Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Trips + Traditions: Williamsburg

My family has been going to Williamsburg for as long as I can remember. My parents started taking my brother and I when we were little, and the tradition continued after my sister was born. We go almost every summer for a couple of days, which makes for a great mini-vacation. On Thursday, my mom sent me a text asking if I wanted to take a quick trip to the colonial town, so Stephen and I drove up to Virginia on Friday night.

Saturday morning, we met my grandmother, aunt & uncle, and sister at Colonial Pancake House, a hole-in-the-wall on the outside and with delicious food cooked on the inside. My parents, my dad especially, is all about tradition, so we eat here every single time we go. After a delicious breakfast, my parents, Stephen, sister and I headed to Busch Gardens. It was a bit of a rainy day at first, which I was disappointed about, but it turned out to be a fun day anyway. Fun fact: I was petrified of roller coasters until I was about 15, but now I've turned into a bit of an adrenaline junkie. I absolutely love roller coasters now, though a trip to the top of Mach Tower (a 265-foot tower that gives you incredible views until it drops to the bottom) left me feeling a little weak in the knees. I'll tell anyone to visit Busch Gardens -- though it's full of thrill-seeking rides, it's also the overall experience. The grounds are filled with incredible gardens and animals, there are plenty of shows to be seen, and with the Europe-themed sections of the park, you get a cultural experience right here in the United States. I love these fun moments with my family, so I was a bit sad when we left the park (though the ice cream cone I had in tow made it a little bit better.)

Sunday morning, we woke up, visited the Colonial Pancake House once again, and explored Colonial Williamsburg and some of the great shops. Merchant's Square is such a unique place -- there are lots of fun shops and restaurants, complete with a general store. I always find something when shopping here; this year, I kept it minimal and just picked up a fun pineapple trinket dish and a few gifts for friends. After shopping, mom, dad, Stephen, and I walked around Colonial Williamsburg. My parents did a ghost tour on Friday night before we got there, and so they had some fun things to share with us. Before we knew it, it was time to pack up and go home. Another tradition? Taking the ferry from Surry to Jamestown and back again. We stood true to this both coming and going, so we parted ways with my parents on the ferry.

Wanting to head to Willamsburg? Here are a few suggestions. If you've been, I'd love some suggestions for where we should visit as well!

Dining -- 
Breakfast at the Colonial Pancake House: Don't be discouraged by the outward appearance. Delicious breakfast awaits on the inside.

Lunch at Dog Street Pub: Right in the heart of Merchants Square and Colonial Williamsburg, this is the perfect lunch (or dinner) spot.

Dinner at the Aberdeen Barn: If you love steak or seafood, this is a great dinner option. I would suggest the Delmonico.

Thrill Seeking --
Busch Gardens: I can't say enough about BG. I wouldn't consider myself a theme-park enthusiast, but I do love Busch Gardens. The rides, the shows, the food, the gardens - you won't be disappointed.

History Buffs --
Colonial Williamsburg: Whether you purchase a ticket for a tour or wander through the town on your own, you're sure to get your history fix and learn a thing or two. Be sure to stop by the Governor's Palace.

Jamestown: Ever wonder what an early-American settlement was like? Visit Jamestown to get a peek into what life was like.

Shopping --
Merchants Square: Full of unique charm and fun shops. Get an old-fashioned snack and a few mementos at the General Store, and find great gifts at Williamsburg Celebrations.

Outlets: Want to get out of Colonial Williamsburg for a bit? Head over to the outlets for an afternoon of shopping complete with Kate Spade, Michael Kors, and the like.

The Pottery: What started as a pottery stand in the 1930s has turned into a shopping haven with several marketplaces. Pottery, framing, floral arrangements -- this is the place to go.

Stay -- 
The Williamsburg Inn: We don't stay here everytime we visit, but if you have the chance to stay, I would highly recommend it. It first opened in 1937, and the rooms are rich and vibrant, full of English-Regency style furnishings. Royals, celebrities, and the like have stayed here, and it is definitely a vision that the Rockefellers wanted it to be.

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