Episode 45

Christmas in Colonial Williamsburg

We give you the tips and tricks for getting the most out of visiting Colonial Williamsburg at Christmas time. If you are a fan of coming here...this is a MUST DO!

Video of Christmas in Colonial Williamsburg

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Scott:

Jen, , you did a good job of really saying, here's why these

Scott:

doors are decorated in this manner.

Scott:

Because people would look at 'em and you could tell they were kind of doing double

Scott:

takes or looking longer because there'd be a wreath with like a big circle of apples.

Scott:

Yes.

Scott:

You're like, why is there a big circle of apples on there?

Scott:

And you explained that.

Scott:

We don't have any guests tonight, so we're gonna talk about what you

Scott:

probably saw in the thumbnail, which is Christmas in Colonial Williamsburg.

Scott:

But before we do that, I wanna let the folks know that this episode is brought

Scott:

to you by the hashtag Historic Newsletter.

Scott:

This is our free newsletter that brings you a monthly roundup of history in

Scott:

the news and bite-sized summaries of interesting historical articles, videos,

Scott:

and yes, even other history podcasts that we find so you can sign up for free.

Scott:

You can sign up for the hashtag historic newsletter at www.hashtaghistoric.com.

Scott:

That's hashtag historic.com, so we are.

Scott:

Live streaming here to YouTube.

Scott:

So if you're listening on the, the podcast, if you're one of our

Scott:

podcast listeners, you can always find us usually on Thursday nights.

Scott:

Mm-hmm.

Scott:

. We do our best to to podcast this right after our video goes live.

Scott:

And you can join us there or you can find us on the podcast.

Scott:

You can look up talk with History.

Scott:

So, Jen, let's talk a little bit about Colonial Williamsburg or Christmas.

Scott:

It was quite a treat.

Jenn:

It was awesome.

Jenn:

It was really walking back into time and then of course Christmas decorations

Jenn:

and the feeling of Christmas everywhere.

Jenn:

It was really just a, a really great experience.

Jenn:

So, I mean, to do Colonial Williamsburg is cool, but to do Colonial Williamsburg

Jenn:

at Christmas time is like super cool.

Scott:

Yeah.

Scott:

And one of the, the things that we tried to highlight, we actually had to do

Scott:

two trips to kind of cover everything.

Scott:

So Friday, because it was your birthday not long ago, and

Scott:

birthday, she's a December birthday.

Scott:

So we went down and, and I took the, the day off on Friday.

Scott:

You took the day off on Friday.

Scott:

And so we went down for your birthday.

Scott:

So we spent the whole day down there, did a whole bunch of stuff.

Scott:

And, but on Saturday, and we'll talk about this a little bit

Scott:

later the first three Saturday.

Scott:

Of December.

Scott:

Colonial Williamsburg does something pretty unique.

Jenn:

birthday.

Jenn:

Yes, they do.

Jenn:

What they call the grand illumination.

Jenn:

But it was interesting how we found out about this.

Jenn:

So we had gone for my birthday, like you said, and I had packed the day

Jenn:

full of events, and we'll talk about those events because they were awesome.

Jenn:

But one of the things we did that we've been trying to do, For a while was

Jenn:

they have a veteran's place on the main street where if you're a veteran you

Jenn:

can go in and get like hot chocolate and speak to the people in there.

Jenn:

And they had a bunch of coins.

Jenn:

And I know that one of the, his historic fellow historians we follow on Instagram

Jenn:

did a little thing about challenge coins and military challenge coins.

Jenn:

So they had like racks of challenge coins in there.

Jenn:

And we got our hot chocolate in there and they had said to us, are you coming

Jenn:

back tomorrow for the grand illumination?

Jenn:

And we're like, well, what's that?

Jenn:

And the gentleman there was like, oh, it's awesome.

Jenn:

They used to just do it one time in December, but because they did it

Jenn:

one time and like 20,000 people came,

Scott:

no, he said like

Jenn:

Oh, it's like 50,000 people.

Jenn:

came.

Jenn:

They've spread it out to three nights now in December.

Jenn:

So the first three Saturdays in December from five to seven, they.

Jenn:

Have a declaration of Christmas.

