Well, I am not without having a goofball ideas and decided to take a scenic route to Hampton. Ha, boy did I. Just glad I gave myself plenty of time and I for one am not to afraid to ask for directions. Yet, exploring to me is always fun. So, when I left Williamsburg I decided to take the Colonial Parkway route, and the map I had did not tell me if I could not get onto Interstate 64. Well, it doesn't, so I cruised along and enjoyed the scenery till I came upon I think it was 199 that got me back to the 64. I will say if you every want to go fishing and explore the woods this is a great road to explore for that!
Ok, I am not a fan of speeding trucks and I will say that California does have them, "BUT" I will say this for California has a law that mandates that trucks are not to exceed "55" or anyone towing a trailer for that matter and there are to stay to the right or it is a "HUGE" fine. I could not get over all the Trucks speeding while traveling to Williamsburg and Hampton on the 64. My sister warned me of this and I just couldn't get over that fact. OMG, all of them were well going over 70 miles per hour and passing everyone they could. Your eastern states should start doing something about this. So if you are not familiar with this sort of malice, just beware of this.
Virginia Road Conditions.
One very important tip I can give is to always have water handy. You should always have it handy when its hot of course, but also during winter months. Never stop drinking water. When I visited Williamsburg it was hot and sooooo humid. I was thankful I was caring my water bottle, but I went through it fast. Every where I went the attendants did not have a problem with me filling up my water bottle. That was nice. Yet, it gets real cold here during the winters months of course too, so buddle up.
Williamsburg Weather Forecast
" Whiskey is for drinking; water is for fighting over."
-- Mark Twain, 1884
You have heard of police departments who have quotas for tickets, not here. We have a department (Williamsburg P.D.) which officers come in on their days off to write tickets. Why? They are on commission! That's right. ON COMMISSION! Certain areas have additional fines levied as high as $200 plus the ticket and court costs. Think they will cut anyone a break? Why would they?
We have a lot to offer, Colonial Williamsburg, Jamestown, Yorktown, Busch Gardens, Water Country USA etc. However, BEWARE OF THE FINANCIALLY MOTIVATED BEARS!!!
These people are a public nuisance. Unfortunately, they are all over the place. And while they generate some noise complaints, dealing with this problem is a lot like pushing down a bubble in an air mattress--it simply pops up somewhere else.
These preachers rarely convert anyone; in fact, it's more than likely that they turn other people off. Hearing them makes me want to get rip-roaring drunk.
When I took this photo, someone actually had the courage to confront this idiotic preacher. Eventually, security showed up and we enjoyed some peace and quiet.
I visited Colonial Williamsburg on Thursday in the middle of October. There were many visitors but I can't say it was over-crowded although we had to wait in a line about 20 min. to visit the Capitol and we had to wait for the 3rd shuttle bus to come back to the parking lot.
But I would expect more people on weekends and especially American long weekends close to the following national holidays:
- Memorial Day (last Monday of May),
- Independence Day (July, 4),
- Labour Day (first Monday of September))
- Thanksgiving Day (4th Thursday of November).
1. be at visitors center before 9.00 am (they open it 8.45), most folks go a little bit later and visit the Governor's House first, before others;
2. if you start a little bit later start from the Capitol (most folks go to closer Governor's House, I suppose);
3. when it's getting dark avoid shuttle buses back to visitors center (you can walk there).
Keep in mind that Williamsburg with approx. 4.5 mln visitors a year (over 12,000 daily) is the most visited place in Virginia and one of the most visited in the USA, surprisingly even more than the U.S. capital, Washington, DC.
I saw many two-horse drawn carriages (for up to 6 persons, both roofed and open) with a costumed coachman hired for a tour around Colonial Williamsburg. But there are no carriage stops (stands) in Williamsburg.
If you want to take a carriage tour you should book it at the Visitors Centre or by phone (call, free from the US: 1-800-history), preferrably a day before. We arrived on business day in the early afternoon and all carriage tours were already sold out for that day.
At the end of our visit we were wating approx. 20 min. (not that bad although unexpected) for a shuttle bus to Visitors Center where our car was parked. The first 2 or 3 buses which arrived to Merchants Market bus stop were almost full, so only a few visitors could take on. Keep in mind that many folks come back to Visitors Center after 5.00 pm where most tourist attractions close and before/around dusk. And many of them choose the bus stop at Merchants Square which is the second last stop of blue line shuttle bus before reaching the Visitors Center.
We were too tired after very busy day to walk and... 20 minutes was not that bad. And it's not easy to take so many visitors at one time back to the Visitors Center. It was time to use restroom, watch people, take a few more pictures and first of all nice talk with Nat and planning the next day.
Don't miss the last bus. the blue line shuttle cirles historic area daily from 9.00 am to 10.00 pm including Visitor Center only 5.00 - 10.00 pm). The red line shuttle bus (Visitor's Center - Governor's House and back) goes from 8.50 am - 5.00 pm).
I found a lot of pretty copper (a reddish-coloured metal) and brass (alloy of copper and zinc) cookware both in the kithen of the Governor's Palace (on my picture) and in numerous gift stores in Colonial Williamsburg.
Do look at them, do buy them if you like but please never use them for preparing or cooking any food unless you want to catch copper toxicity syndrome. The most common symptoms are headaches, fatigue, insomnia, depression, spaciness, learning disorders or premenstrual syndrome. Brrr...
