I spent a few days in Colonial Williamsburg, arriving with the snow storm on Christmas afternoon. While you were all ho-ho-ho-ing over Christmas dinners the property had shut down food service and I was microwaving a nearby convenience store tub of beef stew in my room and thankful for it.  By the next morning there was six inches and it was still coming down hard and would continue through the day and that night.
I had been wondering what I might be able to photograph that would be new as I’ve visited there many times. The snow was my answer, giving everything a new veneer. There were few of us brave enough to be out, some naturally.

First on my list for the day had been an organ recital at the 1715 Bruton Parish church. Hah! Closed up tighter than a drum. Well, all right. Next was to be a colonial sermon at the Wren Chapel of William & Mary. Again, Hah! Get your guidance somewhere else today.
So, I wandered about the Palace Green. I stopped at my favorite CW house, the Georgian Architecture George Wythe house, circa 1752. Wythe was the first law professor (William & Mary) in the United States, mentoring, notably, a young Thomas Jefferson, and, later, John Marshal, future chief justice. Wythe was one of six Virginians to sign the Declaration of Independence.  


The picture on the left was taken of the house in December 2008.  The one on the right was taken of the docents inviting me in last week. On such a slow day the docents were happy to see me and to let me wander from room to room at my leisure and to discuss pieces in detail. It was a privilege. 

The Wythe Dining Room

The green in the dining room above is similar to the verdigris green that appears in Mount Vernon’s small dining room, a popular shade in colonial times. Washington probably felt at home at the Wythe house where he headquartered before the siege of Yorktown.

I resumed my walk in the snowstorm, joining other hardy souls. There was good feeling between us all as we jointly endured adversity.

I then retreated to the excellent café in the excellent Dewitt Wallace Museum of colonial furniture and furnishings, glassware, porcelains, money and arms. The café was a civilized spot for a bowl of soup and a glass of Merlot while enjoying their annual tree. 

In the Museum Cafe

Other items of interest during my visit included a chat with enactor Ms. Coamma who described herself as a free negro and reminisced about local life and the foibles of the Governor and others of the town. She’s seen sitting in front of a fire in an out building of the Peyton Randolph house. The fire had not been lit long and I could see her breath as she spoke.

The all natural Williamsburg Christmas decorations are an important part of the holiday and are a matter of competition amongst the residents. The traditional apple and pineapple spray had taken a beating from the melting snow turning into icicles. The window-corner spray, simple but appealing, featured a sunflower, a dried lotus blossom and onions.

,Finally, at night there are strollers wandering down Duke of Gloucester Street and patronizing the CW restaurants. Here is Tarpley’s store, closed for the day but still offering its goods for passers-by to be tempted to buy tomorrow. 

Tarpley's Store

 For some additional images from my visit, please click here.

Where’s Bergie Been?

I’ve enjoyed some great photographic experiences recently.  We spent Christmas in Williamsburg and enjoyed everything from the fifes and drums in torchlight on the Palace green, to linen, crystal and silver in the Regency Room of the Williamsburg Inn, to an organ recital at Bruton Parish Church, to just bopping in and out of the 18th century.  Below are the drummers, and more of our visit can be seen here.   What they’ve accomplished at Colonial Williamsburg over the years is just splendid.  How remarkable was the vision and foresight of Reverend Goodwin who conceived of the restoration, and John D. Rockefeller whom Goodwin persuaded to underwrite the project which began in 1927.  For a capsule of the background click here.


After Christmas I went down to see Longwood Gardens’ Christmas display which was, as usual, stunning.  Rockefeller’s work with Colonial Williamsburg was something I think of as enlightened capitalism.  So is Longwood Gardens, created by Pierre S. duPont and opened to the public in 1946.  Because of the duPont beneficence we are able to enjoy such beauty as most of us could not otherwise enjoy. For a few of those images click here.

The cranberry pool in the main conservatory.

In late January a group of us from the Camera Club spent a colllllld weekend in the northern catskills, enjoying and capturing sunrise on the mountain faces and slippery walks along ice-filled creeks and the temperature hovering around 0 degrees F.  Check out the results.

Creek behind the Glen Falls House.

In between these weekends there were also visits to the Reading Terminal Market, along the Delaware River, and some derelict houses near the Cohansey River.  You can see samples of those here.