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Colonial Williamsburg (Virginia)

Hey guys, this is another blog post by Will! Today I am here to talk about the amazing world of Historic Williamsburg! We visited Williamsburg with our friends the Piatts and had a great time. To start out with you will want to park your car, and then walk to the left of the building towards the side. You might see a shuttle there and if so you can get on that to get over to Historic Williamsburg. If not, you can take the path up ahead which is the cooler option in my opinion. You can see the plantation they recreated which includes a windmill that not only has rotating blades but the body also rotates as well to get more wind flow. The body part had to be manual though.

Once you get to Williamsburg you can explore whatever you want. A lot of the stores and shops are open and it is free to walk around if you haven’t decided on buying a ticket yet. We had prepaid for tickets however so we were good to go. We skipped the governor’s house right off because of the huge line and instead went to a historic house which had been left standing for all those years. It had a parlor, a guest bedroom, an office, and a socializing room on the first floor. In the back they had sheep and the kitchen. This was also where we saw our first tradesman a cooper. Williamsburg has many occupations in the town which make all of the different things that they sell and even construct some of the buildings. The coopers for those who didn’t know, were people who made buckets and barrels by putting iron rings around individual pieces of wood.

After we left the house we started wandering towards the armory, looking at all of the different things around the town. Once we got there we first saw the shoemakers. They, as you can probably tell, make shoes and told us all about it. The lady in the front was very helpful and told us that a skilled shoemaker could make 1 shoe in a 12-hour day. She also told us master shoemakers were expected to make 7 shoes in 6 days. She said that most men wore black shoes because they were the fashion of the day and that they were also easier to keep clean and fix. There was more variety in women’s shoes with some being made of different material and colors, but for men it was mostly black leather shoes.

Next, we went to the blacksmith which was right next to the shoemakers. There was another woman standing there with two men in the shop, one pumping the bellows and the other using a file on some tool. She told us that the most common item they made was farm equipment, but during the Revolutionary War they also made many weapons for the war cause. She said that to make the metal soft enough to mold you needed it at 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit and to get it really hot enough you needed it at 2,000 to 2,600 degrees Fahrenheit. During her talk the two guys in the back pulled out a red-hot piece of iron and started pounding at it with their hammers which was pretty cool. She said that the metal they usually used was iron and steel which was pretty common in the United States so they didn’t require it to be imported during the war. I also found out later in the tour that the blacksmith also makes nails which are used in the construction of some of the buildings at Williamsburg.

Top Row: Capitol Building. Middle: 1771 building, shoemakers, Nick getting pressed penny. Bottom: blacksmith’s

After that we went to explore and came across some bathrooms and a shop. We all took turns going to the bathroom and also went inside to look around the shop. Nick got a pressed penny with the Capitol building on it. We also went to a nearby restaurant where we bought root beer, diet coke, and bread and ate it at the nearby benches. Then we went to the Capitol Building which was the seat of government in Virginia. It was hit by lighting, burned by people, and destroyed 3 times. On the last time they moved the capitol away where it promptly burned down again. The court ruled on large cases like murder, counterfeit, and robbery. You could choose to have a case by either peers or the magistrate which was a group of judges.

After the Capitol building we visited the jails where prisoners could be kept for 3 months (or more) before they were tried before the court, as the court only met during certain times. They also kept sheep and horses in the back which we later learned were used by weavers at Williamsburg to make clothing and yarn which you can buy at the gift shops.

We then visited the carpenters where we learned they made their own tools and build many of the buildings made of wood that are around Williamsburg. They told us that it took thousands of shingles to make the building they were currently under. They used nails from the blacksmith shop, which I thought was very cool. They even had a storage area in the attic of the building above them. They said they were going to soon construct a group of buildings and he pointed to a pile of wood which at the time I thought was a trash pile and said those were 8,000 shingles and that they needed 20,000 shingles for the whole project. At that I was impressed.

We then visited the shop that sells all of the homemade goods for Williamsburg where I learned what all the trades were at Williamsburg. They have weavers, coopers, silversmiths, blacksmiths, and carpenters for both buildings and furniture. We took a look around and saw an old toaster (which was pretty cool) that had been made by the blacksmiths.

We then visited the grandest building in all of Williamsburg, the Governors Palace. And it was a palace indeed! In the entrance were hundreds of swords and guns for both infantry and cavalry. It had a huge courtyard and two other buildings for the kitchen and one for the slaughtering of animals. It had a ballroom and a reception area, and enough guns to supply a regiment of soldiers. It even had different musical instruments in the back and a huge emblem on the back door. It had a grand back area for a garden. We did the maze with various finishing times for the group.We walked around a little longer and then went home.

Sarah Note: Bottom Right: Steps. We saw these stairs everywhere with metal bars in them. I asked the tour guide what they were. Back in the day, there were not always slabs under the steps, which could make for some wonky stairs. After the stone was placed, a spot was carved out, molten metal poured in, and a metal pin placed in to help hold the stairs together.
The maze at the Governor’s Palace Gardens

And that’s the end of the blog with Will. Don’t forget to like and subscribe to the blog, and to follow our Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. See you soon, Will!

SARAH NOTES: Williamsburg was open to Visitors, although it was recommended that you buy your passes online. You have to choose your date of attendance when you book your tickets. Parts of Williamsburg is free; you can walk through the town and shops without paying the admission fee. However, if you want to go into certain areas or houses, then you do have to have an admission ticket. (For example, Governor’s Palace, carpenter’s yard, Wythe House.) Due to COVID, they are limiting the amount of people inside the buildings, so you may be waiting in line for awhile. I think our longest time was about 45 minutes. They call themselves a living history museum, so Will was a little disappointed in the amount of historical plaques to read. He made up for it by asking the blacksmith and shoe shop several questions though. We saw the Wythe house, the blacksmith and shoe shop, the carpentry yard, and the Governor’s Palace.

If you missed the Instagram video, here is a link to our video at the Blacksmith’s and seeing some adorable baby sheep.

DETAILS:*

  • TICKETS: Several options available. Single Day $35.99/adults, $19.99/child (6-12) . COVID Restrictions: masks required, book online for a set date, Visitor Center Closed, social distancing at some locations so you may wait in line.
  • HOURS: Hours vary. Most of the shops are open 9:00am to 5:00pm, but there are some evening programs based on the day.
  • PARKING: Yes, Visitor Center (with shuttle or a 1/4 mile walk) or at art museums
  • BATHROOM: Yes
  • TIME RECOMMENDED: 2-4 hours
  • *Details correct at the time of posting, but please double check before you go.

Comment (1) on "Colonial Williamsburg (Virginia)"

  1. As usual a very informative and entertaining blog from Will, sounds like a great time, wish we were there with you guys glad you got to visit with your friends.

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