Travel Diary
 
November 2, 2002
Williamsburg, VA


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Williamsburg is the location of the capital of the English Colony of Virginia. As the capital of the largest English colony in America, it was also the location where Thomas Jefferson and his peers voted to declare independence from England and thus start the Revolutionary War.

Today, Colonial Williamsburg is a non-profit organization that maintains the original and re-built buildings that represent the town of Williamsburg circa 1774. The staff dress in period costume and work in the buildings giving tours, answering questions and providing an authentic colonial feeling to the area.

Colonial man walking

This was the Royal Governor's Mansion. After the revolution, it housed the Governor of the State of Virginia before the capital was moved to Richmond.

Governors mansion

We learned a lot about this team of oxen from the farmer who brought them into the palace green. For example, oxen work as a pair and learn the behavior of left or right. Once trained as a left or right, they don't ever switch sides. We also learned that a pair of oxen that have a combined weight of 3600 pounds can pull around 15,000 pounds. If our house ever broke down, we'd need 3 teams of oxen to give us a lift...

Oxen

We walked by a pond and found a flock of ducks who were feeding on something that was underwater. It was an interesting way to see a duck in water.

Duck feet

We took a tour of their distinctly non-colonial animal facility. The Colonial Williamsburg organization is working on preservation and restoration of rare animal breeds that were common in the late 1700s. They also use the animals for carriage rides and to place in pastures around town to add to the authentic feel of the town. The stable they built is very 21st century state-of-the-art. Here are a couple of horses going back to work after their lunch break.

Carriage leaving the garage

They are also raising ornamental chickens. The wealthy residents of Williamsburg often kept ornamental chickens as pets in their gardens.

Ornamental chicken. No, really.

This horse was named Jack. We learned that even with all of the carriage rides, Jack was considered over-weight. His handler called him Jackapotamus. Naturally, we thought that was excellent.

Jackapotamus

Although this likely wasn't a daily occurrence in 1774, there is a fife and drum band that marches through the streets. We were told that local parents often sign their children up to be in this band before they're old enough to play music.

Fife and drum band

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