrapped items that really diminish the sense of uniqueness. We were also disappointed to see that they no longer offer Chowning Rolls. Thank goodness for those CW cookbooks, but those rolls will be sadly missed.
Mmmm, Raleigh Tavern Bakery!
This was our first visit to the recently reconstructed Charlton’s Coffeehouse. During our earliest visits to CW, the Armistead house still stood on this site. Over the years, we have followed the progress of the excavation and reconstruction, so it was particularly exciting to visit the project at its successful end. It is a shining example of the efforts of CW and its extraordinarily talented staff (which includes the interpreters who now bring it to life).
We also attended some of the newer theater programs, which we haven’t had the opportunity to see in the past. These included Polly Honeycombe, a classic 18th century comedy of misguided love, filial disobedience, and mistaken identities, with a twist of CW comedy and a rousing 18th-century-trained audience to boot!
Further adventures from our latest trip to CW to follow!