Sunday, March 13, 2011

Colonial Williamsburg in March, Day 1

Why visit Williamsburg in March? I suppose there are several disadvantages to visiting at this time of year, but our schedule this time is driven by the Costume Accessories Symposium hosted by Colonial Williamsburg for which Karen and Lily are registered. For a few hours on Sunday, and most of the day Monday and Tuesday, they will rub elbows with museum curators and fellow costumers from around the world while they learn about accessories from head to toe.

Sunday morning found us in what is probably our favorite place to worship in Williamsburg: Bruton Parish. Where else in the U.S. can you join a congregation that has been meeting since 1674, and been in the same building since 1715? Okay, maybe there are other congregations on the east coast, but we don't get this kind of history back in Illinois. This picture was taken while the choir sang Psalm 32:2-8, which was a beautiful way to prepare our hearts for the rest of the day.

I hope to get back to the church later this week to photograph more of the details inside the building. A lot has happened in and around this building in the past 300 years, and I'd like to document some of it.

When we were here in the fall of 2009, Charlton's Coffeehouse was due to open just days after our visit. Disappointed, but not dejected, we looked forward to this day. The coffeehouse is the latest reconstructed building on Duke of Gloucester street, and seeks to recreate the coffeehouse atmosphere of the 18th century. After touring the private sitting room, and the office in the back, we were served beverages in the public room on the southwest corner of the building. Tea, coffee, and hot chocolate were served, although the chocolate seemed to be the drink of choice in our group. Forrest Mars, Jr of the Mars candy family donated the funds to research and build the building, and I believe the chocolate served originates at Mars Inc. This coffeehouse is a "must-visit" location in CW, if for no other reason than the beverages served at the end of the tour.

Gretel and I were able to enjoy a candlelit Capitol Concert on Sunday evening while Karen and Lily were enjoying a reception for the attendees of the Accessories Symposium. Pictured above is the harpsichord waiting for Michael Monaco's able hands. Also performing were Wayne Moss (who did a splendid job with a Telemann sonata) on the viola de gamba, Jennifer Edenborn on the violin, and Herb Watson on the wooden flute. These musicians have impressed us before, and their music was beautiful again this time.

This is Mr. Watson's dimly-lit music for his flute. Gretel and I were situated within 6 feet of both Mr. Watson and Mr. Monaco, so we were able to look over their shoulders at their music through most of the numbers. Although I don't read music, I convinced myself that I was able to follow their instruments along the page in some of the sections.

After the concert, we all agreed that Death by Chocolate Cake from The Trellis restaurant would be a great way to end the day. We took one piece home and split it between the four of us, and concluded that we had chosen wisely.
Thanks for visiting!


  1. So glad your blogging from CW! Steve says hi!


  2. We enjoyed meeting your family at the conference last weekend. It was nice to finally see the Riggenbach family in person instead of on our computer screen!
    Have fun in Williamsburg.


  3. Heather -- sorry to keep you waiting!

    Victoria -- it was a wonderful surprise to meet your family too. I'm glad you introduced yourself, since we would have had a bit more trouble recognizing you!

  4. Yum... that cake looks as good as you described when you were here!! :) Enjoy your stay in Williamsburg - next time we are coming with you!

  5. Oh goodie! The Riggenbachs are traveling agin... and I can enjoy all the sights vicariously through them (Color me happy☺)

    You know when I was growing up my family attended St John's Episcopal Church in Portsmouth, NH, which has been in existence in one form or another since well before the Revolutionary War... I think maybe even as far back as the 1600's (although I could be mistaken there; I'm not 100% certain if it was the same congregation on a different site or something similar.) At any rate it was fascinating to grow up in such a church with various artifacts in weekly use that dated back for centuries. It was a beautiful church.... although I must admit I much prefer the spiritual guidance I receive at my current church- a tiny little Baptist church with a building that dates back a decade or two;-}

  6. Tara -- is that a promise?

    Diane -- I can relate to your evaluation of where you worship now. Even though Bruton Parish has a lot of history and some nice aspects to its liturgy, it doesn't match the fellowship and teaching we get back home.