Tag Archives: williamsburg

Day 9…. the Manor House and a goose free resort change.

 

Sunday dawned bright and sunny and our visitors wanted to check out the Manor House at the Historic Powhatan Resort.

 

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The smallest of our group thoroughly enjoyed it.

 

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Especially when she found a pint sized door just her size.

 

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Shame it wouldn’t open.

 

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But the game room was a good second choice.

 

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I had occasion to use the rest room this trip….

 

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And immediately fell in love with a sink.

Is that wrong?

 

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Sadly, it was Sunday….. and that meant it was time to change resorts.

When we time share travel and I’ve never been to the area? I usually choose 2 different resorts for our 2 week stays in case one of them is a dud. Of course we adored this first place and hated to leave….especially when Gracie found this under the bed when we were packing up.

 

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Proof positive there were no dust bunnies.

But, ever onward.

I was slightly appeased when we drove across town, found the road that led to the new resort and saw this on the corner.

 

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Ample tequila in walking distance is never a bad thing.

The Wyndham Kingsgate actually got higher reviews than the Powhatan we’d just left, so I was expecting something special.

On first glance?

 

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It looked like a school.

 

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And their pond was totally goose-less.

Strike one.

 

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The closest thing they had to a Manor House was the activities center which consisted of a few pools, a gym, and numerous video game machines.

Strike two.

 

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The buildings were much closer together with more units per building and though it was empty in this picture…. the parking lots were filled to capacity the whole time we were there and didn’t have reserved spots. We circled and hunted for a place every damned night.

Strike three and we hadn’t even been inside yet.

 

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Thankfully the 2 bedroom/2 bath unit was pleasant…… albeit smaller than the first resort.

 

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But the furniture was nice quality….

 

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The kitchen well stocked….

 

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And though the balcony was the bare minimum….

 

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The king sized beds were comfortable.

 

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I did take issue with the fact the master bathroom was smaller was than the guest…..

 

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And while the shower was attractive it only had that one tiny shelf which barely fit a bar of soap. What’s a girl supposed to do with her shampoo, conditioner, bath gel, loofah, razor etc.?

Piss poor planning if you ask me.

 

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And while the guest bath was also attractive, there wasn’t a heck of a lot more room to move around.

 

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See?

There isn’t even an entire horse in the picture…. that’s small.

But we did get the second floor that my husband always has to have. Which Destiny was actively cursing when she offered to drag my suitcase up to it.

 

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I believe her grimace is in direct proportion to it’s weight.

 

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The girls relaxed while we put the food away…. and Gracie drew me something to put on the refrigerator.

 

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I was thinking something like this would be more appropriate….

 

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But yeah, whatever.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hell…. continued.

 

It was finally dark enough to check out the lights we’d paid a small fortune to see at Busch Gardens.

 

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Have you ever stood in a freezing cold circle of strangers and stared at a tree?

We did.

And I felt like a Who.

 

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Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas as much as the next person.

But Christmas in Busch Gardens? Loud and crowded, filled with screaming, unruly, sugared up children as well as their rude, cell phone addicted parents…. and utterly devoid of the old world charm they were attempting to replicate?

No.

 

 

But we smiled… and enjoyed the company of those we love.

 

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If not the techno extravaganza.

 

 

I read there were 10 million lights in Christmas Town…. and I believe it.

If it stood still? They lit it.

 

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Admittedly there were some pretty spots.

 

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But the crowds pushed you along at a pace not conducive to enjoying them.

 

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There were numerous theaters you could enter and view a show…. for a large price.

But we did stumble on this extremely blue one for free.

 

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Naturally there was no place left to sit…

 

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So we stood off to the side and listened for a while.

 

 

Until our teeth were chattering again.

 

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Thank God for the warm up stations.

At least they got that right.

 

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This was an impressive section of lights.

 

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Although I was constantly getting bumped into when I stopped and attempted to focus a shot.

 

 

That tree at the end?

 

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Shone like the sun.

It was so damn bright….. I think my retinas actually screamed.

 

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In case I forgot to mention it….. trying to stay together and find your way around this place in the dark amidst the crowds of screaming children and oblivious parents? A total nightmare. We had no idea where we were half the time and by the time we decided to head back to the parking lot?

 

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We couldn’t find a map, no less the exit. And I think they plan it that way. We even went into the stores and asked the staff how to get out …. but they looked at us like the proverbial deer in headlights.

Maybe they never get out…

I don’t know.

 

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Asking the plastic polar bears seemed like a waste of time.

 

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So we kept walking.

 

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Took a right past the ice castle…. then a left…. then a right… and another left…. and backed up… and crossed a bridge…. and turned around….. and found ourselves back at the damned ice castle.

 

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We walked and walked.

And shivered and chattered and froze.

 

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We also blessed the day man discovered fire.

But then we finally saw something familiar.

 

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And I was never so happy to see a fake European village square in my life.

 

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Joy to the World my *ss.

 

 

I was only joyful when we found the exit, waited on yet another long line for the shuttle, rode the sardine can to the parking lot with 50 tired, cranky children and worn out adults and got into our car.

