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loopy1973 Aug 17th, 2007 02:57 PM

Williamsburg in October
We are heading to Williamsburg for 6 days in October (myself & husband, 12 yr old daughter & in-laws). I have booked a hotel (Hampton Historic District) and started the research. Looking for info on how much time to plan for CW, Jamestown & Yorktown. Also any especially interesting "to do's" including day trips.

jbmea626 Aug 17th, 2007 03:48 PM

i was there this past may. I went to jamestown for the day. lots to see and do there. they have a wonderful museum and short movie, and the outside grounds are great. with the ships and indian village. Plan on being there all day. they also have a nice cafeteria style restaurant.
as for cw probably 2- 2 1/2 days should be more than enough. have fun! we ate dinner at christina cambpells and the tavern and enjoyed them both .

loopy1973 Aug 18th, 2007 02:08 PM

Thanks jbmea626!! I was only planning on 1/2 day at Jamestown because I wasn't sure how much there was to see & do there. After reading your post & several at tripadvisor, I will make sure we have the whole day available.

jgg Aug 18th, 2007 02:17 PM

We were just there in June with our kids (ages 11 and 15). In addition to going to Jamestown Settlement be sure and go to Historic Jamestown. Jamestown Settlement is the living history place with large museum, indian village and tall ships. Jamestown Settlement is where the original settlement actually was. Not quite as much to see, but still quite interesting (and there are active archaeological digs going on). I think your twelve yo is old enough to appreciate "standing on the ground" were Pocahontas, etc. stood.

I also suggest going to Shirley Plantation. It is one of the few plantations left that you can actually go inside of, in addition to seeing the grounds. You can only go on the first floor (as the family still lives on the upper floors), but it is still interesting and the docent told fascinating stories.

Yorktown does not take that much time, could definitely combine it with the plantation. On the other hand, you have plenty of days so no need to rush anything.

I would strongly recommend getting tickets for the evening performances of "Ghosts Stories" and "Cry Witch" - as long as your 12 yo is not super sensitive or gets scared easily, I think she will enjoy them. Order them ASAP as they often sell out.

jgg Aug 18th, 2007 02:19 PM

Oops! Should read:
HISTORIC JAMESTOWN is where the original settlement actually was.

longhorn55 Aug 18th, 2007 02:28 PM

A fun evening activity for your family would be going to the Mystery Dinner Theatre in Williamsburg. We went a few years ago with our 12-year-old and 15-year-old and they enjoyed it as much as we did. It's a comedy/mystery/interactive show in which the guests try to solve "whodunit". In October, the shows are on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights. Check their website for more info, including coupons.

loopy1973 Aug 18th, 2007 06:18 PM

jgg - Thanks for all the input. We have both of the evening programs you suggested on the itinerary. I will check the plantation out, as we did want to try to tour one of them. How many days did you spend at CW?

longhorn55 - Thanks for the tip on the mystery dinner. I'll check it out.

We'd like to throw a day trip in, if time allows. Some we've been considering: Tangier or Smith Island; ferry to Surry County & on to Bacon's Castle, Smith's Fort & St Luke's Shrine; or Monticello. Any suggestions?

jgg Aug 19th, 2007 11:11 AM

loopy - We were only there for 4 nights - 3 full days, so we just spent one full day at CW.

Our basic itinerary was first day at CW, second day we did Historic Jamestown and Jamestown Settelement, and then off to Shirley Plantation. We didn't do the big museum at Jamestown Settlement as we first did Historic Jamestown and had already been through the smaller (and well done) museum over there. The museum at the Settlement looked excellent as well, but by that time kids chose not to do it (after Willliamsburg we headed to DC for 5 days, so I was cautious of museum overload!)

Our last day we went to Busch Gardens (kids request) and to Yorktown.

Birdie Aug 19th, 2007 11:59 AM

Busch Gardens will still be open on weekends in October. You may be hesitant to go because of your in-laws but it is a beautiful park with shows and shops that all ages can enjoy.

Of all the day trips you have listed I think Monticello is the one I would recommend the most especially if you are coming later in October. The colors in the mountains will be gorgeous. I haven't been to any of the others you have mentioned so I can't give you a fair recommendation but I really think Monticello is the trip all would enjoy.

loopy1973 Aug 20th, 2007 03:06 AM

jgg - Thanks again! We did DC last year & my daughter loved it.

Birdie - We were planning to go to Busch Gardens the weekend we arrived, but we had several reservations. I hear it's a beautiful park, but we hesitated at the cost to just walk around. (We live 20 minutes from Cedar Point in Ohio, which is the roller coaster capitol of the world, so doubt we would waste time waiting in line for rides, as we have season passes up here.)

I think we will definitely check out Monticello, as I hear it is beautiful.

Thanks for the recommendations!

Lord_Mesron Aug 20th, 2007 06:37 AM

I would agree with many of the suggestions you have already received here. The only thing I would add is to try one of the Taverns in CW for dinner one night. It is a pretty cool experience that even your 12yr old will probably enjoy.

obxgirl Aug 20th, 2007 07:02 AM

loopy, You don't mention when you're visiting Wmbg in October but if it's the weekend of Oct 27, be aware that's Homecoming weekend for the College of William and Mary. You'll want to book restaurants way ahead.

