Saturday, May 2, 2009

Colonial Williamsburg with Mom

Mom in Governor's Palace

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.



Wow I kinda wish my garden looked like that. I wish I had the gardeners they have also.

Melissa ~ Wife to 1, Mom to 5 said...

It looks like they are using those glass cloches in the garden. I've seen old time photos of them but never in person. We have an Old West type historical town and I think I might head over there to check out their gardens. Thanks for sharing!!

Peggy said...

I think you found the perfect way to spend time. With your mom in such a beautiful back in time place.

Ruralrose said...

Great story, you captured it so it felt like being there - bet if you put that through the blogalyser it would be 20/20 and all woman baby! In fact you seem like such a girlie girl, to me, you know with your writing style and what you talk about, i am so surprised about your military service. Your character must be as rich as your writing! Peace for all

Sue said...

I've always wanted to go there. Your pictures were wonderful. Thank you!

Mom said...

The day was cool and overcast. There is something beautiful about a "gray day" to me, which added to the wonderfulness of the trip.

I can't wait to go again.

Take care, Love, Mom

ChristyACB said...

Melissa - Yep, they use a lot of those cloches and guess what? They sell them there at the lowest prices I've seen anywhere, though they are expensive no matter what. I believe most of them are made locally too.

Ruralrose - Yeah!

Mom - I'm thinking of a mini-vaca staying overnight at the tavern this next time...what do you think?