Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Field Trip: A Day at Colonial Williamsburg

M7:  Today we went to Colonial Williamsburg.  What I liked the best was the plays.  I liked the fencing.  I liked the colonial people were dressed.  I would like to wear a dress like they did if I were in colonial times.

S10:  Williamsburg is an awesome place. At the garden restaurant, you can eat a huge turkey leg and there are lots of vines for shade.  The governor's garden is like Alice in Wonderland.  I like the way the people were dressed because they were dressed as if they lived in colonial times.  My favorite thing was running in the fields with my new toy gun.

H14:  Colonial Williamsburg was a lot of fun and had a lot of information and fun things to do.  The Governor's Palace was beautiful.  The gardens were something I'd really like to have one day.  The play was fun to watch. I really liked the drums and fifes at the end.  All the tours were very informative.  On the tour about the Declaration of Independence I learned that there was a lot that annoyed the colonists before the Boston Tea Party.  They were also mad about the Stamp Act, taxation without representation, as well as a list of other things. My favorite thing of all was the governor's gardens.

Me:  I was so impressed and pleased with our experience today.  Colonial Williamsburg does a wonderful job of creating an experience or perhaps I should say re-creating a history.  My children were enthralled from the moment we walked into the Gatehouse and met our guide for the children's orientation tour.  The moment he pulled out a box containing cloth patches, steel and flint, he became a hero.  Watching him create a fire on the lawn in front of the Governor's Palace was almost like seeing a magic show.  After learning how to show courtesy to those we might meet, we made our way into the heart of Colonial Williamsburg.

As a parent, my children have taught me how to slow down and enjoy the moment.  They've taught me that enjoying each and every moment is more important than seeing each and every thing.  It's a lesson that I learn and re-learn.  Today, I was able to take a deep breath and live in the moment.

After our orientation tour, my children were interested in renting costumes for the rest of our day at Williamsburg.  We caught the shuttle bus back to the visitor's center to investigate the possibility of costumes.  We discovered that the costumes were $25 a day and didn't include any kind of hat.  Everyone decided they would rather have something to keep than a costume for one day.  S10 selected a Kentuckian rifle.  M7 selected a lovely white bonnet.  H13 decided that she'd rather take the money and spend it at a bookstore. With our new bonnet and rifle, we made our way back to Colonial Williamsburg.

Our walk back to Williamsburg led us past a colonial era plantation.  We learned that each person on a plantation took care of two to three acres.  For our family, that would mean we'd be able to manage twelve to eighteen acres if we all worked on the farm full-time.  During colonial times, there was no such thing as a part-time farmer.

A few moments later, walking through the governor's garden, we learned that the governor's horses had a much nicer house than the average plantation slave or colonist.  H13 fell immediately in love with the governor's garden.  She looked at the manicured lawns and vine shaded walkways and found a dozen perfect places to read.  M7 found delight in the governor's kitchen.  I'll be looking for a recipe for spinach pudding when we get home.

Our time at the Governor's Palace was cut short by the starting time of a.tour of the art museum focused on the Declaration of Independence.  We saw five different copies of the Declaration of Independence, learned about the history of the document and saw some objects related to the document that proclaimed independence to the world.  After our tour, we had the opportunity to create bookmarks highlighting Thomas Jefferson and the Declaration of Independence.

After we completed our bookmarks we went in search of lunch.  We found a perfect lunch place at Chowning's Tavern in Garden Fare.   Turkey legs as big as S10's arm and delicious root beer all around.  It was a welcome break in a beautiful setting.

Following lunch we made our way to Revolutionary City where we became part of a city in revolt.  This experience was a favorite for all of us.  Seeing history come alive on the streets where history was made is a goose bump worthy moment.  During our time in the Revolutionary City, we also took time to tour the Capitol. This was my favorite tour of the day.  Our interpreter took us back in time, giving us insight to the feelings and ideas of the average citizen in time of change. The fencing lessons, drum and fife corp and costumes were highlights for all of us.

Our Capitol tour ended just in time for us to exchange our activities page for pins and proceed to the Raleigh Bakery for ginger bread and apple cider.  We took our snacks out to the street to claim front row seats for the parade of the drum and fife corps and militia as they marched off to war.

One day in Colonial Williamsburg wasn't nearly long enough to see everything that there was to see.  We are all looking forward to our next opportunity to visit.

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