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Posts Tagged ‘Colonial Williamsburg’

Chownings Mug Sign

Chownings Tavern – Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia

The Way We Were

Chownings Tavern Welcome Team

Tavern Reception Team

Bill and I have been escaping the past several days, on a brief trip to Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia – not the first time for sure.  There is always something to see and do and never enough time for any of it.

The main allure of this incredible place is the ability to experience a “living museum”

where you can see and feel the past

whilst knowing you are viewing it from the future.

O.K. I know this doesn’t make much sense but it is perfectly true.

But we had another reason to visit the area this time.

We stopped at the MAI Conference being held at the Williamsburg Lodge!

Our friend, Pete, is the organizer and MAI stands for Mid Atlantic Innkeepers, so it was a conference and trade show for Bed and Breakfast people.

Attendees are either eager Hosts and Hostesses, eagerly Aspiring hosts and hostesses, or eager Suppliers of eager hosts and hostesses.

In any case, they are all delightfully friendly energetic people enjoying courses, classes, and camaraderie dedicated to optimizing the travel experience in today’s bustling new world.

Here are photographs of our friends who were working so hard to make the conference a success.

MAI Organizer Pete Holladay http://midatlanticinnkeepers.com

MAI Organizer Pete Holladay
http://midatlanticinnkeepers.com

MAI Ladies

Beautiful Friends Phebe and Katherine

Where Are We

Bill Wondering Where We Were

Believe it or not, the Williamsburg Lodge was a stop on our bus route around the periphery of Colonial Williamsburg.  We had lunch at Chownings Tavern along the way.

Bill tried the Shepherd’s Pie with Root Beer to swig it all down.  And I had Brunswick Stew and hot apple cider.  We were serenaded by a lovely lady in period costume who played the fiddle and then we were visited by a fellow who looked like John Adams. Then we heard a fife in the back room.

Talk about being transported back in time!

How I would love to vacation again in Colonial Williamsburg – but via a time machine back to 1734.  Then I would return of course, to all my modern conveniences!

Well, a lunch hour at the Tavern in the restored Old Towne will have to do.

A Colonial Street of Homes

A Colonial Street of Homes

John Adams Maybe

 

Wood Pile at the Ready

Wood Pile at the Ready

 

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Not many of you know that beyond Virginia Views, I am also The Virginia Shopper.  That means I write another blog on occasion for a lovely little store somewhere  in Virginia.   I am not including the name of the shop or the blog here because this is not a push to buy anything.  It’s just that all of a sudden, I realized  I  found my favorite Virginia product. 

As The Virginia Shopper, I am charged with wandering all over the state (mostly online) to find the nicest things and places and write to my heart’s delight.  That’s the fun of it!   But, of all the items I have ever loved about Virginia, this one little thing always meets the criteria for perfection.  It’s the perfect gift for family and friends and the perfect gift to myself.

Don’t go away please!    I’m not done regaling the virtues of this phenomenal thing.

–          It’s the most unique gift imaginable

–          I want one for myself

–          It will add character to any outdoor place around the house

–          It is so odd looking that it will spark conversation

–          It is so attractive, I may want to get two!

–          It has a historical flavor and purpose

–          It’s lightweight for easy shipping

–          It’s reasonably priced

–          I LOVE it!

What is this perfect little thing?

THE WILLIAMSBUG BIRD BOTTLE!

A bottle for birds?  Really?  Look closely and you will see the face of a sweet little bird who has already made the bottle her home!

And here’s the history:

Williamsburg, Virginia is the nation’s largest living history museum!  Would you believe over 4 million people visit there each year?

In the 18th century, Virginia colonists in Williamsburg figured out how to attract birds (who would control insects) by attaching this beautiful Bird Bottle to their homes!

The one in the picture is a wonderful reproduction made of redware pottery and modeled after an original bottle excavated at Colonial Williamsburg.  How’s that for an interesting thing in the annals of American history?

What do you do with it?  With a single nail, you can hang it from a tree or on the side of any building, and guess what – the birds love it!

I recently received a birthday gift certificate from the little store in question.  What do I want from my favorite little store in town?  There are so many things to choose from!  And that’s how I decided on the Williamsburg Bird Bottle.  If you come for a visit, you will find one attached to a favorite tree within easy view from my living room window and another one attached to the house!

Lemme know if you would like the link to the little store’s catalog or The Virginia Shopper blog!  After all, it isn’t every day, you can find the perfect gift for holiday giving and I will be happy to share!

English: Wigmakers reenacting their historical...

English: Wigmakers reenacting their historical craft in Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: A recreation workshop on Duke of Glou...

English: A recreation workshop on Duke of Gloucester street in Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

View of Duke of Gloucester Street in Colonial ...

View of Duke of Gloucester Street in Colonial Williamsburg. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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On July 13, 2011 I did a blog post as The VIRGINIA SHOPPER for Virginia Born and Bred (a little local gift store in Lexington, Virginia).  The post is about Colonial Williamsburg. 

The VIRGINIA SHOPPER is rediscovering historic Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia – the nation’s largest living history museum!  Would you believe over 4 million people visit there each year?

Good thing I’m wearing my ugly walking shoes! I am managing to keep up a snail’s pace, but covering 301 acres exploring reconstituted buildings, homes, stores, and taverns has me wishing for a horse!   It’s easy to forget pain though.  My mind is on the murky past.

At the risk of sounding like the Twilight Zone, I’m actually slipping back to the 18th century.  The buildings, shops and homes, and even the people in period dress who talk to me in colonial tongues are urging me back, back, back to another simpler time and place.

Everyday tools and tableware were not only functional necessities, but added comfort, beauty and interest to the lives of the Colonists.  I am discovering that many of these objects (adapted, remodeled, designed after or replicated) offer the same benefits today.  They have been licensed by Colonial Williamsburg for sale in other places as authentic reproductions or replicas of things excavated from the historic town site.

For instance, I’m thinking of getting a wrought iron Table Top Votive modeled after an original that’s perfect for my patio table.  Then there’s a pair of Sarah Coke Candle Sticks I love!  They are adapted from unearthed archeological fragments that date back to the Coke family in Williamsburg.  John Coke was a goldsmith and tavern keeper who died in 1767.  There are lots of other articles like a Hooked Pineapple Rug, or Tavern Shrub Glasses based on a flared design found on glasses excavated at the site, and the Travis House Lantern with a carrying ring for easy transport of outdoor candle light.

The pineapple was and is Virginia’s symbol of hospitality and a Pineapple Trivet for the table was and is a way of welcoming guests.  And the Williamsburg Bird Bottle – used in 18th century Virginia to attract birds and control insects – was hung on the side of a building with a single nail. Modeled after an original excavation find, it’s as beautiful and functional now as it was then.

Although my feet hurt, I can say with pride that Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia is a fantastic place to visit again and again. It is an experience in virtual reality and is the only place I know of where the murky mists of time have been removed to expose real people who came before us, and where I can get a glimpse of their homes, businesses, tools for living, and ideals and visions for future generations.

CONCLUSION:

The motto of Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia is “that the future may learn from the past” and it is that ongoing dedication to detail and historic accuracy that makes this a vacation destination unlike any other.

RECOMMENDATION:

When visiting Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia, be sure to wear comfortable shoes!

TIL WE MEET AGAIN…. The VIRGINIA SHOPPER

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