Williamsburg In September

Old Sep 6th, 2004, 10:18 AM
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Williamsburg In September

My family, consisting of two adults and two kids, 2 and 4 years, are planning a trip to Williamsburg from 11 Sep through 18 Sep. Realizing that Busch Gardens is only open during the weekends in Septmeber, we want to make sure we have enough to do during the week. We obviously plan on visiting Colonial Willaimsburg, but we would love some recommendations for sightseeing and restaurants that would suit this group. Can someone give us some recommendations? Also, any recommendations of a driving route from NJ?

Thanks!
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Old Sep 6th, 2004, 01:01 PM
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The 4 yr old would probably enjoy dressing in colonial garb, rentals are available. Go to www.history.org & find what exhibits are open on which days, and find ones of most interest. Kids seem to like the march with fife & drums at the end of most days, and the kids can join.

Most people would take NJTP down to the end, cross Del. Mem. bridge, then I-95 south to the I-295 loop to the east of Richmond, then connecting to I-64. If you'd like to avoid DC traffic, take US 301 after crossing Del Mem Bridge. You could rejoin I-95 below Fredericksburg, or you could take US-17 down to Yorktown, and drive the Colonial Parkway to Williamsburg. I have posted frequently about Williamsburg, so if you click on my name you'll find a number of related posts and suggestions about Wbg, including some from Wbg locals.

There are a few harbor cruises from out of Hampton & Newport News -- see that largest ship building yards in the world and the worlds largest navy base. Old Merry-go-round at Hampton, with an Air/Space museum next door.

Not fine dining, but two local favorites are Pierces BBQ (Rochambeau Rd), and Sals by Victor in Wbg Shopping Center, corner of Monticello & Richmond Rd, just W of W&M College. I also like La Casita on Richmond Rd across from Applebees. I have noticed that many Chinese restaurants seem to welcome children, and the servers often go out of their way to entertain & amuse the kids, a cultural thing, I'm sure. There is a Chinese rest. near the K-Mart off By-Pass Road, also near the railroad overpass, that has been recommended to me, but I've not yet tried it.

If you're looking for a slow, leisurely week, consider driving down GSPW to Cape May, take ferry to Lewes, drive down the coast, maybe try to see wild ponies at Assateague (near Ocean City MD) or Chincoteague (below MD/VA state line). Take a boat ride to Tangier Island, in the Chesapeake, and so isolated that you'll still detect an Elizabethian accent. Ride across the Bay Bridge/Tunnel, stopping at the rest area at the south end of the south tunnel, where you might see an aircraft carrier or other large ships pass thru. Find a nice beach & lighthouse off Rt 60, & continue to VaBeach. There's a marine museum at VAB, with special displays for kids. Explore nature walks at Newport News City Park, exit #250 (?) of I-64 on your way to Wbg. I can't remember the name of the animal park in NN, near Deer Park. Good luck, and if I have any I will be there 9/17-20 as well.
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Old Sep 7th, 2004, 05:36 AM
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RB has given you some good ideas about things to do. You might also plan on spending one afternoon or morning at Jamestown, which is a short drive down Colonial Pkwy. There are large boats for them to see and go on and indian huts, a village and a fort. Also, the ferry ride to nearby Surry is free and a fun thing to do that I think they would enjoy. However, for children as young as yours, you might consider shortening your stay as far as entertaining them is concerned. The area is full of history and quite interesting for adults, but not so much for young kids.
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Old Sep 7th, 2004, 11:52 AM
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We take the ferry route down the eastern shore whenever we visit NJ. Came that way this weekend as a matter of fact. It is a much less stressful route than 95 and really not much longer. Great things for preschoolers include: the VA Living Museum in Newport News (a must for that age group), Kidsburg playground on Ironbound Rd. in Wmsbg, Jamestown Settlement (not the National Park), a walk on one of the beaches on the parkway, swimming at Yorktown beach on the river, the children's museum in Portsmouth (an hr away but worth the drive), feeding the ducks and carp at the Golden Horseshoe golf course, mini golf at the course on Richmond Rd. (older, prettier, and more turtles than the big one on Bypass), plus as you mentioned, Busch Gardens and CW. I also like Casa Maya and the Colonial Restaurant. A search will give you more must dos and restaurants.
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Old Sep 7th, 2004, 07:05 PM
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I'm a local, so I'm gonna add a couple things that some people may disagree with.

Pete's BBQ, IMHO, is not very good. Red Hot and Blue (yes, the chain) is far better, and there is one on Richmond Rd. Finding Pete's can be an adventure in itself, but not very worth it in my opinion.

One of my favorite restaurants is Shackelfords, it's a little out of the tourist area, but is kid friendly and a great value.

This is fairly mundane, but might give you a break, the Barnes and Nobles next to the historic area has kids story times a couple times a week for different age groups.

You might also include an afternoon at the outlets, there are some outlets here I haven't found anywhere else.
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Old Sep 7th, 2004, 07:46 PM
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Another local checking in. kmchick, when you say "Pete's" do you mean "Pierces" BBQ? For my money, Pierces is the real thing. The smoke house is right behind the restaurant. RH&B was good 10 years ago but is just chain glop now.

