Thursday, May 26, 2011

Christiana Campbell's Tavern

When we arrived at the Colonial Williamsburg Visitor Center last Friday, we saw Christiana Campbell, who remembered my daughter and I from our sewing classes at the Costume Design Center. One thing led to another so that I told her how much I had wanted to eat there for my birthday last year, but they were booked. Being Prelude to Victory weekend, all the taverns were booked. Because of an evening event my husband wanted to attend, we ate at a nearby offsite restaurant which was so full that they put us in a sportsbar. =( Well all of that put an idea into my husband's head that we just had to eat at her tavern that night. So we did! My husband actually got reservations this time!

When we arrived, Christiana Campbell met us at the door and welcomed us, as did the hostesses. We were seated and perused the menu. We usually share plates at the taverns. The guys usually get he-man meat. This time my son wanted to share with me, so my husband shared with my daughter. I wanted the Boiled Seafood Platter, which my son agreed to. I was surprised when my husband and daughter decided to share a plate of it too.

Then Molly came over to visit! She is Christiana Campbell's daughter, whom I also met at the CDC classes. She stayed in character and was so excited to see us, saying that Mammaw had told her we were there but it took a minute for her to fully recognize us. We had a great little visit then she went upstairs to interpret, while her mother interpreted on the main floor where we were.
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Christiana Campbell shared her story and part in the revolution, told tidbits of George Washington who enjoyed the seafood there (they DO have great seafood which is why I like to set aside a bit of the budget to eat there!) and all the while acknowledged us, giving my son a wink!
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Then she was off to interpret in some of the other rooms, when the violinist came to share his story and play a little music. After a song or two he asked for requests and I asked my son what a good song would be. Since he practices his fife all the time, he's the most up on 18th century music. He requested "The Rose Tree" which was great! I recognized it too!

Another table jokingly requested a modern fiddling song, which I forget the name of now. But that only gave the violinist opportunity to tell us that there was an 18th century version of that song, and gave a great mini-history lesson on how many popular songs go way back and are simply modernized to the times. (This idea comes out in "Mr. Holland's Opus", too.) Then he played a local 18th century version of the tune. As he played, he made the sound of bagpipes on his violin which was quite impressive!
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During our dinner, Molly came back for a bit more of a fun visit. We all thoroughly enjoyed our dinner. As wonderful as the salmon was (and I don't normally enjoy fish), as wonderful as the crabcake topping was, as wonderful as the scallops were, I could have dined solely on the boiled shrimp. I'm always trying to work it out to set aside some of the budget to splurge on seafood, because it should be the best here on the East Coast, right? Whenever we travel, I try to set aside some of the budget to have some regional tastes. I've only had seafood at a few places here on the East Coast, but the best is always at Christiana Campbell's Tavern. Some places sadly try to pass off frozen tv dinner type seafood. Many places cook fresh seafood, but it arrives at the table all dried out and rather miniscule. At Christiana Campbell's Tavern, the seafood arrives moist and plump and well seasoned.

After dinner, I told Christiana Campbell all that. We both agreed that the boiled shrimp was the best part of the entire seafood plate. She told me she had just done an interview for a news station in my area, Washington DC, and they wanted her to eat the shrimp, which of course she thoroughly enjoyed! I've been looking for an on-line clip of that interview but I can't find it.

That led me to tell her that a few years ago I had a tea magazine with an interview with her and she knew immediately what I meant. I told her my daughter used her tea time information for part of our history presentation on the American Revolution.

Then Molly came by again so I asked for their picture together, which they did pose for. But they wanted to pose with the kids.
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We had some time before we went to the Drummer's Call event at the Kimball Theater, so we decided to leisurely walk through town. As we walked by Shield's Tavern, a guitarist was playing so we stopped to listen. After he played a bit, he started talking to us, noticed my son's fife case, asked what was in there (which I thought was hilarious) and my son actually produced a fife! The guitarist asked for my son to play. My son got really nervous so I explained, saying that he was self-taught.
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The guitarist still encouraged him to play. So my son played "Chester" and the guitarist sang along!
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