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Trip Report - Williamsburg/Busch Gardens Part 1

Trip Report - Williamsburg/Busch Gardens Part 1

Old Oct 29th, 2002, 11:47 AM
  #1  
Lila
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Trip Report - Williamsburg/Busch Gardens Part 1

Have posted this trip report several times but it does not come up, so I'm thinking it's too long. So, as someone suggested, I've divided it into 3 parts.

Just returned from a weekend at the Woodlands Hotel in Colonial Williamsburg and it was great. We stayed in a king suite w/a separate living space w/sofa bed. It had a microwave, mini fridge and sink and a pretty good continental breakfast was included. We arrived on Friday evening and had dinner reservations at Shields Tavern and I'm sorry to report this was a great disappointment. When we arrived, there was a tour in front of us and we were lead to a table down in the "basement"! Hostess told us it was "very romantic". . HA (maybe for mice)! Our table (for 4) was in front of the kitchen door and when I asked if we could move to a table for 2 at the far corner (place was empty at the time), we were told it was reserved for "another tour" coming in. At first the room was quiet (only one other table of diners), but then the waitresses starting preparing the tables for the incoming "tour" and they were clanking plates and making such a ruckus. They gave no consideration for the diners and we were also right by the staircase the waiters used to run up and down from the upperlevels to the kitchen. When the 2nd tour arrived, it was so loud, we couldn't hear ourselves speak. A flutist came by our table but my husband and I were the only ones paying attention to her. I wish I had the guts to just get up and leave (but we were hungry and I didn't know where to go w/o a reservation). The menu is very limited and there didn't appear to be any specials of the day. We shared the "sampler" (waitress suggested it was enough for 2. . .barely) which was OK but nothing special (the "tiny" bowl of gumbo was good) there was a little chicken fricassee in a bread shell, a couple other morsels and a salad. We both ordered the "buffalo" which came w/mashed potatoes and green beans. My husband wanted his meat "medium to well done." His first bites were fine but I soon noticed he stopped eating, I asked him if he did not like his meat, he said he just could not eat "raw" meat.

. . .cont'd
 
Old Oct 29th, 2002, 11:49 AM
  #2  
Lila
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Trip report Part II

. . . My meat was tasty but fatty and the green beans could have cooked for a little longer. We didn't find the waitress very helpful (when she noticed my husband not eating, all she said was "sorry" instead of offering to take it back to get cooked a little longer or to get him something else). When I asked her about the pretzel bread (I thought we would be served some warm, hearty bread, instead we got cold but tasty pretzel rolls), all she said was "if we're serving it, then folks must of eaten it back then." I was so bummed out - this was to be a special birthday dinner for my husband and we couldn't wait to get out. There was no ambience (unless you consider eating in a dark basement w/a room full of loud diners and clomping waiters as "ambience"). Maybe if we had a better table, it wouldn't have be so horrible. We also thought the food was overpriced even if it was served by a tired looking, unsmiling waitress in sloppy period dress (which is probably how the waitresses looked in 18th century!) in a colonial basement. Dinner for 2 w/shared appetizer, no dessert (we had beer and wine) and tip was $110 (not worth it). Before leaving, we checked out some of the other rooms in Shields and they appeared a bit more pleasant (windows in a room help). So I just want to warn you, if it's just two of you dining, try to avoid dining in the basement level, especially near the kitchen door (or check if there will be any "tours" joining you). Entertainment would have be great but all we got was ruckus. If you are part of a group, you probably won't mind. We had reservations for Christina Campbell's for Sat. night but after our experience w/Shields, decided to skip it. Instead we drove to Captain George's Seafood Buffet. The buffet was $25/person but worth it! With 70 items to try, I'm sure even if you do not like seafood, you'll find plenty of delicious food to enjoy (we liked everything we tried) and the desserts were great too.
 
Old Oct 29th, 2002, 11:53 AM
  #3  
Lila
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Trip Report - Part III

. . .We spent Saturday walking all around CW, which we enjoyed. We thought we would run into more "colonial" townspeople on the streets living the history of the day, we did see some but not very many (we either missed them or they were all inside). We did not buy a pass as friends who had advised us that it was not really worth it and even a "local" suggested first just walking around the area before purchasing a ticket and we're glad we took this advice. We figure since we're not too far, if we're really interested in going inside some of the pass-only buildings, we'll get a pass on our next visit. We did the Ghost & Legends tour Saturday night, but (again) we were very disappointed and found it a waste of money. Sorry to those who loved this tour. When I called to make reservations, I should have asked for details about this tour. I just "presumed" we were going to get "spooked"! I was looking forward to hearing and seeing some scary stuff. Besides walking from one end of town (where you form little groups) to the other end (where the 1st story is told), taking up about 15 minutes of your hour tour, all that took place was some silly stories being told (told well, but still just silly, not a single scare or an expression of disbelief, nothing to make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up). After 3 short "silly" stories are told in separate locations by some "characters," that's it, end of tour. If there is something else going in CW on the same time as these Ghost tours (i.e., a play), I would recommend doing that instead. We spent Sunday in Busch Gardens and really enjoyed it. It was the last day of the season and Hallow-Scream was going on from 6:00 p.m. - 10:00(unfortunately, we could not stay for that). We found BG to be very lovely and so clean! We have no kids but acted like a couple, enjoying the rides and some of the shows are terrific (especially Green Thunder, almost like watching an actual River Dance performance). We almost passed BG up as we thought it would be more for kids but are very glad we didn't, as we discovered the big kids in ourselves! Hope this report is helpful to any of you planning a trip to Williamsburg and I apologize to those who think this report is just way too long (I do get carried away w/details).
 
