Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Williamsburg in the Fall: Buildings

We were blessed to spend four full days back at Colonial Williamsburg recently, and we enjoyed the opportunity to see the city in its fall dress since we've only ever seen it in the spring. Instead of taking you through our visit chronologically, we'll present the highlights in a topical manner, starting with several buildings around town.

The Courthouse. Home to the James City County Court and the Williamsburg Hustings Court. Visitors with passes can participate in mock trials here, while everyone is welcome to place their neck, hands, and feet in the stocks and pillory to the east of the building. The interpreter on the porch said that's a cozy place to sit on sunny fall and winter days.

The Governor's Palace. Even though this home is dinky compared to many English manor homes of the colonial age, it was the most impressive in colonial Williamsburg 280 years ago just as it is today. To celebrate the 75th anniversary of the reconstruction of the Palace, special tours focusing on the reconstruction are offered several times each week until the end of the year.

The Capitol. This building is also a reconstruction to honor the period from 1699 to 1780 when Williamsburg was the capital of the colony and state of Virginia. 75th anniversary tours are also being offered in this building until the end of the year, and I found that tour very interesting (although I think I would enjoy almost any tour that combines history and architecture).

The Peyton Randolph House. The portion of the house closest to the camera was built in 1715 and served as the home of the Randolph family for many years including the periods when Mr. Randolph served as Speaker of Virginia's House of Burgesses and as President of the Continental Congresses. It's likely many of Virginia's founding fathers visited this home.

King's Arms Tavern. I included this one since we were fortunate enough to eat here one evening during our stay. All the entrees we tried were delicious, and the candlelit ambiance was a perfect complement to the food.

These are actually outbuildings on the property of a modest home on Nicholson Street, but I think they are close to the definition of quaint with their dormers, shutters, chimneys, roof finial, and ogee-curved roof. Kinda makes you want to put one in your own back yard.

I know I included a photo of the new Coffeehouse in my posts last May, but I figured including it again now is appropriate since this building will open to the public on Friday, November 20. It is intended as an interpretive building illustrating the style and purpose of a colonial coffeehouse, but rumor has it they will also serve coffee, tea, and chocolate. I wouldn't get my hopes up for a latte or espresso though.

We were a bit disappointed to be in town so close to the grand opening and yet not be able to experience it. Hopefully we won't be disappointed the next time we come to town. Thanks for visiting, we'll share more Williamsburg highlights again soon.


  1. >>>...although I think I would enjoy almost any tour that combines history and architecture.<<<

    I'm very much the same way, which scares me a bit. Could this mean that deep down inside I'm a wanna be engineer masquerading as an English major?

    By the way, I'm looking forward to seeing additional pictures of Williamsburg during the fall. I thought your family's trip came earlier this year, so I'm glad that I'm not crazy. The fall is my favorite season, and I'm sure that Williamsburg is especially beautiful during the fall. Bring on the pics!

  2. You know I especially love these posts that highlight your travels with all these wonderful photos. I confess that I am not a traveler... the thought of having to drive myself and my kinder on all sorts of unfamiliar roadways with multiple lanes and exits and merging traffic and all at a very high rate of speed... eeek! Well, it all sends shockwaves of horror through my feeble nervous system. I suppose you could say that I am much more of a homebody at heart.

    But I do love to see all of the sights, so viewing the photos of *your* travels allows me to do that... but without the traffic and horror and stuff;)

  3. Our family visited Williamsburg during Homeschool Days in September. It's one of our favorite places to go, and we ate at the King's Arm Tavern too. Thanks for sharing your photos.


  4. Jeremy, maybe I'm the wannabe English major...

    Diane, perhaps we'll have to stop past your house next time and give y'all a ride! I do recommend GPS as a way to prepare yourself for all your next turns when traveling in unfamiliar territory. Ours has seldom let us down.

    Victoria, I sorry we missed your family's visit, although if you enjoy CW as much as we do, we'll probably cross paths there someday!