Have you ever wondered why some travel destinations set your soul on fire and drive you to return again and again while other locations leave you cold? A Colonial Williamsburg Love Affair: Tales, Takes and Tips From a Lifetime of Visits, explores this very theme. Through heartfelt and intimate reflections about the people, the activities, and the historic town itself, the author mines memories from more than five decades of visits to Colonial Williamsburg to explore this question. Along the way she introduces the reader to a delightful destination.
Imagine crossing a street and suddenly entering 1775. Left behind, as much as you choose, are the stresses and annoyances of the 21st century. Around you are hundreds of historically accurate, restored or reconstructed, and furnished buildings, circa the 18th century. The streets are alive with people dressed in the garb of the mid-1700s. Their speech carries more formality, with a “Good Day" replacing the more modern "Hello." Down the mile-long central road in the town, horses clip-clop along as they pull fancy carriages.
Everywhere you look, something is happening—a blacksmith works a forge then pounds out nails to be used for repairs on a nearby house; a shopkeeper expounds to a patron on the variety of scented candles displayed in a bin; and a wig-clad man rides his horse down the street greeting all he meets and engaging them in conversation about the latest British indignities. In the town's center, an open-air market offers everything from fresh vegetables and seeds, to woven blankets, toys, and a visit by sheep from a nearby pasture. And across the street, hungry visitors crowd around the posted bill of fare to decide what they will eat at one of the four operating taverns in the town.
Is this all a dream? A mirage? Not at all. This is 21st-century Colonial Williamsburg – CW for short – doing what it does best every day—being one of the largest living history museums in the United States! It is a life-sized, ongoing colonial town replicating a particular place and time – the 18th-century capital of the Virginia colony. As the seat of power during the Revolution, it was host to famous participants like George Washington, Patrick Henry, and Thomas Jefferson. It was home to events that led to the Revolution and eventually, a new nation.
The author, a self-avowed history geek, has crafted a journey that is part memoir, part science, and part history, to arrive at her own answer to why we visit the places we do. In addition, the book also offers many tips on how to experience your own visit to the fullest. Come along for the tour!