Jenn:

They pretend like it's Christmas 1760, and they, they go to a couple different of the

Jenn:

historic homes and make these declarations and light the candles in the windows.

Jenn:

But the coolest part is the fireworks.

Jenn:

So they do colonial fireworks from the governor's palace, which is the

Jenn:

big building at the end of the green.

Jenn:

and then the capital building.

Jenn:

So those are like the two buildings that are kind of perpendicular to

Jenn:

each other in Colonial Williamsburg.

Jenn:

But another cool thing is they have these baskets of wood along Duke of

Jenn:

Gloucester, which is Gloucester, which is the big street in Colonial Williamsburg.

Jenn:

And they light them.

Scott:

Yeah.

Scott:

And so, so we did our best in the video, which I think folks, probably

Scott:

a couple folks I know who are chat or in the chat saw the video.

Scott:

You know, we, we tried to, there's actually some steps that they

Scott:

use for the horse carriages.

Scott:

Yeah.

Scott:

And so Jen was like, Hey Scott, get up on those steps so you can

Scott:

get a good shot of the street.

Scott:

And so that's what that picture of is.

Scott:

If you watched the, the video, I actually got up on these steps that

Scott:

are there to help actually people get into some of the horse carriages.

Scott:

But the steps were left behind because the horse carriages were long gone.

Scott:

And, and so I tried to get that, that picture with all

Scott:

the torches lining the street.

Scott:

It was very cool.

Scott:

Gave it that very colonial vibe,

Jenn:

a very colonial vibe because we had done a haunted williamsburg

Jenn:

tour, which those are all year long.

Jenn:

So if you ever wanna do a haunted tour and during those haunted tours

Jenn:

they take you to different locations and light like a, like a fire.

Jenn:

Yeah.

Jenn:

And that's kind of cool cuz you're like, this is kind of what they

Jenn:

would use as light in colonial times.

Jenn:

Right.

Jenn:

It would be, lanterns at night or fire.

Jenn:

So it's neat to be there as they light these.

Jenn:

But to see these lit kind of torches, they're like baskets of

Jenn:

fire the whole way down the street.

Jenn:

They have one every couple yards.

Jenn:

It was just super cool and we show you on the video, like our kids are kind of like

Jenn:

looking at it like, wow, that's so neat.

Scott:

Before we kind of dive a little bit deeper into the kind of grand

Scott:

illumination, you know, events, what was the first thing that we did?

Scott:

It was the, the, the market.

Jenn:

So if you watch our, you know, recommendations to visit Williamsburg,

Jenn:

we're gonna recommend you park at the Rockefeller Folk Art Museum because if

Jenn:

you park at the visitor center, it's going to be a bus ride over or a very long walk.

Jenn:

So we recommend parking at the museum and at the museum for

Jenn:

Christmas, they do a Christmas, Williamsburg, Christmas marketplace

Jenn:

an outside kind of farmer's market.

Jenn:

And court street is the street right behind the museum and they close Court

Jenn:

Street and it's just, it's really cool.

Jenn:

Artisans crafts food.

Scott:

They've got little hot chocolate.

Jenn:

chocolate,

Scott:

beer.

Scott:

Beer and wine for the adults

Jenn:

and sell little like cute things that you would buy for Christmas.

Jenn:

I bought some historical photographs that had been colorized,

Jenn:

like of the wasps and stuff.

Jenn:

But they have Santa Claus, so the kids were really happy about that.

Jenn:

And it's free and it's a great way for you to kind of see everything.

Jenn:

But we had parked there because, During Christmas, and this is true, anytime

Jenn:

you're at Colonial Williamsburg, they do little like shows and performances and

Jenn:

I had made reservations to see Merriment and, measles, I think it was called.

Jenn:

Yeah, yeah.

Jenn:

And it's about, it's was so cool.

Jenn:

It's about.

Jenn:

George Washington and Martha Washington's first Christmas

Jenn:

together after they're married.

Jenn:

So they're married January 6th, 1759, and this.

Jenn:

Show is January 6th, 1760.

Jenn:

And so it's the first year of marriage and Martha has just come

Jenn:

down with the measles and she's kind of on the other side of the measles.

