The boys had never been. B and I had gone just once, on a field trip with her class. Matt hadn’t been since he was about 10 years old. So we took advantage of one last weekend off before spring sports start and headed down for a few days.
You guys — it was like a vacation and a history lesson all rolled into three awesome days. My dream trip! Those three days were so full, there’s no way I could sum it all up in one post. This post is all about Williamsburg, and I’ll write about Jamestown later this week.
We have reached the point in our travels that we can’t all fit into one hotel room. So we rented adjoining rooms at one of the hotels right in Colonial Williamsburg. The kids all slept in one room (two kids to a queen bed) and Matt and I slept in the other. It worked out perfectly because we could leave the adjoining door open, but Matt and I were able to be up, talking, moving around, and watching television even after the kids went to bed.
We booked one of Williamsburg’s travel packages — the “Taste of the Tavern” package — so we had dinner in one of the taverns in town each night and it was included in our trip. The tavern was very cool — it was O’s favorite part of the weekend. I think they do a great job in Colonial Williamsburg of teaching you about how people lived back then and allowing you to experience a bit of it while still taking into account modern expectations and conveniences.
For instance, during dinner at the tavern, the waiter explained to us that people mostly ate with knives in colonial times–that was the main utensil that was used to actually put the food into your mouth. They ate soup by soaking it up with bread or drinking it right from the bowl. We were encouraged to do that if we wanted to, BUT we were provided with forks and spoons in case we chose not to eat in the colonial way.
Colonial WIlliamsburg is a living history museum, so everywhere we went we learned about how people lived, worked, and played at the very eve of the American revolution. The re-enactors were informative but kept it simple enough that even the kids understood what they were talking about.
Throughout the day, we stopped in shops where we learned about colonial clothing, house wares, food, games, and weapons. All of those things were available for purchase, and many of them were handmade in the shops in the village.
My favorite part of the day in Williamsburg was the blacksmith shop. A working, functioning shop, the blacksmiths there handmake every nail, every lock, every candlestick, every tool that is used throughout the colonial village. While one smith is working, another is standing at the door to the shop and explaining the process and answering questions. I could have stayed there all day. What a dying art — and what an amazing skill. I loved it.
We spent a full day in Williamsburg, and although a lot of places in the village were still closed for the winter (they would open the following weekend for spring break) we had so much fun and learned so much. It was a great family vacation.