Buy hey, that's opinions for you. Everyone gets one. Although I gotta say, rb's opinion gets special consideration. He's the pro on visiting Wmburg.
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Old Sep 8th, 2004, 06:53 AM
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I've got to give my "yes!" vote on Pierces. I love their BBQ. Combine it with a trip out to Waller Mill Park for some fishing, walking, and duck feeding. I also want to add that the Abby Aldrich folk museum next to the Golden Horseshoe golf course in CW is great for kids. Lots of bright colors, fun pictures and animal scluptures. I'll add more preschooler activities as I think of them.
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Old Sep 8th, 2004, 07:03 AM
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My husband drags me into Pierce's whenever we get within smelling range. I'm not a big BBQ fan so trust me not when I say it's just BBQ.
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Old Sep 8th, 2004, 07:16 AM
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The Living Museum, suggested by Birdie, is the place near Deer Park in NN that I was trying to remember the name of. I like Red Hot & Blue, but consider it too much of a "chain" experience, like going to Outback or Olive Garden; good, but just not local. Pierces has a good breakfast too at reasonable prices. I recently posted in a thread on Fredericksburg restaurants that we'd stopped for gas at "Central Park", and the wonderful odors of the BBQ coming from a chain next door still haunts us - wish we'd stopped. That was a RH&B.

I think the kids would enjoy A.A.R. Folk Art museum too, and there are a LOT of stops on the Colonial Parkway where the kids can explore nature and exercise their legs & lungs. Kids seem to like trains, so stop at the station in Williamsburg for awhile. There are some areas of Oceanview & Willoughby Spit in Norfolk, just over the Hampton Rds Bridge/Tunnel (I-64) where you could wade/swim, and watch large boats/ships entering the H.R. harbor. Go to Norfolk and visit Nauticus ($), take a tour of the battleship (free), go over to Waterside (shopping/restaurants) and take the ferry over to Portsmouth to visit Childrens Museum and a lighthouse-boat museum, see if trolleys of Old Town Portsmouth still available. A farther drive could take you to Nags Head area & watch the hang-gliding off the large sand dunes.

For you locals: I've got to try Casa Maya. Has the hotel that it's at (was a HOJO) been renovated? The hotel always gave me the creeps because it seems deserted and I'm wary of places with "rooms by week or month". I stayed at a "Best Inn" on Bypass a few years ago that was under renovations. It had a semi-sphere glass enclosure on it's pool, which was smashed last spring ... has that place re-opened, and if so, as what? Thanks. I'm gonna try to change my 9/17-20 trip to 10/2-5 so I can go to "An Occasion for the Arts" on Sunday 10/3.
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Old Sep 8th, 2004, 07:24 AM
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I do not think the motel has been renovated. It is extremely dark and dismal.

I normally can ignore the fact that Casa Maya is in the motel - unless someone has to go to the bathroom!

The restaurant shares a bathroom with the motel and you have to walk through the dark and dismal lobby and go up a dark and dismal stairway to get to the dark and dismal facilities!

Just make sure you go to the bathroom before you leave your hotel/timeshare/house and you will be just fine!

I am not sure of the name for the old Best Inn. I will try to drive by there today and let you know!
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Old Sep 8th, 2004, 07:39 AM
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Why, thank-you, Renee. Make no special trip, I was just wondering. The place (Best Inn) was in great condition when I stayed there, so I found it strange it would be closed for so long, and the pool-atrium looked to be the work of vandels. I guess my feelings about the HoJo were on-target. We had a Mexican restaurant in our area that advertised, "Mexican food so authentic you'll be afraid to drink the water" -- LOL!. I stopped at a place on 2nd Street that was OK, but nothing to brag about -- can't remember the name, but I think they had another location in a motel near the Pottery Factory.

Even if you're not a shopper, a trip to the "Pottery Factory" is a must just to see the place. Some deals, but a lot of crap and weird stuff. Nothing like it was back in the 70's tho.
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Old Sep 8th, 2004, 07:57 AM
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Hi rb! I like the food at Casa Maya but agree that the enivrons leaves a little to be desired. My mother won't set foot in the place but I agree with renee...just skip the restroom! My favorite dish there is the Enchiladas Asadas. The owners and staff are very welcoming. A good friend of ours used to sing traditional Cuban & Mexican songs on there Sunday evening. He,sadly for us, relocated back to Houston this summer so now we usually do take away.

The place on 2nd St with the duplicate in the hotel on Richmond Rd. is called La Toteca. Pretty average I think.

There is another place, Tequila Rose, on Rt 143 (Busch Gardens side of town) with another in Toano. Very highly recommended.

Wmbg has a growing hispanic community and we are reaping the benefits. It's still not New Mexico but so much better than a few years back when Taco Bell was rated the Best Mexican Restaurant in town!
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Old Sep 8th, 2004, 08:50 AM
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Sorry, I meant pierce's BBQ. I know it's very popular, but neither my husband or I like it. We've spent pleanty of time in the south (Alabama and Mississippi), and it's just not that impressive to us. Are their ribs the attraction or somthing other than the standard BBQ on a bun? I'm very anti-chain resturant most of the time, but make an exception for RH&B. Barrett's Taphouse Grill (the outside area) in Merchant's Square has excellent BBQ, but costs more and closes for the winter.

There's a "Martha Washington talks to the children" performance that happens regularly in the summer, I'm not sure how far into the fall that will continue. It's really amazing and can hold the interest of 5 year olds, so it might be worth a try for your 4 year old. I spend a lot of time in the colonial area, so I'll post again if I notice any other "kid friendly" activities.
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Old Sep 8th, 2004, 07:37 PM
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Gosh - Thanks to everyone for your great tips. I can just print and go. I'll let everyone know how it turns out.
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Old Sep 10th, 2004, 10:19 AM
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rbtraveler -
The hotel is named "The Hotel Williamsburg." The outside looks really nice. They did a good job.
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Old Jan 5th, 2005, 07:16 PM
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Great suggestions....anything new to add?
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Old Jan 6th, 2005, 06:23 PM
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obxgirl and other locals - just tried Tequila Rosa and it was very very good! Lots of Spanish being spoken and the staff were really nice. Give it a try and let me know what you think. I see I was too late for Pints and Pipes - LOL

Enjoy your trip SydKayMom - we love Williamsburg!!!
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