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

Henry David Thoreau

The market, the garden and Edith Cumbo

Saturday October 5, 2013
Anvil Campground
Williamsburg, Virginia




First stop today is Williamsburg’s Farmers’ Market



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The market is conveniently located in Merchant's Square at the end of Duke of Gloucester Street.  Same place they had the birthday party last night.

What a great market this is.  So much gorgeous produce. Lots of it organic.  Baked goods, grass fed meat, ethnic foods.  People are out in numbers.  There is even a busking string quartet for entertainment.


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You can even get your knives sharpened.


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From there we walk on into the historic area.


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On the corner of Duke of Gloucester and the Palace Green is Bruton Parish Church whose former rector is largely responsible for saving the historic area.  Bruton Parish Church  is the first Anglican (now Episcopal) church built in 1660.  Among those who attended were George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry, Richard Henry Lee, George Wythe and George Mason.  The church was used as a hospital in two wars and has served as a parish for 300 years. 

We went to an organ concert on the Friday evening we arrived in Williamsburg but I forgot to take my camera so hopefully later we can go back inside and take some pictures.  The graveyard surrounding the church is also very interesting with very old stones as you can imagine.



I love all the gorgeous vegetables in the gardens.


Across the street from the church is the Colonial Garden which I really want to see.


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Here you can buy heirloom plants, seeds as well as all sorts of garden accessories and period gardening and cook books.   I don’t have a garden anymore other than the aloe plant and 6 herbs that stay on Winnona’s dashboard when we are parked and ride in the shower to new campsites.  I don’t intend to buy anything but it is fun to look.


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This is also a demonstration garden and there are some great ideas for stretching your garden season into the days with frosty nights.  I love the bell jars.   If we still had a garden, I would have definitely picked up some of those.

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Sure would like to have helped myself to some of this very healthy stand of tempting pole sugar peas.


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But the gardener and his darling wheelbarrow were right there.  What a great idea with the picking basket right on the frame.


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I was not the only shopper today.

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Other things that might have tempted me if I still had an organic vegetable garden.


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Williamsburg - Wed - farmers market 034The Louse that conquered Napoleon’s army? The Weed that killed Lincoln’s mother?  Really???



Enough Shopping.


Back out onto the street, I’m still thinking about taking one of those carriage rides.  $15 a person.  Not sure how long the ride is.


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We are on our way to the Lumber House just three doors down to join Edith Cumbo at 10:30 for a walking tour.   But right next door we pass the Custis Tenement Garden and stop for a brief look.  Beautiful flowers.  Hard to get a good picture in the bright sunlight.


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Meeting Edith Cumbo.

We only wait a short time for Mrs. Cumbo to arrive.  She is a free black woman because her mother was a free white former indentured servant.  In 18th Century Virginia, a child born in the colony inherited the free or slave status of its mother.


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She is head of her own household and one of only a handful of free blacks living in within the city limits at the time of the American Revolution.


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We spend an hour with Edith walking along the palace green while she tells us the story of her life as a free black.


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She grew up with 5 brothers all but one of whom served in the Revolutionary Army.  She is head of her own household and works as a laundress in Williamsburg.

We end up under the beautiful Compton Oak where she discusses the slave trade and slavery policy of the time.  She is a passionate speaker and although she has her business to attend to, she graciously stays for as long as people would like to ask questions.


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It’s nearly noon by now and we have a lot more we plan to do this afternoon, but this enough for one post.     More of wonderful Williamsburg tomorrow!


  1. They certainly have some beautiful produce at the farmers' market. It's all arranged so nicely.

  2. Drooling over all that produce.

  3. We should have spent more than two days there. You are having great weather also. I do love that place and the way the people really convince you that they are from colonial times. It is one of wonderful places I love to visit.

  4. Jealous of the great farmers market, we went to the one here and not much was there. I'm sure we'll find another one.

  5. Wonderful market. Interesting about the glass jars.

  6. Just love a good farmers market and that looks like a GREAT one. I know I would have enjoyed meeting Mrs. Cumbo!

  7. What a great area, and nice farmer's market! Just love the characters sharing their stories.

  8. I don't think there is anyone more thorough in their travel journals than you are. Amazing.

  9. I can't imagine how hard life must have been for a free black in the South. That is one tour I would have loved to attend.

    You certainly have been seeing some interesting sites in old Williamsburg, I think it may be time for us to make a return visit and take them in again! :c)

  10. Great post! Mrs. Cumbo was wonderful - a strong and well informed speaker about the reality of being a free black at that time. Her attitude and views were indeed very interesting. I did not know there were any free black women in that time until we met Edith. What a great place for history.

  11. Isn't Williamsburg just the most fabulous place ever?

  12. Hi, I am a member of the Jamestown String Quartet, we are in your photo! So glad you enjoyed the market, hope you enjoyed our music also. I also hope you don't mind if I share the link to our Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/jamestownquartet?ref_type=bookmark
    Come back soon!


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