Hall-O-Scream will be going on at Busch Gardens during October evenings. It's a lot of fun and also very popular. My daughter loved it at age 12.

MinnieNo1 Aug 20th, 2007 08:02 AM

We were in the Historic Triangle in May. You may want to check out my trip report. We really liked Historic Jamestown (a whole day) and the Yorktown Battlefield (1/2 day). If you have a chance to go to the battlefield, see if Ranger Kevin Lloyd is giving the tour. He was spectacular and made you feel as if you were there. Plan on seeing all the intro movies that they have. Some are quite old (but restored) and give a nice introduction of what you are going to see. Have a great time. I wonder if the people in that area know how lucky they are to have this.

loopy1973 Aug 20th, 2007 09:22 AM

lord mesron - We are planning on Christiana Campbell's one evening for dinner. I've been scared off of the others due to many bad reviews I've read (high prices, bad food, bad service). Have you been to Campbell's? If so, do you recommend it over the others?

obxgirl- Phew! We will be visiting 10/6-10/12, so should miss it.

MinnieNo1 - I will check out your report & probably be back with questions!

I really appreciate everyone's responses. I am new to Fodor's & now wish I had planned all of our trips here!!

Lord_Mesron Aug 20th, 2007 11:31 AM

Sorry loopy1973, but I didn't remember that that Christina Campbells was one of the Taverns. It has been a number of years since I was there and do not remember which two of the four tavern we tried. I do remember enjoying both, though.

girlwilltravel Aug 21st, 2007 03:56 PM

Do have a tavern dinner. I would go for Kings Arms and Christiana Campbells, and make a reservation because they fill up fast. I holiday in Colonial Williamsburg for years and have yet to have a bad dinner at any of the taverns. The atmosphere is not to be missed. Also, The Blue Talon and the Trellis are fantastic. There is do much to do that you won't be able to do and see it all in one day. Catch the Revolutionary City and will you be caught up in the action! You have some great suggestions here. George Washington's Mount Vernon is about a two and half to three hour drive north and shouldn't be missed. A new educational center and museum has just opened up and is fantastic. Jefferson's Monticello is wonderful, too. They are a must on our trips to Virginia. Enjoy!

FauxSteMarie Aug 21st, 2007 04:03 PM

Tangier and Smith Island are not a day trip from Williamsburg. There are no boats that leave for the islands from anywhere near where you are staying.

If you have time, put your car on the ferry and take it across the James River. The kids will enjoy that. On the other side is the GREAT Museum of the Civil War Soldier in Petersburg. This is a really terrific museum. It is expensive and privately run, but worth every penny. Just another option for you.

I do agree about getting tickets to night performances at CW, as they can sell out. In October, there might not be a problem (unless you are talking about the Columbus Day weekend).

In Jamestown there is a boat that you can take into the marshes. You see eagles and other birds. It makes a pleasant change of pace.

There is enough to do in the area to last you two weeks.

FauxSteMarie Aug 21st, 2007 04:06 PM

I am not a fan of the taverns. The entertainment is fine, but the food is just (in my opinion, mind you) average.

I like Barrett's Seafood in the little shopping center at the foot of the historic district.

Both of my children graduated from The College of William & Mary, so I have many trips to CW in my past. There are events (someone else mentioned homecoming) and football games that can make CW crowded.

obxgirl Aug 22nd, 2007 08:56 AM

Regarding the colonial taverns:

For the prices charged ($25-$30 entrees), the quality of the food is kinda mediocre. But what you are really paying for is the ambiance which, especially in the evening, can be very charming for a visitor. If the prices don't put you off, I'd definitely book a dinner at Christiana Campbells (seafood) or Kings Arms (beef). One isn't better than the other.

Those of us who live here or are frequent visitors may be a bit jaded about the whole colonial thing.

loopy1973 Aug 23rd, 2007 10:16 AM

Thank you all for the input. We will be visiting 10/6-10/12, so will be there for the weekend before Columbus Day thru the following Friday. Will this be an issue with crowds as FauxSteMarie mentioned?

We have decided to plan on taking the ferry to Surry County and exploring over there - Bacon's Castle, Smith's Ford & St Luke's Shrine. FauxSteMarie mentioned the Museum of the Civil War Soldier in Petersburg. How far is that from, say Smithfield? Also, where is a good place to eat lunch &/or dinner while over that way? I found Surrey House & Smithfield Station?????

I will make reservations for one dinner at Campbell's. I know a few of these were mentioned already, but can anyone give me feedback on any of the following for dinner - reservations? casual dress? $$$? Blue Talon, Fat Canary, Berret's, Yorkshire Steak & Seafood, The Whaling Co? We want good food at a reasonable price (willing to pay more if food & service are up to par), and casual dress, after walking all day.

One last question...we are going to try to see one or two of the plantations. I know Shirley Plantation was suggested earlier. I've been doing some reading & it looks like the only other house open for tours is Berkeley. Any feedback on this or Shirley? Are there any "not-to-miss" grounds we should plan on touring?

Thanks again all!!!!

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