Lifestyles of the Upscale Colonials
April 2, 2008
I couldn’t post this on April Fools Day because you would have been all, “Surely she’s not going to blather on about her American History Fambly Vacation–that’s got to be a joke!!”
But surely I am too going to do just that. What else is this thing good for, if not freeflowing blather?
After a day at the Manassas battlefield, which I somehow managed to not photograph, we left the 19th century, and headed on back to the 18th. First stop: Mount Vernon. (Because kids just love looking at old houses where you can’t touch anything.)
Just like I pictured it. Magnificent. Dignified. Plumbing-free. It’s a calm house.
Until you get inside. Few people know that our First President was a huge fan of Yarnstorm. Huge.
(Seriously: those are the real colors George and Martha played whist in. The restorers dug through 17 layers of paint, and this is what they found, the height of imported fashion at the time.)
The children still reasonably cheerful, we drove 65 miles on the Blue Ridge Parkway, headed for Jefferson’s Monticello.
Which strikes one as totally modern by comparison to Mount Vernon. A 21st century visitor could unpack his Design Within Reach reproductions of Eames and Barcelona chairs, and feel right at home. (Well, maybe he’d want to upgrade the Privy Situation.) (Go here for a fantastic virtual tour of Monticello. My only quibble is that the scale of the house is more human than appears in photographs.)
I highly recommend seeing Mount Vernon and Monticello on consecutive days, with a nailbiting drive through the Blue Ridge Mountains (don’t look down!) in between.
Browsing through Charlottesville’s main street mall, I almost knocked over this sign. Not only did The Needle Lady have the exciting and mysterious Bamboo? –she had the 2 shades of Tahki Cotton Classic I was short for my take-along project.
We were so taken with painter Eliza Evans that the kids sat for their portraits, right in the middle of the pedestrian street.
Edith Piaf, as I live and breathe. Non, rien de rien….
Our final destination (stop rolling your eyes): Colonial Williamsburg. I was expecting a pseudo-Disney, quasi-educational experience. I halfway thought we might see Snow White strolling down Duke of Gloucester Street. But these jaded expectations were banished immediately. This is a wonderful place.
The restored 18th century town reminded me of your Monteagle, Tennessee–but more recently painted.
You had been in Williamsburg just the week before, Ann, and I could feel your presence.
Especially in the ornamental fowl. The Teeny Project Runway aura was very much with this chicken.
Carrie, who was too cool to don a mob cap, let alone allow me to rent her a colonial get-up, pronounced the historical reenactments “cheesy.” But cheesy is in the eye of the beholder, and it was certainly not in the the eyes of all the beholders.
Here’s Benedict Arnold, big (and bad) as life.
He really riled up the militia.
Patriots were not amused. This one and his comrades took off running, gifte shoppe tags fluttering from their haversacks, to defend the capital.
Joseph got a tip on carrying a rifle (which had not been invented yet, but never mind) on his left shoulder instead of his right.
And that was the last I saw of him until General Washington rode off in glory for Yorktown. God Bless America!
What was I knitting?
The whole way, I was knitting a second huge (288 stitches to begin with) miter onto something that will eventually be a blanket if I go on enough road trips with nothing else to knit. Each stripe represents one skein of yarn. I wish I had done the first miter with these fat stripes, but there will definitely be no ripsies on this project.
You know how I am always going on about how addictive miters are? How kicky? How fun?
When they start with 288 stitches, miters are not addictive. You simply want to die.