Jenn:

And it comes from a letter that George Washington wrote.

Jenn:

Some of his correspondence that he had written saying that, you know,

Jenn:

Martha was really sick and it was touch and go there for a while, he

Jenn:

really thought he was gonna lose her.

Jenn:

They ended up bringing the doctor, they ended up sending the children away

Jenn:

and and that she was feeling better.

Jenn:

Even though he oversaw Mount Vernon, she oversaw the household.

Scott:

So he had to, he had to step into kind of her role, the household role.

Scott:

Yeah.

Scott:

He had to

Jenn:

is taking care of all the people and Wow.

Scott:

the,

Jenn:

Logistics, food and just, and, and it was Christmas time, so, Christmas in

Jenn:

Cologna times is not Christmas today.

Jenn:

I, I tell

Scott:

was interesting.

Jenn:

Christmas during cologna times is a lot, what we think of Thanksgiving today

Jenn:

because we didn't have, than Thanksgiving is a, is a newer tradition probably

Jenn:

within the last 200 years to celebrate it.

Jenn:

Like

Scott:

we did.

Scott:

And so this was supposed to be like sixth night or 12th

Jenn:

12th night, which if you do the 12 days of Christmas, it starts

Jenn:

Christmas day and then the 12 days after, so it's 12th night, which is

Jenn:

January 6th when they're married,

Scott:

saying in the, in the, this little play.

Scott:

12th night.

Scott:

Yeah.

Jenn:

12th night of Christmas thanksgiving is more like a

Jenn:

celebration of thankfulness and you're thanking people who worked for you.

Jenn:

And so really it's for children and for servants.

Jenn:

. Really.

Jenn:

You take, you buy gifts for children and you make sure you're, you,

Jenn:

you kind of give your servants like you're, they're yearly.

Jenn:

Thank you.

Jenn:

Yeah.

Jenn:

It's not really, maybe adults would, would give a, something small, you

Jenn:

know, like this is for Christmas, but they really didn't do that.

Jenn:

It was mostly like,

Scott:

I

Scott:

think that that setting kind of really helped this particular play because

Scott:

he was Colonel Washington at the time.

Scott:

Yeah.

Scott:

So he was younger, right?

Scott:

Yeah.

Scott:

So this was celebrating their first year of, of marriage.

Scott:

Yes.

Scott:

And they talk about Martha's finally feeling better and she's

Scott:

like, well, did you do this?

Scott:

Did you do this?

Scott:

Did you do this?

Scott:

And she touched naming off all these things and he, he.

Scott:

Fires right back and not being mean, but just saying like, oh yes, I

Scott:

did this and here's how I did it.

Scott:

Oh, you mean that, and he's talking about all the stuff that he did, and then they,

Scott:

they kind of have the interplay of, you know, a young married couple and Yeah.

Scott:

But it was, it was interesting all the things that he did during that time.

Jenn:

He, he got, I think he got her book.

Jenn:

and then he was like going through her book and then making sure all the things

Jenn:

that she wanted to get done, giving people their presents and stuff for Christmas.

Jenn:

And taking care of the children and making sure their children got away.

Jenn:

You know, cuz they hadn't had the measles then she kind of felt it unneeded.

Jenn:

Yeah.

Jenn:

Because she's like, well, you're able to do all of this.

Jenn:

I'm unneeded.

Scott:

Yeah.

Scott:

And they, I mean they, without going too far into that aspect of it, they went

Scott:

down into the, the married couple role.

Scott:

But they did a great job.

Scott:

And the, the actress, the.

Scott:

I, I assume that's what we would call her, who plays Martha Washington is

Jenn:

fantastic

Jenn:

The

Scott:

She's so good.

Scott:

We've seen her a couple

Jenn:

times.

Jenn:

We've seen her a couple times.

Jenn:

She knows her primary sources.

Jenn:

Okay.

Jenn:

So she's pulling lines and she's saying things from primary sources,

Jenn:

primary letters and documents that were written about Martha Washington.

Jenn:

So we're recalling like her childhood.

Jenn:

Yeah.

