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 Candlesticks 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.
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.
When visiting Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia, be sure to wear comfortable shoes!
TIL WE MEET AGAIN…. The VIRGINIA SHOPPER