This was a mall I used to go to when I was stationed in Virginia. When I arrived, I had NO civilian clothes, so I came here to buy a pair of jeans,a few t-shirts, and some shoes. There are many stores here, including a large pefume shop for your girlfriend/wife to jump into; and a Dick's sporting goods store for all the guys. There is also a movie theatre here as well.
Department store, restaurant, and theatre hours may vary.
The Haversack Store is located inside the modern building of the Museum of the Confederacy, just right of the entrance. I was impressed with the things offered there, all in a small space. It was real paradise for fans of history and the Civil War. Well, being at the beginning of quite expensive trip I didn't buy anything there but I see the store online here now.
What to buy: - apparel (museum t-shirts, hats, ties)
- books related to the Civil War and museum publications,
- flags of the Confederacy,
- gifts (statues, mugs, patches, pocket watches, plates)
- military items (swords, gauntlets, belt buckles, hats, pistols)
- multimedia (CD Rom, videotapes, cassettes)
- prints posters (signed prints, maps)
- stationary (note cards)
- toys (cannons, soldiers, kepis, children's books).
Details in my Richmond shopping tips.
What to pay: From a few bucks to... hundreds. Generally prices were not that high as in some other museum stores I visited later on.
It's one of the largest gift stores I have seen in the USA. It offers various gifts, souvenirs, toys, apparel and home decor. A large classical building of the store was decorated before incoming Halloween. Inside I was again a bit surprised when I saw Christmas decorations sold in the middle of October. Well, it's not that rare in the USA.
What to buy: I paid attention to casual T-shirts with writings Natural Bridge Virginia and "I am a nature wonder" (for kids) and "Old as dirt". I liked some local food like jars of local homemade jams, especially pecan jam (we don't have pecans in Poland) as well as jam called "Virginia's Hospitality", haha what a name for jam! :-) There are also Virginia's peanuts packed in old-fashionable metal cans. Well, I would buy some "Virginia's hospitality" but I experienced enough hospitality in Virginia, for free.
What to pay: I always look at prices of casual T-shirts to judge general price level in any US gift store:
$5 - cheap
$10 - reasonable or average
$15 - expensive
$20 and over - very expensive, over-priced.
T-shirts for adults in Natural Bridge cost over $20! The local food which attracted me cost a lot as well.
As I remember well there are three shops at Luray Caverns:
- the Country Store which offers some handicraft souvenirs,
- two gift shops in the Entrance Building and in the Car and Carriage Caravan offering gifts , books, CDs etc. related to the place as well as Virginia wine.
In the Entrance Building I've paid attention to beautiful and large stone fireplace.
What to buy: I didn't buy anything but I thought over buying some interesting CDs or books on the cars displayed in the Car and Carriage Caravan Museum. It's likely I would buy some Virginia wine but I already did it in Jefferson's Winery in Charlottesville.
What to pay: To my surprise (especially after a visit to Smithsonian Museums in Washington, DC) the prices are reasonable, for example $7 - $11 for a bottle of local Virginia wine.
Potomac Mills is a giant outlet mall conveniently located along Interstate 95 in Woodbridge, Virginia (about 30 minutes south of Washington, DC). The most prominent stores here include Ikea, Books-a-Million, Marshall's, Off 5th (Sak's 5th Avenue Outlet), Burlington Coat Factory, T.J. Maxx, L.L. Bean, and Nordstrom Rack. There are also such entertainment venues as the AMC Potomac Mills (an 18 screen movie house) and Van's Skate Park. There is an ample food court in the middle of the mall nearest the Burlington Coat Factory.
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What to buy: With this kind of store lineup what is not to buy?
UPDATE: I will no longer buy anything at this mall or any other by the same management (Simon Group) because they evicted a tenant based on the content of his store and applied this standard only to this vendor. If you're interested, write me an e-mail for more details.
