Walking about 3 miles total on cobblestone, pebble, and brick paths; on our feet cumulatively approximately 3.5 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.
With a local expert in our hotel classroom, we’ll take a more personal look at Yuletide across time by considering the words of people living in Williamsburg during three centuries. We’ll also have an opportunity to share our own family traditions, inherited or newly begun. This look at holiday observances will help tie the old to the new, bringing a deeper and richer meaning to our own holiday observances. Next we’ll join a talented chocolatier in our hotel classroom to learn about the history of this popular treat during colonial times. By the middle of the 18th century, hot chocolate, flavored with a variety of spices, had become a favorite drink in both Europe and America. Our instructor will provide us with some background about how this New World concoction originated and found its way into the courts of the Continent. You will have the opportunity to assist in the preparation of a chocolate treat, which of course, you will also be able to sample! We’ll next walk to Colonial Williamsburg from the hotel, 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, investigating 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 in the modern Merchants Square area, we’ll have a plated and served meal with choice of entrée, dessert, coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.
Continuing our town exploration, we’ll walk to 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 walk back to the hotel. 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. .To end the afternoon we will learn how to dress ourselves for the festivities during the 12 Days of Christmas. We’ll engage in a conversation with a wardrobe mistress of the past, personified by a knowledgeable costumed interpreter. You will quickly feel 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 parlor. There will be reproduction colonial garments available for hands on examination, plus portraits showing the fashionable silhouette of the time period. Once we know how to properly dress, of course, we'll want to know how to properly dance! Just like the people of colonial times, we’ll try out some colonial dance steps to music from the period. We will learn the steps of the minuet and other dances with the lively assistance of a talented dance mistress. At the end of the session, you will be fully prepared to dance the holiday night away in your very best ballroom finery.
At the hotel.
We will follow dinner with a private performance where we will enjoy the talents of a costumed musician as he plays and explains instruments, both familiar and unusual, of the 18th Century, and hear Christmas music popular in colonial celebrations. Be prepared to join in on a familiar song or two before the performance ends!