Christmas Town at Busch Gardens Williamsburg?

Bah humbug.

Overpriced and over rated.

 

 

 

Busch Gardens Virginia….or as I like to call it, Hell.

 

I think we’ve established we are not theme park people.

So spending 6 hours at Busch Gardens in Williamsburg while on Christmas vacation?

 

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It’s billed as the prettiest theme park in the country.

 

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And while I doubt that’s a very high bar…..

 

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It’s plastic fantastic fake European villages failed to impress….. seeing they were less village and more overpriced stores filled with gimmicky tourist merchandise.

It was enough to make me drink.

 

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Warm Apple Pie Cocktail in hand… we continued.

(You knew it was coming, don’t look so surprised.  If ever I was in dire need of alcohol? It was then.)

 

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So we paid a fortune, had drinks in hand and a 7 year old who wanted to go on some rides. Problem was… most of them weren’t operational for Christmas.

This did not go over well with the little person in our midst.

 

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She couldn’t drink, and she didn’t care about fake Europe… she just wanted some rides!

 

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We found a few animals to distract her.

 

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But it was cold and she was growing more bored with each step. Every ride we passed? Locked up tight.

And then viola!

 

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I spotted a gondola.

 

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3 adults and a midget. We’re in!

So we get on line.

A long line.

A very long line that took us almost 40 minutes to reach the end.

We boarded, anticipating a leisurely ride over the park.

 

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And I kid you not, after taking this picture….

And this video….

 

 

Which lasted 40 seconds, we were done.

One second of ride for each minute we waited on line. Totally worth it!

Not.

 

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We landed in “France”.

And you know what? I’ve been to France…. this wasn’t even close.

Still not finding a working ride, I spotted Hogwarts and the child’s eyes lit up.

Yay me!

 

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Boo Busch Gardens…. it was blocked off and locked up tight.

I was beginning to hate this place.

 

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Psychedelic camera toting bear aside.

Did I mention it was cold?

 

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I mean down right freezing for southerners and even quite brisk for us Yankees after a few hours of walking.

 

 

At least this made her laugh.

If we had known all the fun kid stuff would be closed? We wouldn’t have gone in the afternoon but just waited until after dark for the lights.

 

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Even the scooter brigade looked disappointed.

 

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We did mange to find an old time carousel.

 

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Where we waited on line for another 30 minutes to ride for 30 seconds. You could seriously get whiplash from how quickly these things end.

 

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Magic dragons were climbed on….

 

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Towers were explored….

 

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More alcohol was needed….

Okay, maybe that was just me.

 

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Rope bridges were crossed….

 

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Even by the husband if you can believe it.

 

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Another warm up station later, it was starting to get dark enough to see some lights.

And yes, as cold and miserable as I was….. I was going to wait until dark for the lights we paid almost $300 to see.

A preview…

 

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Colonial Williamsburg…. the blacksmiths, a test drive, an oak, some cows and yes, food.

 

Although I hated to end our day, the time was drawing near and my phone battery was gasping it’s last breath.

 

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Naturally the husband had to see the blacksmith’s shop with all it’s rusty tools.

 

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And we were both surprised to learn that women worked there as well back in the day.

 

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So after test driving a wheel barrow…

 

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A few more natural wreaths…

 

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Some private homes…

 

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More wreaths…

 

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And a massive Live Oak that is supposed to have been here when George Washington walked these streets….

 

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We said goodbye to the cows we saw on the way in….

 

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And went back to the car where we had to charge my cell phone long enough for Trip Advisor to point us to our first dinner in Williamsburg.

 

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I love that app.

 

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And I loved this restaurant.

 

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Come on…. they had blue jellyfish lights over the bar.

How could you not?

 

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Cocktails? Check.

 

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Their Orange Crush was made with fresh squeezed OJ and was fabulous.

 

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Hushpuppies and cornbread let us know we were in the south.

And may I just say? I had no idea how much I missed hushpuppies until I started eating them again.

Yeeha!

 

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Dinner was tough to choose.

 

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Husband started with mussels.

 

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And moved on to perfectly pan seared sea scallops with garlic smashed red potatoes and green beans.

Me?

 

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Me?

I was in the south, baby! Bring me those low country shrimp and cheesy grits.

Lord have mercy….. they were the best thing I’ve eaten in months.

 

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Husband had room for a New York Style berry cheesecake….

And then we called it a day.

Day 1.

You realize that, right?

It took me 8 posts to get through Day 1 of our two week vacation.

 

 

Oh, don’t be so dramatic.

It’ll be fun!

 

Colonial Williamsburg… Shield’s and Wetherburn’s Taverns

 

 

Now don’t get excited food people, these taverns were for touring not eating.

 

 

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Shield’s Tavern was closed, but had something the husband wanted to photograph.

 

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Men. I can’t explain them….

 

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But the gardens out back were lovely.

 

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And I enjoyed a stroll among the well tended shrubbery.

 

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I think Edward Scissorhands would approve.

 

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There were vegetable gardens…

 

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And wreaths…

 

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I even saw an old ball and chain gate closure.

 

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And then down the road, we found Wetherburn’s Tavern.