What to pay: Well, you will probably leave here with either more money in your wallet or more in your shopping basket than at the Pentagon City Mall just up the road in Arlington, but a $1000 suit at Sak's still costs $500 at Off 5th.
We shopped like crazy at the Mall for one good reason - prices. The clothes and dresses were great quality for even greater sales that were going on in all the department stores.
We were told that Canadians used to come in droves to shop in the Mall, but this trend has reduced during this summer.
What to buy: Women, men and children clothing, apparel, jewellery and other products.
What to pay: Sky is certainly the limit money wise, but the clothes are economical.
This shop features the entire Vera Bradley collection, including luggage, stationary, rugs,a nd tabletop.
I visited this store for buying unique gifts for family friends back home, as well as to pamper myself.
What to buy: Ladies purses, table sheets, sleeper shoes - all kind of home stuff designed by Vera Bradley.
What to pay: Prices were generally high, but some gift items were economically priced.
This shop was a great place to find gifts for back home. However, we found that it did not have any souvenirs showing local stuff that can be kept as memento. The shop claims that lots of new and interesting items arrive at the store daily. Indeed it acrries gifts of all sorts.
I bought a nice hanging carousal for entrance to my home.
What to buy: This shop carries many gifts, but not showing local art or craft on them.
What to pay: Prices were reasonable. Gift items can be bought for friends back home.
In addition to a great selection from the humidors, a friendly staff and some great accessories. The Olde Towne Tobacconist offers cigar smokers a sitting room in the back where cigar smokers can enjoy a relaxing smoke in a world where cigar smokers have become outcasts. I found the staff patient and helpful.
What to buy: Whatever your taste in cigars, except sadly Cuban cigars which are still banned in the USA.
Whether you are a Republican or a Democrat, Stars and Stripes Forever has what you are looking for. All manner of patriotic and political gifts plus military items. The one pictured was at Patriot Plaza in Williamsburg, but that location closed in 2007. The only one left that I know of is in Yorktown.
What to buy: Those of y'all who know me best which side of the political fence I'm on. I bought a shirt and several buttons along those lines.
Tarpley's Store is designated for the most important folks in the world - for children. But I found it interesting as well. It offers toys, games, candies, clothing and hats of colonial era and jewelry for children of all ages. Add some ceramics and fans for both old and young ladies. Some goods are imported from England.
Original buiding was put up at this place prior to 1755 and burned in 1860. From 1759 to 1763 it was owned and occupied by James Tarpley as a store. The building was reconstructed in 1930s.
What to buy: Colonial tricornered hats for boys, fans or jewelry for girls and chocolate bar, candies, dried fruits for everyone.
What to pay: Rather expensive, although... look:
Chocolate bar (plain or almond, standart size) - $2.00
Coffee (1/2 lb bag) - $8.00
Candied almonds, pistachios, apple slices, chocolate almonds - $1.00 per 2 oz
Are they all much cheaper in say Wal-Mart food center?
Relatively small building in beautiful downtown Colonial Williamsburg housed Post Office and Printing Office which sold paper products in 18th century. Keep in mind that that eighteenth-century paper was made from rags. Paper from wood pulp didn’t come into common use until the 1840s.
Now, there is a gift store on the ground floor and the Printing Office below. The store's interior is full of items and papers from 18th century office.
What to buy: They sell stamps, letters and postcards hand-canceled with reproduction 18th century Williamsburg postmark, stationery, maps, reproductions prints, leather-bound books, quill pens, ink, inkwells and sealing wax. So, if you want to add a good, old-fashioned atmosphere to your current office...
I found most interesting some reproduction printings from 18th century Williamsburg press and a book (reprint from 1736) "Every Man his own Doctor" on curing diseases.
What to pay: Rather expensive store but for small things you pay less, for example: $2.00 for white quill pen, $2.50 for 5 cedar pencils, $1.25 for small reprint on... battledore.
