Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A Christmas Road Trip - Part I

We stepped back into an eighteenth century Christmas this holiday season via Williamsburg, VA. We had heard so much about the Christmas customs in Colonial Williamsburg that we wanted to see for ourselves. It was definitely a time of hardship, simplicity, and nice to visit but I don't think I would have wanted to live back then. After all we wouldn't have had the luxury of riding the warm bus to get from one point to the next, or sleep in a comfy king size bed in a warm suite, or eat, drink and be merry in fabulous taverns.

Hubby and I didn't waste any time upon arriving as we were starved and headed for one of the taverns for my Mint Julep, oh, and of course something to eat, Brunswick Stew or pulled pork. My mouth is watering right now. However our growling stomachs would have to wait as the Illumination of the Taverns was scheduled to take place and we didn't want to miss that.

To occupy our time until the big event we headed to the new Coffee House. It's a new site that we've watched come about for years from excavation to now.

It was an interesting tour but best of all they served a sample of coffee or hot chocolate. Hubby had the hot chocolate, I had the coffee. Both hit the spot.

We wandered around after the tour taking pictures of the various decorations on the houses and stores. I was impressed by the simplicity of using evergreens to decorate.

The British were occupying Williamsburg this holiday season. As seen below wood is stacked and used in bonfires set along the streets at night. During one November visit we were delighted with the ambiance from the bonfires lining both sides of the street. However that wasn't the case this visit. We were informed by an employee of Chowning's Tavern that many shop keepers did not want to take the responsibility of watching the fires therefore there were very few.

The wreath seemed to be very popular.

As night was settling it was becoming colder.

Since the scheduled Illumination was nearing hubby and I found an empty bench across from the Raleigh Tavern and only a couple of doors away from our planned eating event at the Shields Tavern.

Surprisingly we only had to wait about a half hour but since we were not dressed for the cold it seemed like hours. As darkness settled in we could hear the Fife and Drum Corp off in a distance. People gathered in the streets to get pictures of this historic event and so did I.

The guy on the left with the torch would leave the parade to quickly light the baskets of wood, as seen above in front of the Raleigh Tavern, and then rejoin the parade. Evidently illuminating the Raleigh Tavern was a special event.

After lighting the baskets the guys with the torches quickly ran and lighted other baskets on both sides of the street. I saw the guy with the torch coming towards us but he was so quick that by the time my camera decided to click he was there and on his way back to the parade.

The Fife and Drum Corp marched on to light the rest of the Taverns down the street and we moved on to dinner?

Not. Hubby wasn't feeling too well so I had to wait for my Mint Julep, Pulled Pork and Pecan Pie. Well, almost.

The Huzzah Restaurant is associated with the Woodlands where we stayed. It's a small place with very friendly people. We stopped in to inquire about take-outs. They were happy to provide such but prior to ordering I just happened to ask if they served Mint Juleps. Bingo! They said it's not one of their common drinks served - I could tell but it was still a Mint Julep - and they had Pulled Pork! So hubby went back to the room while I indulged in Mint Juleps and Pulled Pork and socialized with the employees. Prior to leaving I ordered a Turkey club to take back to the room - it too was delicious - according to my husband.

We settled in for the night but not before reviewing all the pictures I had taken. It's so difficult to share them all that I took some of the best from various trips and made a 2010 calendar. Naturally I plan to make a couple of more.

For now have a Firecrackin Great Day! Stay tuned for A Christmas Road Trip - Part II!

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