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Monday, December 17, 2012

Christmastime in Colonial Williamsburg - Days 15 & 16

This past Saturday our family got up at 4:30 am and headed down the road to Colonial Williamsburg. We started going to Williamsburg when I was around 9 or 10 years old. Its a magical place. I really believe that these early visits to Williamsburg is where my love of costuming and history stems from. I loved dressing up and talking to all the interpreters. I couldn't get enough of this place. Fast forward 15 years and I still love the costumes (though, I don't dress up anymore) and the history, and the houses, and the magic of it all.

For as long as I can remember my mom has been talking about wanting to go down to Williamsburg for Christmas. If its a magical place the rest of the year its especially magical at Christmas time. There is something about the holidays that brings out the best in people and in the places that they inhabit. Everything is dresses up in beautiful greenery and twinkling lights. There is hot cider and fat gingerbread men. Its a great way to get into the holiday spirit.

We stayed at the Williamsburg Inn, which was awesome. Its where the Queen Mum stayed when she visited back in the day. The service was incredible and the building and grounds was beautiful. I got lost a few times trying to find my room because all the hallways looked the same, but it was totally worth it. The Inn was originally built by the Rockefellers in the 1930's as a place for their friends and family to stay in luxury while  they visited the newly opened Colonial Williamsburg. The Inn is just a block from the main street of the museum of Colonial Williamsburg.

We spent the whole weekend walking around the small museum town taking in the decorations, eating the amazing food, and enjoying the atmosphere. One of the unique things about Colonial Williamsburg is that its not just a stagnant museum, the people who work for the foundation actually live on the campus and in the historical houses. Some of the original out houses, such as the kitchens and barns have been turned into houses and the people who live there take decorating for Christmas very seriously. 

Every year the foundation has a wreath decorating competition. There is a cash prize and a ton of bragging rights on the line. This competition insures that the buildings are all decorated beautifully. All the wreaths are unique and hugely creative. The wreaths are decorated with fresh and dried fruit, dried flowers, feathers, shells  vegetables and other items that would have been available to the original occupants of the town. Just Google "Williamsburg Wreath Photos" and see what comes up. Its amazing. 

One of the highlights of the trip was witnessing one of the coolest innovations in live theatre that I've seen in a while. Its not even a new concept, but its something that pretty much one on is doing anymore. Street theatre. Virginia Theatre Machine is a two man show out of a traveling trailer that is set up and broken down every weekend in the town square of Williamsburg. 

Their Christmas show is a 30 minute version of a Christmas Carol done with puppets and clever gimmicks. Its a bit loud and silly for my usual preferred style, but that is what is required for drawing and keeping an audience who is standing in the street in the cold for 30 minutes. I was really impressed with the production quality and the script (which is reworked every year to keep things fresh), and the acting of the man who played Scrooge and did all the voices for the other characters which were portrayed by puppets.

I can't recommend Colonial Williamsburg at Christmastime highly enough. Its completely worth the trip. You can find plenty to for everyone in the family to do. Learning about the history of Christmas in the country and enjoying the festivities is such a great way to get in the holiday mood! 

Happy Christmas everyone! God save the King!


  1. Oh goshhhh I miss that place. I LOVED going there when I was younger. I think about it often! I think I need to get back there asap! It looks like you had an amazing time.


    1. It can't be too far for you guys? I'm sure you could do a weekend trip. Its so wonderful! I am looking forward to taking Jude when he is old enough to appreciate more than just the horses.