Your Ultimate Holiday Guide to Williamsburg

skating rink with several people skating

The Holiday season is upon us! And here in Williamsburg, there’s so much going on to celebrate. Lucky for you, we’ve compiled the Ultimate Holiday Guide to all the special seasonal events so you don’t miss any Christmas festivities. Here we go!

First off, there are several recurring opportunities available in Williamsburg throughout the entire season. Come explore Sparkleland in Merchant’s Square every week Thursday through Sunday. You can enjoy special performances and activities, or come meet Santa! Just next door is the Liberty Ice Pavilion, open daily for the perfect cold-weather past-time. Every Thursday and Sunday, head over to Charlton’s Coffeehouse for Christmas caroling, complete with burning cressets.

If you have a love for the historic side, Colonial Williamsburg tours are perfect at this time of year. Check out their Christmastide in Virginia tour to learn about traditions and techniques of a colonial Christmas, or the Midwinter Stories presentations throughout the day. For some 17th century classics, consider the seasonal concert series at the Governor’s Palace where you can enjoy impressive musicianship and historic holiday-themed selections.

We would be amiss to forget Busch Gardens’ Christmastown, Williamsburg’s own winter wonderland! Always a local favorite, you can experience the sights, sounds, and smells of holiday comfort and take in thousands of Christmas lights!

There are, of course, some special events throughout the season as well. Here’s the ones we’re most excited about!

-November 24: The annual Tree Lighting party, complete with free hot chocolate and roasted chestnuts, of course.

-December 1: The Williamsburg Christmas parade, a must see!

-December 1-2: Williamsburg Symphony Orchestra Holiday Pops concert, conducted by Janna Hymes.

-December 2: the ever-popular Grand Illumination! It’s a well-known Williamsburg tradition, including performances by the best local musicians and a beautiful fireworks display.

-December 15: “At Christmas Be Mery”: A Special Evening at Historic Jamestown, where you can experience traditional early-English traditions, including the firing of the guns and a seasonal bonfire.

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It’s certainly no secret that Colonial Williamsburg is known for it’s breathtaking and naturally-made decorations, and this year is no exception. The streets and buildings will soon be adorned by garlands and, in particular, wreaths made locally from natural materials to make a beautiful seasonal landscape. You can read all about the history of this tradition here, then take to the Williamsburg streets to experience this unique Christmas decor. You can even take a tour around such houses with this special Colonial Williamsburg tour.

We take such pride in these homemade decorations, in fact, that this year the Christmas Homes Tour is in it’s 58th year! This unique tour includes entry to several historic buildings like the Nelson-Galt House, Edinburgh Castle Tavern, and Benjamin Waller House. It’s a special event over the course of December 1-2; click here for tickets!

Finally, here’s a simple recipe for a cold-weather classic…mulled cider! It’s the perfect cozy drink for the holiday season…

This recipe is from The Pioneer Woman, click here for the whole post. 

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4 whole cinnamon sticks

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

8 whole allspice berries

Orange peel from 1 orange

Lemon peel from 1 lemon

1/2 cup maple syrup

6 cups unfiltered (fresh squeezed is great) apple juice

1/2 cup dark rum (optional)


Place cinnamon sticks, ground cloves, allspice berries, orange peel, and lemon peel in a medium saucepan. Pour in maple syrup and apple juice, then bring to almost a boil. Reduce the heat to its lowest setting and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from heat and serve in mugs.

(Add a splash of rum for an adults-only version! Yum, yum, yum.)

We hope this Holiday Guide sets you up nicely to experience all the Williamsburg area has to offer this season!  It can be easy to get wrapped up (no pun intended) in Christmas crazy, so take a little time to experience the beauty of the area and the joy of the season. It only comes once each year, here’s to the loveliest year yet!

What’s your favorite way to bring in the holiday season? Let us know below!

The Best Concert Series in Colonial Williamsburg

Merchants Square Summer Breeze concert series logo

Summer is the time to travel, bask in the sunshine, and listen to live music. Join us for the largest Summer concert series in Colonial Williamsburg: The Summer Breeze “Unleashed” Concert Series! 

