Fun things to do in Williamsburg

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Most Viewed Things to Do in Williamsburg

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    Elkanah Deane House

    by Yaqui Updated Aug 5, 2012

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    This home of an Irish coachmaker was bought with the adjacent shop and garden for 700 pounds in 1772. The Elkanah Deane House is not open to the public.

    Buildings on this site probably were erected between 1720 and 1722, as the first record of the property is dated July 11, 1720, at which time the trustees of the city deeded lots #331 and #332 [on Palace Street] to John Holloway for 5 shillings with a building clause. If buildings were not erected on the lots within twenty-four months, the property escheated. There is no record of the trustees of the city deeding the property at the end of the two year period so a house was probably erected in the interval.

    This next record of the property is dated July 20, 1759, and is contained in a deed dated July 4, 1772. It refers to the purchase of the property from the estate of John Robinson, deceased, by William Carter. If this Robinson is the Honourable John Robinson, Esq., who died in May, 1766, Speaker of the House of Burgesses and Treasurer of the Colony, it means that this building on Palace Street was a fairly pretentious one, which housed an important official of the Colony.

    In 1761, William Carter had a dispute over the lot boundary with Robert Carter of Nomini Hall (who owned the Carter-Saunders house on the north) which was settled by the deed dated August 11th when William deeded to Robert the disputed portion north of Robert's palings for 5 shillings.

    That the house was large and well-built is further substantiated by the following facts:

    William Carter, the surgeon, lived in the house from 1766 until August 1771, at which time he moved to Gloucester. The house was mortgaged to James and John Carter on June 27, 1767. It was rented and later sold to Elkanah Deane, the famous coachmaker on July 4, 1772.
    Deane paid £700 for the house and four lots on which it stood and also mortgaged it on July 14, 1772. http://research.history.org/DigitalLibrary/View/index.cfm?doc=ResearchReports%5CRR1635.xml

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    Historical Homes of Duke of Gloucester Street #1

    by Yaqui Updated Aug 5, 2012

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    Duke of Gloucester Street simple beginnings was when it was once a narrow Indian path that was used by settlers as a horse path in the 17th century when the community that would become Williamsburg was called Middle Plantation. This little village the horse path was on followed the crest of ridges that separates the watersheds of the James and York Rivers Then in 1699, it ordered that its main street "in honor of his Highness William Duke of Gloucester. President Franklin Roosevelt dedicate Duke of Gloucester Street's reconstruction and called it, "The most historic avenue in all America."

    Just remember that some of the beautiful homes are private residence and we must respect their privacy.

    This one is theh Bowden-Armistead House 19th Century

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    In Defense of Our Liberty

    by Yaqui Updated Aug 5, 2012

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    They hold many reenactments during the summer, so be sure to check the web site for current dates and times. While we were visiting they had a military camp next to the cabinet markers house. It required a ticket, but from the road we could see many educational events.

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    The Shoemaker

    by Yaqui Written Jul 26, 2012

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    The first shoemakers arrived in America at Jamestown in 1610, and the trade was thriving as early as 1616. By the 1660s, the Virginia Assembly directed that each county must erect a tannery and a shoe manufactory.

    Today, the shoemaker's shop in Williamsburg represents the firm of George Wilson, who moved to Williamsburg from Norfolk, Virginia in the late 1760s. Wilson's shop competed with between nine and 12 other Williamsburg shoemakers, all operating in the city at the same dates.

    Together the local shoemakers struggled with competition from merchants in the colony who imported ready-made shoes from factories in London and Bristol in England.

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    The Guardhouse

    by Yaqui Written Jul 26, 2012

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    The Virginia colony built a high wall around the Magazine, which stored a cache of arms and ammunition. Just a few yards to the east they built a Guardhouse where sentries protected the ammunition.

    A typical story-and-a-half brick building, the Guardhouse contained a small, brick-paved room for the shelter and convenience of the sentries.

    A ticket is required to enter the Guardhouse and Magazine area.%v

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    The Wigmaker

    by Yaqui Written Jul 26, 2012

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    Dressing fashionably in the 18th century meant looking good from the head down. The colonial wigmaker provided wigs, or perukes, and dressed the hair of the gentry and many successful businessmen of Williamsburg.

    Formal events, such as "Public Times" when the courts were in session, were a busy time for the barber and wigmaker.

    Wigs and hairpieces were available in horse, goat, yak, or human hair. Wigs and hair were often powdered to give them a more formal air.

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    R. Charlton's Coffeehouse

    by Yaqui Updated Jul 26, 2012

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    Charlton's Coffeehouse stood just a few steps from the colonial Capitol, a convenient location that made it a popular stop for Williamsburg elite. Around tables that held steaming cups of coffee and chocolate, gentlemen and politicians met to make deals and strengthen connections. The Coffeehouse was completed in 2009 with a generous gift from Deborah and Forrest Mars and is the Foundation's first complete reconstruction in 50 years. In keeping with its legacy, R. Charlton's Coffeehouse serves coffee and chocolate to ticketed guests.

