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likestoeat Nov 12th, 2005 04:11 AM

Colonial Williamsburg-someone want to take me on a tour?
Ok, my comments on an old CW post ruffled some feathers, and I'm sorry. I'm willing to buy another ticket (not another season pass) and go with one of you who thinks it really takes two days to do right, and have you show me all the special stuff that I obviously missed out on. My husband or a friend will have to come too because I'm not going somewhere with a stranger, but I'd really like to be proven wrong about the value of a ticket. I'd like to change my opinion of that place. As someone with a B.S. in Tourism, I want to appreciate it fully. If any of you CW lovers would like to take me on a tour, personally, let me know. Maybe I had come up with unreasonable expectations in my head since I first learned about it and wanted to go in Middle School. Put your email address on here and I'll write to you. With my degree in Tourism and my husband's degree in History, you would think that CW would have been perfect for us. We obviously did something wrong.

rb_travelerxATyahoo Nov 13th, 2005 10:28 PM

I guess that I would be one of those who can't understand why you didn't get more out of your Williamsburg visit.

I don't like publishing complete e-ddresses - those damn address-collecting harvesters operated by spammers are everywhere ... but if you know that there is NO X in my email address, I'm sure you can figure it out.

I would welcome an opportunity to visit Williamsburg with you both. I have visited for a long weekend several times a year for several years ... unfortunately with changes in the job situation I've not been able to do as as much the past few years, altho I did get there in both Sept and Oct. I have no trip scheduled at this time, but if I get a last minute chance I would try to be there the first Sunday in December.

Even without me, please consider visiting that Sunday. It is the "Grand Illumination" - sort of the "kickoff" for the Christmas season. The building will be decorated for the holidays and there will be fireworks somewhat early - I think 8:30 or 9pm.

Did you do something wrong? I won't say that, but I really wonder why you didn't get more from it with both of your backgrounds. Maybe you are TOO involved with tourism and history that CW seemed like a "bus drivers holiday" (an expression alluding to a bus driver who goes on bus rides on his vacation)? You do bring up a good point about having friends who when there in school while you couldn't --- sometimes we do build up certain expectations that result in disappointment; I find some menu descriptions do that to me.

Maybe another reason that I enjoy it so much, and get so much from it is that I see things often by myself. Even when I have others with me, I suggest certain things to them, then "do my own thing".

Regardless, I'd welcome a chance to show you how I visit Colonial Williamsburg, and I'd also like to have a mini GTG with other locals - Birdie has agreed to try to meet for lunch sometime at the Cheese Shoppe.

BTW, I admire your willingness to give it another try. I'm not so inclined when I feel I got "stung" once already.

janisj Nov 13th, 2005 10:42 PM

Well for me to do it you'd have to pay my airfare from the west coast AND hotel.

But some people are 6 countries in two weeks, or CW in one day type of tourists. Others enjoy actually slowing down and seeing/experiencing a place.

I stayed a full week in Williamsburg. I didn't go into the historic district every day (also went to Yorktown, Jamestown, Raliegh, Monticello etc.) But I did spend at least 3 full days and 3 different evenings in CW and still didn't see/do everything I wanted to.

I honestly can't see how one can "do" CW in one day unless they just want to carve a notch in their gun - "been there, done that"

rubytwo Nov 14th, 2005 05:50 AM

Likestoeat: I don't think you were wrong about CW. We went last year for Christmas and the trip was extremely disappointing. We both had been there about 10 years before and were really looking forward to seeing Christmas in Williamsburg. We were staying for five days. That was about four too many. We opted to stay in one of the Colonial houses through the Inn and it was so bad that for the first time in my life, I wrote to the Foundation (which I have supported for many years) and complained. There seemed to be a lot fewer interpretor tours, the Christmas decor was "tired". The major restaurants were more "disneyfied". Jam you in, feed you fast, hurry you was mediocre at best. For the cost involved in staying during the holidays, it was too much for too little.

Gekko Nov 14th, 2005 11:43 AM

With your attitude, it's painfully obvious what you two "well-educated" people got wrong.

