Thursday, April 15, 2010

Washington DC - Day 2

The wake up call did come somewhat early this morning - but everyone seemed to wake up in good spirits. By the way, here is where we are staying in Williamsburg
It is huge - has a gigantic water park in side (which is something on the itinerary for tonight). Anyway, the wake up call came at 6:30am and breakfast was at 7:15. It was a nice breakfast buffet - cereal, hot choices, and fruit. At 8:15am, we boarded the bus and headed back to:

  Before we get into that - the weather is wonderful, nice warm weather and clear blue skies.
We broke up into two different groups and took a tour focusing on the government side of the Colonial Williamsburg. The first stop for our group was George Wyhte's house (he was a tutor and mentor of Jefferson)

We learned that back in the 18th century that husbands and wives had their own space, so when we walked through house we saw "his space" which was his office and Mrs. Wyhte's "space" where she had her sewing things. There were public areas where they entertained - primarily his students, as they didn't have any children.  Mr. Whyte was the first professor of the local college.
Their house was one of the houses on the Governors Palace Green - where 2% of the population lived in this capital city...these were the wealthy people. Another sign of wealth was the material that the houses were built out of...if they were made of brick they were wealthy versus the wooden white. However, Payton Randolph's house was wood, but he painted it red so that from afar it would look like it was made of brick - thus appearing "wealthy".
 However, he was wealthy - the 2nd richest in the colony (the governor being the first) and he was a speaker of the House of Burgess

The next stop was the Governor's Palace. The grounds were beautiful! And the interior was wonderful.

We were greeted by the dark wood, marble floors and walls filled with swords & rifles as we walked into the Public Area of the Palace - which gave the impression of power and wealth. The bottom floor of this 16,500 square foot building was to entertain and the top floor was for the family.
There bedrooms were located on either side of the house and in the middle was what we would call the "family room" and they called the "upper middle room". In this room, the wall paper was pointed out. It was hand tooled leather from Spain and gold was not part of this house but of the time period. It was incredible. All over the room was oriental and exotic pieces, which we learned of the love for exotic pieces also symbolized wealth.

After we left the Governor's Palace, we walked through the gardens and into a "town hall meeting" where George Washington was talking about taxation.
We listed to him for awhile and then walked around the town a little more - stopping at the local Cooper, who was the barrel maker. Actually, in addition to barrels, they made other containers. Then we went the the Williamsburg Jail

The jail cell that we got to go into was on of the original cells. We learned that the jailer lived on the property with his family and was paid well. He was in charge of making sure that the prisoners were well kept as this was only a "holding" cell before they needed to show up for their trial...they were not sentanced to jail, they were either proven innocent and let go or sent to the gallos. One of the most famous group of people held in the prision was Blackbeard's crew (but not Bleackbeard himself). There were 16 in the group - 2 were let go, because they "snitched" on the rest of the group, the other 14 were hung.
Next on the tour was the Capitol - where the General Court, the King's Room and the House of Burgess. It seemed like the perfect place to go next after the jail, for we learned about how trials were done in the colony back then. Ten of the kids were chosen to be the jury of a trial where one of our chaperons was accused of stealing silver. The jury decided that she was guilty - but because this was her 1st offense, she was let go but was branded on her hand with a little "t" so if she committed theft again she would be hung. This little "mock" trial was gave the sleepy kids a good feel for how things were done back then. 
After learning about the court system, we walked into the House of Burgess and learned about the check and balance system and some of the issues that were important back then. The last room was the King's Room:

From the Capitol we walked around Williamsburg, spending a little time walking through some of the shops until it was time for lunch which we enjoyed at the Kings Arm Tavern

Here we were treated to a nice spring salad, Chicken Pot Pie, warm sourdough bread and vanilla ice cream. Some of the servers were a little cranky when serving us, but it was still a nice meal. From there we boarded the bus and headed to:

The first stop on our trip was the Powhatan Village where we learned about Pocahantus. Before we got to their huts and learned how the tanned hide, cooked, and made tools - we stopped at the Circle of the 7 gods of the Powhatan Nation

We then headed to see the 3 boats that journeyed over from England to Jamestown - Discovery, Godspeed and Susan Constant...and even took a tour of one to get a feel for what it would have been like to be on that boat. Let's just say that it wouldn't have been fun!

On the dock, we listened to one of the sailor tell us a little about the life of a sailor and taught us about the knot a sailor needed. He even had some of the kids volunteer to learn

The last tour we took was the fort of Jamestown and learned about the hardships they experienced in the new land.

By that time - which it was 4:45pm - we were getting tired and cranky and it was time to get back to the hotel for dinner and an evening at the waterpark. Some kids even decided that this would be a good time to get a little homework done. Tomorrow, we pack up and head off to Washington DC by way of Richmond.
So, it is time to get some rest so that we are fresh for another day of touring and from Colonial Williamsburg and the Great Wolf Lodge I bid you good night.


Rachel S said...

It sounds like you are having a great time.

CindyMae said...

What an amazing time you must all be having. I look forward to Day 3!!

DaisyGirl said...

It looks like a fun time! I know we had a blast at Disney with the band! Great kids always makes for a super trip experience!

Siobhan said...

I'm enjoying the journey along with you. I've never been to Williamsburg or Jamestown so it was interesting to see all the pics!