Thursday, July 28, 2011

Colonial Williamsburg

I had been to Williamsburg, VA, once before but it was for a work related meeting (the topic was Barrow if you can believe that!) so I didn't really have much opportunity to wander around playing tourist. We left the Bloomsburg, PA, area on Saturday morning and except for the beltway around Washington D.C., it was a pleasant trip. It was still miserably warm and the thermometer in the car hit 115°F at one point. We stayed with my brother in-law and his wife in a beautiful condo in Williamsburg and had a wonderful visit.

The last time I was here, the only buildings I saw around the colonial village were the Williamsburg Inn and, apparently, just about all of the taverns. On this trip, we went through quite a few of the restored buildings and their concept of having the staff act in character was pretty entertaining. One of the favorite questions was where you are from. If we said "Alaska", then we were accused of making up gibberish. If we said "Russia" then we were pitied. Every time we stepped into a tavern to cool off, I would look around and invariably, it would be familiar. This building is referred to as the Palace.

The Palace

The last time I was here, the armory wasn't open. It is the weird looking round building with the pointed roof. Inside was gun powder and weapon storage for the militia. People locked themselves into the building and lowered arms and supplies through openings in the floor to supply the troops.

Inside the Armory
I always thought the choice of muskets over rifles during the revolutionary war was always interesting. Muskets are smooth bore and thus, less accurate. In the barrel of a rifle, the groves or rifling and the tighter fit would not only increase the velocity but also spin the projectile making it more stable in flight but the rifling would clog from the black powder residue and need more frequent cleaning. The person in the armory said that a musket could be fired about four times per minute versus once for a rifle.

This is the apothecary or drugstore for the period. There was also a display of medical instruments in the rear of the shop. This building, like all of the others in the area, have been meticulously restored preserving much of the original materials. Even many of the floor boards are original. All of the public buildings are staffed with wonderful characters who talk to you as if it is still the 18th century.

After spending too few days in Williamsburg, we headed north towards Washington D.C. for our flight home Tuesday morning. On the way, we stopped for a short visit in Urbanna, VA, to visit another brother in-law and his wife. While there, we did a little geocaching before dinner and this is a view from the small boat harbor near one of the caches. I had difficulty getting a good picture out of Autostitch before I realized that the boat was moving between pictures. Even here on the water, the temperature was still pretty unbearable.

Since Urbanna is the home of the Virginia Oyster Fair, I thought it would be a good idea to try some. We went to an oyster bar and I ordered a dozen on the half shell. Unfortunately, the chef insisted on broiling them and completely ruined them. He did this twice. How does that saying go, only eat oysters in months with an "r" in them. I thought that is only because of the warm weather. Maybe they weren't very good....

Tuesday was spent either in the air or waiting in airports. Total time door to door was 17 hours.


  1. I'm glad the trip was good. Looking forward to seeing the images.

    Were these Taverns "in use"? For air as well as refreshment?

    I'm sorry the oysters weren't up to par. I'm thankful my first exposure to baked on the half shell were perfect.


  2. Lori:

    I just added some snapshots of Williamsburg. None of them came out quite like I wanted. I'll blame it on the heat and humidity.

    The taverns are "in use" and serve wonderful period meals though the prices are very much modern day. The waitstaff are dressed in costume and some had strolling musicians. The menu also changes with the seasons.

    I was very disappointed with the oysters. I guess I expected too much....

  3. Sounds like a great trip, except for the triple digit weather.

    I love wandering through the old historical buildings. Life just seemed simpler back then.

    Of course I appreciate our modern amenities, but the pace is so much quicker.

  4. I happen to think Aaska is gibberish too but I'm glad to know now that I am not alone in my hallucinations.
    The question is: what is a reasonable temperature? Daytime highs that don't melt ice in your glass? Really?

  5. Conchscooter:
    From May through mid-September, highs range fro 60°F-90°F with lows generally around 50°F. Feels pretty nice to me now after the triple digit temperatures and humid.

  6. Dear Richard:

    I have never been to Colonial Williamsburg, and would like to go... But I have no intentions on visiting unil the temperatures are solidly in the mid-60's.

    The effort required to load and to fire a black powder weapon is not inconsiderable. I used to hunt with a modern, percussion, rifled-bore weapon, and I'd have had difficulty firing that one at places like Bunker Hill.

    I'm terribly sorry the triple digit temperatures were with you the rest of the trip... They certainly made an impression on me during the Bloomsburg Rally.

    I had a great time meeting you and looking forward t having out paths cross again in Alaska, sometime.

    Fondest regards,
    Twisted Roads