I never realize how much I need a break from the daily grind until I pry myself away from the house and finally go somewhere. President’s day/Washington’s Birthday this week revealed this truth to me yet again, as we finally made our way to Colonial Williamsburg after five years of failed attempts. With so much to do around the house – and to the house – it’s easy to get set into a homebody routine of working on this-or-that week after week; upon returning from even just a small break from my routine I feel so much more refreshed and ready to take on everything. I feel excited to clean and tidy up after a day of rest – even if that “rest” included tons of walking, it’s still a change in routine, and it’s still refreshing! Most importantly, my favorite memories with my family are those made while traveling and spending time fully unencumbered by daily chores and task lists, and able to relax and just enjoy being together, no matter where we are.
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Colonial Williamsburg has been on our list of places to visit since we moved to Maryland five years ago and we never were able to find the opportune time to go. Nate and I both having a day off, the weather being a beautiful spring 73 and sunny, and all other factors falling into place finally allowed us the chance to spend a day with our girls in this unique place. As with every family trip, I never take enough photos and as usual, I’m kicking myself for it now but I did manage to snap these few gems below.
The first stop on our tour was the Governor’s Palace, and naturally, that’s where the bulk of my photos were taken. If you, like me are starved for a visit to the UK and the ability to visit truly decadent 18th century palaces, then this will certainly suffice but my first impression was how small it is, comparatively. Perhaps a bit unfair of me to hold it to such a lofty standard but it certainly makes up for it’s size in beautiful décor! Chintz at every turn, regal rugs, and plenty of drool-worthy millwork were my favorite details.
I must admit, their unabashed use of vibrant colors and layering of prints and patterns had me completely inspired, and prompted my own search for similar style rugs, which I will link for you so you can get your own 18th century palace look as well! Following our tour of the home, we retreated to the maze garden, where my children thoroughly enjoyed the thrill of getting lost, and gaining their bearings again to lead us to the center of the maze. Personally, these make me dizzy and claustrophobic but I can definitely see how they would be a wonderful and entertaining time-filler for those living before the era of the internet and super interesting blogs to read. 😁
Shop 18th century-style rugs: One | Two | Three | Four | Five | Six | Seven | Eight | Nine | Ten
I didn’t get many photos but I did snap the Governor’s palace from every angle! While the main street and shops are open to the public, the palace and other historic buildings are included in the cost of an admission ticket, which is free for children 5 and under, and they do offer military discount on admission, as well as at shops, and the restaurants. There appeared to be a military-only area but it was closed, along with the milliner and dressmaker which obviously made me sad. I did console myself by paying a visit to the fabric store where you can buy Williamsburg chintz and other 18th century reproduction fabrics, as well as dresses, hats, and other costume goods.
The whole place is a mile by a half mile, so it’s very walkable. The street and sidewalks are open for pedestrian traffic so there’s plenty of space for everyone, though we went on a very not-busy day and I would encourage you to do the same. I will admit that as the staff are required to wear masks (and required to force guests to wear one as well whilst indoors) it did put a major damper on the enjoyment, and of course completely threw off any attempts made at historical accuracy.
Nevertheless, we had a great time together and rounded off a great day with a nutritious pizza dinner – we each ate an entire pizza at Blaze pizza which is an easy 10 minute drive away. Trips with your family don’t need to be elaborate or far flung. Actually, the easier they are to pull off, the more enjoyable they are (we have extensive experience with both)! Consider this your loving reminder to get your homebody-self out the door every now and then, even if just for a quick daytrip down the road – you’ll be so glad you did!
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