There are wooden tables covered by larger wooden roof put on a lawn, south of the main avenue (Duke of Gloucester Street) of Colonial Williamsburg. They form open-air market area. I didn't find there anything interesrting but thenths, hundreds of old men's hats of which one I tried. Well, there are some toys, baskets and pottery sold there as well.
What to buy: Hats if you like. They varied in shape, size and design but the most typical were either early colonial, 17th century broad brimmed hats or younger, 18th century tricornered hats - made of wool (not beaver felt like the originals).
What to pay: In October 2004 without sales tax (add 4.5%):
Mae's laced hat with button - $26.00
Men's braided hat - $35.90.
This store offers expensive one-of-a-kind handmade items created by skilled staff of the Colonial Williamsburg.
GENERAL INFORMATION ON SHOPPING IN WILLIAMSBURG
There are numerous (over 50), mostly small stores for visitors of colonial Williamsburg. They are all tourist stores with high or very high prices. Do not expect to find there any very original or authentic or old stuff. I didn't shop in Williamsburg (well, almost).
But, anyway, I had a lot of fun doing window shopping. Why? OK, top 5 reasons:
- architecture (both exteriors and interiors) the stores look like they had to look in 18th century,
- stuff to buy - I got to know what natives could buy in 18th century, what they ate, wore and liked,
- tradesmen and tradeswomen wore traditional costumes of the era and often treated visitors like... governors :-),
- I admired the art of packing stuff, those all, numerous wrappings, packagings, boxes, containers etc.
- I loved to look at happy faces of numerous visitors buying so many strange and unuseful things for so high prices :-).
WHERE TO SHOP?
Almost all stores are located along the main avenue (Duke of Gloucester Street) and especially at its western end, at and north of the Merchants Square. Well, there are stores at the Visitors Center as well.
WHEN TO SHOP?
There are no fixed hours. Most stores are open Mon - Sat 9.00 am (or 9.30 or 10.00) to 6.00 pm (or 9.00 pm) and Sunday 10.00 am (or 11.00) to 6.00 pm (or 9.00 pm).
WHAT TO BUY?
Personally I was interested most in some colonial food (candies, chocolates, coffee, tea, beer etc.), books on colonial life and culture and music (CDs, DVDs). Urszula found some interesting ceramics and clothes (woman's hats).
What to buy: If you like: leather goods, iron hardware, reproduction pottery. Urszula found some very pretty warm blankets but they were expensive.
What to pay: Williamsburg's prices. Generally expensive or... very expensive!
This reconstructed small store stands on the site where Monsieur Dubois operated a grocer's shop in 1779. It was my favourite shop in Colonial Williamsburg.
The store is full of such traditional southern favorites and delicacies as Virginia smoked hams, preserves, peanuts, port wine and many others. I found there a lot of secret food of past times, not so easy to find anywhere else.
- modern foods (beef sausage 5 oz. = 142 g for $3.00!),
- specialty foods (chocolate cream sauce :-),
- beverages (apple cider, ginger ale, root beer),
- meals (plantation porrige for $3.25 - for lower classes :-),
- meats (ham :-),
- ceramics and glassware,
- cookie cutters.
What to buy: Being at the beginning of quite expensive trip I buoght only two small bottles:
1. Sparkling Scuppernong Cider ($1.76)
2. Fentimans Ginger Beer ($2.00).
Both were drinkable but nothing special.
Add 4.5% Virginia sales tax to all above mentioned prices.
I thught about:
- cookbooks (Williamsburg Cookbook for $16.95 or Recipes from the Raleigh Tavern Bakery for $4.07)
- meats including Virginia smoked hams for $4.95 - $5.95 per lb or $8.00 for a small pack of ham slices
- peanut soup ($4.50) as I never tried it.
Just in case... I see the store online here now.
What to pay: Generally high or very high prices that's why a lot of food was packed and sold in very small quantities.
More details in my Williamsburg travelogue Colonial grocery.
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