This year marks the 27th Annual Summer Breeze Concert Series in Colonial Williamsburg, and is now “unleashed” as growing attendance and popularity has moved it out of Merchant’s Square and onto the lawn of the Decorative Arts Museum. The season opened last Wednesday with over 1,900 attendees – the highest ever recorded. The “unleashing” has allowed the lineup to double, extending the concert series from June – August. 

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Pack a picnic, grab those lawn chairs, and join us every Wednesday, June 13-September 19, at the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum from 6-9pm for an unforgettable Summer! 

The 2018 Summer Breeze Unleashed Lineup:

June 13: Slapnation

June 20: Bobby Blackhat Band

June 27: Jacob Vanko Band

July 4: The USAF Heritage of America Band (4-6 pm) & Brasswind (7-9 pm)

July 11: Nathan and the Zydeco Cha Cha’s

July 18: Buddha Council

July 25: Chisman Creek Band

Aug. 1: The Grey Riders

Aug. 8: The English Channel

Aug. 15: Party Fins

Aug. 22: Air Force Rhythm in Blue

Aug. 29: Brandon Bower Band

Sept. 5: Raw Beets

Sept. 12: BJ Griffin and the Galaxy Groove

Sept. 19: 504 Supreme & Truetone Honeys

Location: DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum

325 Francis St E, Williamsburg, VA 23185

For more information and to share with your friends, click here

Pack a picnic and head over to the lawn at the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum in Colonial Williamsburg for some swingin’ live music at The Summer Breeze Concert Series!

Historic Lodging in Williamsburg Colonial Houses

brick cottage brightly lit

This month we thought we would highlight the Drummers Cottage at the Fife and Drum Inn by explaining some of the similarities – and differences – between a visit with us and a visit in a historic 18th century Colonial home.


Vegetable, herb and flower gardens were a common addition to colonial houses, the produce of which would be used in medicines, cooking and decoration.

Our cottage: The front yard consists of flowers & boxwoods (a common colonial shrub) surrounded by a white picket fence.


In the 18th century, location of your home was quite important, as the lack of modern transportation prevented one from getting anywhere quickly. The location of the cottage would have been ideal, as it was a five minute walk from the College of William & Mary, a twenty minute walk to the Capitol, and a short distance from the lively heart of town in between.

Our cottage: Today, it is still located in one of the best and most accessible spots of any Williamsburg lodging available; The Historic Area, the College, and Merchants Square with its variety of exceptional restaurants and shopping are all at your fingertips. Jamestown and Yorktown (thank goodness for the invention of cars!) are only short drives away.

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Do you know the phrase “Sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite?” One theory of how this phrase came about is from the ropes which a mattress laid on in colonial times that needed to be tightened before sleep.

Our Cottage: As you might imagine, our king-sized bed, pull-out sofa bed and twin bunk beds are much more comfortable than a down-feather mattress held up by ropes.


In the 18th century, you usually had two options in the middle of the night to relieve one’s self – a chamber pot kept under the bed, or a not-so-well lit walk to the outhouse. Baths were generally not an every day occurrence.

Our cottage:Aside from having modern indoor plumbing (phew!), the cottage offers a complete handicap accessible bathroom & shower.

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The houses in the Historic Area are usually painted as close to the authentic colors of the colonial era as possible.

Our cottage: Each room is painted with a shade from the Colonial Williamsburg palette, making it easy to feel as if you have traveled back to stay in a real colonial house in Williamsburg (albeit, a bit more luxurious).


A colonial breakfast may consist of breads and meats, various kinds of puddings, and pies made from whatever fruit was in season.

Our Williamsburg cottage:Sleep late like the upper-class colonists and wake up to a delivered basket full of fresh pastries, baked goods, juices, and other goodies.

While you take breakfast at your leisure, you’ll notice the china plates on the wall – some of these are reproductions of 18th century creamware Wedgewood plates, very similar to what you might have dined on centuries ago if you had the means.

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The Cottage at the Fife and Drum sleeps up to six and is ideal for families, group celebrations, and larger parties visiting Williamsburg. Interested in booking? Call us or make a reservation online!