Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

Henry David Thoreau

Finally, the maze

Sunday October 6, 2013
Williamsburg Virginia



I’m anxious to get outside to this maze.

Finished with the palace tour, we take the path back to the rear gardens.  It’s such a lovely day and this is such a beautiful place.

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The formal gardens with their severely shaped bushes/trees somehow make me feel like I’m in Disney’s Alice in Wonderland.   Are they the Mad Hatter’s Hat???


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Opps, side tracked again!


I’m walking toward the maze, but then I get side tracked again.  Who are they?  And where are they going?


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A rendezvous??

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Ok so how can I follow them and find out where they are going and what they are doing without looking like I’m following them??

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Actually,  I can’t so I walk through this lovely shaded tree arch still searching for the maze.


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There don’t seem to be any maps of the grounds.

When we were here previously some years ago the palace tour was self guided and they provided maps of the grounds.  I didn’t see any maps this time so we are wandering around on our own looking for the maze.  Even though it would be easier to have a map and go right to it, it’s fun to just follow your nose and see what appears.


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Side tracked again!


I know it’s not at the end of the main avenue.   At this point David decides he’s hungry and would like to eat lunch before the maze.

Well that’s OK since we haven’t found the maze,  we’ll look for a place to have a picnic.  That should be easier don’t you think?

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David sees a path down to the water.  Looks like a great place for lunch.  As I’m following him, I look over and there “they” are, just to the right on the path around the pond.



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So which way around the pond?  Left or right?

David turns right and walks past them on around the pond.  Good plan.   I’m thinking we’ll look for a bench on the other side since they are on this side.  Maybe then I can spy.


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I get side tracked from my side track spying.

We find a nice spot which is near an exit out to one of the side streets where the car and the lunch are parked.  David volunteers to go get the lunch and leave me on snoop duty.  I accept but I don’t see anything or anyone until I look straight ahead of me and just beyond my foot at the pond’s edge is a great blue heron.



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He’s stealthily fishing and catches a couple of things as I sit and watch.

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I even get up and walk down the path a bit to get a different angle and he pays little attention.  He is clearly used to people.   This seems a bit of an unusual habitat for a great blue heron but then what do I know?


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I’m so busy enjoying and watching him that I forget all about the foursome.   Where did they go?

The heron stays right there while we eat our lunch and when we finish we walk the rest of the way around the pond.


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We’re back on the hunt for the maze.


There is a lovely bridge on the far end of the pond as we walk around.


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We’ve made a complete circle when we arrive back at the path we took down to the pond in the first place.  The quartet has just disappeared.  I have no idea where they went.  

There is another path going up some stone steps just beyond so we take this hoping it leads to the maze and it does – sort of.


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The path leads to “the mount’.


What is the mount?  Well it turns out it is a hill at the back of the property under which is the ice house.  But the steps lead to a viewing platform on top which faces back toward the palace and overlooks………..

You guessed it – THE MAZE.   We’ve found it!!


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Before going back down to the foot of “the mount”, and on to the maze, we have to take the path around the mount, of course, so David can look into the ice house.


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AT LAST, we can walk the maze.


It still takes a bit of looking but finally we do find the entrance to the maze.  I’m in the lead because I’m the kid in the group.


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David follows along and then we come to the first choice.   We decide that I’ll go one way and he the other.  So, of course, I pick the way I think is best and off I go.


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After a number of good moves and a couple of bad ones, I manage to make it to the center where I call to David and ask him how far away he is.   HA HA!!  

He does finally show up and takes this picture of me in the center as he comes in.


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And I take this one of him.


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Finding our way out is much easier.


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The castle and its grounds are completely walled in. 


Hmm walled grounds and a castle full of guns and swords.  I guess this was a dangerous place to be.  Or somebody thought it was.

On the way up to the palace entrance we pass this interesting sitting spot.  I have to see what’s visible through “the window”.  And to do that they have conveniently placed a bench for me to stand on.  Not necessary for others but it does make it possible for me to see and to get a picture of the scene being framed here.


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As we near the gate we see the cellar doors are open. 

Who can resist?   The main benefit to being vertically challenged is that I never bump my head.


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The governor has well stocked cellars.

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The capitol of the commonwealth was moved from Williamsburg to Richmond about the same time that the palace burned for the second time.  The current palace is an archeological recreation from numerous sources.  Its story is very interesting.  


I’ll let Colonial Williamsburg tell it.


This is taken from their website.

Government moved to Richmond, ending governor's residence

Thomas Jefferson succeeded Patrick Henry in office and residence. In 1779 he drew a floor plan of the Palace, perhaps with a view to remodeling. The government, however, moved the next year to Richmond, and nothing came of the plans.

The Palace served again as a hospital in the fall of 1781, this time for American soldiers wounded in the Battle of Yorktown. Some 156 of them, and two women, are buried in the garden.

Building destroyed by fire in December 1781

On December 22, 1781, a fire that may have begun in the basement destroyed the building. A Charleston newspaper account said:

"Last Saturday night about eleven o'clock the palace in the City of Williamsburg, which is supposed to have been set on fire by some malicious person, was in three hours burnt to the ground. This elegant building has been for sometime past a continental hospital, and upwards of one hundred sick and wounded soldiers were in it when the fire was discovered, but by the timely exertions of a few people, only one perished in the flames."

The government sold the bricks – which were being stolen – and the advance buildings in 1782. When Dunmore's grandson Sir Charles Augustus Murray visited in 1835, he wrote, "The centre of the palace where the governor resided has long since fallen down, and even the traces of its ruins are no more to be seen." In 1862, Union soldiers pulled down the advance buildings so officers at Fort Magruder east of town might have bricks to build chimneys for their huts.