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    Pasteur & Galt Apothecary Shop

    by Yaqui Written Jul 26, 2012

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    The Pasteur & Galt Apothecary Shop on Duke of Gloucester Street features copies of Dr. Galt's certificates in medical theory, midwifery, and surgery. A large collection of British delft drug jars for storing medications line one wall, and antique implements for compounding and dispensing drugs are also displayed, with some items original to the site.

    Colonial apothecaries practiced as doctor. They made house calls to treat patients, made and prescribed medicines, and trained apprentices. Some apothecaries were also trained as surgeons and man-midwives.

    Some of the ingredients that were used in colonial remedies are the basis for modern medications. They included chalk for heartburn, calamine for skin irritations, and cinchona bark for fevers.

    Williamsburg apothecaries also sold cooking spices, candles, salad oil, anchovies, toothbrushes, and tobacco, making them true precursors of today's drugstores.

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    The Milliner

    by Yaqui Written Jul 26, 2012

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    In the 18th century, millinery shops were almost always owned by women. Milliners sewed and sold — among other things — cloaks, mantles, hats, hoods, caps, gloves, petticoats, hoops, riding costumes, and dresses for masquerades — all in the latest fashion. In addition to being a trades woman who made fashion accessories, the milliner was also a businesswoman who sold a wide range of fashionable imported goods.

    Today at the Margaret Hunter Shop, interpreters portray the millinery business with changing 18th-century fashions, their importance in colonial society, and the economics of importing.You will also find the Tailors sharing the shop.

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    Silversmith~Golden Ball

    by Yaqui Updated Jul 26, 2012

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    The 18th-century silversmith was thought of as someone akin to a sculptor. Both had to know how to shape their materials with artistic talent, taste, and design.

    A contemporary observed that the silversmith was: "employed in making all manner of utensils... either for Ornament or Use. His work is either performed in the Mould, or beat into Figure by the Hammer." Today the work of the silversmith proceeds at the Golden Ball silversmith shop in Colonial Williamsburg in much the same way as when colonist James Craig practiced silversmithing there and when James Geddy Jr. practiced the trade at the James Geddy House.

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    The Cabinetmaker

    by Yaqui Written Jul 26, 2012

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    The earliest documented cabinetmaker in Williamsburg was Peter Scott, who first appears in the records in 1722. Scott was a member of Williamsburg's City Council and operated a shop until 1775.

    Virginians preferred "plain but neat" furniture, modestly elegant and neatly constructed. Ornamentation on furniture was used to emphasize the stature of a person or the importance of the social occasion in which the piece was used.

    Williamsburg's reconstructed cabinet shop, on the site of Anthony Hay's Cabinetmaking Shop, is open to the public. Today's craftsmen explain the cabinetmaking trade to visitors as they produce furniture with the tools and designs of the era.

    A Colonial Williamsburg ticket is required to enter the shop.

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    Hartwell Perry's Tavern

    by Yaqui Updated Jul 26, 2012

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    Hartwell Perry owned and operated an "ordinary," as colonial taverns were sometimes called, on this site from the mid-1780s until he died about 1800. The sign out front is a "rebus." It depicts a deer, a well, and several pears. "Hart" is another name for a deer, and an alcoholic beverage made from pears is called "perry", so the sign stands for Hartwell Perry. The building is not open to the public.

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    Play Booth Theatre

    by Yaqui Updated Jul 26, 2012

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    The open-air Play Booth Theater is located on the site of the first theater, which was active in the 1720s and 1730s. The theater is similar to theaters erected for fairs and race days in England. Although performances sometimes attracted a boisterous, rowdy audience, the gentry also frequented playhouses; both Thomas Jefferson and George Washington attended plays in Williamsburg. Today, actors at the Play Booth Theater present scenes from plays popular in Williamsburg before the American Revolution.

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    Everard House

    by Yaqui Written Jul 26, 2012

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    Built in 1718 by the first keeper of Williamsburg's Magazine, John Brush's five-bay, timber framed, story-and-a-half house of hand-split weatherboard stands in modest contrast to its lofty next-door neighbor, the Governor's Palace. The Everard House is noted for its fine staircase with its elaborately turned balusters, sweeping handrails, and richly ornamented carving on the stair brackets. The yard between the house and the smokehouse and the brick kitchen – both original and restored – is paved with original brick discovered during archaeological investigation.

    Today the home appears as it did in 1773, when it was inhabited by Thomas Everard, widower, and his two daughters Francis and Martha.

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    Kimball Theatre

    by Yaqui Written Jul 26, 2012

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    he Kimball Theatre is home to current films and live performances and is at the center of Williamsburg’s community activities. Creative programming alliances with the College of William and Mary, community organizations, and Colonial Williamsburg link our past with the present.

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