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Trip Report Williamsburg, VA Trip Report

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Hi All - wanted to share some highlights from our recent week in Williamsburg, VA.

Background - the trip was courtesy of my company. They take us on a reward trip each year and this year Williamsburg was the chosen destination. They pay for lodging (usually RCI resorts) and airfare. Our only work obligations are a breakfast for the associates and a dinner for all family members, so a nice perk.

This year we stayed at the Wyndam Kingsgate. We had a one bedroom setup - the "B" side, which was fine for the two of us. It has a kitchenette with a two burner cooktop, apt size fridge and microwave/convection combo. The room had been remodeled recently so nice bathroom, also had a washer & dryer. My only complaint is that it was very dark, otherwise it was clean and had a nice location.

Here are some of the things we did during the week:
1) Colonial Williamsburg - ok, I know some will consider this lame, but we didn't pay the $40 pp to go into all of the buildings. We just strolled down through the village and took in the sites, watched the drum and fyfe core. I'm sure it would have been enjoyable, we just weren't in the mood that day. My co-workers who did go thought the living exhibits were interesting and very well done.

2) Jamestown - Again, we didn't do the experience center, but did watch the short movie at the visitors center and go walk around the original Jamestown site and visited the archariam (sp?) ie. the place they display all of the stuff they find in the archaeological digs. I thought that was really well done - it's cool to see the stuff they have recovered. You can also watch a dig in process, which I find fascinating. I think the 2 day pass for Jamestown and Yorktown was only $10 pp.

3) Yorktown - We drove the colonial parkway from Jamestown to Yorktown which was nice. Lots of places we could have stopped for a picnic had we only prepared in advance. Instead we ate at a 17th century house near the Yorktown battlefield, had a nice lunch. Again, we watched the short movie and then did a brief tour of the battlefield. Not really my thing, but DH is a history teacher so right up his alley.

4) Monticello - we took a day and drove to Charlottesville to go to Monticello about 2 hours from Williamsburg. For $20 pp you get a nice 30-40 minute guided tour of the first floor of the house and then you can tour the grounds and the "dependencies" i.e. kitchen, ice house, etc. on your own. There is also a nice visitor's center which has some historical items on display and more information about Jefferson. We probably spent 3 hours there and really enjoyed it, one of our highlights. After that we went into downtown Charlottesville and had a nice lunch. They have a very nice pedestrian mall with outdoor restaurants and some fun shops.

5) Williamsburg Winery - we went with friends to the reserve tasting at the Williamsburg Winery. You get a short tour and then the opportunity to sample 12 different wines. We had a good time and purchased a couple of bottles of wine to share with friends the remainder of the week. I'm not an expert on wines by any means, but those with me were surprised to find some very good reds.

6) Waller Mill Park - a lovely little park just on the edge of Williamsburg. We rented a pedal boat and just cruised around the lake on Sunday morning. You can't beat that for $8!

7) One day in DC - my company arranged for a bus to take us on a day trip to Washington DC. Three hours each way, so we only had 8 hours in the city. We had been there before, so thankfully didn't have to try to do all of the highlights in one day. Instead we went to the National Portrait Gallery, & American Art which was closed last time we were in DC. We enjoyed the New Deal art as well as the presidential portraits. George W's portrait is scary good. Bill Clinton's not so much. We also did a quick tour of the "air" portion of the Air & Space Museum and the Native American museum. I was a bit disappointed with the Native American museum. Not sure what I expected -- maybe I was just tired from walking for 5 hours.

8) Food!! - Thanks to those who responded to my questions about places to eat. Our highlight was definitely our dinner class at Chef's Kitchen. We had a group of 10 from my company and we all thought it was a great time. For $75 each we got a 5 course dinner plus three types of wine in addition to champagne and appetizers. The seating is stadium style and you get to watch and ask questions while the food is prepared. Kind of like Food Network live. I would highly recommend this to anyone. We also really liked The Blue Talon (went there twice, once for lunch and once for dinner), Fat Canary (try the fresh mozarella & ham appetizer!) and Sal's Pizza. Mixed reviews on Pierce's Pit BBQ. Didn't really care for Mama Steve's Pancake house. It's been open since 1964 and not a thing in the place has changed since, including the wait staff. Scary.

9) Shopping - we also hit the Williamsburg outlet mall and their antique mall. The outlet mall is huge and has a lot of good stores. The antique mall was your standard variety.

All in all, we thought Williamsburg had a lot to offer. For my colleagues who had kids, they also enjoyed Busch Gardens, Water Country and trips to Va. Beach. Their are package passes that incorporate Busch Gardens, Water Country and the Historical Triangle.

Thanks to all of the Fodorites who helped with info on this trip - you are amazingly helpful!

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