Thursday, May 7, 2009

Colonial Williamsburg, Day 6

Our last half day with the Madeiras included a delicious but leisurely breakfast followed by a guided tour of John D. Rockefeller Jr's Virginia "cottage," Bassett Hall. At over 7,000 square feet of living space, the modest home is larger than the homes of most of the doctors I know, but then the Rockefellers were very wealthy.

The frontmost section of the home dates back to the 18th century, with several additions providing the majority of the floor space. Since Mr. Rockefeller was very involved in the restoration of Williamsburg and the establishment of Colonial Williamsburg, he purchased this home and used it as his base of operations when he and his wife would visit Williamsburg for 3 or 4 weeks each spring and fall. Compared to the other homes of the Rockefellers, this is the smallest, but it gave them a place to entertain and get to know the citizens of Williamsburg.

Although the dining room was the largest room in the house, it was still only intended to serve no more than 12 people at a time. Something seemed strangely familiar to me when I looked over this room. Check here to see how familiar it really was....

They're not exactly identical, and the Rockefellers seem to need some help picking an attractive seat cushion fabric, but I think the resemblance to our dining chairs is striking.

How's this for a view across the backyard? Bassett Hall sits on 585 acres adjacent to the 301 acres of Colonial Williamsburg, and all but 17 acres of the Bassett Hall property is woodlands.

Here Tim is trying to get his family excited about leaving Williamsburg to head back to normal life in NE Pennsylvania. The negotiations to try to squeeze in a few more hours here were pretty entertaining. Notice the pavement is wet from all the tears shed at our parting.

The Madeiras hit the road with plenty of good memories (and food) from Colonial Williamsburg. After they were out of sight, we all looked at each other and said, "Now what do we do?"

While moping and wandering about town wondering what to do with ourselves, I came upon Thomas Jefferson hard at work writing something. Here I am peering over his shoulder to see what's on the paper.

Just as I thought: Tom has writer's block! I can imagine his earlier attempts: "Dear George...", naw maybe, "Four score and seven years ago...", hmmm, how about, "It was a dark and stormy night...", or perhaps, "When in the course of human events...."

Back to the palace grounds to get some more sewing project photographs. Here the girls are checking out a quiet little garden east of the palace.

This is the maze in the northwest corner of the garden. We were impressed to realize how far one could see from this vantage point on top of the ice house mount.

Here's a zoomed in view to show you what I mean. The arches and gates in the middle of the image indicate that we are looking through four separate garden sections to view the light-colored bench in the distance.

Finally, a couple of dresses from Lily's sewing project portfolio.

I'm afraid you'll have to ask Lily for details if you care to know more about these. Thanks for visiting!

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