Jenn:

And where she grew up, and her father and her brothers and sisters

Scott:

yeah, so, so all that to say when you go to Colonial Williamsburg during

Scott:

Christmas, they have other plays, other things that they're putting on that they

Scott:

don't normally put on throughout the year.

Scott:

That was definitely one of those things that are worth it.

Jenn:

And then the other one we saw was a Charles Dickens

Scott:

Yeah,

Scott:

that one I don't think we talked about on the

Scott:

video.

Scott:

either.

Scott:

But it was neat.

Scott:

They were playing old instruments.

Scott:

They would read pieces from Charles, different dickens, different works.

Scott:

Yeah.

Scott:

And they would read it.

Scott:

I appreciated the way that they read it because it really brought out

Scott:

his writing style and the, and the.

Scott:

that of the era.

Scott:

Yes.

Scott:

And then that, and then they would play these traditional interns.

Scott:

It was really neat.

Jenn:

They had colonial instruments that Charles Dickens would've seen

Jenn:

being played if he was alive at the time, and they, they can play them.

Jenn:

And then they sang older Christmas carols and like invited us

Jenn:

to join them, which was neat.

Jenn:

And then they really, they focused a lot on a Christmas

Jenn:

Carol and Fie Wings, winks calves,

Scott:

Yeah.

Scott:

Yeah, it was.

Jenn:

And how ca male, men's calves were like the most attractive part of the male

Scott:

They, they highlighted that they, the actors, the, the musicians did a good

Scott:

job of kind of really emphasizing some of these more humorous parts of his writings.

Jenn:

It was great.

Scott:

those shows are tons of fun.

Scott:

Now Mo so it was market, then we did some shows and then if you just go

Scott:

down to the traditional kind of main drag of Colonial Williamsburg, we

Scott:

started kind of down near the ice rink.

Jenn:

Yeah, so we show what does Williamsburg would look like at Christmas

Jenn:

time and a lot of the decoration, cuz that's what you're gonna see that's

Jenn:

different is all the wreaths and the garlands that are on the doors

Jenn:

and, and banisters and it's a lot.

Jenn:

And I talk about what are they decorating with and it's a lot of like a natural.

Jenn:

Food sources and plant life because they're gonna decorate with what they can

Jenn:

find locally as they can gather and make in their kitchens and they can kind of

Jenn:

string together branches and pine cones.

Jenn:

And I talk about the oysters.

Scott:

And, and that was one of the things that I actually kind of like about

Scott:

our video that I bet you won't see on a lot of kind of similar kind of videos.

Scott:

If someone goes and talks about Colonial Williamsburg and Christmas you can

Scott:

kind of walk around and just look at these decorations on the doors.

Scott:

It's like, oh, cool decoration.

Scott:

Jen, , you did a good job of really saying, here's why these doors

Scott:

are decorated in this manner.

Scott:

Because people would look at 'em and you could tell they were kind of doing double

Scott:

takes or looking longer because there'd be a wreath with like a big circle of apples.

Scott:

Yes.

Scott:

You're like, why is there a big circle of apples on there?

Scott:

And you explained that.

Scott:

Why?

Jenn:

So it, like I told you, the Christmas in colonial times

Jenn:

is a lot like thanksgiving.

Jenn:

So you're, you're showing your thankfulness, you're showing your

Jenn:

appreciation for your abundance.

Jenn:

So if you had a good crop, Or you had a good you know, harvest, harvest of apples,

Jenn:

you're gonna take those and decorate with them and to show a, you know, how well

Jenn:

you did and to be thankful for next year.

Scott:

the perfect example was the first place winner one that we, that

Scott:

we showed the bread and the wheat.

Scott:

And

Jenn:

So the, yeah, the winner is beautiful and they made a basket

Jenn:

of bread with wheat beside it.

Jenn:

And so it's, again, they're showing, they're giving thanks for to God,

Jenn:

you know, cuz it's Christmas.

Jenn:

So they're being thankful for, and their religion for the.

Jenn:

Basically the new year and the 12 days of Christmas, we did interact

Jenn:

with an interact with a Reenactor.

Jenn:

The Attorney General of

Scott:

Williamsburg

Scott:

Yeah, we didn't talk about that in the video, so, so this is

Scott:

more special for the podcast and

Jenn:

So I told him Happy Christmas.

