MY LOVE AFFAIR WITH COLONIAL WILLIAMSBURG
Of all the places I've visited, none are more dear to me than Williamsburg, Virginia. Some whine that it's too commercialized now, but all I know is all that beautiful history was nearly lost, and now it's restored thanks to the vision of a single Episcopalian priest named Dr. Goodwin, and the philanthropy of the Rockefeller family.
We travel to Europe to visit old castles. Well, here is our American equivalent--the birthplace of a nation, the place where men so revered they seem almost fictional met, ate, argued, lived, danced, fell in love and yes . . . slept.
From the rudimentary, woodsy looking cross-fences to the elegance of the Governor's Palace, the city was and is a place of extreme contrasts. Nobles and slaves, rich and poor, educated and illiterate, bonded and free. . . Elegant homes grace side streets mere steps from the stockade, the garden, the smithy's shop and court house with its stocks. It's a step back in time--a humbling, exciting, reverent big step. . .
I love this place, from the palace, to Christianna Campbell's restaurant to the Court House steps. Like Old Philadelphia, every view is familiar, immortalized in films such as the recent John Adams series and the BYU masterpiece, "A More Perfect Union."
On a personal note, this is the place where my Free Men and Dreamers series was born. We had come to the area years earlier, when the children were young and bored by our vacation choice, wanting only to hurry over to the waterpark and on to Busch Gardens. A decade later, we took two of our sons to William and Mary College to attend a religious youth retreat called "EFY". Tom and I spent a lazy week visiting the sites in this area known as "The Historic Triangle"--Williamsburg, Jamestown and Yorktown. I fell in love with the city and the industry of its people, I was swept away to another life and time as I visited the surrounding plantations, and heard the stories of sacrifice made by colonists, soldiers and frontiersmen as the new lands was settled. I knew then that I wanted to write a historic series.
We'll spend a few weeks here, (what I mean to say is I'll spend the next six God-Bless-America-Mondays to writing about this area) visiting six different sites. In the meantime, check out this Williamsburg site, and click on the link for an interactive map of Colonial Williamsburg. Enjoy the links above as well. We'll explore them in greater depth a week at a time!