Part II: Colonial Williamsburg Christmas!

 
Grand Illumination.  Photo courtesy Colonial Wiliamsburg

Grand Illumination. Photo courtesy Colonial Wiliamsburg

I came here for the gardens and the Christmas decorations. I am leaving with more gardens than anticipated and the wonderful feeling of having had a 1700′s Christmas. As a historic site, Colonial Williamsburg keeps everything as is. The clothes, the utensils, the tools, the houses, the gardens – well everything. This is the amazing charm of this place.

Carriage Rides © Britt Conley

Carriage Rides © Britt Conley

The lifestyle is different here. During the day colonial gardeners are out working the gardens at the nursery, cooks are cooking up true 18th century fare in the taverns and visitors are out getting carriage rides and hitting the shops. It seems simple enough.

The Magazine and Guard House © Britt Conley

The Magazine and Guard House © Britt Conley

But on a cold Winter day like today I had the true feeling of 18th century life. There is much work to be had here. Even for the visitor, walking around can be a bit tiring. We took a break from the bitter tempartures to eat lunch at the Kings Arms Tavern. From the moment you walk in the door you feel pretty close to what everyone else felt coming in through this same door hundreds of years ago: comfort. The architecture, the decor and the food are all about the feeling of being sorely welcome. It’s easy to see how a community would gather in these halls and eat such wonderful, warm and filling food. It’s a far cry from the hustle and bustle that I am used to today. I found it incredibly relaxing and romantic. The tea came in a heavy porcelain pot with matching cup, saucer and creamer. The same sets as the ones used in the day. The fire roared in the background and the wonderful deep wood paneling and beams set the stage.

Tea at the King's Arms Tavern © Britt Conley

Tea at the King's Arms Tavern © Britt Conley

But it was the authentic nature of truly old resined wood and simple cotton swags on the walls with the sturdy old thick wood furniture and did I mention the food? I’m mentioning it again. : ) The music at these taverns is also authentic, as are the costumes and the “speak”.

Tavern Dinning. Photo Courtesy Colonial Williamsburg.

Tavern Dinning. Photo Courtesy Colonial Williamsburg.

Another new favorite place of ours is Christiana Campbell’s Tavern which as Williamsburg correctly states, “tempts guests with traditional seafood from the rest of the British colonies of North America…

Campbells © Britt Conley

Christiana Campbell’s Tavern © Britt Conley

Christiana Campbell’s Tavern provides guests with ample opportunity to savor Mrs. Campbell’s favorite dishes of sherried shrimp, scallops and lobster, as well as the Waterman’s Supper and lump crab cakes, the tavern’s signature dish. The entrées are complemented by longtime tavern favorites of Campbell’s cabbage slaw, spoon bread and sweet potato muffins.”

Apples, Wheat and Magnolia leaves. © Britt Conley

Apples, Wheat and Magnolia leaves. © Britt Conley

Once outside, Christmas is everywhere. The decorations are amazing (see yesterday’s photo garden bee) and events are just wonderful

People come from all over to celebrate a true Colonial Christmas.  Photo courtesy Colonial Williamsburg

People come from all over to celebrate a true Colonial Christmas. Photo courtesy Colonial Williamsburg

This year’s Christmas came Sunday, Dec. 6. but the fireworks titled Colonial Williamsburg’s Grand Illumination, actually started in 1934 as “White Lighting.” This year celebrates its 75th anniversary. The main image for today’s post shows the fireworks. According to Williamsburg, “candles are lit in public buildings, shops and homes, and fireworks are launched at three Historic Area locations: the Governor’s Palace, Magazine and Capitol. Illuminations were commonly used during the 18th century to celebrate major events such as great military victories, the birthday of the monarch, the arrival of a new colonial governor and the like by firing guns into the air and lighting fireworks.”

Fifes and Drums. Photo courtesy Colonial Williamsburg

Fifes and Drums. Photo courtesy Colonial Williamsburg

The Colonial Williamsburg Fifes and Drums are often out and about making for a very realistic holiday indeed!

The Colonial Life © Britt Conley

The Colonial Life © Britt Conley

Around all the streets lie huge bundles of wood waiting for the evening fires which provide the light and the heat needed for Winter strolling.

iron baskets that are placed on iron poles. Pitch pine, or fat wood, is placed in them and burned to provide illumination during evening programs.  Photo courtesy Colonial WilliamsburgIron baskets that are placed on iron poles. Pitch pine, or fat wood, is placed in them and burned to provide illumination during evening programs. Photo courtesy Colonial Williamsburg

If you can manage to get here during Christmas, be sure to check out the Colonial Nursery and Garden. This Winter garden is a historic charmer and will be tomorrow’s feature.

A sneak peak of the Colonial Nursery and Garden outdoor market © Britt Conley

A sneak peak of the Colonial Nursery and Garden outdoor market © Britt Conley

‘Til tomorrow… and happy holidays!

Britt : )

Related posts:

  1. Colonial Williamsburg’s Christmas Wreaths
  2. Williamsburg’s Colonial Garden and Nursery
  3. A Longwood Garden’s Christmas!
  4. The Bee makes it!
  5. A Longwood Garden’s Christmas

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