Jenn:

And he goes, it's a little early for that.

Jenn:

And I said, oh, when would you say it?

Jenn:

And he goes, you would say it on Christmas day and then the 12 days after Christmas.

Jenn:

Cuz we, we were there for my birthday.

Jenn:

The 9th of December.

Jenn:

So that was early, he said, and then he asked, who do I have

Jenn:

the pleasure of speaking with?

Jenn:

And I said, well, his commander in the rural Navy , because it's 8 17 60.

Jenn:

Right?

Jenn:

So this is like British Navy,

Scott:

British Times.

Jenn:

so royal navy.

Jenn:

So he was very, very, he wanted to talk about that.

Jenn:

He's like, oh, the royal Navy

Scott:

Yeah.

Scott:

He like tipped his hat to me and Yes.

Scott:

Then he started asking us about this

Jenn:

This captain, yeah.

Jenn:

Who wanted to date his daughters

Scott:

He's like, do you by chance, do you know Captain Parker?

Scott:

You know of the Royal Navy?

Scott:

And I told him I kind of.

Scott:

Played along.

Scott:

I was like, well, I'm relatively new, to the area, so he starts talking

Scott:

about this captain who's like pursuing his daughters because of his position.

Scott:

And so it was very entertaining.

Scott:

He, and he kind of went right into it, like he walked by us and yeah.

Scott:

And then just kind of started chatting us up.

Jenn:

So I, that's one of the things I really love about Colonial

Jenn:

Williamsburg is the Interactors.

Jenn:

So that goes into our amazing dinner.

Scott:

So that goes into our amazing dinner.

Scott:

That, so we had dinner with Martha and George Washington

Jenn:

So the same actors who played in the play or earlier were Martha had

Jenn:

played Martha and George for our dinner.

Jenn:

Now they were 10 years later, wasn't it like 1770?

Scott:

Yeah.

Scott:

69 or something like that.

Jenn:

And so at that time, George is getting out of the military.

Jenn:

The seven years war just happened.

Jenn:

So the French and Indian War, he hates the French.

Scott:

but they're, they're dressed for a ball.

Scott:

They're dressed for a ball, and there actually is.

Scott:

So in Colonial Williamsburg, that's one of the things you

Scott:

could have gotten tickets for.

Scott:

Thank you for not doing that because I, I would've felt incredibly awkward.

Scott:

But we, we were chatting with a couple across from us.

Scott:

They actually.

Scott:

They took, they finished the dinner and they ended up going

Scott:

to this, this, to this ball.

Scott:

But they were dressed, I was actually really impressed by their whole garb.

Scott:

I mean, he had this full on white colonial jacket, jacket, kind of

Scott:

the thread uniform style suit.

Scott:

, and then her gown was,

Jenn:

gown.

Jenn:

Yeah.

Jenn:

So like the, the two piece gown with the hoops Yeah.

Jenn:

On the side, like a very French, very bridger tin with the feathers

Jenn:

hair up with the feathers.

Jenn:

And there she was wearing a powdered wig.

Jenn:

He was not, he's still young George.

Jenn:

And George, I don't think George Washington ever

Jenn:

wore a wig, if I'm correct.

Jenn:

His hair went white.

Jenn:

And that was always just his hair.

Jenn:

He never, I don't think he ever wore a wig.

Jenn:

But

Scott:

would, they would come in and out during dinner.

Scott:

Yeah.

Scott:

So they kind of, the courses would be brought out for us.

Scott:

This is, this was her birthday, so this was, this is not

Scott:

cheap . But it was really cool.

Scott:

We ended up having a grand time.

Scott:

Yes.

Scott:

And they would kind of come in and out and talk about the different

Scott:

things that were going on.

Scott:

Interact with us a little bit, let let people ask

Scott:

questions.

Scott:

It was, it was actually a ton of fun.

Jenn:

and the meal we were served was the menu.

Jenn:

If you watch Hamilton.

Jenn:

Thomas Jefferson talks about having the dinner with Hamilton and Madison

Jenn:

when they decide where to put the capitol, and he is like, I picked

Jenn:

the menu, the venue, the seating.

