Thursday, October 6, 2011

Hometown Tourist

Last week Ryan's dad and stepmom came down to visit for the weekend.  On Monday Ryan had duty, so I took them up to see Colonial Williamsburg.  I've lived smack dab in the middle of what is called "The Historic Triangle" for most of my life, and I've kind of taken for granted that I grew up amidst so much history.

I mean seriously, every year until high school we took a field trip to the Jamestown Settlement.  Every.  Year.  I've planted corn at Great Hopes Plantation.  I lost my glasses in the James River trying to use a fishing net like the colonists.  My one "field trip" sophomore year involved walking out the back door of my school, across the soccer field, hopping a ditch, and ending up at Surrender Field.  What is Surrender Field, you ask?  Well, that's where Gen. Cornwallis surrendered to Gen. George Washington on October 19, 1781 - ending the Revolutionary War (You history buffs will argue that the white hankie was officially waved on the 17th- and it was- but the Articles of Capitulation were signed on the 19th).  See?  Told you I grew up in the middle of history.  But I digress.

It was a lot of fun being a hometown tourist for the day, and it was even more fun getting to be a mini tour guide (I was amazed at all the semi-useless information on Colonial America I managed to call up).  I probably talked Ryan's parents' ears off, but they were good sports about it.

Close-up of the lectern in Bruton Parish Church

The Governor's Palace

Bruton Parish Church

Bruton Parish is still an active Episcopal church.  And they have a wicked cool graveyard.  Is it weird that I'm obsessed with graveyards?  I went on a first date in one once.... Whatever, it's close enough to Halloween that I can now show you a bunch of pictures of tombstones and it won't be creepy, right?  Right.

"Matthew Whaley is imparted here; Within his tomb upon his enter dear; Who Departed this Life the 26th of September 1705.  Aged Nine years, only Child of James Whaley and Mary his wife."

The unnamed grave of a Confederate soldier.  

There is another unnamed Confederate grave directly next to this one.  It's sad to think their families never knew what happened to them, or even where they were buried.

This one is actually set into the floor of Bruton Parish.  There are several, but most are unreadable from so many people walking on them over the years.  This one reads "Here Lies the Body of Anna...."

I love how macabre old graves are.  The cloth is held up by cherubs, and there's a little skull poking out underneath.  I totally want skulls on my tombstone.  I'm going to bring back a trend.

Do you see the lion's paws?

Eventually I was dragged from we left the graveyard and went on to explore other things (and eat lunch).


This is an exact replica of a colonial-style garden.  They grown everything from boxwood hedges to herbs and flowers.  And they do it old-school, yo!  Um... anyway.... they also sell cuttings and seeds and are super helpful with the dispensation of gardening advice.  They also have not one, but TWO pomegranate trees!  And they sell baby pomegranate trees!  I was so excited when I found out I could buy one (and actually afford it!) that I think I hyperventilated a little.  I am going to buy one as soon as I move to a place with a yard.

If anyone would like to buy me this house for Christmas, I'd be much obliged.  Check out those marble steps and the transom above the front door!  I'm in love.

The two above pictures are recreations of a typical colonial room.  Everything is so bare-bones, it really made me want to go home and throw away 99% of the crap I owned.  Although I bet those wood floors have to be swept constantly.  

Ryan's dad was probably most fascinated by the plant that "looked a lot like bamboo."  Imagine the shock and surprise when I told him it is bamboo!  The stuff grows rampant in both Colonial Williamsburg and Colonial Yorktown.  And it's protected, so don't go thinking you can just go chop off your own piece of lucky bamboo or get some discount panda food or something.  Not that I've thought about doing either of those things...

So, are there any "tourist destinations" in your home town?  Seen 'em so many times you think it's just way overrated?  Take a friend or family member who's never been, and you may end up seeing things in a whole new light!

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