3 Colonial-Inspired Recipes for Summer!

Warm clam chowder served in antique china.

It’s Summertime here in Williamsburg, and today we’re bringing you three recipes that are perfect for the season and come with a little colonial history. No need to stoke the fire, let’s head to the kitchen and get started!


First up, let’s talk about Creamed Celery. It may sound odd, but this dish is actually referenced in the Williamsburg Cookbook as part of the menu from the original King’s Arms Tavern. Traditionally, this is more like a casserole of celery with butter, cream and flour, sprinkled with pecans and breadcrumbs, but we’ve found a more updated take on this colonial offering. 

This is a recipe for Cream of Celery Soup (by Elise Bauer)

It’s a light, flavorful take on traditional creamed celery with leeks, onions, and garlic that is a delightful way to start a summer meal:



3 Tbsp butter, divided into 2 Tbsp and 1 Tbsp

1 cup chopped onion

1 1/2 cups sliced leeks, white and light green parts only

5 cups of chopped celery, and 1 1/2 cups of diced celery  (from one large bunch of celery or two small bunches)

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 bay leaves

4 cups chicken stock

1/2 teaspoon to 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt, to taste

1/4 to 1/3 cup of cream

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Fresh chopped chives or parsley for garnish



Sauté onions, leeks, 5 cups of chopped celery: Melt 2 Tbsp butter in a thick-bottomed 4 to 5 quart pot on medium heat. Add the diced onion, the leeks, and 5 cups of the chopped celery.

Cook on medium heat for 10 minutes until softened. Add the minced garlic and cook for a minute more.

Add stock, bay leaves, salt, then simmer: Add the chicken stock and bay leaves to the pot. Taste for salt and add salt. (If you are using unsalted butter and unsalted stock, you will need to add more salt than you expect, if not, maybe just a little salt will be needed.)

Increase heat to bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and cover to maintain a simmer. Simmer for 15 minutes.

Braise remaining celery to soften: While the soup is simmering, prepare the extra celery that will be added later to the soup. In a separate small sauté pan, melt 1 Tbsp of butter on medium heat. Add 1 1/2 cups diced celery to the butter.

Ladle 1/2 cup of the simmering stock from the soup pot into the sauté pan. Simmer on low for 5 or 6 minutes to soften the celery. Set aside.

Purée soup: Remove the soup pot from heat, let cool slightly. Remove and discard the bay leaves. Working in batches, purée the soup in a blender, filling the blender no more than a third full at a time (keep your hand on the lid so the hot liquid doesn’t explode). Return the puréed soup to the pot.

Stir in the cream and the braised diced celery.

Taste for salt and add more if needed. Sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper and chopped chives or parsley to serve.


Virginia has always relied on the Chesapeake Bay for plenty of fresh fish, mollusks, and crabs. Blue Crabs in particular were quite a big part of Virginia’s farming and eating traditions during its formation and throughout its history (you can read all about it and the Chesapeaks Blue Crab Fishery here ).

Today no summer party in Tidewater feels complete without an element of the sea, so try these Old Bay Crab Cakes with Roasted Red Peppers (from Ali at Home and Plate)


1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs Parmesan and herb flavored

1/2 red pepper roasted and diced

4 green onions diced

1 tablespoon mayonnaise

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 tablespoon parsley flakes

1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 egg beaten

1 pound lump crab meat

1 tablespoon olive oil



Mix together all the ingredients well, using your hands if necessary. Shape into eight patties. Be sure to refrigerate the crab cakes for about 30 minutes before cooking. It helps to keep them together while cooking.

Using a cast-iron skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat and add the crab cakes to the pan when hot. Fry them flipping once until golden brown on each side, for a total of about 5 to 6 minutes.

Serve with lemon wedges or cocktail sauce.


Finally, here’s a refreshing sweet drink bursting with citrus flavor. During the 18th century, you could find a treat known as an Orange Cream, a beverage made from oranges, water, sugar, and eggs. English author Hannah Glasse included her recipe in a collection entitled “Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy”, which was revised in the United States in 1796.

Here is a recipe for an Orange Julius, a more modern take on this classic fruit concoction. (by Kelli Foster)

Makes 2 drinks


1 cup milk (whole, 2%, or skim)

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 6-ounce can frozen orange juice concentrate

1/2 cup sugar (or sugar substitutes, check package for equivalence)

1 1/2 cups ice



Blend the milk and vanilla: Pour the milk and vanilla in a blender and pulse until combined.

Add the frozen concentrate: Add the frozen orange juice concentrate. Blend until fully combined with the milk.