Some folks told me that both Hillary Clinton and Theresa Heinz-Kerry use copper and brass cookware in their kitchens. Hmm... I don't know :-).
the town of Williamsburg itself is rated well below average on the crime risk scale, meaning that it is a fairly safe place in general.
the annual crime stats are:
0 murders, 2 rapes, 5 robberies, 25 assaults or burglaries, 450 thefts (mostly shoplifting).
i was surprised to see that the town of Williamsburg is home to 64 registered sex offenders ( that is about one sex offender for every 200 people in Williamsburg).
(if this concerns you, then you might want to check out the websitebelow).
we have been to Williamsburg several times and have never had any problems. the general population is very friendly and helpful.
just use normal precautions that you would use at home (lock doors, keep an eye on the kids, don't go out real late at night alone) and you will have a safe and pleasant holiday.
There are very many huge parking lots with thousands of cars located on one level around the entrance to the Colonial Williamsburg. They are free for the visitors.
Most friends of mine say that I have a very good sense of direction. But, anyway, I was forced to remember well where I parked my car in Williamsburg. Otherwise I would lose an hour or more looking for it after coming back. I didn't notice any cameras on my unguarded parking lot which would eventually help to find out the car, but I wasn't too worried because I was told Colonial Williamsburg is in a good neighbourhood.
Have you ever lost your car? As I know bright yellow colour is the best seen, but the car I hired was an ordinary silver colour :-).
My recommendation is always to write down the number of place and/or sector whenever you park on a large parking lot or the name of the street (+ the closest side street) in a city, unless you happen to have "b1bob" with you to remember it for you. Never use another vehicle as a landmark because after 5 or 6 hours of touring Colonial Williamsburg, your landmark could well be long gone. Use an immovable landmark instead.
I can't forget one event which happened in late 1970s. I, as a kid that time, visited "the West" for the first time: Vienna, Austria. My parents met a young couple from Poland on the camping. They were really depressed because they lost their car. They parked it somewhere in suburbs by a Mobil gas station and took a bus to tour downtown Vienna. They were so excited about the tour that they forgot where they left their car. They reported the loss to the police but... hmm... the problem was that there were over... 100 Mobil gas station in the Vienna area that time.
The moral of the story: remember where you leave your car.
I was in Williamsburg in the middle of October on partly sunny, partly cloudy day. It was the best weather I could imagine for quite fast visit. I surely took hundreds of pictures of which less than half you can see on that page. But few of them were of low quality because of difficult light conditions.
Look at this picture of the rear part of the Governor's Palace taken on cloudy weather. There are three plans:
1. very light sky and tower of the palace (the background),
2. medium in colour palace edifice (the middleground),
3. very dark palace gardens (the foreground).
Hmm... there is no way to have all these three, very contrast plans sharp on one picture, no matter how good (and expensive) your camera is. Although if I wait for some back sunlight which would light the dark foreground... Well, you can eventually try to light the foreground by using flash if you have good enough one (= strong enough, not this built up in your camera).
Anyway, my recommendation in such situations is to narrow the compostion to less contrast objects (cut the foreground in this case).
- Digital Photography Review - the world's best internet service on digital cameras;
- ShortCourses - a complete guide to digital cameras, digital photography, and digital video;
- Digital Photography. The Textbook - for beginners in photography,
- photo.net - one of the world's largest photo portals online.
Have a great fun :-)
Free leaflets and brochures I got at the Visitor's Centers were my basic source of detailed information on places I visited in Colonial Williamsburg. There is no or very concise information put by some, more famous of over 500 colonial houses. In the Capitol and the Governor's Palace there are guided tours and there are historical interpreters in front of some houses, so one can always ask them... Not enough?
Well, generally I can't complain, but I saw right many beautiful houses with no information, even basic, on them. Just one example in my picture. It was difficult to identify this pretty house. It's called Bryan House (corner of Duke of Gloucester Street and Nassau Street) and... no more information.
Each house has its own, often colorful, story. My suggestion is to put more detailed information and map in free brochures (hmm... it may lower sales of some books on Williamsburg) or eventually to put it by each house (hmm... it may break their original look).
If you're coming down here in July like I did, then it is wise to make sure that you stay as hydrated as possible and take advantage of the drink and snack stands that are located throughout the historic area. If you stop at one of them, then buy the bottled water since that's essential to keeping hydrated. Also try to duck in and out of air conditioned buildings when you can for some relief. The reason why I'm saying this is because there was one tourist who was in the historic area one afternoon as I was heading back to my hotel room and he/she collapsed due to heat exaustion apparently since there was an ambulance parked on the side of the street(emergency vehicles are the only ones permitted in the historic area) along with some police vehicles and fire trucks there.
There is a pretty promenade just north of the Visitors Center. It connects parking lots and nearby hotels (Woodlands Hotel & Suites and Cascades Motel) with the Colonial Williamsburg's Visitor Center. The promenade is surrounded by beautiful green space full of trees and flowers.
The ban on my picture was put on the promenade because of busy pedastrian traffic. I didn't see any folks skateboarding or rollerblading in the Colonial Williamsburg but I saw some people biking a bicycle there.