My mother, J, came down for a lovely visit a few weeks ago. She stayed with my sister but we got to do plenty together. A super fun day for Mom and me, but perhaps less so for my sister J the Younger, who wasn't feeling great, was our trip to Colonial Williamsburg. My sister was a trooper though and seemed to have a good time anyway and it was nice to spend time with her.
I've been there before, but never in the first flush of spring and it was wonderful! I think the highlight for my Mom was the tour of the Governor's Palace. For me, the kitchens and kitchen garden were by far the focus.Kitchen Gardens at the Governor's Palace
The food made daily in the kitchen outbuilding is taken from foods grown there in the gardens and heritage breeds of stock, some now quite rare, raised and slaughtered there. Some of their animals are simply amazing and wonderful. Luckily, they have a book of their breeds for sale in their book shop. :) Next time I'll get it. This time I focused on garden books outlining the evolution of the garden design in America, Pleasure gardens and other wonderful garden-y things.
But back to the food for a second; the cooks in that outdoor kitchen use authentic implements and everything just as it was and cook real food, all day long, which they lay out on a table in between their cooking area and the visitors. Not to eat, of course, but anything you might want to ask or have explained, they do. It really is amazing.The Hedge Maze at the Palace
The hedge maze was looking a bit worse for wear with so many people pushing through rather than find their way out. Since it is still early, they will thicken up, but it is a shame to see people destroying something so old and beautiful. This photo was taken from atop the ice house which is about 16 feet tall and still perfectly operable. The Palace runs along the canal, with truly spectacular terraced lawn and gardens, and the ice used to be cut right from that canal. It hasn't actually frozen in years, but the stone and earthen ice house provided cold storage and ice throughout our sweltering Virginia summer and fall for all the people that lived there.
We ended our evening there by enjoying a wonderful dinner at Shield's Tavern, where we were very lucky to get an early reservation. It is superb food and very stout fortified beverages are served :: grin::. I knew enough to get a Pimm's Cup, which is just fine to have early in the dinner and be able to drive a few hours later. My Mom, on the other hand, got a Rummer. Those are basically a glass full of delcious, but rather potent, alcohol. She was a trooper though. The portions were huge and we took home doggie bags. I highly recommend it.
Mumsy is coming back this month and we plan on going again to see the growth. We're going for King's Tavern reservations and carriage rides. I'm focused on trying that Colonial Game Pye, which I've heard a great deal of good about, before I try the recipe (which I have) with my limited supply of venison.