Rochelle-Prince is setting for an old-time Christmas

Published 9:19 am Saturday, December 24, 2011

By Merle Monahan/Contributing Writer

Barry Troot of Williamsburg entertains Rochelle-Prince House visitors on an antique mandolin. -- Merle Monahan | Tidewater News

COURTLAND—Visitors at the Rochelle-Prince House last week may have thought they were stepping back in time when they entered the foyer of the historic house.

Directly to the left in the parlor stood a huge, old-fashioned, cedar Christmas tree, decorated with bits of ribbon, crocheted stars, nuts and berries, as they did during the 18th century, while across the room Barry Troot of Williamsburg, a musician dressed in period costume, strummed an antique mandolin and vocalist Diane Donovan, also of Williamsburg, entertained the guests.

In the dining room to the right, the long mahogany dining table was covered with numerous delicacies of the period, including Sally Lunn bread, a brown-sugar pie, sugar cookies of all shapes, salted pecans and damson jam. Wassail was the drink of choice.

Outside, the house was decorated with wreaths, greens, holly and other Christmas decorations by the Franklin Garden Club.

The occasion was an 18th Century Christmas event sponsored by the Southampton County Historical Society. About 75 guests attended from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., said Lynda Updike, one of the hostesses. Other SCHS members assisting were Anne Bryant, Gail Camp, Joanne Fox, Kitty and Milton Futrell, Juanita and Don Richards, Laura and Jeffrey Hines and Rick Francis.