Friday, August 24, 2012

Horses, Hotels, History, and Hospitals

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.

 Wren building steps 

After fortifying ourselves each morning, it was time to head out and do a little wandering, shopping, and picture taking of course!  We started with the campus of The College of William and Mary which is located within walking distance of the B&B and Colonial Williamsburg.

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.

 Wren Building

Although I've visited Williamsburg all my life, and had a niece and a daughter who graduated from W&M, I have to admit that I really haven't spent much time wandering the campus.  When you visit your child at college, they rarely want to stay on campus, so when you come for a visit you do things away from their everyday surroundings.  So it was fun to take the time to go through one of the most famous buildings on campus, the Wren Building.

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.

 Wren Building Exterior

 Wren Building Upper Hall with Portraits of College Presidents

And although it has undergone many changes since it was built, including being gutted by fire several times, it continues to be used by the college for classes and administrative uses, and is an important part of the school's history.   It even houses the Wren Chapel where many alumni choose to get married.  It's where convocation takes place each year to signal the start of the academic year and to  welcome incoming freshman who are then led on a procession through the building, and upon graduation you do a final walk through the Wren building to signify the end of your time at W&M.

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 lovely an evening wedding must be!

And as if the interior of the church weren't pretty enough, the grounds, which include a small cemetery, are lovely as well.  Expansive branches from old growth hardwoods, and at this time of year beautiful crepe myrtles in shades of deep pink, give the grounds a peaceful and reverent sense, even all these years later.

Now, you may be wondering why the title of this post includes "hospitals," well it's twofold actually.  First, I wanted to update you on dear friend Jim, and to thank all of you for sending healing thoughts and prayers his way.  After several additional surgeries, he is recovering, albeit much slower than he anticipated.

Then, not long after taking the photo above, Mr. Tide and I headed back to our B&B for what we hoped would be a lovely glass of wine and some cheese offered up each evening at 5:00 pm, but we ended up taking a little detour.  As we were leaving a side street to enter the main road we were rear ended!  Yup, nothing says vacation or quiet getaway like a trip to the emergency room in an ambulance.  Thankfully, the other driver stopped, and our best guess is that when Mr. Tide edged up to be able to see oncoming traffic better, the driver behind us thought we were going to turn and didn't look to see we were still there before he accelerated and hit us.  

It's amazing how much of a jolt you can get, and thankfully Mr. Tide had his foot on the brakes or we would have been pushed out into oncoming traffic and that would have really been bad!  He ended up being transported to the local hospital because he hit his head on the side beam of the car while watching for traffic and immediately had blurred vision and became nauseous... all classic signs of a concussion.  Almost 5 hours and a CT scan later, we headed back to find someplace still open to eat and then back to the B&B.  

The next day, we cut our trip short and headed back home...with more bumps and bruises than when we left, with less pictures than I would have hoped for...especially night shots which I hoped to get while we were in the ER, but very thankful that things had turned out as well as they had.  The Williamsburg fire and rescue folks couldn't have been any nicer, the hospital was wonderful, our stay at the B&B was unsurpassed, and our time in Williamsburg, before we got hit was truly relaxing.

Now it's back to reality and dealing with car repair estimates and insurance claims...oh the joy!

I hope that each of you have a wonderful weekend and that you can manage to avoid some of life's little bumps in the road!  If you would like to see more pictures of Williamsburg, you can visit my website by clicking HERE and then clicking on the gallery labeled Williamsburg.  I'll be adding to it daily.


  1. OK, now I have a new place on my travel wish list! Beautiful photos-I'm really sorry to hear of your wreck and your hubby's injuries. I hope that he is feeling better!

  2. Oooh, so beautiful... I've never been, thanks for sharing.. and JEEZ, so glad you're both OK!!...

  3. Oh Kat, what a nuisance way to end your trip. At least you are both reasonably OK. Good that you enjoyed the first part though.

