Thursday, July 3, 2008

The Road to Freedom is Alive in Williamsburg

General George Washington, accompanied by French General Marquis de Lafayette, addressed a large crowd yesterday in Market Square, Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia. His speech was short and to the point, "more militia are needed to press the British into the sea at Yorktown". His rousing talk gave rise to more volunteers joining the fight for independence, then everyone dispersed for dinner at Red Lobster, Applebee's or one of the local taverns.

History really does come alive in Colonial Williamsburg, particularly this time of year when America celebrates Independence day on July 4th. Leading up to the 4th are several events that take place each morning in Revolutionary City, located at the East end of town. Here you can interact with people from the eighteenth century, going about there business. They are extremely knowledgeable about the history and the time period they represent. I approached one gentleman in a period waistcoat and dress of someone from the 1700's, and inquired if he was with the militia. I should have known by his expensive period suit that he was a land holder. He politely informed me that he was not in the militia but was Colonel Ennis of the regular army. He then proceeded to tell me where the militia would be lining up for inspection.

All the people who portray the common trades and those who portray the famous like, Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson and George Washington, study for years to hone their knowledge and mannerisms. I have never heard history presented so eloquently. Each morning between 9:30 to 12:30 their are usually a special program and shopkeepers, craftsmen, dancing and strolling by all manner of people who look, and act, as though it were 1776. This week we heard Patrick Henry give background information on why the Colonies sought independence from England. He also gave us some insight to his personal life and the tragic account of his first wife's illness. We toured the governors palace, where Patrick Henry moved in with his six children and re-married, having eleven more. We watched the fife and drum corps get ready to celebrate fifty years of service at Williamsburg. We heard the Declaration of Independence read from the capitol building and listened as townspeople discussed the news.

There are several vacation packages available that make this a perfect family destination. One of the best deals is to stay at least 4 days at one of the six Colonial Williamsburg hotels. With the hotel package tickets to Revolutionary City and many tours are free. We have toured several of the buildings to include the Governor's Palace and Tucker House. All have been educational and entertaining. The evening events are many, some requiring admission, others part of the daily routine. This is a place to return again and again for anyone interested in the history of America.