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20 Years Of Living In This Living Museum, And I'm Still Not Bored

I was 15 years old when my parents first brought us kids to experience the magic of Colonial Williamsburg, America's largest living history museum. The standout experience for me among the many we had was a full dinner at the King's Arms Tavern where we ordered from a menu of delicacies that might have been served during Revolutionary times (their legendary peanut soup was my absolute favorite), all while illumined only by candlelight and being serenaded by musicians in period dress.

Never did I consider, when that visit was over, that I would someday live there. I have now done so for the last 20 years.

I was enchanted then, and I'm still enchanted now.

It doesn't matter how many times I stroll down Duke of Gloucester Street (whimsically called "DOG Street" by locals), the historic area's main thoroughfare -- I am swept up and enveloped by the 18th century life you enter by simply walking down the street and observing what looks to be everyday activities and interactions betweens merchants and citizens. On this day under a perfect autumn sky, I heard a young citizen expounding on the issues of the (18th century) day; a couple enjoying a chat in their garden; and a gentleman entering the Courthouse, perhaps to serve as a jury member. At any given moment, you can see horses carrying single riders up and down the street, or carriages carrying families, perhaps to a neighbor's house in the country.

I've watched this scene play out dozens of times since I moved to this area in 2003. Every time, it leaves me wanting more ... and it also underscores how lucky I feel to live in a community that so highly values our American heritage that it has worked for more than 100 years to try to restore and re-create the community that served as the colonial capital from 1699 to 1776. Since coming here, I've been fortunate to help with the planning of events for the 400th anniversary of the Jamestown Settlement in 2007, and I now regularly serve as head usher at some of the candlelight concerts held at Bruton Parish Episcopal Church, which has been an active church in the historic area since 1715.

Which is why this West Coaster can say "Still in awe after all these years."


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