Thursday, March 24, 2011

One More Frolick in Williamsburg

Our final day on this recent visit to Colonial Williamsburg was spent with our wonderful friends from Teacups in the Garden.  We attended a few CW presentations, enjoyed the beautiful weather (until the temperature dropped at night, anyway!) and celebrated Miss C’s 18th birthday!

 With our friends from Teacups in the Garden!

As we walked through the Visitor's Center in costume that morning, we heard a young boy exclaim, "Mom, look!  The colonial people are out already!"  (Kids really do say the darndest things!)  We began the day behind the Governor’s Palace to hear Mr. Jefferson speak.  As always, it was wonderful to hear him discuss his thoughts on our “new” nation and to witness the wonderful talent of Mr. Barker’s interpretation.  Afterwards, we strolled through the gardens admiring the first flowers of spring (some wonderfully fragrant lilacs!) and stopping for photos (some for ourselves and some for other guests).

 Bill Barker as Thomas Jefferson

Spring is on the way!  (See the flowers to the right?!)

We then attended a special program in the Margaret Hunter shop entitled “From Freedom to Slavery.”  As we gathered in the shop, a third person interpreter stepped forward to provide us with an introduction.  He explained that in the past, he would come out after the presentation to answer questions.  Considering how emotional the scene was (and since there is no introductory information given by the actors), he instead made the decision to start with some background information, in addition to offering the option of answering questions afterward.  The scene depicts a wealthy mistress who brings her recently "rescued" slave, Elizabeth, to the shop to be “properly” clothed for her servant duties.  Elizabeth fled her life as a slave several years prior and had found a home with a Shawnee tribe, where she led a free life with her new husband and their children.  Her mistress describes the ordeal to the milliner infront of Elizabeth in a condescending tone, clearly showing no understanding or compassion for the life of her slaves and the joy that Elizabeth had found with her new family.  When the lady and the shop mistress exit the room to talk, Elizabeth is left with the milliner's slave, and the two share a heart-to-heart talk about the challenges they face having to put aside their own identities in the English world in which they are forced to live.  It was a truly poignant scene which touched on so many issues of slavery, particularly of women, in the 18th century.

An interpreter explains the scene as Janea Whitacre prepares for "From Freedom to Slavery."

As a special treat (and since it was the only tavern open at the time), we lunched with our friends at the King’s Arms Tavern where we delighted in scrumptious fare!  As we were descending the stairs to leave (most of us being in costume), a young boy at the foot of the stairs exclaimed quite enthusiastically and politely for one so young, “I like your hat!”  When the next lady followed, he exclaimed once again, “And I like your hat!”  And once again to the next, “And I like your dress!”  What a gentleman!

Mr. Walker at the CW shoemakers' shop.

In the afternoon, we strolled down Duke of Gloucester to do some shopping.  We stopped frequently for photo ops and to greet friends we met along the way.  We also attended a talk at the DeWitt Wallace by Carla Killough McClafferty, author of The Many Faces of George Washington.  She shared with us the fascinating journey of Mount Vernon’s creation of three eerily life-like George Washington statues.  These three statues, depicting the man in three stages of life, are full body reproductions of what researchers believe are the truest depiction of what he looked like.  They studied paintings, letters, and other documents, and even studied his surviving dentures!

As we made our way back through the historic area, we were drawn back to the Margaret Hunter shop (because who could resist!).  A school group was waiting to explore the shop, so we only had a few moments to "Ooo!" and "Aaah!" over the wonderful projects they had displayed, and to congratulate the milliners on such a fine job with all their hard work for the symposium.

The Margaret Hunter Shop

Afterward, we witnessed some Revolutionary City scenes before heading to dinner.

The CW junior fife and drum corps play during a Rev City scene.

That evening, we attended the ever-popular “Dance, Our Dearest Diversion” at the Governor’s Palace where 18th century dancing is demonstrated and the audience is encouraged to participate in several dances.  We all had the opportunity to take a turn before the evening was out, and then ventured back out into the chilly night to say farewell to our friends until our next visit.

Check out our recent flickr set for more pictures from this visit!


lahbluebonnet said...

Hey, I recognize those properly dressed people! We had a wonderful time with you all! You all definitely added to the specialness of Miss C's birthday as well! My chintz is on order and I'm looking forward to being far more properly dressed for our next frolick!

An Historical Lady said...

Dear ladies,
We have to tell you that your coverage of the symposium at Williamsburg was the most comprehensive, and for us, the next best thing to being there! As long-time reenactors and historical program presenters, and after having spent our honeymoon there in costume at Christmas 4 years ago, we dearly wanted to attend this event. Alas, the budget did not allow it this year---hopefully next time---but thanks to you, we have been avidly 'participating' in every minute! We love your clothing as well. You all look the MOST authentic! Many thanks~ Adam and Mary

lahbluebonnet said...

I concur 100% with An Historical Lady! I did not get to attend the conference either, but I learned the most from your posts! You two have been such an encouragment to me to learn PA stuff, including sewing. I probably never would have worked up the courage to come out in costume, as much as I've always wanted to. Again, it was fun, fun, fun to do the town with you all! I can't say that enough, can you tell? It was equally a thrill to watch all the guests to stop to ooh and ahh over you two over your lovely sewing! Thank you, thank you, thank you for being so patient with me to answer my questions and guide and encourage me along the way! =) The chintz for my more appropriate jacket is on the way! Looking forward to next time!