December 2, 2013

Thanksgiving in Williamsburg

A few weeks ago, I told my friend Celeste, "I am so glad to be done traveling for a while. I just want to stay home."

"Oh," she responded, "I guess this isn't the time to invite you guys to come to Williamsburg with us for Thanksgiving, then."

Obviously, I suddenly wanted nothing more than to go to Williamsburg for Thanksgiving. (I was also remembering how our Thanksgiving in New York was one of my all-time favorite Thanksgivings).

We stayed at the Wyndham Kingsgate Resort about a mile from Colonial Williamsburg (Celeste's husband's grandparents have a time share and had reserved three units for us), and there was plenty of space for three couples (Anna and Dave were the third couple) and five kids. Our family stayed in one of the units with two bedrooms (plus a bathroom suite for Ani, who slept like a rock on this trip. She might need to go back to sleeping in a bathroom), a big living room and a good-sized kitchen. It was fantastic.

My cousin Ben and his wife Shayla live in Williamsburg, and they informed us they had a stash of free tickets to Colonial Williamsburg that were going to expire at the end of November. Because we are kind and generous souls, we helped them use up some of them (although not before making them wait in the cold for us for 45 minutes because it took us forever to find somewhere to park and then walk over. They can't say we never did anything for them).

We enjoyed a beautiful (and cold) morning in Williamsburg - Ella said, "I am not MADE for this cold weather!" - then returned to the condo for lunch, a nap for Ani, and a little viewing of The Sword in the Stone for Bart and Ella, while I went to Harris Teeter to pick up the Thanksgiving dinner we'd ordered (and enjoyed both the beautiful drive and an excellent audiobook in peace).

After sticking the turkey in the oven to warm up, we ventured back to Williamsburg, where Ella spent most of the time marching around with a stick she found. Good thing children under 5 are free.

When it eventually got too chilly, we headed back and had our Thanksgiving feast. It was amazingly good (and the whole thing for all of us ended up costing less than it would have for one of us to eat Thanksgiving in Williamsburg), especially the turkey and cranberry sauce. I didn't miss cooking a huge feast one bit.

Friday we took pretty easy, with an outing to a very fantastic park called Kidsburg that Shayla recommended, and lunch at The Cheese Shop in Merchant's Square in Williamsburg, plus a couple of tasty samples at the candy shop afterward. It felt a little like being in Hogsmeade, with people everywhere and tons of tiny, quaint shops jammed with families and customers.

Back at the ranch condo, Ella did quiet time while Bart and Ani napped (and I read some of E. Lockhart's forthcoming YA book, We Were Liars), and then when Ella was finished, we went on a little outing together so Bart and Ani could continue snoozing. We wandered around the activity center at the resort, played several holes of mini golf and played on the playground until both of us were in danger of frostbite.

We had Thanksgiving leftovers for dinner (and Ben and Shayla came over to join us, bringing along some of THEIR leftovers, including the best sweet potato casserole I've ever eaten), and then played games until way after our bedtime, including a long run of Nerts, which is one of my all-time favorite games (would it be bragging to mention that I smoked everyone else? Okay; I won't mention it).

On Saturday morning, we were planning to go out for doughnuts and then let Ani nap before we started the drive back, but about five minutes before heading out, we decided we'd just leave straight from the doughtnut place. We packed in record time.

Duck Donuts was a great end to our trip (we got a half dozen and holy smokes, both our girls ate TONS. Ani, especially, was going nuts over them).

No traffic on the way home, a quick lunch, and then both girls went down for serious naps (three hours each, which is basically unheard of in our house, especially for Ella who rarely naps these days).

And now. You deserve some pictures for wading through all those words.


  1. My old stomping grounds...but I'm a self admitted cultural heritage nut. I love CW, and a good friend of mine actually works for the foundation now. It looks like you guys had a lovely time!

  2. Looks so wonderful! Colonial Williamsburg has always been one of my very favorite places to visit. We took Jilly last year and it was also a freeeezing day but she loved it. Glad you had fun

  3. Sounds like a lovely Thanksgiving! I need to get myself to Colonial Williamsburg, but after dropping $50 on admission to the Biltmore mansion, I'm going to need to wait a while before I'll feel okay about purchasing tickets to Williamsburg. Maybe need year for Thanksgiving.

  4. This looks like fun. We haven't been to Colonial Williamsburg yet. Off season might be the way to do it. Did you take a stroller? All of our outings have many stroller shots. Case in point:

    1. We took our double stroller and used it a lot - it just happens to not be in any of these pictures (which I didn't notice until you pointed it out!)

  5. so fun! also, spencer gets a kick out of seeing you wear those sunglasses all over the place. i'm glad they are getting a 2nd chance at life, as they had been hanging out in my drawer for far too long. :)

  6. I have a soft spot for Williamsburg because Felicity, the American Girl doll, was a childhood highlight of mine. Looks like a lovely holiday and your girls are all kinds of adorable!

  7. Awww, I live right near Williamsburg (Newport News) and work across from the Harris Teeter you got your Thanksgiving from! :)

    I'm glad you went to both Duck Donuts and The Cheese Shop... SO GOOD. Glad you had fun.

  8. So fun! I love Williamsburg. Went there for my 8th grade field trip and while I've made trips to VA since I haven't gone back there. Such a charming and beautiful place.

  9. Can you believe I lived in VA Beach for about eight years and never went to Colonial Williamsburg?? I did, however, go to the part of Williamsburg where the outlet mall is located... =]

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