As you may have seen in my stories, we spent a few days at the end of October exploring Williamsburg, VA. This was our first time visiting, and we couldn’t have picked a more beautiful time of year, as all the leaves were changing and the weather was wonderfully cool!
We decided to drive the seven-hour trek, which went by surprisingly quickly, allowing us to bring all the personal essentials we needed as a family with a toddler. We arrived in Colonial Williamsburg to pristine streets and pathways lined with mature oak and maple trees, cobblestone, and the loveliest colonial homes, farms, and quaint small shops. We were fortunate to stay in one of the period homes, The Moody House, a comfortable, roomy colonial home filled with authentic period pieces to transport us back in time, while also including a modern kitchen and bathrooms. The location of the house was amazing and so family-friendly – just a short walk to everything in Colonial Williamsburg, from the village to restaurants and more.
We unpacked and settled in, then ventured outside for a short walk around the neighborhood gardens and homes to stretch our legs after our long drive. We then went to dinner at La Tienda, a Spanish tapas restaurant infused with delicious small bites, paella, and signature sangria. We popped into their adjacent specialty market as well, picking up a few goodies to enjoy back at the house.
The next morning, we rose early for a full breakfast at The Williamsburg Inn Terrace Room, an elegant dining room true to the period, with an assortment of traditional breakfast favorites.
We spent the rest of the morning leisurely strolling through Colonial Williamsburg’s historic area, which boasts several hundred restored and re-created buildings from the 18th century, when the city was the capital of Colonial Virginia. The area is spread out, with wide streets and beautiful park-like settings, where people dressing in era costumes reenact what it was like to live back then. We spent time saying “hello” to horses, sheep, chickens, and a very vocal rooster (favorites of Clementine’s). We walked through exquisite gardens filled with flowers and fresh fall vegetables, finding inspiration for our own gardens at home. One of the most picturesque was the grounds at The Governor’s Palace, with mazes of trees and foliage and water features.
For lunch, we visited Merchant’s Square, a charming, festive plaza lined with shops, restaurants, and more. We ate outside at La Piazza, enjoying fresh pasta while listening to live accordion music (and dancing a bit too!). After lunch, we stopped by a few shops, including The Christmas Shop, where we picked up some fun ornaments.
The afternoon was spent relaxing at The Moody House before heading out for a family bike ride along The Capital Trail. We picked up our bikes from Spoke + Art Provisions Co., secured Clementine’s bike seat to my bicycle, and ventured out. It was overcast and just cool enough for a pleasant ride along the 3.5-mile Greensprings Interpretive Trail. The scenery included forests, fields, and wildlife and made for an easy ride. We had so much fun exploring together – definitely one of our favorite parts of the trip!
We ended our day with an outdoor dinner at Amber Ox Public House, a welcoming, lively brewery where we were treated to fresh, delicious food and a sampling of craft beers (my favorite being the ciders!).
The next morning, we awoke to a definite change in the weather – windy, rainy, and cold! Never-the-less, we bundled up and headed out early on a drive along the beautiful Colonial Parkway, which is something to see with the fall foliage, especially on a rainy, windy day. We arrived at Yorktown and stopped in for coffee and a light breakfast at Mobjack Bay Coffee Roasters. Luckily, the rain had stopped, so we were able to sit outside on one of their picnic tables and enjoy the serenity of this charming area. We were practically the only ones there, as it was midweek, which made our visit so much nicer, especially when taking extra precautions with COVID-19.
We walked along Historic Main Street, past Nelson House to the Yorktown Victory Monument, and then headed down to the waterfront. We popped into a small art shop along our walk, called Black Dog Gallery, which offered a beautiful collection of antique botanical prints. It began raining just as we reached the Riverwalk Landing, so we quickly bought much-needed umbrellas and headed to an early lunch at Carrot Tree Kitchens, which was luckily just next door! We enjoyed yummy wraps and salads, Halloween cookies for Clementine, and a decadent slice of their signature carrot cake to-go (that Thomas later happily devoured!).
After lunch, we drove around the Yorktown Battlefields, part of the National Park Service’s Colonial National Historical Park, viewing where George Washington secured America’s independence in 1781. It was a perfect activity on a rainy day, as we soaked in all the history the area had to offer, stopping to take pictures at several key spots before heading to the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown, a family-friendly place that shares the history of the nation’s founding in interactive and entertaining ways.
We headed back to Colonial Williamsburg through the Colonial Parkway, stopping along at rivers and lakes to take pictures, only to be caught in a complete downpour at one particularly picturesque location. Rather than run for cover, we decided to ‘briefly’ embrace the rain since Clementine was enjoying it so much!
On our last morning, we said goodbye to The Moody House and headed to our last stop, Jamestown Settlement. We stopped along the way for breakfast at Old Chickahominy House, an adorable yellow farm-style restaurant with the friendliest owners and staff. They also have an expansive gift shop that includes all kinds of items, as well as a wonderful assortment of Christmas ornaments (we picked up a few!).
After breakfast, we drove the short distance to Jamestown Settlement, where we spent the rest of the morning strolling through the outdoor re-creations of the first colonists’ fort, a Paspahegh town, and then climbed aboard to explore one of the three ships that are re-creations of the ships that sailed from England to Virginia in 1607.
It was finally time to leave Williamsburg for the long drive home. Luckily, Clementine was so tired from all the activities of the week that she was relatively quiet the whole ride back. The next day, as we sorted through the multitude of images we had taken, we talked about our favorite moments on the trip, how family-friendly Williamsburg had been, how safe we felt everywhere we went (with COVID-19 adjustments in place, etc.), and how much we look forward to returning in another season to experience more of what Williamsburg has to offer!
Thank you to Visit Williamsburg for such a wonderful trip!