The Walk of Wreaths – Colonial Williamsburg

In the United States of America, there is a city, it was once the capitol of the Virginia Colony from 1699 to 1780. It holds a very significant role in the American Revolution. Forming the “Historical Triangle”, Williamsburg was joined with Yorktown and Jamestown. The very heart of Williamsburg is Colonial Williamsburg.

Colonial Williamsburg is s living-history museum where actors dress up in costumes to depict the daily life of the very historical district. They are on the streets, in the workshops, and even in the stores. They are depicting the original workings of the colonials.

There is much history in Colonial Williamsburg, we could go as far back as The New Colony of Williamsburg, Virginia that began by the discovery of Christopher Columbus in 1492, this is what was to become America. Over the next two centuries, many adventurers explored the New World, while putting much effort into creating a new colony. Although the land was inhabited by Native Americans; indigenous tribes.


Then comes the beginning of 1607, Jamestown was the original capital and permanent English-speaking settlement first in the New World. Colonial leaders petitioned the Virginia Assembly was petitioned to relocate the capital of Colonial Williamsburg by the Colonials to Middle Plantation from Jamestown.  between the James and the York Rivers, which was five miles inland.

In 1699, Williamsburg becomes founded capital of the Virginia Colony. During this year, Governor Francis Nicholson was the supervisor of the city. Suitable for the largest populations of British colonies that come to America, Williamsburg existed as a large capital, thus “new and well-ordered city”, stood the intent. The magnificently stunning capitol buildings developed into residence to the oldest legislative assembly in what was now the New World.  A rapidly growing young city was soon the center of religious, political, social life, and economics in the state of Virginia.

Now that basic background on Williamsburg and Colonial Williamsburg becomes a little more familiar to you, let’s talk about our visit on January 1, 2020.


We arrived about 3pm (Ed and I), we walked the streets and soon became enamored with the wreaths on the front of the buildings. Of course, I love to make grapevine wreaths and Ed’s mother makes boxwood wreaths. These wreaths were incredibly different, each unique. Every wreath having a special meaning to Colonial Williamsburg.

The practice of wreath making began in the 1930s, the idea of the Reverend Dr. W. A. R. Goodwin, the rector of the town’s Bruton Parish Church and Colonial Williamsburg’s co-founder.

Each wreath is handmade of pine, magnolia leaves, or some type of natural tree from local Colonial Williamsburg. It is then adorned with different fruits and small decorations. The fruits vary from apples, oranges, pineapples, pomegranates, to even grapes. These wreaths are taken very seriously and maintained throughout the month of December into early January, daily.

The wreaths are decorated with various innate objects based on the type of business it may represent, such as a ketal maker, they may add a metal/ tin ketal to the wreath, or a tailor, may add little clothing pieces, we even spotted a few embellished with drumsticks, others with oyster shells. Red Chili peppers placed upon them to keep insects, squirrels, and birds away.

This is an ongoing tradition. Over 150,000 people see these wreaths every year. It is completed by December 4th, which is the Grand Illumination. As of December 2005, Photographer, Barbara Lombardi, reported at that time, while photographing the wreaths upon completion, 301 acres are decorated, incorporating 75 shops and private business to the 85 private homes. This is all completed in 4 days by 16 carpenters, assistants, designers, and even some of the residence assist.

In December of 2005 it took 15 truckloads of holly, pine, magnolia, boxwood, and berries, three miles of white pine roping, 2,550 white pine and Fraser fir wreaths sprinkled, all folded. In addition to seventy-nine cases of fruit, tons of imagination, and only a few days for it to come together.

It is a sight to be seen. I do hope that Ed and I can go back during the actual Christmas holiday next year and stay until sunset into the night. I would love to see the lights in addition to the other decor.

An all-day pass to see Colonial Williamsburg, view the open shops, exhibits, churches, and additional sites are $89 per person. With it being 3pm, we did not purchase tickets for that. We just went on our own little journey. Next time we will spend more time there. Soaking up the history.

Two things I love about our “backyard adventures”, one is the fact that Ed is so intelligent and explains the history behind everything to me if I do not know it (which in most cases I do not), and secondly, I love watching him take photographs.

The photographs attached today are mine. Ed’s have yet to be seen and will not be shared right away, we have a bit of a surprise coming up with his photographs… stay tuned!

As always, I hope that you have learned something new, just as I have. I hope you have enjoyed the blog today.

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2 replies »

  1. Looks like an interesting trip! I’ve never been despite only being really a few states away, but I would definitely like to go at some point!


    • I live in Virginia and though I have been here my entire life, until I became involved with my boyfriend, I never saw many sites. You may also be interested in some of our earlier trips in the blog such as “The Natural Bridge” and “Crab Tree Falls” or “Westmoreland “. I love finding out and researching the history on everything we do. Thank you for reading


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