I hope you have a minute or maybe twenty because this is going to be one of those long and winding posts. So go grab a cup of joe, a snack, and maybe some Visine, because there are lots of pictures too!
A few posts back, I asked for places you thought Mr. Tide and I might enjoy visiting for our week away. There were so many great suggestions (thank you all!), and we actually almost booked flights to Maine and Colorado, but in the end we stayed much closer to home. Expensive rental and flight rates, due to our last minute planning, coupled with my not feeling great led us to the conclusion that going someplace for less than a week and somewhere within driving distance just made more sense.
So we headed a few hours south to Williamsburg, Virginia. Home of handsome horses (see the pic above), history, and hospitality.
Williamsburg is a place we are very familiar with, and a place we always enjoy visiting. Growing up, my family made our annual pilgrimage to Williamsburg each year to satisfy my parents' need for everything colonial. My parents both loved the architecture of the time period and my father would return with a renewed vigor for building an accurate colonial reproduction home modeled off of the homes constructed to create what we know as Colonial Williamsburg.
My mother was enthralled with the furnishings and formality afforded the gentry of the 1700s. She would load the car up with hand dipped candles, baskets, bird bottles, and enough potpourri to kill us all as we cruised back home in our large station wagon.
So it's no surprise that we opted for a colonial B&B instead of a hotel when we visited a few days ago. Above is a photo of one of the guest rooms at the beautiful Bentley Manor Inn where we stayed.
The photo above was not our room...I actually forgot to take pictures before we messed our room all up, but I can assure you that it was just as lovely. Just look at that lovely pencil post bed with its gorgeous handknotted, crocheted canopy...even Thomas Jefferson would have been at home in this welcoming and comfortable room.
But TJ would not have had the luxury of indoor plumbing and a beautiful new bathroom with an oversized shower. I love the colonial look, but I have to have my modern amenities and the Bentley Manor Inn has everything from ensuite bathrooms to free wi-fi.
The B&B consists of 4 guest rooms on the second floor, and each one is as lovely as the last. The inn keepers, Fred and Jane, could not be any nicer and after this first visit I can assure you that it will be the place we will return to whenever we visit...fingers crossed they will have availability because they are ranked #1 on TripAdvisor!
We were lucky that it was the slow season when we booked or we likely wouldn't have gotten to stay here or meet Fred and Jane. These two are seasoned inn owners as they used to own a place in Maine before deciding to head south.
Each morning we lingered over breakfast, which was delicious and consisted of everything from fresh fruit with granola, made to order omelets, to delicious gluten free apple pancakes that melted in your mouth! Because Mr. Tide and I have been gluten free since January, it was wonderful that the inn not only accommodated our dietary restrictions, but provided us with truly delicious fare that made us forget we couldn't have gluten! But even better than the food was the conversation. Both Fred and Jane are delightful hosts who truly make you feel as though you are a guest in their home.
We know the area well since our daughter is a graduate of William and Mary. It is the second oldest college in the US, I believe that Harvard is the oldest, and besides our daughter, it boasts some pretty famous alums, including Thomas Jefferson. The place is steeped in history and tradition and it truly is a beautiful campus.
The Wren Building is said to have been designed by Sir Christopher Wren, the famed architect who designed St. Paul's Cathedral in London and the Wren is also the oldest college building in the United States, as well as the oldest building in Williamsburg, dating to sometime between 1695 and 1700.
After leaving the campus, we headed to Colonial Williamsburg to grab a bite to eat along Duke of Gloucester Street, affectionately called DOG street by the locals. And as you go further away from Merchant's Square which houses shops and restaurants, you get into the colonial portion of Williamsburg.
It's here that you find one of my favorite buildings, Bruton Parish Episcopal Church. Completed in 1715, the church is a beautiful example of American colonial architecture, and I can just imagine attending Christmas services in this lovely old church, complete with hand bells and candlelight. Although much of the church has been electrified for safety reasons, that big brass chandelier is still lit by the flicker of candlelight...how lovely an evening wedding must be!