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Quick trip to Williamsburg

Atlanta, Georgia
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Quick trip to Williamsburg

My wife and I are taking advantage of a last minute airfare sale to visit Williamsburg at the end of March. We have a late flight into Richmond on Fri Mar 30, and then four full days for sightseeing. I have been to Williamsburg once before (as a teenager in the 1970s), but my wife has never been. Right now we are trying to work out lodging and activities.

On my previous trip to Williamsburg, we stayed in one of the hotels at the historic district (not sure which one), and that was really convenient. I like the idea of the Colonial Houses, but they are probably out of our budget. The best prospect of that type that I have so far is Fife and Drum Inn, which shows one room available for that weekend (the Webster Hitchens Room). The pictures and description look nice enough, but I'm curious why that's still available when the rest of their calendar is basically "full".

I am thinking to spend two days at Wiliamsburg with a possible side trip to Jamestown (I have been there on that same previous trip, wife has not). From previous forum topics, Jamestown looks to be about a half day deal (which is what I remember from before), and then that leaves a couple of days/nights in Williamsburg.

Besides Williamsburg, I am considering a couple of days around Natural Bridge. My family is originally from that area but I have never been there. I know there is not a lot to do besides the Bridge (and Foamhenge :-), so it would be more of a "sentimental journey" than anything else. I am thinking to pair this with a visit to Monticello on the way back to Richmond (note that if questions about Natural Bridge or Monticello are better asked in a different forum, then I am happy to redirect there). I realize this is not close to Wiliamsburg (3-4 hours drive), but I am OK with that.

I'll post a proposed itinerary separately for comments. Any advice is appreciated.

-JimG

Atlanta, Georgia
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1. Re: Quick trip to Williamsburg

Here is what I am currently working on for an itinerary:

Fri, 3/30 - Arrive RIC (10:40 PM), pick up rental car, flop at a hotel on I-295

Sat, 3/31 - Drive (early!) to Jamestown via Hwy 5, look around, depart early afternoon for Williamsburg

Sun, 4/1 - All day and overnight in Williamsburg

Mon, 4/2 - Drive to Natural Bridge, overnight nearby (possibly Herring Hall)

Tue, 4/3 - Drive to Monticello, back to RIC, depart (7:15 PM)

Any comments on this? I am a little concerned that there may be too much driving and not enough sightseeing. Of course if the scenery is nice then that's not so bad. :-)

All comments are welcome.

-JimG

Williamsburg, VA
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2. Re: Quick trip to Williamsburg

If you can get a room at the Fife and Drum Inn at that time, grab it! The Inn is on Prince George Street, in the middle of Williamsburg shopping and one block from Colonial Williamsburg's restored area. The congenial innkeepers can supply you with CW tickets, guided tours and, most importantly, a convenient and lovely place to stay.

Natural Bridge, while also in Virginia, is a long way from here. Suggest that you consider visiting there on your way from or to Atlanta -- that would be easier than getting here, travelling all the way across the state, and then coming back. If you decide to visit Natural Bridge antoher time, there is plenty to do here in the Historic Triangle for all of your four day stay.

Richmond is only 45 minutes from Williamsburg, so you may as well come into town after your late flight arrival, as the traffic will be minimal, and while there are plenty of hotels right at the RIC airport, there are few between there and here.

Edited: 09 March 2012, 00:39
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3. Re: Quick trip to Williamsburg

I see that you are flying in, so obviously driving to NatBridge as part of your trip to/from Atlanta is not possible. As mentioned earlier, that's a lot of driving over and back -- perhaps staying in this area for the duration of your stay and making another trip to western VA might take a little stress off your vacation.

Edited: 09 March 2012, 00:46
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4. Re: Quick trip to Williamsburg

Thanks BixDoc, I was sort of thinking the same thing. I know there is enough in the Historic Triangle to keep us busy for 3-4 days, but I am not sure there is enough in Natural Bridge to justify a dedicated second trip, as my only real interest in that area is my historical/family connections. That plus I have always wanted to visit Monticello, so saw an opportunity to do that as well.

I really don't mind the driving, other than that it takes additional time out of our visit. Basically my thought was that we could always "come back" to Williamsburg if we wanted to (and we probably would!). I'm not sure when or if I'd ever do Natural Bridge on its own.

