Monday, October 17, 2011

Time Travel: Colonial Williamsburg

This week I have family traveling to the East Coast, with a plan to visit Colonial Williamsburg. It is one of my favorite places. Filled with history, the town is an authentic representation of life in Colonial times with an emphasis on the American Revolution. Shop keepers donning the dress of the period where merchanise that Colonials would have purchased is there for us to purchase today. The main street of the town is Duke of Glouchester Street, lined with quaint shops. I especially love Tarpley's, a general store with candy, toys, soaps, quill pens, little trinckets that folks would have purchased back in the day. There is a post office, smithy, milliner, cobbler, the printing press, the church. There are reanactments of the Continental Congress at the Capitol, and on the grander scale, there is the Governor's Palace. You can go to a lovely concert there at night where the musicians do it up to perfection, by candelight no less! A wonderful museum, The DeWitt, features furniture and furnishings of the period. A powder magazine in the center of town houses the armor, guns with men in military dress. There is a daily parade of the soldiers in their finery, with fife and drum to boot! A feast for the eye for those who love a man in uniform!

My daughter and I visited Williamsburg in 2000, and we soon had a case of "colonial fever"! We loved it all, and so enjoyed the step back in time. We had taken a day trip from Washington DC, and vowed to come back again another day to spend more time. The year 2008 availed us that opportunity, where we stayed this time on site in one of the Colonial Historic houses for two nights. It is a wonderful experience, when most of the tourists leave at day's end, and the visitors that remain can experience a quieter town, enjoy an evening meal of Colonial fare in one of the historic taverns, like Chowding's or the King's Arms Tavern, where Syllabub, a Colonial favorite dessert is served. Below, see recipe for it!

Most of the buildings are accurately restored. A walk down Duke of Glouchester under a star-lit sky really carries you back. There are no street lights, just fire light or candle light. The area is especially beautiful in Winter and at Christmastime, where not a string of electric lights or electronic Santa can be found. All the decorations are made from boughs and fruits and berries. (By the way, the Colonial symbol for hospitality is the pineapple!) I have sworn many a Christmas season to replicate this beautiful scene, but I have to admit, somehow it's hard to put away the mini-twinkle lights. Habits are hard to break. Perhaps this year, though!
For more information on this wonderful adventure, go to

Syllabub Recipe

1 cup heavycream
1/2 c sugar
1/4 c white wine
1/8 c lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
1/4 tsp nutmeg
mint leaves
lemon slices

Whip the cream and sugar in a chilled bowl. When thickened, whip in slowly, the wine, lemon juice and lemon zest. Whip until fluffy. Cover and chill until ready to serve. Serve in parfait glasses with a dash of nutmeg, and garnish with the mint leaves and lemon slices. A cool and refreshing finish to an elegant meal. Serves about 6.

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