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Day 88 - Colonial Williamsburg (Photo's Added)

We went to a very interesting concert of Crystal Instruments (Glass) by Dean Shostak, including a Glass Armonica invented by Ben Franklin!

sunny 52 °F


Miles Driven - 111 (in a circle, as planned)
Weather - Cold
Camped at - we are continuing to stay at the Thousand Trails campground while we explore this part of Virginia. This is a little different sort of travelling then we are used to, staying at one campground then taking trips to sightsee from there. There are advantages, but I think I prefer striking out for the unknown.


OK - watched the DWTS finals Monday and Tuesday night, will have to get this caught up as I can...
I finally noticed that Travellerspoint puts the date up top when these blog entries are published, so unless anyone objects, I think I'll start eliminating the date from the titles?


In spite of the pretty sunshine, it was quite cold out. Colonial Williamsburg requires quite a bit of walking around to really take it in, so we opted to just take the shuttle around and look at it from afar. Also, this time of year there aren't as many reenactors as in the summer, so I didn't want to spend $36 each just to go to maybe a museum or two. We both were interested in something called a 'Crystal Concert', so I did buy tickets for the concert & the shuttle bus.

The concert was by Dean Shostak. He featured an instrument called a 'Glass Armonica'. It was invented by Ben Franklin after he attended a concert in England of water filled wine glasses. The wine glasses sound pretty, but need a lot of fine adjusting to get the notes tuned correctly and only one note at a time can be played. Franklin figured he could do better, good old Ben! His insrument uses specially tuned glass bowls turned on their sides and connected so that when they are turned, they can be played with with more than one finger at a time (up to ten fingers if you can stretch them enough).

The Glass Armonica was very popular between 1761, when he invented it, and the early 1800's when it was largely eclipsed by the piano. We were asked not to record video's during the concert, but could take still shots, so this is what the instrument looks like. These are glass bowls turned on their sides and glued together with a piece of cork at the base.


In addition, I was able to find a video on YouTube of a segment from the History Channel describing and demonstrating the instrument - if you have the time, it's worth a watch also (and much better done than my own would have been of course).

Whew - that's a lot to absorb! However, the concert didn't stop with the Armonica. Mr. Shostak also played a set of glass bells he had specially made for him. They looked kind of trickey, but were pretty.


After the glass bells, Mr. Shostak opened up a small case sitting near the front of the stage. Inside was a glass violin - no kidding! He showed this to us for quite a while, then also played it. The Hario Glass Company in Japan made this for him - it took them a year to figure out how to do it and they have only made two as far as Mr. Shostak knows. I did find a video of someone playing a glass violin at a Hario trade show concert and also a Dave Kim playing a glass violin in Reno, but his could have been an electronic one (video was hard to tell). At any rate, there aren't many of these around.


Finally, there was a really odd looking thing off to the left side of the stage. Mr. Shostak went over to that and described it as a relatively new glass instrument that had been invented in France by Bernard & Fracois Baschet (in 1952). It is played by rubbing glass rods that are tuned to different frequencies. He played a couple of pieces on this.


After the concert we were allowed to come up and take pictures and buy CD's (which we did). You can also order these at:


After the Crystal Concert, we did walk around Colonial Williamsburg a little bit. There wasn't too much going on probably because it was the off season. To get the full experience you also need to be able to do a little more walking than Mom can handle, so we just walked about a block and looked around a bit. They did have some crafts people working as well as some Revolutionary War re-enactors, which looked like fun. The place is also very nicely done to resemble the town as it was in the 1770's (except cars are not totally restricted from the core area, so that does spoil the mood a bit). I only took a few shots,


We did also visit the Marketplace, where several (expensive) shops are located with some nice things. Most of the goods were beyond our budgets, but we did enjoy looking. Here are just a couple of examples (I liked the Silversmiths Shop):


We had a number of unplanned route changes on the way back to the campground. Ugh. However, we did make it back safely (with some help finally from the GPS software) and were able to continue our adventure another day...

Posted by jl98584 19:03 Archived in USA Tagged family_travel

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