Jenn:

That was

Scott:

room.

Scott:

The whole song.

Scott:

The room where

Jenn:

where it happened, the room where it happened when no one knows what happened

Jenn:

inside the room, but everyone knows where and what they ate and who was there.

Jenn:

We ate what they

Scott:

Yeah.

Scott:

So that,

Jenn:

recreated that

Scott:

It says it right on the menu.

Scott:

This is the menu that thomas Jefferson had, you know, for this, for this

Jenn:

Hamilton and Madison.

Jenn:

So it was good.

Jenn:

It was like a greens and then it was like ham wrapped in bacon.

Jenn:

Yeah.

Scott:

And then some like roast beef

Jenn:

type and then a roast beef and then like a pastry with ice cream.

Scott:

Yeah.

Jenn:

And then they served

Scott:

There was a lot of wine.

Jenn:

It's a lot of wine.

Jenn:

. And then we finished up with a witch trial.

Jenn:

So we saw, so if you look at our video of Grace Sherwood, the witch

Jenn:

who was ducked in Virginia, the last witch child of Virginia, they do her

Jenn:

witch trial at Colonial Williamsburg.

Jenn:

Yeah.

Jenn:

Because it's so close.

Jenn:

And it is, it's, it's famous.

Jenn:

It's famous.

Jenn:

Pretty famous.

Jenn:

And they allow you to interact in the witch

Scott:

They, yeah.

Scott:

So during, they have the trial, so you actually get to walk into.

Scott:

. It wasn't like the, the main courthouse, it was a different

Jenn:

It was the Capitol building

Scott:

courthouse.

Scott:

The Capitol building courthouse.

Scott:

So you get to walk in there and there's probably 20 or 30 people in there.

Scott:

And so we're all listening and they have Reenacters coming in that

Scott:

are actually acting out this whole court case, and people are saying,

Scott:

oh, she's a witch because she'd be witched, me and my pigs died and it's

Scott:

her fault, blah, blah, blah, blah.

Scott:

And then they, they let the, the townspeople ask questions.

Jenn:

Like we're all gentlemen.

Jenn:

Yeah.

Jenn:

Because no women would really be there.

Jenn:

So he says, you're all gentlemen for this evening.

Jenn:

And to be a person who gets to decide a vote in this time period, this is 1709 or

Scott:

Yeah, it's much, much earlier, way before Washington and all

Jenn:

1709.

Jenn:

You have to be male, you have to be white, you have to.

Jenn:

Over 20 and you have to be a landowner to be able to vote.

Jenn:

So that's, that was what he said.

Jenn:

We all were.

Jenn:

And so we were allowed to ask questions and we were allowed to kind of interact.

Jenn:

But it was so funny.

Jenn:

Scott was like, your pigs died.

Jenn:

She's a witch.

Jenn:

Witch.

Jenn:

And honestly, we, we both kept saying, witch, let's get outta here.

Jenn:

Witch

Scott:

good.

Scott:

It, it was, it was, it was again, a surprising amount of fun.

Scott:

So, so that was kind of the first day.

Scott:

The next day when we came back, we took the kids through the Christmas market.

Scott:

So one of the, the cool things, if you end up going and it's again the

Scott:

first three Saturdays in December from five to 7:00 PM but get there

Scott:

a little bit earlier cuz there's gonna be a lot, lot of people there.

Scott:

Not anywhere, but.

Scott:

Quarter to five.

Scott:

So at 4:45 PM they start the initial actual proclamation from

Scott:

the main courthouse on that main street, the Duke of Glo Street.

Scott:

And so they actually had, we were kind of standing there, we start walking

Scott:

over to the courthouse and I was just trying to get some pictures and all

Scott:

of a sudden about like 40, you know, young men dressed, with like fivesome

Scott:

drums, all of a sudden they come out and they just line up in front.

Scott:

I'm like, oh, great.

Scott:

So if you see in the video, I'm right up front.

Scott:

That wasn't planned.

Scott:

I, I, that was just kind of a stroke of luck I got right up front.

Scott:

And they start doing, like, they were very organized.

Scott:

They were.

Scott:

I was surprised at how good they

Jenn:

organize.

