Colonial Williamsburg and a Rather Breezy Beach Party

Sun coming through leaves

Another glorious day dawned and we greeted the sun with great delight, as we would spend much of this day outdoors in Colonial Williamsburg. The weather really couldn’t have been more perfect to enjoy a leisurely walk around the museum’s premises.

As usual, our visit started with a film. Some of us probably thought that this would be more or less the same kind of didactic introduction. However, it turned out to be a very lively dramatization of the times leading up to the Declaration of Independence with a fictional politician as the protagonist. This approach made it a lot clearer how difficult it was for the individuals to establish their position against England, their native country.

After agreeing on the time for our early afternoon departure, everybody was at liberty to explore the museum at their own pace.


Carola and I decided to see the quilts in the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum first. The exhibition which is titled “Material Witnesses: Quilts and Their Makers” will remain on display until April 2012 and is well worth seeing. There are 11 quilts on display.

Village Green

What I love about Colonial Williamsburg is that you immediately feel transplanted into the 18th century. At almost every corner, you meet museum personnel dressed in the appropriate fashions which for me as passionate Jane Austen fan is particularly rewarding.

So it is not surprising that I am always drawn to the milliner’s shop where I can indulge in daydreams about the Bennet girls’ ribbons and bonnets... ;-) Luckily, Carola who has known me for quite a while,is very indulgent regarding these whimsies of mine...

Milliner's Shop

You can even buy things at the Williamsburg milliner’s shop. I refrained from buying the very tempting patterns for clothing and bonnets (knowing that I will never make the time to sew an 18th century dress and being aware that I would look extremely ridiculous wearing such a bonnet ;-), but I did cave in when I found a piece of reproduction fabric in the style of French toile.

The by now very colourful trees were still very far from having lost their appeal and fascination:


You could easily spend three whole days at Colonial Williamsburg, but at 3 pm we all gathered back at the parking lot. Paul, our bus driver, was already expecting us quite eagerly because he wanted to avoid the afternoon traffic back to Norfolk. It turned out that he was right in his predictions of a lengthy trip back...

Still, there was enough time left to pay an impromptu visit to a fabric shop in Norfolk. Although we hadn’t told the management in advance that we would come to deplete their inventory, everybody was very welcoming and friendly.

Misled by an uncharacteristically warm evening the night before, we had decided to have a little beach party and dinner picnic at the hotel’s beach after our return from the day’s cultural agenda. Despite the lovely sunshine throughout the day, the temperature had dropped considerably and after sunset, a beach party would really have been out of the question for rational and reasonable people. But who wants to be rational and reasonable all the time? So, a few courageous quilters made valiant attempts at keeping candles burning for more than 30 seconds in the bracing wind coming in from the Chesapeake Bay. We did our best to find a comfortable place to sit among dune grass and some very tiresome nettles. We really did have fun! However, it soon became evident that we would have to return to the comparable warmth of our hotel rooms after having eaten enough to keep up appearances...

Please make use of our comment area below. We would love to hear from participants and everybody else who had fun reading this travel diary. Let us know about your personal travel experiences and about interesting destinations we might have missed on this trip. Bear in mind that other members are more interested in new information rather than feedback – whether good or bad – on the article itself.

We will check the comment areas regularly. Any interesting points arising from the discussion will be summarized, translated, if necessary, and included as part of the original article as soon as possible. Thus making them quickly available for the impatient reader. 

If you would like to comment on the choice of subject, choice of words, or the quality of the article, please use the [+] Feedback link in the lower left corner of your screen.