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First Night Williamsburg?

fnewman

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DRI Platinum member: Diamond US Collection, Cypress Point I, Powhatan Plantation, San Luis Obispo.
Is anyone planning to be at Powhatan the week after Christmas? Planning to attned "First Night Williamsburg"? What's that all about?​
 

pjrose

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First Night was First NightMARE

Not at Powhatan, but we will be in Williamsburg for our umpteenth Christmas-New Year's.

We did First Night once, and never will again. You buy a button (your "ticket") that allows you entrance into as many events as you want. There are dozens of events - concerts, comedy, children's performances. The problems are that 1) the events are spread out among different locations so you have to drive around unless you limit yourself to just one location, and 2) everything is incredibly crowded.

If you want to go to something at 8 and something else at 9, you probably can't, b/c by the time the 8:00 one is over (if you even got in) you're going to be at the end of the line for the 9:00 one - if you're even in the same building.

The time we went we stood in very long lines for at least 4-5 events, and only actually made it into 1. A lot of the locations were also poorly designed, so the people leaving exited through the same door as those arriving, making the crowding even worse.

Food was also a problem. Again, there were various offerings, but either there were huge lines, no tables, or both.

Afterward there were very nice fireworks outside - if the weather isn't too cold, we will go to them, but that didn't require a button.

This was about 5-6 years ago, and maybe they've figured out a way to improve it, as there were LOTS of people complaining. You might want to call or email the organizers and ask about the problems I've mentioned before buying buttons and planning to go.

It'll be my son's 19th birthday, and he doesn't like to go places, so I'm sure we'll sit in our TS and enjoy the fireplace and some DVDs instead.
 

Holly

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We will be there over New Year's as well. For those Williamsburg pros, what are the "not miss" things that we should try and do? We will be at the Manor Club.
 

pjrose

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We will be there over New Year's as well. For those Williamsburg pros, what are the "not miss" things that we should try and do? We will be at the Manor Club.

We've stayed at Ford's Colony 2-3 times over the years and liked it, though this time we're at King's Creek b/c it was recommended as having a better pool.

Definitely go to Colonial Williamsburg - not just the buildings, but sign up for some of the special activities. We like the archeology lab tour, stables tour, ghosts, trial...lots of options, many at no extra cost beyond the pass. If it's open, you can go to one of the old classrooms in the College of William and Mary. All of these places are staffed by interpreters who are very well trained in representing the time period. The apothecary is cool - incredible original blue/white crockery for all the assorted herbs and drugs, and the pharmacist will tell you just what potions will help with what ails you (leeches, licorice, etc). Really all of the recreated shops are recommended - the printer, the bookbinder, the jail, shoe maker, blacksmith...we go every few years and still spend a good 3 days going back to the same places.

If it's still open - not sure if they closed it - but the insane asylum that is part of CW is particularly good. I know there was some construction in the area..... Same with the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Museum - as I recall it was being torn down and its contents moved to a new location, but I don't remember the details.

We get our passes at AAA at home at a discount. Start at the visitor center - there's a film and a lot of information.

Both Jamestown and Yorktowne have two sites - I think in each case one is maintained by the National Park Service, and the other is maintained by the state. Each of the four takes around a half day. I may have this wrong....but the state Jamestown one is particularly good, with a fort, indian village, and repicas of the Mayflower and other boats. You can get combo tickets, and they aren't very expensive.

If you like shopping, there are several outlet malls that are an easy 5 or so minute drive from Ford's colony. They have pretty much the same shops as all the other outlet malls I've been to. One unique place is "the pottery" - the Williamsburg Pottery Outlet - just another 5 minutes down the road from the outlet malls. Depending on how much of a shopper you are, this one place can easily take several hours or more. There are multiple buildings, lots of pottery, kitchen stuff, gourmet/ethnic food, outdoor statues/fountains......not at all like the outlet mall stores.

Last time we stayed at Ford's Colony over New Years there was a free New Year's Eve party either downstairs from the lobby building, or in the next building over. It was low key but fun and included some food, wine, and party hats/noise makers.

Ford's colony is in a wooded residential neighborhood with lovely walking paths. The indoor pool is ok, but the pool deck was grubby, and the hot tub got quite yucky by the end of the week, so I don't recommend them.

If you feel like a drive, there's a science museum in Virginia Beach I think - can't remember for sure if that's where it was, but it was good.

Our favorite restaurant in the area is the Chinese/Japanese/Mongolian Grill one in a shopping center near KMart - I think it's called Peking II, but I'm not sure. It is huge, and better than the Chinese buffets we've had at home - more variety and not as greasy.
 

Holly

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Excellent suggestions. Are the Christmas decorations still up all over? I'm hoping that there will still be some "holiday" kinds of things to do.
 

Emily

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One unique place is "the pottery" - the Williamsburg Pottery Outlet - just another 5 minutes down the road from the outlet malls. Depending on how much of a shopper you are, this one place can easily take several hours or more. There are multiple buildings, lots of pottery, kitchen stuff, gourmet/ethnic food, outdoor statues/fountains......not at all like the outlet mall stores.

We visited the pottery in June and most of the building were shut down. All the vendors on the highway side (with the round building) have moved out to the other outlet malls where there are more shoppers. There was still some stuff in the very last large building on the ceramic side but the 2 story building was empty.

Over the years, I have spent days shopping at the pottery with friends and family. It was really sad to see it this way.
 

pjrose

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Excellent suggestions. Are the Christmas decorations still up all over? I'm hoping that there will still be some "holiday" kinds of things to do.

Yes, the wreaths will still be up on the doors in Colonial Williamsburg, and I think there may still be some special programs there. I don't know about places other than CW, though.

To do some advance planning re CW, go to history.org.
 

pjrose

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We visited the pottery in June and most of the building were shut down. All the vendors on the highway side (with the round building) have moved out to the other outlet malls where there are more shoppers. There was still some stuff in the very last large building on the ceramic side but the 2 story building was empty.

Over the years, I have spent days shopping at the pottery with friends and family. It was really sad to see it this way.

Oh no, I was so looking forward to it! I'll still go....and I guess it's good to be forewarned so I won't be surprised.
 
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