Monday, July 7, 2014

Independence Day in Colonial Williamsburg

Sweet Daughter and I watched hurricane Arthur with interest, and it looked like the timing was perfect. It would pass up the coast and clear out of southern Virginia by noon on Friday. And as anyone who has dealt with hurricanes knows ... the weather after one is gorgeous. SD and I had planned on CW for Independence Day as she doesn't remember seeing "real" fireworks up close an personal. I think this was just an excuse on her part for another trip ...

Friday morning dawned and the weather reports said it would be raining until noon, so we put on "regular" clothes and drove down, only to find sunny skies and an nice breeze so we changed (per SD's request) into our 18th century clothes.

Rule 1. If you are going to dress like you work there, you'd better be prepared to be polite to everyone, even the tourists who think it's okay to touch you without asking. I always pointed out that I wasn't an employee, making clothes was a hobby, and if I couldn't help, I pointed out someone who could.

Note to the guy in the Continental uniform who replied, when asked where the fireworks would be by saying "up" with a disgusted look on his face, you are the OCT of the living history world. Don't ruin it for the rest of us.

Anyhow, the one thing I wanted to see was the reading of the Declaration of Independence. So, apparently, did everyone else.


 It was very heartening to see people cheering and applauding and reciting parts from memory. There may be hope for us yet.

After a day of wandering about, people watching, and enjoying the weather, we went and checked into our hotel, changed into regular clothes, grabbed some dinner to eat as a picnic, and went back with our folding chairs and books. I think we got the last two spots on Palace Green a good 3 1/2 hours before the fireworks started.

The Virginia Symphony Orchestra played, and they had speakers set up so we great unwashed at the back who chose not to pay $45 for a reserved seat could hear. They started with The Star Spangled Banner and I was pleased to see people leap to their feet during the drum-roll at the beginning, and not a single male head remained covered. Then it was on to Gershwin, Copland ... and a tribute to the armed forces ending with The Stars and Stripes Forever. Yes, the piccolo still makes me burst into tears, which was exacerbated by the fact that they started the fireworks during the last bit.

The fireworks were amazing. Forty minutes of non-stop light and noise. I don't think SD will forget these any time soon. She's already plotting a return trip next year. And the traffic getting to the hotel afterwards wasn't bad at all. She may be able to convince me.

On Saturday we returned, again in 18th century clothes. This was the day SD wore her new muslin gown.

Playing a "Game of Graces".

We went to Shield's Tavern for lunch and had a wonderful meal. Who knew a curry-chutney coleslaw would pair that well with Carolina-style BBQ? Especially with hard cider ...

We visited our favorite shops and found out that cotton chintz at Mary Dickinson's was on sale. It wasn't really in the budget, but the reproduction fabrics go on sale so seldom, it seemed like a good  idea to economize for the rest of the month so we could pick some up. I narrowed it down to two choices, and told SD to pick. She picked my second choice. I asked the shopkeeper which she liked best and she agreed with me on my first choice, but SD was politely adamant. So, a swatch of each was obtained and one was draped over each shoulder. It took less that two seconds to realize SD was correct. She was very polite about not rubbing it in. Much.

"I won't say 'I told you so', but I can think it, okay?"

Gown from the back, showing 10 feet of sash.


  1. You are such a wonderful mother, giving SD such great experiences . And teaching her to be self reliant ay the same time. Brava to you.

  2. Glad y'all had a great time! :-)