After lunch we proceeded to listen to one of the many townspeople. This one was called, “The Notable Housewife.” She pontificated on the difficulties of keeping house back then, the styles of clothing, how she took care of her family when they got sick, and many other details of life. Then we visited the Magazine where I didn’t see much that interested me (not being a weapons type of person) and we headed to see another townsperson called the “Notable Young Lady.” I didn’t find her life as nearly as fascinating as the housewife’s!
The Episcopal Bruton Parish Church was our next stop. This church is 3 centuries old and still holds Sunday services! I was startled by the differences from modern churches. The pews are more like boxes with little doors on them. The more important you were the closer to the front you sat and the more amenities you could expect such as hot bricks for your feet during Sunday services.
After that we visited the Wythe House. The most outstanding point of that house that I remember was the wild wallpaper. I suppose it wouldn’t have been as brightly colored or tacky in candlelight, but to my eyes it was the strangest thing I had ever seen on a wall. Our next stop was to “see” Thomas Jefferson. He talked about “current” events and the part that he played in them. He was quite authentic and I had no trouble listening and enjoying his talk. Our last stop of the day (and one where I was glad to sit down!) was the courthouse where we listened to several trials that were held in the style of the 18th century.Due to inclement weather we visited Carter’s Grove Plantation in the afternoon. First we visited the slave quarters. We were told that those slaves were treated more humanely then usual because there was a record of one of the slaves living to be 71 years old. The house was decorated in 1930’s style and its decorations reflected the gracious living of the south. On the same site was the remains of Wolstenhome Towne. It was a town attacked by Indians where most of the people in the town were killed. The gardens of Carter’s Grove were also impressive and they were still being tended. I saw some almost ripe strawberries when we walked through.
Our last stop of the day was the gift shop. I purchased a small count-by-number cross stitch of a cardinal. I later completed it and still have it hanging in my house today. On our way back to Williamsburg we took the Country Road scenic route. I enjoyed the scenery, but disliked the swamps.
In 2008 Carter’s Grove reverted to private ownership after being sold by the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation for 15.3 million. The dwindling attendance prompted the sale. It is still a National Historic Landmark and is protected from development not in character with its history. It’s historic status also requires the owner to open the house to the public once a year.
Updated information on Carter’s Grove courtesy of Architect Magazine
Picture of Carter’s Grove via Wikipedia by Melissa Wilkins
Picture of Bruton Parish Church via Wikipedia by Bmrarre
Did you miss Part I? Don’t forget to move onto Part III!