Jenn:

They were very good.

Jenn:

And they do a proclamation

Scott:

do a proclamation and then they kind of break it up.

Scott:

So if you watch our video, that's that very first shot.

Scott:

And then we, we reintroduce it a little bit later, but you hang out

Scott:

there for about 15 minutes while they're kind of putting on their show.

Scott:

Yeah.

Scott:

And then from there, they end up marching around to all these

Scott:

different spots around the.

Scott:

The bigger buildings in Colonial Williamsburg, and they do

Scott:

various proclamations all around.

Scott:

We didn't see all of them because there was multiple ones going on in different

Jenn:

there's a lot of people.

Jenn:

So a lot of people and people will be camped out on the Palace

Jenn:

Green to get a good view of the.

Jenn:

Fireworks.

Jenn:

So it's kind of hard to kind of navigate around the Palace Green, but

Jenn:

we were able to see the bells in front.

Jenn:

I think it was William and Mary.

Scott:

Yeah.

Scott:

So, so William and Mary, right.

Scott:

The the college is, is right down the way.

Jenn:

and then we saw like the glee club.

Scott:

Yeah.

Scott:

There was some sort of glee club or some acapella group.

Scott:

It's in the video.

Scott:

Yeah.

Scott:

Again, some church kind of put on like a whole show with like, they were

Scott:

actually playing Christmas songs, but with like these various sized bells,

Scott:

and then at 7:00 PM we get to see the fireworks.

Jenn:

and the fireworks was so cool.

Jenn:

Yeah.

Jenn:

But we'll, let me make a recommendation to you.

Jenn:

If you go and do this and you're hungry.

Jenn:

Yeah.

Jenn:

There will be food booths that are like more well known that have long lines.

Jenn:

But I think for this grand illumination, there'll be certain organizations

Jenn:

that do little pop-up food booths.

Scott:

Yeah.

Scott:

Or just like, they're almost more

Jenn:

fundraisers.

Jenn:

Yeah.

Jenn:

Like

Scott:

fundraiser.

Scott:

We were waiting in this super

Jenn:

Go to those

Scott:

Yeah.

Scott:

We were waiting in this super long line, for, to get something made.

Scott:

And I just kinda look across the way and it looks like you, it's later in the

Scott:

evening and I just kind of zip over there and it's stuff that they had pre-heated,

Scott:

pre-made or whatever like that.

Scott:

But if you're just traipsing around and you'd ha probably with that many people

Scott:

down there, you're gonna have a hard time getting into any of the restaurants.

Scott:

So bring food.

Scott:

But

Scott:

That was definitely kind of a, a good hack for us.

Scott:

If you don't, if you don't bring food with you, look around a little bit because you,

Scott:

you don't have to wait in a super long

Jenn:

got corn dogs for all of us and some pretzels, pretzels.

Jenn:

And we were fine and we didn't have to wait.

Jenn:

And the, by the time we were done eating the place I was in line, still

Jenn:

hadn't gotten to the front window yet.

Scott:

And there's tons of people ice skating right down

Scott:

there in the heart of Colonial Williamsburg, which is really cool.

Scott:

Yeah.

Scott:

And just, they don't have, one thing that I thought they were

Scott:

gonna have that they didn't was actually Christmas style lights.

Scott:

I thought they were actually gonna have lights on the buildings.

Scott:

That's not what it was.

Scott:

Which actually I appreciated after the fact because it, it felt more

Scott:

colonial, more, more a little bit like you were walking back in.

Scott:

Without that.

Scott:

So that was my initial expectation.

Scott:

Yeah.

Scott:

But I wasn't disappointed when I didn't see that.

Scott:

I just didn't know what to expect.

Scott:

And these proclamations were pretty fun because they would be, you know,

Scott:

reading whatever the proclamation is and they would lead like three cheers,

Scott:

you know, and they hip, hip hazah.

Scott:

So everybody said, like our oldest, you'll hear 'em, he's like saying, ha.

Scott:

Yeah.

Scott:

So it was, it was a ton of fun.

Scott:

And we ended up sitting on the Palace Green.

Jenn:

sat on the grass and then we found

Scott:

a spot.