Perhaps stick to eating, if that's what you like to do. Or maybe amusement parks are more your speed?

rubytwo Nov 14th, 2005 01:10 PM

I have been a supporter of Colonial Williamsburg Foundation for about 10 years. I had always wanted to go at Christmas and it was a long planned for five day holiday. I thought I knew what to expect. What I didn't expect was a total lack of interpreter tours, the total lack of inside Christmas decoration, very ho-hum programs (two hours of Teleman music at Bruton Parish Church was a bit much..there were other composers of that time) and except for King's Arms Tavern, very convention type menus. Williamsburg Inn was resting on it's former laurels and the service there left a lot to be desired for the cost involved. In some 40 years of travel, I have never written anyone to say how disappointing the holiday was..but I honestly think they have gone for "entertainment a la Disney" and it was very disappointing.

girlwilltravel Nov 14th, 2005 03:32 PM

I can't imagine going to Yellowstone National Park and watching Old Faithful erupt and say "Gee a water hose!" Count me as one person who just doesn't understand why you didn't get more out of Colonial Williamsburg, especially with the tourism and history background you both have. It isn't a place where you can walk in and out in one day and expect to come away with something meaningful. It is about the beginning of this country,not just watching some guy do something. It's a matter of learning what it takes to make bricks from mud, or how to pound the silver just right to make the silver necklace or turning the wood to make a chair leg. It's about learning about a time in our country when we were uncertain of staying alive, of keeping human beings in slavery, of men learning to voice contrary opinions. It is the place were we can learn, first hand about our country. Maybe your expectations about your travel is something completely different that what Colonial Williamsburg supports. Maybe you are more concerned about the money you spend instead of choosing to make lifelong adventures in your travel.(It is expensive and CW is making some major changes to keep ahead and in step with other travel destinations). Maybe you like your travel "canned" instead of self discovery. If that is the case, then I would stay away from Colonial Williamsburg. And Yellowstone National Park, for that matter. IF you do venture back, keep you mind open. And have fun!

janisj Nov 14th, 2005 05:09 PM

Perhaps in your husband's history degree and your tourism degree you missed the bit about there being very little Christmas decoration/festivities in the 18th Century in either England or the Colonies. It sounds like you expected glitter/glitz/Santa Claus/tinsel. Christmas decor in the 18th c. was VERY low key.

So CW was as it should have been.

likestoeat Nov 15th, 2005 12:24 PM

I didn't say I was disappointed at Christmas. Someone else did, and I'm not sure of that person's educational background. We actually loved it when we went back for the Christmas visit. I still don't think it's fair to charge people without telling them they can walk through for free. That was what caused the big tiff on the other post that made me make this post.

KathrynT Nov 15th, 2005 12:59 PM

Ok. likestoeat, I'm going to take the plunge and join in with you.

Our family visited CW last summer and were also not as impressed as we hoped we would be. I would say we LIKED our visit there, but did not LOVE it.

Now our enthusiasm may have been dampened by the heat, (it was July) but we just did not have the magical experience we had hoped for. My husband had visited years before and had remembered particularly enjoying dining in one of the taverns. I believe we visited the same one this time, but found it over-priced for what we received. Also, the advertised entertainment was minimal (they only sang one or two songs) compared to what we expected.

I had heard CW was having some financial difficulties and wonder if that was why many of the shops were not open and not many "extras" were offered. My husband remembered being able to do much more on his previous visit.

We are enthusiastic about museums, historical sights, and national parks (and would much rather visit them than Disneyland) so I don't think it was just our fault that we were underwhelmed. We really did enjoy the demonstrators that we did meet and took part in as many activities as we could, but I don't think we'll be returning soon.

rb_travelerxATyahoo Nov 15th, 2005 01:24 PM

KathrynT - you are absolutely correct in that there have been cutbacks in the offerings at Colonial Williamsburg.

You are entirely right about how the July heat can put a damper on the activities. I lived in Newport News for 4 years back in the 70's and had forgotten how oppressively hot and humid it gets in that area in July - but was quickly reminded when I made a July rail trip to Wbg a few years ago.

I guess we're all different in our travel likes. I don't really like casinos (yet enjoy a day at Saratoga) while others here rave about LV or AC. I doubt everyone will enjoy CW as much as I do, yet I think it offers enough where a visit should not be a disappointment.

"likestoeat" - you've figured my e-ddress? Let me tell you, I am a cheapskate and HATE paying more than I must ... but I don't think the ticket-sellers at CW have any responsibility to tell anyone that CW can be walked for free. Would a car-dealer tell you about a better deal somewhere else? Caveat Emptor! Knowing about deals is all part of the rewards of research.

BTW - let me again suggest you visit the Grand Illumination. The event, along with First Night, is produced more for the "locals" than out-of-town visitors, so I'll not preach about cheating CW if you go to either of those events ticketless. Parking will be a problem though; have you bicycles?

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