  4. The B&B sounds lovely, and the photos of your trip are lovely. Too bad about the collision causing your trip to be cut short, but so glad it wasn't worse.

  5. Your Williamsburg time away sounded just wonderful ... until the part about the car accident. I'm really sorry that you had to spend time in the ER, and I am very glad that the Mr. is okay.

  6. What a wonderful trip, except of course the accident. I hope you are both on the mend...what a shame. I really enjoyed your pictures and narrative. I love staying at B&B's. They are definitely my choice over hotels. This one is just lovely! Take care, Kat!


  7. So glad you're okay!
    Beautiful photos, although I'm disappointed you didn't come to see me. ;-)

  8. Your pictures are wonderful, especially the one with the black clounds looming behind the building. I am so sorry you had an accident, but glad all is well.

  9. I hope he will rest Kat, and not soldier on - a shame such a lovely time had to end that way, but good it wasn't worse!

  10. What a wonderful post- beautiful buildings and rooms at the inn. However, it is too bad it ended with a trip to the emergency room. That is sad. I am glad it was not any worse though. Blessings- xo Diana

  11. Oh, my I am glad y'all weren't hurt badly. So sorry the trip got cut a little short. We have never been to Williamsburg before. Need to add it to our list.

  12. It's been a long time since I visited Williamsburg. Just as charming as I remember. The Wren building was one of my favorites. I'd love to go back in the fall....but probably won't get a chance. Thanks so much for sharing your fabulous photos, Kat.

  13. I'm so sorry about the accident and I sure hope you are both OK now and don't have any trouble getting everything fixed and settled. It does look like a beautiful place to vacation and I know you're glad you went! Take care my friend!

  14. Kat, I'm glad you visited Williamsburg but I am sorry you were in an accident! I'm glad you both are all right. Beautiful photos!

  15. well dang i am sorry your trip ended lil sooner then you had hoped but am very glad you and hub are ok that is what is always more important the human life not a car or mailbox or a light post, the pictures you took are fantastic as always but i do love that horse pic!! take care put your feet up and relax some!!!

  16. So sorry! Sounded like it started out wonderfully, and that the innkeepers were so accommodating. My 8 yr old has Celiac, so traveling is so hard! Hope things look up from here :)

  17. Kelly J/Hunters HillAugust 27, 2012 at 11:02 AM

    SO sorry that you ended up in the ER but I am glad to hear that your hubby is alright.
    The Williamsburg photos are lovely, I haven't been in quite awhile; it was nice to see the area again via your photos

  18. First of all, I am glad you both are ok! What a way to spend your vacation!
    I haven't been to Williamsburg in a long time. I need to get up there next time I am on the east coast. I love all the architecture and history surrounding that area. You pictures are so lovely, as usual!
    Good luck with the insurance claims! That might be a bigger headache than the collision!

  19. Oh, Kat! I completely missed this post. I'm so sorry but glad to hear that you're healing well.
    And hey, I can see where Thomas Jefferson got some of ideas for the University of Virginia, especially that walkway of brick with the beautiful tree. Looks vaguely familiar . . .

  20. Oh, I'm so glad you are ok! Must have been so scary...and it looks like you were having a wonderful time, too! Beautiful photos!

  21. Just been catching up with your blogs. Sorry to hear about your accident. Thank goodness you weren't pushed out into the trafic - that doesn't bear thinking about. The place where you stayed is gorgeous. Love your pictures.

  22. My cousin lives in Williamsburg and I haven't even been there to visit her yet. I think I would love it there. I love the mood of it that your photos convey. So sorry to hear of the accident and I can imagine you are probably still doing paperwork from it. Like you said though, it could have been worse if he hadn't had his foot on the brake. xo ~Lili

  23. Beautiful photos from your visit, especially the interior shots. It's easy to forget that the US has buildings that old.
    Hope you make a quick recovery.

  24. This is a fantastic place to visit. The whole area is quite quaint and fascinating. Am sorry to hear of the accident you met along the road. Glad it wasn't worse and everything went well. :-)


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