Tag Archives: Colonial Williamsburg

Three Thanksgiving Ideas (that don’t involve cooking)

Not all of us are blessed with large families, but we still want to celebrate Thanksgiving.  How to celebrate Thanksgiving for one or two?  If you don’t really want to cook a huge feast?  Here are some of my favorite past Thanksgiving activities and some new ideas to try…

An Old Fashioned Thanksgiving at Graves Mountain Lodge

Book now for overnight accommodations and Thanskgiving at Graves Mountain Lodge in Syria, Virginia.  Or just drive in for lunch or dinner.  The food is served family style, and is old-fashioned in flavor: ham, turkey, home-made rolls, sweet potatoes, fried oysters.  Lunch or dinner is $40 for adults and $20 for kids.  Be sure to purchase some of their apple butter and green pepper jelly for holiday gifting.  During the day, there is the farm to explore.  At night, there is usually a frosty hay ride into the mountains.  Luray Caverns is nearby, for a Friday side-trip.


A Historical Thanksgiving in Williamsburg

Hotel rates are generally quite low ($35-$50/night is not uncommon) and you can find bargains for this weekend. Explore Historic Jamestown and be transported back to a village of Native Americans and a 17th century English settlement.  You’ll really get a feeling of what the times were like around the time of the earliest Thanksgiving observations.  Colonial Williamsburg is also worth a visit, especially on Friday for shopping, and you don’t have to pay the admission fee to enjoy much of it.  We’ve enjoyed Thanksgiving dinner at the Fireside Chophouse in Williamsburg. The prix fixe dinner included a creamy soup, a plate of Thanksgiving favorites, and coffee and pie.  I thought it was just fine. We poked around the Christmas Mouse afterwards (open Thanksgiving night) and looked at the hundreds of Christmas ornaments for sale there.  A post-Thanksgiving visit to Christmastown Busch Gardens is a must (opens at 3 pm on Friday) and a bus from the historic area takes you right there, so you don’t even have to drive.

A Cultural Thanksgiving in Richmond

The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts is open 365 days a year, including Thanksgiving.  You can enjoy a rather sophisticated meal in their upscale restaurant, Amuse, for $52/person — 3 courses includes offers like an appetizer of roasted oysters, an entree of game hen, and molasses cake with pumpkin ice cream.  Or head to the Patrick Henry Pub & Grill for deep-fried turkey on their buffet.  I haven’t tried either of these restaurants, actually, but the menus sound delicious to me. Afterwards, check out VMFA’s exhibit on Hollywood costumes and fashion, “Made in Hollywood,” and explore their fabulous gift shop for unique and artsy holiday gifts.  At night, catch a movie at the Byrd Theatre. Shopping at the Carytown boutiques would be a perfect way to spend Small Business Saturday.

Any ideas?

If you don’t cook on Thanksgiving or get together with family, how do you celebrate?  Share your tips and ideas!

Cool Yule Shopping Review: Colonial Williamsburg

Christmas ornament at The Santa Mouse

Williamsburg is a three-and-1/2 hour drive from the Washington, DC area — and 95 South is never any fun until you pass Fredericksburg — but it may be worth a visit for you if you are in the mood to mix holiday shopping with historic sightseeing.   I just spent the Thanksgiving holiday with my mom in Colonial Williamsburg and Jamestown and we discovered lots of treasures in the local shops, in addition to wonderful dining and sightseeing.  Best of all, everyone was amazingly friendly to us.

On Thanksgiving night, The Christmas Mouse was open and we explored two floors of decorated trees and walls of ornaments.  The prices were reasonable, and the staff was helpful. Some ladies were visiting from Canada (where the dollar is stronger) and were buying out the store.  I found a sparkly green sea horse ornament for my tree, and mom took home a bevy of ballerina ornaments for her ballet buddies.

Christmas Mouse

Decorated trees at The Christmas Mouse

Mom making her purchases at The Christmas Mouse

There is all kinds of great shopping in the Colonial Williamsburg area.  One of the best Christmas music compilation CDs I have seen is available at Everything Williamsburg for $14.95.  I also liked their seasonal soap set ($12 for a set, $2 for each small bar) in scents like orange and clove, fig pudding, and pomegranate.

Saturday Morning Farmer’s Market

Check out the outdoor farmer’s market on Saturday morning in Merchant’s Square (adjacent to the historic section of Colonial Williamsburg).  Vendors offered everything fro holiday greenery, fresh goat cheese, Greek pastries, honey products, and handmade gingerbread houses.

Gingerbread houses for sale at the Farmer’s Market in Williamsburg

Mom checks out the greenery for sale

 

Binns of Williamsburg, a local fashion boutique, presented a beautiful selection of gifts at their outdoor display at the open-air market, including Faberge-style Christmas ornaments (about $36 each), wooden German pyramids (the kind that are candle-powered), and Christmas candies.  The display reminded me of a Christkindl Market from Germany.

Binns of Williamsburg outdoor display

German pyramids at Binns of Williamsburg

Faberge-style egg ornaments

A Christmas Carol

If you go, try to catch one of the free, street performances of “A Christmas Carol” presented by two gentlemen from Virginia Theater Machine.   It’s only 17 minutes long and it’s hilarious!