Yesterday I, with three of my friends, took a bus/paddle boat tour along the James River in Virginia.
Our first stop was Shirley Plantation. I had always wanted to visit that plantation and to see the fascinating 'floating' staircase. Unfortunately they did not allow photographs to be taken inside.
However I got some good shots to share on Outdoors Wednesday.
This is the beautiful house at Shirley Plantation. It was begun in 1723 and took the workers 15 years to finish but unfortunately that owner died four years after it was completed.
The dovecote was fascinating. There are 6 rows of 18 roosts making 108 roosts for the doves. These birds were used for down for pillows and mattresses, for food, and other uses. In the 1940s the birds vacated the dovecote due to modern machinery taking over the farm crops where they fed. They never returned.
This is the store house. It was used to store household goods that were shipped over from England, thence the raised doorways, the bars on the windows and a small door in one of the back doors to allow the cats to enter so they could kill the mice. The family certainly did not want their expensive furnishings eaten by rodents!!
Meals for the family was prepared in a separate building. Stoking up a cook stove inside the house raised a risk of fire, smoke and unpleasant odors.
The cooks lived on the second floor with their families.
In Colonial days guests arrived by the river. They were met down at water's edge and brought up to the house in a carriage. On the river side of the house is a large columned porch but guests did not enter the house that way. Instead they were brought around to the 'front' where they could enter a grand entrance hall. The large oak that you see one branch of is over 375 years old.
Here are me and my friends standing in front of that oak tree.
It was a fascinating history to learn about. This plantation is the oldest plantation in the U. S. and has been continuously lived in by the Hill/Carter families for what is now the 12th generation. Recently twins (a boy and a girl) were born to the current residents. That family lives on the 2nd floor.
More about our paddle boat ride down the James River soon.