Spring Break 2016: Williamsburg


After our lovely visit to Palmetto Bluff, SC, we left the deep south and headed up to Williamsburg, VA. Mr. M remembered Colonial Williamsburg fondly from trips as a kid, and thought Miss L would get a kick out of it. She became obsessed with George Washington during their Kindergarten unit, so he thought spending a day in the Revolutionary Era might excite her.

We had dinner reservations set for Sunday evening in Colonial Williamsburg at The King’s Arm Tavern, so we left around 9am and drove Interstate 85 most of the way. After our final pit stop around 3:30, I consulted Waze to see what route it recommended. One option was continue on Interstates, and I believe I described the other way as “adventurous.” Given those choices, Mr. M opted for adventure, so we headed off onto country backroads and through the farm fields of Virginia.It was about halfway through this adventure that I started thinking about geography, and how I didn’t think I had seen any bridges or roads on our route. I whipped out the AAA map (right? We had an actual REAL map in the car!) and confirmed that we’d be hopping on a river ferry… but we were unsure if it was something that would actually be operating on a Sunday at 6pm. Well, luckily it turned out to be a super dependable/around-the-clock river crossing, and of course this extra boat ride was crazy exciting for Miss L.

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Our car landed right at Jamestown (I imagine our journey was similar to the Pilgrims, except more comfortable in every way), but that alternate route took 30 minutes more than Waze had predicted so our reservation time was fast approaching. We ran over to check in our hotel room at the Westgate Historic Williamsburg (thank you Hotwire!) and then hopped back in the car to drive into Colonial Williamsburg.


A few weeks before our trip began, I made a dinner reservation on OpenTable for The King’s Arm Tavern. It turned out to be the perfect choice for a nice and relaxing dinner after a long 7 hour drive!  We easily parked right in the middle of Colonial Williamsburg in a parking lot just for the restaurants. Once we checked in, we knew we were in for a fun night!



We were escorted to our table in the rear of the Tavern and seated with 3 other groups in a small dining room. The only light coming into the room was from the fading sunlight and the glow of the candles on our table. All of the wait staff acted in full period character and helped us travel back in time a bit.


I ordered Mrs. Vobe’s Tavern Dinner so that I could indulge in the Peanut Soupe and Pecan Pie, Mr. M got A Chop of Shoat, and Miss L settled for the Mac & Cheese. Sadly, I regretted my choice about 5 seconds later when the table next to us was served gigantic portions of Prime Rib and my meat-loving heart skipped a beat. Don’t worry though… the peanut soupe and pecan pie were all worth it in the end!


If you are a peanut butter lover, then this crazy soup is right up your ally! It’s quite rich, so we all shared it equally and left room to try out the various condiments (like pickled watermelon rind) before our dinner arrived. Oh… and we had some colonial beer too! I mean, when in Rome and on vacation, and the Romans eat yummy grub, why not?

And then, to top everything off, we had Thomas Jefferson’s Brandy-spiked Bread Pudding and my slice of Pecan Pie for dessert. Mmmm….  It really wasn’t difficult to get to sleep in our hotel room that night!


The next morning, we packed up everything in the car, checked out of the hotel, and got ready for our big day in Colonial Williamsburg!  But first, we went across the street. Because… DUNKIN’!


If Miss L’s nickname wasn’t already munchkin, it would have been after this trip! So we filled up on donuts and coffee and made our way to the Colonial Williamsburg Visitor’s Center. It’s a big central parking/shopping gateway to the historic areas where you purchase your ticket and then head by bus down to the Colonial area. (TOURIST TIP: Buy your tickets from the Internet pick-up kiosks to avoid the lines!) So after a 10 minute bus ride, we found ourselves hopping out in the middle of the late 18th century!


Upon arrival, Miss L received a beautiful flower from one of our greeters that she held tight to all day long. Since it was bright and early (and COLD!), we practically had the whole place to ourselves as we walked down the street to go and visit the trade shops and tour areas.


Our first shops to stop in were the Printing Office and the Silversmith.  Miss L was justifiably impressed with the large printing press (I remember how much I wanted my own about 8 years ago… oh paper dreams!) and watching a real Silversmith in action is also pretty amazing! In the back of the shop were many pieces of silver items and jewelry that were formed right there from colonial techniques!




Next up was the Capitol! We got to learn all about colonial government and explore the different areas of the capitol… which of course makes all modern day state capitols seem like excessive wastes of space.

IMG_9919I mean, they had the legislature, senate and supreme court all in one small little building!


After our tour ended, we hopped over to the Raleigh Tavern Bakery for fresh and hot gingerbread cookies and some refreshments! The pillowy cookies were amazing (they just started baking them again after 30 years!) and the Root Beer and Ginger Ale were the perfect thing to wash them down with!


Once we were all refreshed with that dose of sugar, we headed down to see the rest of the trade shops that were open for the day.


At the Wigmaker, we learned all about the lovely children’s hair that was used to make the finest wigs, and how a wig was tailored for your exact head by shaving your head and making a perfect head mold. Upon exit, the wigmaker told Miss L that she should come back next week to get her very own wig fashioned for herself. She started to cry a little as we left and when we asked what was the matter, she said, “But I like my hair! I don’t want to shave my head!” Guess she was really believing we were back in the 18th century by now!

IMG_9928Our final trades shop happened to be the one Miss L was most fascinated with: the Weaver. She was so engrossed with how they made the yarn and the old fashioned weaving equipment that she just stared endlessly. Each time I asked if she wanted to leave, she asked if we could stay just a little bit longer. And then when one of the weavers said he was making placemats like the ones in George Washington’s house… well… then I practically had to drag her out as the next groups of people filled in the door.


After the trades, we headed over to the historic buildings that all sat around the Governor’s Palace.

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Our favorite stop came at the George Wythe House, which had been transformed to reflect the time that George Washington used it as a stopover during the Revolutionary War.


Miss L took heed when the guide told us we’d be walking in George Washington’s footsteps… and she carefully walked through the house watching each step she took. She also took away a very fun trivia fact:

That was our last stop of the afternoon, after which we headed to do a bit of souvenir shopping at the main Visitor’s Center. We got some heritage seeds for the garden and Miss L got a stuffed George Washington doll. [She wants you to know that General Washington is currently the President and General of her room and all stuffed animals and dolls are under his authority.]

And with that, we said goodbye to Our next stop for the trip was a visit outside of Washington, D.C. to see stay with some old friends from Los Angeles, and then it was time for us to head to the final destination for the remainder of Spring Break: Washington, D.C.!