In ruins from a fire, the site passed to the College of William & Mary

The site passed to the College of William and Mary after the war. Two school buildings stood on the Palace grounds, just in front of the buried foundations, when The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation purchased the property in 1928. Archaeological investigation began at 8 a.m., June 30, 1930. Nearly two years of work uncovered the original footings, the cellars, debris from the fire, and a section of original wall.
The artifacts, Jefferson's drawings, General Assembly records, and a copperplate engraving discovered in England's Bodleian Library in 1929 were employed in faithful reconstruction of the original buildings. They opened as an exhibition on April 23, 1934.



Archeology is like hunting for clues in a mystery.


We come upon a piece of the original foundation wall left for us to see.  


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David always has to try every single closed door anywhere he goes to see if it will open.


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With a lock this size, I would guess not. Makes you wonder what of value is hidden inside doesn’t it?


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Plenty of wine and other spirits are here.

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There are two more out buildings to see before we leave the Palace grounds.


We leave the cellars and pass by the smoke house which has slabs of meat hanging inside.  I stick my head inside.  No pictures of those thanks.  

And then we find the palace kitchen which of course, after all the fires, is a separate building.


The cook is finished for the day and is polishing her copper kettle when we arrive.


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She tells us about all the various dishes she has prepared and it all appears to be food that was cooked today.  Wish we had come by earlier to see these things being prepared.   You just can’t be everywhere at the right time here.  There are so many things to see.


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My favorite section is the desserts end of the table.

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Well look who is in the kitchen garden.  What a surprise.


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Can’t say that I have ever seen a heron in a vegetable garden.  Is he really going to eat something here?  Or what is he doing?


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I watch him for quite some time.  He walks into the rows but David is leaving so I have to carry on without finding out what he’s going to do or what he’s looking for.  That’s two curiosities unsolved for today.  Where did the 3 gentlemen and the lady go?  And what is this heron doing?


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But this is our last day here and we have only a little time left to explore so I leave the mysteries unsolved.


  1. A great end to your time at Colonial Williamsburg. A maze, a heron, and a great view through a hole in the wall :) You both certainly made the most of your time there!

    1. Actually there is one more post on the end of our Sunday. I know enough is enough already. I promise this is the last one. :-)

  2. What a day you've had, great picture through the hole in the wall. You seem to find the greatest places, thanks again for the wonderful tour, now Colonial Williamsburg in on our bucket list.

  3. Another great tour-somehow, we never did the maze.

  4. One thing for sure you and David don't have claustrophobia... I've never done a maze or go down into cellars .. give me the heebie jeebies... You know? I don't even like being out in a boat where you can't see land.

    I guess they'll have signs or you can yell for help if you can't get out of the maze....

    BEAUtiful place... so much I did not see there! great seeing all this .. that pond!

  5. I just can't imagine how much work was put into that maze. What a wonderful, fun thing to explore!

    I guess the Great Blue Heron is Williamsburg's mascot. He surely got around.

    Did you get a sample of that food the cook made? Hate to see it go to waste. ;c)

  6. Wow what a tour guide, I thought we did it all, but we did not do the maze or the wine cellar. Might have been due to heavy rain that started on the day after we came out of the Gov's palace. I am keeping your blogs as a guide when we go back next Spring.

  7. The maze looks so interesting and fun. I'm not sure I would enter a cellar unless I knew in advance what it was.

  8. Love the maze...the greenery is so tall or you are just so short...ahhhh...vertically challenged;o)) I want to know what happens to all the wonderful food...especially the desserts!! Thanks for the wonderful tours of Williamsburg:o)

  9. I think you should followed the people. After all, they are putting on a show for the visitors...even though it doesn't seem that way. In just reading your blog, I found myself caught up in all the activities and could fell myself going back in time.

    The maze was very pretty looking down at it. Glad you finally found it.

    Wonder what the heron was doing in the garden.

    I also wonder what happens to all the food.

  10. Thanks to Mr. Rockefeller we don't have to imagine all this, we can be in it and use our imaginations to explore deeper. I wonder how the people of that time felt about the extravagance of the Colonial Governor. I wonder too how they ever thought they could win their freedom from such a mighty Empire. Those were surely very exciting times.

  11. Finding the maze was harder than walking the maze :)

  12. Well now you've got me all caught up in the mystery of what those people were doing. Where did they go??? Inquiring minds want to know. At least you solved the mystery of where the maze is. What fun!

  13. My bet is that the heron was looking for a tasty frog. I'm glad that you did the maze, Sherry. My mother and I tried to do the one in Hampton Court and we both got so frustrated that we begged to be helped out. Two men unlocked a gate and released us. I truly was ready to climb over the top of the hedges! No more mazes for me. Thank you for the wonderful tour. Pat in KS

  14. I loved that maze! Glad you found it. The bridge looks like ones all W &M graduates traditionally cross in their gowns. I have a picture of me crossing...probably on the way to the ceremony.

  15. So exciting to read about David's good health report. It is the best part of this latest blog. Now you can both look forward to less :tethering" as you travel this great countryside on your explorations. I look forward to seeing what your next adventures will be. It is amazing what a year can do, isn't it!!!! Hopefully the rain has stopped and you can move forward with your new plans. Actually, I love being hunkered down at home during rain.. but enough is enough.. and now the sun needs to shine. Williamsburg is amazing and you have awakened my longing to return there again.


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