The idea behind staying near RIC the first night is that with a 10:40 PM arrival, by the time we pick up our rental car and clear the airport, we would not be in Williamsburg until about midnight. Under those circumstances it made more sense to me to stay in a less expensive hotel and then take the scenic morning drive to Jamestown than to drive an hour to Wmsburg in the dark.

I'll give it some more thought - thanks for your recommendations. I'll give Fife and Drum a call to see if they still have that room.

-JimG

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5. Re: Quick trip to Williamsburg

For your first night, I'd recommend staying in one of the hotels near the airport (look for places in Sandston on Williamsburg Road or International Center Drive). Then you can drive to Jamestown via Highway 5, and come back in to Williamsburg by way of the Colonial Parkway. It's a lovely drive. Recommend Historic Jamestowne if you don't have time to visit both Historic Jamestowne and Jamestown Settlement.

Natural Bridge is pretty far - I'll echo BixDoc and suggest you save that for another trip. You'll find more than enough to keep you busy while in Williamsburg!

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6. Re: Quick trip to Williamsburg

Just read your reply. Natural Bridge may not have enough on its own, but then there is Monticello, Ashlawn-Highland, Montpelier, wineries around Charlottesville, Staunton, Skyline Drive, Blue Ridge Parkway, all within reach of Natural Bridge. Just as there is a lot around here, there's a lot over there, too.

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7. Re: Quick trip to Williamsburg

Well I pulled the trigger on three nights at the Fife and Drum Inn. We will stick with the original plan of spending Friday night near RIC and then driving to Jamestown on Saturday morning via Hwy 5. I mainly want to see Historic Jamestowne, but may stop at Jamestown Settlement if we have time. After that we will spend a couple days in Williamsburg, and I think we may run down to Newport News one day to tour the Mariner's Museum.

Is there anything else in the area that we should consider? We are in our early to mid 50s but are very active. We enjoy outdoor activities (hiking, etc) and historical and cultural sites (museums, art galleries, etc). We are not real in big on guided tours or nightlife - would probably prefer a concert or a movie instead.

I've checked the on-line calendar at colonialwilliamsburg.com - the only thing of interest I found was a Celtic music concert at the Kimball Theater on Saturday evening. Some of the reenactments and historic programs might be interesting, but hard to tell from the descriptions. Any and all suggestions welcome.

-JimG

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8. Re: Quick trip to Williamsburg

When you visit Historic Jamestowne, check to see if the Chicken Lady is giving her first person interpretation that day. She is one of the best I have ever listened to. If she is still there, you will really enjoy her program.

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9. Re: Quick trip to Williamsburg

Here's a link to what's on at the Kimball Theatre in March and April: colonialwilliamsburg.com/visit/whatToSeeAndD…

Be sure to take in at least some of the Revolutionary City programs, and try to catch a conversation with a Founding Father. Also enjoy a meal in one of Colonial Williamsburg's taverns. Tour one or more of the major buildings (Capital, Palace, Magazine) and visit trade shops that interest you. The Tavern Ghosts Walk is popular and entertaining.

On your trip back to Richmond, you could again take John Tyler Highway (Route 5) and stop at a plantation or two.

If you're interested in theme parks, Busch Gardens is open that week.

Hope this helps, ask if you have more questions, and enjoy your visit!

Atlanta, Georgia
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10. Re: Quick trip to Williamsburg

Thanks, Zoey1996 - we try to be very relaxed when we travel, and have a tendency to wander around aimlessly, stopping wherever we see something that looks interesting. We're also not real fond of timetables, and usually prefer to schedule no more than one "timed" event per day (either first thing in the morning or last thing at night). Often we will just set a loose itinerary (sort of a travel "to do" list), and then make adjustments as we go (usually by crossing things *off* our list, because we spent longer than expected at something else earlier in the day).

Thanks for the Kimball theater link - some good choices there, but not too many that coincide with our travel dates (except the aforementioned concert by "Poisoned Dwarf" - what a great band name!). I also checked the calendars for both William and Mary College as well as Bruton Parish Church to see what they had going on, but didn't find much there either. I guess we will just "play it by ear" (hah!).

I was looking at some of the Plantation websites last night. I noticed that several of them allow visitors to stroll the grounds, but many of the houses are closed to the public. Is there any one in particular that you recommend?

We're no longer that interested in theme parks now that our kids are grown (although the Roller Coaster Insder tour looks like fun!). Given the choice, we'd probably rather do a nature hike instead.

-JimG

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