Getting on/off a motorcoach. Walking about 2 miles on cobblestone, pebble, and brick paths; on our feet approximately 2 hours; few opportunities to sit and rest.
In our private dining area, start the day with a breakfast buffet offering choices such as eggs, breakfast meats, cereals, sides, breads, seasonal fruit, milk, juices, coffee, tea, water.
We’ll join “the Lady of the House” in our hotel classroom to examine the art of English table ornamentation. We will discuss levels of society, protocol and etiquette, job duties, appropriate behavior, and social expectations of the colonial period. We also have a “hands on” session in small groups: studying archival images, dressing the table, creating flower arrangements, making the fruit displays, folding napkins, and more. We’ll hop aboard a motorcoach and ride to Colonial Williamsburg, then walk the length of historic Duke of Gloucester Street in the company of a local expert. We’ll focus on the homes, shops, and public buildings while, at the same time, investigate the remarkable decorations that adorn those buildings. Our expert will describe historical local events and the roles of average townspeople while also teaching us about the materials and techniques used to create the wreaths and sprays.
At a local restaurant, we’ll have a plated and served meal with choice of entrée, dessert, coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.
Continuing on foot, we’ll reach Bruton Parish Church in the Restored Area for a private visit led by a local historian and church member. Bruton traces its roots to an unnamed parish of 1633, with the current name adopted in 1674, upon the consolidation of several older parishes. The present church was completed in 1715, although it has undergone many alterations, including a reversion to its colonial glory during the restoration of Colonial Williamsburg. Our expert will outline the history of the church itself, along with the building's architecture and how it changed over the centuries. At the conclusion of our field trip, we’ll return to the hotel via motorcoach. In our hotel classroom, we will again be joined by the church historian who will detail the importance of religion in the Colonial period. Her discussion will include the religious history of the time and various customs and celebrations of the gentry, the “middling class,” and enslaved populations. Having set the table for a colonial Christmas feast this morning, we will now learn how to dress ourselves for the festivities during the 12 Days of Christmas and the cold winter months. We’ll engage in a conversation with a wardrobe mistress of the past, personified by a talented and knowledgeable costumed interpreter. You will quickly feel that you are transported to another time as you learn how the attendees stayed warm and fashionable whether they were dancing in the Palace Ballroom or their neighbor’s living room. There will be reproduction colonial garments available for hands on examination, plus portraits showing the fashionable silhouette of the time period.
At the hotel.
In the midst of the terrible Civil War, families continued to honor family traditions as best they could. At the same time, soldiers in the field made some attempt to remember the season even as they wrote home of loneliness and hardship. We’ll learn from a Civil War historian about efforts made to maintain some measure of holiday normalcy despite shortages and missing family members. We’ll also examine the similarities of mid-19th century customs with those of today.