 

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Where we had a guide give us the history and a tour.

 

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Taverns back in the day were far different from what you might think. Rooms were rented for private parties, balls were held in the great rooms, owners lived behind the kitchen and the upstairs served as a hotel.

 

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Which rooms you rented depended on your social standing.

 

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Up to 12 men bunked in here.

I like cozy, but not that cozy.

 

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Middle class families might sleep 8 in this room.

 

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A private room? You had serious money.

 

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Business deals were struck and government policies were made in rooms like these.

 

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While the tavern keepers cranked out the meals in here….

 

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That’s one high tech rotisserie right there.

 

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Many taverns had their own smokehouses and livestock.

 

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Which prompted a 30 minute conversation from my husband about being raised on a dairy farm.

 

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An appropriate wreath was decorating their door as well.

 

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We may not have seen any beer…. but it was still a tavern.

Colonial Williamsburg…. the Apothecary Shop, the Capitol and the Gaol.

 

Still strolling Duke of Gloucester Street, we found the apothecary shop and it’s mistress in the middle of recounting some 18th century cures.

 

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Trust me when I say you should be glad you weren’t sick in the 18th century.

 

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Many towns and villages didn’t have doctors and these pseudo pharmacists were as close to modern medicine as many people could get.

 

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There were some interesting drawings….

 

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And a back room were the cures were administered. Though why that fellow in the corner needs a hat, I’m sure I don’t know…

Next up was the reconstructed Capitol building.

 

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The birthplace of American government if you will.

 

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The flag flying at the entrance meant it was open for tours…

 

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So we settled in to wait for the guide.

 

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With the husband admiring the rather odd gutterless drainage system.

 

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Which was really more of a moat.

 

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If you’re interested, the history of the Capitol is here.  I’ll spare you the retelling and just post a few interior shots.

 

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Local representatives met here, first to report to the crown….and then to form a new government.

 

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The speaker had a throne… make of that what you will.

 

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Here are the rooms our founding fathers formed the basis of the country we know today.

 

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One can only imagine how they’d react to our current state of affairs.

 

 

I’d say that’s pretty close.

 

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There was also a court where grievances and victims of crimes were given justice.

 

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To me, the nicest part of the tour was when our guide proudly told us that he had helped officiate over the swearing in of 250 new American citizens on that day…. a 300 year old tradition lovingly continued on site.

 

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Leaving the Capitol, we found the gaol, pronounced jail.

 

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Which didn’t look too bad at first.

 

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Until I realized that wasn’t the gaol.

 

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The history of the gaol is here.

 

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Many men and women were held here awaiting trial, and it doesn’t look like that would have been too comfortable.

 

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The cells reminded me of horse stables.

 

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And yes…

 

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That is what you think it is.

 

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Minus Mr. Whipple and his Charmin.

 

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(We’ll visit the Public Hospital… read, lunatic asylum... another day)

 

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The sound of that large door slamming shut?

Perfectly eerie.

The administration office was much nicer.

 

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And it’s natural wreaths, nicer still.

 

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All it needed was…

 

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The clip clop of the carriage horses hooves to remind me how we could have been traveling.

Bad husband.

Bad.

 

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Strolling Colonial Williamsburg…. The Liberty Lounge and peacocks.

 

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I’m not sure you could find a more charming place to spend the day than Colonial Williamsburg.

 

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History aside….

 

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It’s just a perfectly lovely town.

 

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Did you know the pineapple is a symbol of hospitality?

Learn why here.

 

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Live Oak trees dominate the landscape, spreading their limbs for decades on end….

 

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And I was seriously enjoying the all natural Christmas decorations.

 

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How clever is that?

And while I was wreath gazing….

 

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The husband spotted the entrance to a lounge reserved for veterans and their families.

 

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To be honest I dreaded going inside.  My husband has the gift of gab every day of the year, but when surrounded by other servicemen and women? I’ve spent half my married life waiting for him to conclude conversations.

 

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But there was free tea, coffee and hot cider…..

 

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And thankfully,  a veteran free room.

 

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Of course he spotted the challenge coin cases which started a 45 minute long convo with the staff of volunteers….. but he added a coin of his own, which admittedly was rather nice.

 

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An hour later? More decorations…

 

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More wreaths…

 

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Some cleverly trimmed shrubbery ….

 

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And the silversmith’s shop…

 

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We oohed and aahed and chatted with the man who ran it.

 

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Did you know the phrase “put your money to work” dates from colonial times before the advent of paper currency? You were normally paid in silver, and instead of having bags of the stuff laying around your home…. you took it to the local silversmith who melted it down and made you a fabulous coffee urn or tea set. Your money was “put to work” and you got to flaunt your wealth to visitors. A win, win situation.

 

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Many of his beautiful pieces were for sale in the shop next door…. but the husband wasn’t thrilled with the idea of me spending his hard earned silver to bring some home.

 

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So we strolled.

 

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And were amazed to learn some of these nice little homes were still privately owned.

Who in the world would want to live in the middle of a tourist attraction?

 

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But more importantly…

Where do I find a peacock for next year’s Christmas wreath?

 

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