Saturday, May 2, 2009

The Williamsburg Tradition Continues, Day 1

Our family first visited Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia in the spring of 2004, and fell in love with the place. The people, the programs, the buildings, and the food all combine to make an experience unrivaled anywhere on earth. The most memorable part of that first visit was meeting the Madeira family from Pennsylvania: homeschoolers like us that appreciate the beauty and history of this former capitol of Virginia. This year the Lord made it possible that we could rendezvous again for our fifth vacation together. Over the next several days we hope to chronicle our experiences here so you can enjoy vicariously.

An essential stop on any visit to Williamsburg is the Trellis restaurant, and the experience only intensifies when one can eat outside on the patio. Here Heather, Tim, Karen, and I are ready to dive into savory cheesecake and grilled chicken and trout. Can you tell Karen is glad to be here?

One cannot leave the Trellis without dessert, and if you like chocolate you owe it to yourself to try their "Death by Chocolate." Karen and I shared this one, so we both survived. If you don't like chocolate, we pity you.

This building is new this year, and still under construction. It was a coffeehouse back in the 1770s, and this new structure is built on the original foundation. We'll investigate further this week to see what the Foundation has planned for this building.

The "Revolutionary City" presentations each day are interpretations of actual events that occurred in and around Williamsburg in the 1770s and 1780s. In this scene, the Declaration of Independence is read to the citizens of Williamsburg for the first time from the balcony of the Capitol building on July 25, 1776. This re-enactment takes some liberties with the reading in that several costumed actors recite portions of the document, but the presentation is effective. If you have not read the Declaration from start to finish, you owe it to yourself to spend less than 10 minutes reading our forefather's complaints to their king in England (they were concerned about more than just tax on tea). Extra credit to those that see the irony in that today we could make many of the same complaints to our president.

Lily is producing a portfolio of her sewing projects to be displayed later this month at her graduation ceremony, and there are several garments that aren't sufficiently documented. We hope to fill in the gaps on this trip, as we should have plenty of lovely settings for the photos. This shot shows the polonaised skirt of this gown, and the setting is the gardens north of the Governor's Palace.

Tim, Laura, Heather, and Karen stroll through the gardens with the Palace in the background.

The older girls socializing in the garden.

A bridge on the pond west of the Palace kitchen.

The parents relaxing after a bit of time on their feet.


Elizabeth enjoying the outside of the bridge while the older girls carry on...

The front of the Governor's Palace. More extra credit for anyone that can explain why the weather vane on the roof has the letters "G R" on it. Thanks for stopping by.


  1. Oh, it looks like so much fun! I love the dresses! ;-)
    I would love to go there someday... :-)

  2. Oh my! oh my, oh my! I am so thrilled to see this post... and the promise of more to come? be still my heart♥ I have always desired to visit Williamsburg, but circumstances prevent it. I will be looking at your entries with great interest... and I love the dresses so much!

  3. Oh, how perfectly lovely! I LOVE Williamsburg; we've been there several times though it's not an annual event. We always dress up too (though we have yet to go with our newest dresses). Where do you usually stay? We found a charming bed & breakfast called The Cedars which has become our Williamsburg "home." :-)
    Lily, your dress is BEEEEAUTIFUL! Really exquisite. I should just have you make a dress for me. LOL!

    And to your remark that those who do not love chocolate are to be pitied, I say - AMEN! :-)

  4. Oh yay! So glad to see my cousins having such a great time! (Tim's niece :) Williamsburg is so beautiful! Looks like you are having great weather too! Cathryn Warner

  5. *sniff* It looks like y'all are having a CAPITAL time! I miss each of you soooooooooo much!!! Come home soon, pretty please? :)

    Love and Hugs,


    P.S. Lily- I finished "Little Dorrit"!!! I CANNOT wait to talk to you about it!!

  6. "More extra credit for anyone that can explain why the weather vane on the roof has the letters "G R" on it. Thanks for stopping by."

    "Next inform students that they are going to design a weathervane. Ask students to think of a way to personalize their weathervane. Perhaps they might use initials like GR, which stand for King George and appear on the Governor's Palace weathervane. Or maybe a date is important like 1693 which indicates the year the College of William & Mary was founded."

    Howdy Kurt,

    This is all I found. Maybe that will help. :)

    Glad to see y'all are having a good time.


    John C.

  7. You're close John, but why wouldn't it be KG for King George?

  8. Hi Lily!

    I just stumbled across your blog whilst searching for Williamsburg pictures on Google. Your dreses are gorgeous - what a beautiful job. And, as a fellow costumer, I think it's so neat that you actually got to meet J.P. Ryan! I have a question for you, though. Where did you get the fabric you used for your red-flowered polonaise? I've been looking for something similar for a while, and haven't found anything even close. Do you know what the pattern is called, or who makes it?

    Thanks! And congrats on a really lovely job on you projects!

  9. Rebecca,

    I'm sorry it's taken a while to get back to you! Thank you for the compliments. :-) We purchased the fabric from Fabric Guru It's a Laura Ashley print, but unfortunately I haven't been able to find what the style name is. We've also seen it at our local JoAnns in the special order section of the Home Dec fabrics. It also comes in green and (I think) blue, maybe another color, too. I hope that helped a bit and thanks for stopping by!


  10. rebecca.starkins@nyu.eduJuly 6, 2009 at 9:58 PM

    Hello again Lily!

    I just wanted to say thank you for your very generous response to my question about the fabric. I was able to find it on ebay (for some unfortunate reason, our local JoAnn's isn't able to special-order Laura Ashley). It's so pretty! I'm sorry it took so long for me to say "thank you"; I've been caught up in final papers!

    Thanks again!

  11. Rebecca,

    I'm so glad you were able to find the fabric! I would love to see it when it is finished... :-)

    Glad I could help!