Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Market Square and Randolph House, Colonial Williamsburg, VA

Moving on from the Wythe House, we headed closer to the center of Colonial Williamsburg. We came to the Market Square, a center of commerce for Colonial Williamsburg. Back in the day, it was the place to get food and sundries; now, they have lots of souvenirs on offer.

Market Square

We didn't do much shopping but we did want a snack, so we stopped at the covered stand next to Josiah Chowning's Tavern.

Sign for the tavern

Close up of the sign

Snack stand next to the tavern

We had lemonades and cookies--not particularly colonial but particularly refreshing. We loved it and were ready for more adventures.

A random house

A fancy carriage going by

Next to the tavern is a large common area with the courthouse. We saw a lady bring her sheep onto the common. That was typical back in the day, using the public area for feeding livestock as well as gathering socially. In times of war, troops might be encamped there.

The town green

Sheep keeping the grass from getting too high

Shepherdess herding her sheep

 My older son and daughter were brave enough to pet the sheep but not the toddler. He was fascinated. Some other kids came along and started to scatter the sheep by chasing them, so the shepherdess laid down the law--no touching sheep unless the sheep come up to you! That didn't really happen to anybody (she probably knew the sheep were too worked up to be friendly) so we took a quick peek in the courthouse.

Main chamber of the court house

Side room for meetings

Office room

We weren't too impressed with the courthouse, so we headed off to the Randolph House which features more child-friendly activities.

The Peyton Randolph House is another home with a big, busy back yard.

Peyton Randolph House, front

Part of the back yard

All sorts of games and activities were set up for children, including a not-too-challenging hay maze.

Low-wall hay maze makes for fast runs

A nearby table has bones from various farm animals, including the jaw of a cow and the skull of a sheep. Fleshy animals were also available for petting. The toddler refused to pet the sheep again!

Animal bones

The toddler was interested in milking a cow. He was not scared by the big bovine since she was very still and very easy to milk.

Cow milking opportunity

Taking care of business

My daughter found the clay marble table where she fashioned a "pinch cup" by pinching up the clay in the shape of a cup. We subsequently lost the cup in our wanderings around the town.

Clay captivated

We saw a stool surrounded by rope and asked one of the docents what it was all about. She told us it was a game called stool and ball. It has almost no relation to modern Stoolball which seems more like a Cricket variant. This game has a stool in the middle of the circle. Players try to knock the stool over with large cloth bags stuffed to make them heavier and more ball-like. The first person to knock over the stool then enters the ring and tries to prevent the other players from knocking over the stool. If another player does knock it over, that player is the new defender. The game is completely open-ended. My children played for a while.

Getting ready for the game

My daughter defending against floating balls

The toddler tried his hand at sail-making for little boats in barrel-bottoms. The search for just the right leaf was tricky but fun.

Sailing brothers

A nearby haystack made a good location for King of the Mountain, though the mounted horse riders were more interested in feeding their steeds than taking over.

Assaulting the mountain

There can be only one

Riding to the ferry

Eventually we ran out of energy for antics and walked back to the house. They have a nice vegetable and herb garden.

Growing food for the house

The out buildings also had supplies in store but no one to explain them, so we moved on. Having already toured two of the houses, we decided to skip this house and visit more of Colonial Williamsburg.

Stores of all sorts

Our final bits of Williamsburg in the next post!

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