Friday, April 20, 2012

Colonial Williamsburg in April, Day 4

Our fourth day at Colonial Williamsburg included visits to two silversmiths, and two attempts at dancing, among other things.

Pictured above is the James Geddy House at the corner of the Palace Green and Duke of Gloucester Street.  This is one of several dozen original structures in town, and includes Geddy's house on the left, his shop in the middle, and another shop area on the right that was rented to another merchant.

The house is not remarkable by today's standards, but I imagine it was pretty impressive in its surroundings 250 years ago.  I enjoy looking at features like the built-in china cabinet above and imagining how many generations of residents used that space over the home's life.

Some of the items available in Mr. Geddy's shop are displayed in the front window, although they are not for sale here since the building is simply used for tours today.  Nonetheless, the polished silver was dazzling!

The Geddy property also includes a foundry behind the house where craftsmen still fashion all sorts of items from bronze, brass, pewter, and silver, including firearm parts.  Tim seems happy to have found this specimen, but unfortunately, he couldn't take it with him.

Also in the foundry building was this rifling broach.  A barrel is clamped in place on the left, and you can barely see the cutting teeth to the left of the barrel.

Our day also included English country dance instruction in the Apollo Room at the Raleigh Tavern.  You can see a few members of our group in the group above, although the dance didn't go quite as smoothly as the instructor desired.  Consequently, we tried the dance again in the evening (see below).

Our families had dissimilar lunch desires, so the Madeiras visited The Trellis in Merchant Square while we dined in the courtyard behind the King's Arms Tavern in the historic district.  We can't speak for the Madeiras, but our food was tasty and plentiful, and the surroundings were pleasantly relaxing.  I'd definitely eat there again.

Our day also included a visit to the other silversmith on the east end of town, the Golden Ball, which was a reconstruction of a jewelry and silversmith shop run by James Craig in the 18th century.  One half of the building was a retail area that offered jewelry and other items for sale, including the wine label above that seemed appropriate for our friends.

A workshop occupied the other half of the building where one could observe craftsmen (and women) working with pewter and silver.  I believe the apprentice above was fashioning pewter into shapes that would serve as a pattern for casting several additional pieces in another metal.

This dining table was found in the Peyton Randolph House, which we visited in the afternoon.  The blue-on-white serving pieces may have been the most valuable items on this table as they were recovered several years ago from an 18th century shipwreck that contained thousands of pieces in excellent condition.  The curators at CW acquired about 66 pieces since the pattern matched dish fragments found on the property.  Interesting to consider that the Randolph family were evidently unsuccessful in preserving their serving dishes, while a sunken ship protected these others for over two hundred years.

Finally, here's our attempt at the dance some of us were trying to learn at the Raleigh Tavern today.  Feel free to watch it on YouTube for a larger view or choose full screen if you're so inclined.  Judge for yourself, but I think we did a pretty good job!  It's good to be on vacation!

1 comment:

  1. Loved the dancing video, however I must admit to being deeply envious of your dress, Karen. Amelia saw Lily's dress and said, "Grrr... her dress is so stinkin' pretty! UGH!"

    Always an encouragement to see our children following along in our footsteps, right?