I've been to Williamsburg before, but it had been a long time--five, six years or so?--and I was excited to come back, because I adore colonial history, but also because there were some new things I wanted to see, like Liberty the briard (their new mascot), and the Market House. And the last time I visited CW, I wasn't a knitter, so I didn't care about the weaver's shop. This time, I wanted to get my hands on some completely CW produced yarn, and I was very interested in visiting the weaver and seeing how colonial yarn and fabric were made. But that is a completely separate post--tomorrow's yarn along. So those of you who love knitting and textiles can geek out with me, and those of you who don't can move along.
This is an overview post--I'll be doing a post card with specifics--addresses, hours, websites, etc.--later this week.
We got to Williamsburg on Friday evening, and after checking in at our hotel, we went to Merchant's Square for dinner. It was Freshman move in day for William and Mary, which abuts CW, so there were lots of Bright Young Things and their parents swarming around. But that didn't stop me from getting a Divine Sandwich.
We walked around for a bit and went in and out of the shops before going back to our hotel. The Historic Area opens around 10:00, and I wanted to be there pretty early since it was going to be a warm day (low to mid 80s). I also was going to bring my big sketchbook and I wanted to get in some sketching!
Saturday was a great day. I had three goals for the day: Sketch, meet Liberty, and buy some CW made yarn. The yarn they sell is completely made at CW--the wool is from their Leicester Longwool sheep, and it's made completely on site. Again, more about this tomorrow. I achieved all my goals!
Liberty is a briard, a breed of dog probably brought to America by Thomas Jefferson from France. You can read more about Liberty here.
I am not really a dog person, but she's so cute!
There are actually two Liberties--a brother and sister pair of Briards that take turns appearing. These pictures don't really capture it, but she's a pretty big dog! Her handler also said that the breed changes color as they age, which I thought was really interesting. The colors of her fur now are not the colors it'll be as she grows/ages.
Speaking of animals, I was also really excited to see the Leicester Longwool sheep, which are part of CW's Rare Breeds program. They are super cute! (More on them n the yarn post.)
I had a lot of fun sketching the historic district. When you sketch outside, people comment, which I don't mind. It's sort of fun. I'm adding some more notes and collage bits to the pages, so they're not done yet, but when they are, I'll share them here.
I always love going into the milliner's shop, which sold clothing, accessories, and toiletries, as well as sewing and knitting notions. CW actually has a milliner and mantua (dress) making shop, as well as a separate milliner shop, both based on historic records from the colonial era. In the former, you can see pieces being made and even try on colonial stays. The work the milliners do is exquisite.
You can buy complete outfits from them, or, if that's too rich (and the outfits cost hundreds of dollars, which makes sense, given the work involved!), there are muffs, mitts (fingerless gloves), hats, handkerchiefs, and other smaller items.
For lunch, we ate at The King's Arms, one of CW's four taverns.
I had peanut soup and Virginia ham with sweet potatoes and a tiny biscuit. Delicious.
On top of the peanut soup are "sippets"--basically day-old pieces of bread that have been toasted, like croutons. Sippets are technically made from Sally Lunn bread, a popular Colonial recipe. Peanut soup is divine. I'll be posting the recipe soon!
After lunch we spent a few more hours in the historic area before we had to leave to go to Mass at a nearby parish. But we were back for dinner at Chowning's.
We were seated on the second floor which gave a neat ambiance to the meal. By the end of the meal we were the only ones there! (There were more people below in the two dining rooms on the first floor.)
CW was a lovely start to our vacation, and a nice break in the 10 hour drive from Columbus to Duck. We got to relax, sleep in nice beds, and have a good time.
On Sunday we left around 7:30 and headed to the Outer Banks!