Friday, September 10, 2010
The Chance, part 2
After spending hours inside the plantation our attention turns to the grounds and exterior. Trees so old and valuable they bore witness to eons of life experiences of the residents and visitors here, have the careful attention of lightning rods attached and the depth of thick bark much like the wrinkled skin of an elder. All save however, the lovely crepe myrtle with its smooth bark regardless of age; these are said to be about 250 years old. The carriage lanes are lined with locust and follow the typical pattern of presenting the magnificence of the house from afar. In the old photo one can see three large trees in this rear shot of the house; there are now only two, one of which absolutely dwarfs me.
The architectural style is known as Georgian. Upon its building in 1755 it had the main portion and outbuildings, which were later joined together into one large structure. I missed getting how many square feet but it had to be at least ten to fifteen thousand since it features 12 bedrooms! Wide plank steps (made from some mighty big trees) drop in tiers from the rear to a gorgeous expanse of farmland and an oyster shell pathway to the river. In colonial days, many of the guests probably arrived via the river and here’s the first view of the plantation they enjoyed.
While I’m busy waiting for Marc’s return, he wanders off and stumbles upon the replicas of the slave quarters that used to exist on the plantation. For a long period of time, this plantation was under the ownership and auspices of the Williamsburg Foundation, which also owns and manages Colonial Williamsburg so they did the replicas and also built the museum with funding from the Rockefeller Foundation. Since slave quarters were always built of wood and wattle, a mud hut essentially, they do not survive the ages.
We both snoop around the original carriage house and note some hand-forged metal work. It too, has towering trees nearby. From there, it’s a picnic on the plantation’s front steps as we dream what it must be like to have lived in a place such as this: today or then. The lucky caretakers!
Next installment: on to the museum!