Old Oct 29th, 2002, 11:55 AM
  #4  
gail
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While I was posting my suggestion - your post and responses appeared.
 
Old Oct 29th, 2002, 01:22 PM
  #5  
Randa
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Lila, I thoroughly enjoyed reading every word of your report. I LOVE the details! I agree that the prices at the colonial taverns are way too high, and what a bummer to have to eat in that dark basement. Glad you enjoyed BG though; it is a pretty park.
 
Old Nov 2nd, 2002, 06:41 AM
  #6  
Susan
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I'm sorry you had a bad experience at Shield's. My favorite tavern is Kings Arms. You can also just go to Chownings for a drink during Gambols for a great Colonial experience. There is a cover charge though.
I cannot sympathize with your disappointment at not seeing many costumed interpretors. You didn't pay a dime but wanted the colonial experience. This is why CW has brought up the possibility of fencing the colonial area.
 
Old Nov 2nd, 2002, 06:29 PM
  #7  
Bunny
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Lila, We own Timeshare in Williamsburg and go there quite often,we live in New Jersey so it takes approx. 5 hours to get there.The 1st time we went to Shields Tavern it was great, meal and service was excellent, the second time we went there it was not a good experience food was not that good and neither was the Service, we don't mind eating in the Basement. If you ever decide to go back, Christian Campbell's is our Favorite Tavern as a matter of fact we are going to Williamsburg arriving 12-30-02 and staying 4 nights in our Timeshare at Fairfield Kingsgate, and we have Dinner Reservatios at Christian's Campbells on Tuesday 12-31. If you and your Husband would like to stay in a Timeshare, next time E-mail me and maybe we can work out a Deal, we get to go all over, and we also own Timeshare in the Bahamas.
 
Old Nov 4th, 2002, 09:58 AM
  #8  
Lila
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Didn't pay a dine?? Sorry Susan but I think I paid lots of dines worth for our Colonial weekend experience . . .at least $575 worth (we stayed in a Colonial hotel, ate in Colonial restaurant, bought items in the Colonial shops, bought tickets for Colonial show)! We would have purchased passes if I had not read on these posts and on epinions.com, in addition to friends' advice who visited CW, to not buy the pass your first day (why do research if you don't take some of the advice offered). I am sure there are a few people out there who did stand in the long line and paid a lot of money for passes for their family and were disappointed w/the experience and then there are many who loved it and keep going back, but for those who are not sure if this is something they will really enjoy, seeing a "preview" is a good idea. If you see a lousy preview for a movie, you won't go, so if CW wants people spending money in it's area, they should make sure that people will want to. We did enjoy walking around the historic area and because it was such a goregous day, expected to see more colonial people outdoors (but as I said, we must of just been missing them) but people w/passes were walking through the same outdoor areas as we were. . .hope they weren't disappointed. Thanks Bunny for you offer of your timeshare (definitely keep that in mind!). I know a dining experience can vary drastically from one visit to another and I would like to try Christina Campbells if we are ever in the area again.
 
Old Nov 4th, 2002, 01:29 PM
  #9  
Lila
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Whoops, sorry meant "dimes" (spent lots of dimes!!) not "dines" . .. my mind must be constantly on food!
 
Old Nov 4th, 2002, 02:03 PM
  #10  
Jan
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Sorry you didn't enjoy Williamsburg. We loved it. I know the pass is a bit pricey but it was worth it to us. If you had bought the pass you would have met many people in character within the various homes. We especially enjoyed the Governor's Mansion tour. Also, for those of you who are planning to go there, find out when and where Patrick Henry will be speaking and make a point to go. He was very entertaining!
I liked the tavern experience, it was a real novelty. The food was average, but the experience was fun. I'm sure the Colonial area is beautiful this time of year.
 
Old Nov 4th, 2002, 03:03 PM
  #11  
Susan
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I have a "Visitor's Companion" because we had relatives visiting last week. If you don't purchase a pass you are missing programs such as: Thomas Jefferson speaks on gardening and landscape design, among the dipping gourds: her discontent (enslaved women share stories of their public and private lives), the trial and burning of Lord North (be judge and jury at the mock trial), and theater for the young and young at heart (an interactive family program). About 14 programs are listed for each day. Sorry Lila, you missed out.
 
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