Friday, December 28, 2012

Day III: Christmas in Colonial Williamsburg, 2012

Friday, December 28, 2012

Isabella reporting:

No matter the season, my favorite time in Colonial Williamsburg is always early in the morning, when Duke of Gloucester Street, above, belongs more firmly to the past. Here, too, you can see how gracefully the holiday decorations blend in with the architecture. I know they're not historically accurate (as I explained yesterday) to 1775, but the effect is still charming.

I especially like the decorations on the historic trade shops that imaginatively incorporate aspects of each trade into the design. The wreath, above left, hangs beside the doorway of the Wig & Peruke-Maker's Shop. Woven into the boxwood greenery are not only pine cones and dried flowers, but also white 18th c.  clay hair curlers, switches of false hair, and dainty strands of pearl beads that might have ornamented a stylish lady's hair.

The tools and bench visible through the window of the Joiner's Shop, right, indicate the fine woodworking done within. The trade also inspired the holiday decor over the window, a festive swag fashioned of branches and curls of hardwood created by the joiner's box plane.

One of our favorite trade shops in Williamsburg is the Margaret Hunter millinery shop, and each year I look forward to seeing how their wreath highlights the fashionable hats, fans, and gowns offered within the shop. (Here's the wreath from last year as an example.) Alas, this year I missed out. While the 2012 wreath was indeed lovely – here it is on the shop's Facebook page – apparently some Scrooge of a thief stole it one night earlier in December. Bah, humbug!

But instead of ending on that sour note, here's the tableau, lower left, that's on display inside the shop every holiday season. It's an 18th c. milliner's shop in miniature, complete with hoops to caps to a gentleman's cocked hat. One doll "baby" tends the counter, while another is a mantua-maker, draping a new gown on a customer.

Photographs copyright Susan Holloway Scott, 2012.


nightsmusic said...

I really do think I like the Christmas season best here. Just a lot of fun and it seems more in keeping with the original era (though I know the decorations aren't era appropriate) than summer. I don't know why, it just does.

Too bad they don't rent rooms in some of those houses for overnight guests. That would really be fun!

Isabella Bradford/Susan Holloway Scott said...

Theo - While most of the houses in the historic area are occupied by Colonial Williamsburg employees, there ARE a number that are guest houses available for visitors. Here's the link:

Anonymous said...

Staying in the Colonial Houses is my favorite way to visit...and that makes that early morning visit to the Duke of Gloucester Street even better! It is also my favorite time of day regardless of season in the Colonial town.

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