Part 2 of Revolution Road trip – Day 2: Colonial Williamsburg

This is Part 2 of my Revolution Roadtrip story.  If you are just finding this and want to start from the beginning and read my introduction, please go to Part 1. Revolution Roadtrip introduction

Day 1 – July 16, 2016 – Day one of our Revolution Road trip was an 11 hour drive from our home in Gainesville, Florida to Colonial Williamsburg.  I won’t bore you with the details of the drive – it’s just I-95 straight on through.

Day 2 – July 17, 2016 – We stayed at the Woodlands – a Colonial Williamsburg property.  I highly recommend staying here – especially if you have children.  The rooms are comfortable and  includes a buffet breakfast with all the standard hot and cold breakfast goodies.  I will warn you – it gets very crowded and it’s sometimes hard to find a seat.    The Woodlands is the perfect location for your Colonial Williamsburg vacation.  It’s just a short 5 minute walk  that  leads to the Colonial Williamsburg Visitors Center. This is the main hub for all things Colonial Williamsburg.   From here you can purchase tickets, make dinner reservations, and get tickets to special events in the historic area known as  Revolution City.  The staff are very knowledgable and kind.  If you are going to be staying at the Woodlands – I highly recommend purchasing a package that includes your tickets to the Revolution City for the entire length of your stay.  You will save a lot of money on your tickets. Plus you get discounts on shopping and special events when you stay at any of the properties of Colonial Williamsburg.   You don’t need a car once you are at The Woodlands.  Your stay includes complimentary shuttle bus service that has several drop off points around Colonial Williamsburg.

You will receive a schedule of the days activities on a detailed handout for every day of your stay upon checkin.  Each day has its own set of things to do and places to see.  It makes planning your day so much easier.  Most activities are free with your ticket but there are times when you will need to purchase tickets to an event because of lack of seating.  For instance, we reserved tickets to see and talk with George Washington but because of limited seating – we had to reserve a ticket.  By the way – this was a hit with my son – he just LOVED this presentation.  You really feel like you are talking with President Washington in the flesh!

Also, there is a really cool Colonial Williamsburg app that you can download which makes it even simpler.  Just download it – it will make you life so much easier.

I have to share that the middle of July is not the best time to visit Colonial Williamsburg if you don’t like the heat and humidity.  I come from Gainesville, Florida – so that is an everyday occurrence for us.  But, it was really HOT when we visited.  So much so, we cut a lot of activities short because we just got too tired.  The humidity really got to us.  We did go back in December to make up for things we didn’t get a chance to see on this trip  –  that trip is in the Bonus Chapter coming soon.

There are many, many fun activities to experience in Colonial Williamsburg.  We tried to cram in as much Revolutionary War fun as well as see some of the many places in the town where Turn: Washington’s Spies was filmed.  I just loved seeing all the colonial architecture and learning of how these historic buildings were restored.  The interpreters that work at CW really add a special touch and make you feel like you are really back in time.  You are welcome to talk and take pictures with them and of course ask as many questions.  They are very knowledgeable about this time period.

Below: The magazine was used to store weapons, ammunition, and gunpowder.  These supplies were carefully guarded by the magazine keeper, who gets picked by the House of Burgesses.  You can take a tour of this building with a skilled interpreted, who will tell you all you need to know about colonial weaponry.

Below: The Governors Palace was built in 1722, and quickly became known as one of the most elegant buildings in Virginia.  It housed the governors of Virginia until the capitol moved to Richmond.  The building housed general Charles Lee in early 1776 and was turned over to Patrick Henry when he was elected first governor of the commonwealth.  Later in the war it was used as a hospital, and on December 22, 1781, burned to the ground.  Thomas Jefferson later helped rebuild it.  Today in Williamsburg you can take a tour of the massive palace and learn even more of its rich royal history.  You can even learn to ballroom dance along the way!  After the tour you can enjoy strolling around the luscious gardens in the back

Below: The Capitol was the center of political life in Virginia, and witnessed many dramatic moments in American history.  The House of Burgesses regular met in the Capitol until Virginia’s royal governor, the Earl of Dunmore, dissolved it.  One example of an important achievement in the Capitol was in 1776, when the Virginia Declaration of Rights was adopted after fierce debating by Patrick Henry and James Madison.  You can find yourself in the midst of one of the events by journeying to the eastern end of Duke of Gloucester Street, where the Capitol stands tall.

Below: The costumed interpreters  in Colonial Williamsburg are extremely talented and very friendly.  You can talk to them and even ask for a picture.  We particularly loved visiting the many trade-shops and talk to the tradesmen and ask questions about how they made their products.

As I mentioned in my introduction to our Revolution Road trip, part of the reason for visiting Colonial Williamsburg was to see all the places that Turn: Washington’s Spies was filmed.  Below are side by side comparisons of how it is seen in Turn and my pictures on this visit.

Below: Colonial Williamsburg steps in as Philadelphia in Turn.  The scene on the right was filmed behind the Courthouse in CW.  You can see some of the original buildings in CW including Bruton Parish church,  but the production team used a green screen to add in elements of Philadelphia.  See if you can figure out which buildings were added in!

Below: One of my favorite scenes from Turn.  Simcoe storming out and returning to Setauket.  That was filmed at the magazine.

Below: The Governors Palace is used as the Shippen Residence (Peggy’s home) in Philadelphia. I noticed that the cupola was removed in post production for Turn. I’m not sure why they did this – maybe that was not part of Philadelphia architecture at the time.

Below: The Capitol is used for the home that Gen. Arnold purchases for his new wife, Peggy.

Below: The Wythe House stands in as Benjamin Franklin and John Andre’s home in Philadelphia.

Below: The carriages in CW were used in this episode of Turn – the CW driver is even driving it.  Did you know that you can actually ride in this very same carriage when you visit Colonial Williamsburg?  Ask for the Blue Carriage!  It’s a little pricey – when we went in December it was $15 per person for a 20 minute tour around the city.  We thought it was well worth it – especially if you are a fan of Turn: Washington’s Spies.

Below: This scene of King George, III in his throne room was filmed at William and Mary College in the Great Hall inside the Wren Building.

Next Monday, February 6, 2017 I will be posting Day 3 of our trip which features Shirley Plantation and Yorktown Battlefield.  Please feel free to leave your comments and questions below.

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