July 9: Footsore, sweaty, and in my element

Wow, was it hot today. I don’t think I’ve ever spent that much time in that much heat and humidity (90s, with 60-something percent humidity – they were saying the heat index was over 100dF, which is just Wrong, in the most Ivanian sense of the term). But it was so worth it, and all of the buildings were air-conditioned, at any rate. Their original owners would have been so jealous…

I spent the entire day wandering around Colonial Williamsburg. It’s pricey – one day is $41, getting the ticket holder into all of the historical buildings and all of the craftsman demonstrations, plus two art museums I didn’t make it to – but it was fascinating. I went through the Capitol, and the Governor’s Palace, and several residences, and a tavern, which is not a bar, but more like a B&B or a rooming house.

The capitol building, with a couple of the many re-enactors sitting out front.
The capitol building, with a couple of the many re-enactors sitting out front.
The equivalent of the Supreme Court's room.
The equivalent of the Supreme Court’s room.
A handsome young Colonial gentleman.
A handsome young Colonial gentleman.
The Governor's Palace.
The Governor’s Palace.
A mirror protected from flyspots in the Wythe (pronounced with) house.
A mirror protected from flyspots in the Wythe (pronounced with) house.
George Washington slept here.  In the Wythe House.
George Washington slept here. In the Wythe House.
Stove in the ballroom in the Governor's Palace.
Stove in the ballroom in the Governor’s Palace.

I saw bricks and furniture and barrels and clothing and fabric being made (oh, and fabric being dyed, using natural materials, of course – the red was cochineal and the blue was indigo and the yellow was some kind of bark, and the colors were amazing). Shoemakers and hat makers and wig makers and candle makers and metal workers and just all sorts of crafts. Everything your 18th century colonist needs, well, except that most of the raw materials had to come to them through England, which had a monopoly on shipping, which caused a great deal of trouble. Even local stuff, like the indigo from South Carolina, had to go to England, be processed, and come back to Williamsburg.

Practicing Mr. Gutenberg's profession.
Practicing Mr. Gutenberg’s profession.
Making candles by melting wax over an open fire (in this weather) and dipping the wicks.  It takes about forty dips to make a candle.
Making candles by melting wax over an open fire (in this weather) and dipping the wicks. It takes about forty dips to make a candle.
Another open fire in this weather, this one in the dyeing demonstration.
Another open fire in this weather, this one in the dyeing demonstration.

I ate lunch in the Merchants’ Square just outside of the historical area, because it was considerably cheaper. Still good food, though, just without the ambiance [g].

And I drank more water today than I have ever in one day, I think.

By the time I got back to my motel this evening, I was footsore, and I think I walked more in one day today than I have since I left home.

It was so worth it. Especially the gardens, which were amazing. My photos do not do them justice in any way, shape, or form. Even the little kitchen gardens were gorgeous, full of plants that I haven’t seen blooming in years, because the climate’s so different from home, and I haven’t been to a hot, humid climate in the summertime in I don’t know how long. The crowning glory was the garden at the Governor’s Palace. Boxwood hedges and long, long flowering borders just full of gorgeous blooms.

A simple kitchen garden.  The pink flowers are phlox (which I did actually grow at home [g]).
A simple kitchen garden. The pink flowers are phlox (which I did actually grow at home [g]).
Sunflowers, a house with a nifty chimney, and a garbage can disguised as a barrel.
Sunflowers, a house with a nifty chimney, and a garbage can disguised as a barrel.
Boxwood in a back garden.  Boxwood has a distressing tendency to smell like cat pee, but it is pretty.
Boxwood in a back garden. Boxwood has a distressing tendency to smell like cat pee, but it is pretty.
Part of the Governor's  Palace's gorgeous gardens.
Part of the Governor’s Palace’s gorgeous gardens.

 

I love Williamsburg. I suspect if I lived within a day’s drive, I’d buy an annual pass the way I do now for the national parks pass. And I’d get more than my money’s worth.