Friday, December 5, 2008

Williamsburg, day two...

dawned bright and early. All of us were more than excited to get started with the day. One of the reasons we chose our hotel, Marriott Residence Inn, was for their hot breakfast buffet.

I do believe the boys thought they were in pastry heaven. They are all notoriously big breakfast eaters, and this buffet was almost more than they could handle for decision making skills. The buffet featured sausage and eggs and hashbrowns and corned beef hash and doughnuts (3 kinds) and pastries (4 kinds) and bagels (2 kinds) and cereal (3 kinds) and oatmeal and waffles and on and on. Each day featured some of the same things but variety was part of the deal. French toast sticks, grits, patty sausage and link sausage were also other buffet items.

I tried to monitor that the boys at least ate some form of protein (because of all the walking we were doing) in addition to letting them choose some pastry delicacy. It was fun to see them feel and be pampered for breakfast, knowing that home would go back to the same 5 choices. Plus, what a cool mom I was to allow them to have hot! chocolate! with breakfast!

From there we had a full day planned of various programs in Colonial Williamsburg. Every day features a theme of the period and actors/actresses and interpreters (the period dressed tradespeople) act out scenes within that theme. Tuesday was Collapse of Royal Government (1774-1776). This fit right with our homeschool curriculum.

From October to November we had been reading through the Drums of War series by Peter Reese Doyle. This historical fiction series follows the lives of two families from the theft of gunpowder in Williamsburg (April 1775) through the battle of Bunker Hill (June 1775) to the Battle at Great Bridge (December 1775). Patriot leaders of that time George Wythe, Peyton Randolph, Captain Innes, and Patrick Henry are figured prominently throughout the books. And these were the characters that the actors portrayed on Tuesday. For the boys it was like seeing the books come to life. For me too.

We watched Captain Innes and Peyton Randolph heatedly discuss the theft of gunpowder in Raleigh Tavern. Then we saw Lady Dunmore, Governor Dunmore's wife, seek political information from Randolph's wife in the Governor's Palace garden. Governor Dunmore appeared after that and complained about the growing rebellious notions of these Virginian patriots.

That afternoon, Patrick Henry appeared to answer the public's questions about the confusion and issues in the Capitol Building courtyard. And soon after that, Governor Dunmore appeared to dissolve the House of Burgesses--much to the public's dismay. In response, the Virginians passed a resolution for independence, shot off a cannon and heralded the announcement with a stirring fife and drum presentation down Duke of Gloucester Street.

I was particularly thrilled to see the Fife and Drum Corps because they were not listed on the program. However, if you saw this year's Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade--that is the senior corps we saw too! This is their 50th year for the Corps, thus their invite to New York.

If you can't tell, it was such a thrilling day. I'll try to post pictures of what I've talked about so far tomorrow. It takes me a while, people.

Some tips: wear the most comfortable walking shoes you have--or be willing to buy a pair. Pack snacks and water--items are available on the street or in the taverns, but you pay for the experience. Take control of your camera--Husband held ours the whole time and we didn't do the best job on communicating of what to take pictures. Do your research ahead of time to pick which events you want to see--the VC puts out a great map and schedule of events that is color coded and well marked to help you get to the right place, but being familiar with the events enhances the action. Whether you homeschool or not, a well timed trip to the library ahead of time to read up on some of the history helps you understand what you're seeing.

There's still more to come.

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