Add the sugar and ice cubes: Blend until cubes are crushed and mixture has thickened. If things end up a little thick, just add a tablespoon of water and mix once again.

Pour and enjoy: Pour the drink into glasses. Serve with a straw and sip your way to blissful happiness.


We hope these help bring a little colonial flair to your summertime fare and help you soak up this beautiful Virginia season. From all of us at the Fife and Drum Inn, happy cooking!


Tried any of these recipes? Comment below and share!

9 Ways to Enjoy the Season this Fall

pumpkin on wood floor

Autumn has finally arrived! The trees are changing, the days are cooler, and we at the Fife and Drum Inn are looking forward to all the exciting events Williamsburg has to offer this season. 


Now that the weather is cooling down, it’s the perfect time head just up the road to Pumpkinville in Toano, VA. You can pick out the perfect pumpkin to spice up your home and check out the selection of fall-themes crafts and decorations. Corn mazes, games, and a hayride complete the perfect autumn outing- check it out now through October 28!

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For any William and Mary alumni out there, Homecoming is just around the corner! Join us here in Williamsburg October 18-21 for a weekend reunion, and for a personal and memorable trip, remember to stay at the Fife and Drum Inn.

If you’re in the mood for something a little spooky this October, there are several local events and surprises to last all season long. Start at Howl-O-Scream at Busch Gardens, a Halloween staple in Williamsburg. This year, this scary celebration marks its 20-year anniversary and a new Era of Terror. Filled with new shows, scare zones, and haunted houses, it’s a must-see!

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For a more historical Halloween scene, try a Ghost Walk in Colonial Williamsburg, or a haunted hayride at York River State Park on October 20, 26, and 27. Also check out Monsters, Mayhem, and Musick, a baroque concert series playing every Tuesday at the Governor’s Palace. These are great opportunities to experience a new side of history and are a fun way to see the area!


As the season of harvest and Thanksgiving approaches, there are a few great opportunities in the area to make this year extra special. The Virginia Thanksgiving Festival on November 4 kicks off the season with a day immersed in the history of the First English Thanksgiving, complete with food and dance.

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On Turkey day, Blue Talon Bistro’s annual Turkey Trot is a great way to start! It’s a time-honored tradition that supports local charity and brings people closer together. Finally, you can sit down to a beautiful Thanksgiving buffet at the Williamsburg Inn.

No matter how you choose to spend your fall season, it’s the people you spend it with that make it truly special. We hope that as the air gets colder, the company around you gets warmer.

Who will you be spending this season with? Leave a comment and let us know!

If These Walls Could Talk… (The History of the Hitchens Building)

picture of old building

Sure, you may have seen old photographs up on our walls if you have stayed with us before, but do you know the whole story of the Hitchens Building? 

Albert Webster Hitchens, grandfather of owner Sharon Scruggs, was a merchant in the Historic Area when the Restoration started the reconstruction of “Colonial” Williamsburg. Hitchens owned a house and ran a general store on DoG St. where the James Anderson House and Armoury stand today.

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Reconstruction of historic area was on the rise and all the properties in the area were being bought by Colonial Williamsburg, forcing businesses to move elsewhere. Merchants Square was one of the first planned shopping centers in America that came about to provide these uprooted businesses with a new location.

Hitchens didn’t want to lease from Colonial Williamsburg. In fact, he sold his property to them and purchased the corner of land on Prince George and North Henry St. to build the Hitchens Building in 1933. The upstairs of the building was comprised of apartments which mostly housed people who had been uprooted from the Historic Area. Webster opened a new store, the West End Market, where the Tervis store is today, and he leased other spaces in the building for other businesses.

The building has stayed in the family for four generations surrounded by William & Mary College and Colonial Williamsburg properties and has leased countless businesses over the decades. 2 of the tenants were here for 40 years or more, Massey’s Camera Shop and the Williamsburg Shoe repair.

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Sharon remembers that in the days of her childhood the basement held a bowling alley, a pool hall, and barbershop.  

In the 70’s, Sharon’s mother Yvette ran an art loft & artist consignment shop in the building. Practicing artists had a studio in basement– there was a silversmith, a potter, a leather worker, and visitors could come down and watch them work.

Sharon ran two gift shops, Webster’s Incredible Gifts and Webster’s Too collectively from 1994-2006 where LOKAL and Retro’s Good Eats stand today.

In 1999 the apartments were converted to a 9 room bed and breakfast, The Fife and Drum Inn.

So much history, so many stories, and the dreams of so many entrepreneurs have lived in these walls. We believe that they all come together to make the Fife and Drum Inn an all-the-more special place to stay!