Scott:

We just found a random spot.

Scott:

It wasn't so crowded that you couldn't do that.

Jenn:

I think now because I break it up into the three

Jenn:

nights that it's not as crowded.

Jenn:

Like, like I said, the first three Saturdays of December

Jenn:

five to seven because they break it up, it's not as crowded.

Jenn:

Yeah.

Jenn:

And again, we wouldn't have known about it unless we went to that veterans center and

Jenn:

he told us, you should come back tomorrow.

Scott:

Yeah.

Scott:

We had kind of initially brushed it off, we're like, ah, maybe.

Scott:

And he kind of kept talking it up

Jenn:

like, no, you'll wanna see this.

Jenn:

This is a big deal.

Jenn:

And we're like, and then I think I, we saw some video and I

Jenn:

said, maybe this is a big deal.

Jenn:

Let's go check it out.

Jenn:

And it was, it was worth It

Scott:

was worth it.

Scott:

And it's worth it.

Scott:

And it's nice because you could do fireworks at 7:00 PM It's already dark.

Scott:

Yeah.

Scott:

You're done by seven 20.

Scott:

Like we live about 45 minutes away.

Scott:

, we're home by eight 30.

Jenn:

was

Scott:

it wasn't bad at

Jenn:

Yeah, it was great with kids, cuz usually for 4th of July you have

Jenn:

to stay up late with your kids because the sun doesn't go down till late.

Jenn:

But because the sun sets so early, it was, it was pitch black and perfect,

Scott:

but it, again, it was as a ton of fun and with those torches lining

Scott:

the streets and with the fireworks, it just, it, it felt so much more

Scott:

colonial with that back in time, like you're walking back in time because

Scott:

it's not very often throughout the year where they actually light all of those

Scott:

torches because, Ba basically I have someone watching each and every single

Jenn:

one

Scott:

to make sure grass doesn't catch on fire.

Scott:

So it was, it was an absolute blast and I highly recommend

Scott:

it to anybody that wants to

Jenn:

Ago.

Jenn:

I highly recommend it too.

Jenn:

And since watching this, since doing that, I was, it was been brought to

Jenn:

my attention that Perry Komo filmed a special in Williamsburg in the seventies.

Jenn:

I think it's probably as old as me, , cuz I was born in 77 and I

Jenn:

think it was filmed in 77 because his special guest is John Wayne.

Jenn:

And John Wayne passes away the year I was born.

Jenn:

So, A couple years after I was born.

Jenn:

So, I'm going to do a whole talk with history about what it looks

Jenn:

like today compared to that video and if you wanna see more of what.

Jenn:

Colonial Williamsburg looked like back then with Perry Commo, who

Jenn:

is actually from my hometown in Pennsylvania and the Duke, who I love.

Jenn:

Check it out.

Jenn:

It's on YouTube, but I will, I'm gonna commentate it on

Scott:

yeah, I gotta, I gotta figure out how to do that so that it may

Scott:

be a little bit I'll, I'll give it a shot over our Christmas break.

Scott:

We'll see if we can put something together,

Jenn:

it's very cool.

Jenn:

And Christmasy as well.

Scott:

Yeah.

Scott:

Well, for those who are watching and for those who are listening, thank you

Scott:

so much for listening to the Talk With History podcast and please reach out to

Scott:

us at our website, talk with history.com.

Scott:

But more importantly, if you know someone else that might enjoy this podcast or the

Scott:

video version, please share it with them.

Scott:

And especially if you think that they would enjoy something about

Scott:

Colonial Williamsburg, shoot 'em a text and tell 'em to look us up.

Scott:

We rely on you, our community to grow, and we appreciate y'all every day.

Scott:

Talk to you next time.

Jenn:

Time.

Jenn:

Happy

Jenn:

Christmas.

About the Podcast

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Talk With History
A Historian and Navy Veteran talk about history inspired travels, their YouTube channel journey, and examine history through conversations with the curious, the explorers, and the history lovers out there

About your host

Profile picture for Scott Bennie

Scott Bennie

Host of the Talk With History podcast, Producer over at Walk with History on YouTube, Editor of the Hashtag Historic newsletter.