Literary Time Travel in Colonial Williamsburg

Hello, bookworms and fellow history nerds! It’s been a few days, because as usual, life has been a bit cuckoo. However, after several long chats with family and a friend or two, I’m vowing to get more disciplined and regular with my posts. I think I’m going to put myself on a schedule and come up with a set day and time I’ll be putting up posts for you guys. Also, I’m working on some other things behind the scenes that I hope to share with you guys sooner rather than later, so stay tuned for that news! Fingers crossed I can bring you an official announcement!

In other news, I’m almost up to counting on two hands the number of blog posts I need to get to you. They’re logged into my ever-growing mental list, I swear! Anyway, I thought I’d take a break from my usual reviews and bring everyone on another adventure because it’s been awhile! Join me as we go back in time to Colonial Williamsburg.

So a few weeks back, my friend and I decided to take a small road trip, and five hours later, we arrived at the birth of a new nation. It was a weekend filled with learning, a ghost tour, and listening to founding fathers such as Thomas Jefferson and James Madison give lectures, but of course this bookworm had a wandering eye for the nearest bookstore, and I was not disappointed… even if what I found was slightly different.

Welcome to the Printer & Binder!

This sweet, little shop is located on Duke of Gloucester street and was not only home to the binding process, but the double-bay-windows displayed a stationer’s, post office, an advertising agency, a supply shop, and newsstand. To name just a few things. I was enchanted the moment I caught some of the journals and printed works on display.

Inside, I found works of art, newspapers, journals, ink wells and writing feathers, newspapers, books, pamphlets, and much more.

Stands like this one housed different magazines, newspapers, and prints that were made right in the shop!

I adored these little journals. I’m honestly kicking myself for not leaving Williamsburg with one.. or ten.

Not only do you get some insight from the professionals in the shop, but most of these items are available for purchase as well. How amazing is that? If you’d like anymore information about this space, wander over this way and get a bit more of a history lesson on this amazing little place.

A Haunted Bookstore, You Say?! 

Yes, you read that right. If you enjoy your haunted history, as well as a solid space for your books (and maybe even a coffee), then you need to this next spot ASAP!

Just at the end of the historic section of Williamsburg is a quaint shopping/college center known as Merchant’s Square. Here, you’ll find older buildings that house newer shops and restaurants. My friend and I stopped in one such shop to grab a coffee and a few sweatshirts since the weather was chillier than we thought it would be. Welcome to the William & Mary Bookstore.

The inside is filled with college merchandise, a Starbucks, cafe, bookstore, and even smaller Apple store. Also, it has a ghost (which I didn’t know about until I took the ghost tour later that evening.

The inside looks like your typical B&N, but that didn’t stop me from feeling the need to buy everything. If I weren’t spending the day wandering around and doing a LOT of walking, I would’ve left the store with multiple bags. Anyway… that ghost I was talking about!

On lovely, little Henry Street, long before this white house was a bookstore, it was the home of one Thomas Moore. Now, Thomas was well known and beloved among the town, but no one seemed to adore him more than his neighbor, Constance Hall. The pair were often seen strolling down the street holding hands, or stopping by one another’s houses in broad daylight. It seemed extremely romantic, until Harvey Hall, Constance’s husband, found her at Moore’s residence during a visit. While he was not surprised, Harvey and Thomas still had a dispute, which ended with Thomas dead in his own house. In order to avoid both scandal and charges, Harvey and Constance join forces to his the body in the basement.

When odor began seeping into the streets, an investigation ensued and Moore’s body was found a week after it was hidden. Harvey spared his wife of any blame, and was imprisoned for the rest of his life. Constance, on the other hand, after being shunned by her neighbors, fled Williamsburg, and was never seen or heard from again.

Then there’s Thomas Moore. Even in 2017, it is said that he still roams the streets of Williamsburg window shopping, looking for Constance, and even visits his own house as a customer. What better place to blend in as a ghost than one where the historians and actors are dressed just like you. No one would be able to tell the difference.

Here’s an eyewitness account from Colonial Ghosts:

“One of Thomas’s appearances occurred in a bookstore. The store manager was working on the day’s receipts after all the other employees had gone home. She said, ‘I was in my office in the back, when I heard a noise coming from the front area. I was sure I was the only person left inside, because I checked the store thoroughly before I locked up. I peeked around the corner and saw a man standing by one of the registers. I had no idea how he could have gotten in. He was dressed in black from head to toe, and his skin was a pale shade of white.

‘I ducked back into my office to call 911. When the police arrived, I told them all the doors were locked, so the intruder still had to be inside. They searched the store, but couldn’t find him.'”

So go give the William & Mary Bookstore a visit. You can bring home a book on your favorite historical figure, and maybe even a lost soul.

Aside from those two stops, I didn’t have a ton of time to search for books. It was a quick, but amazing weekend. I’ll just leave you with some other bookish items I came across in my travels and I’ll meet you again soon!

Until next time, happy reading.. and happy literary adventures!

I recently took up gardening, and I found this guy in a floral shop in Merchant’s Square. I didn’t get him, but I think I really need to.. because who doesn’t want a cat with glasses reading in their garden?

Of course I found the literary section of the gift shop at the visitor’s center.

Another treasure found in the general store.

While I was waiting for my ghost tour to begin, I decided to oversee what Thomas Jefferson was writing. It looked like a Declaration of some sort.



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