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)

INSTRUCTIONS:

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!

9 Ways to Enjoy the Season this Fall

pumpkin on wood floor

Autumn has finally arrived! The trees are changing, the days are cooler, and we at the Fife and Drum Inn are looking forward to all the exciting events Williamsburg has to offer this season. 


OCTOBER:

Now that the weather is cooling down, it’s the perfect time head just up the road to Pumpkinville in Toano, VA. You can pick out the perfect pumpkin to spice up your home and check out the selection of fall-themes crafts and decorations. Corn mazes, games, and a hayride complete the perfect autumn outing- check it out now through October 28!

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For any William and Mary alumni out there, Homecoming is just around the corner! Join us here in Williamsburg October 18-21 for a weekend reunion, and for a personal and memorable trip, remember to stay at the Fife and Drum Inn.

If you’re in the mood for something a little spooky this October, there are several local events and surprises to last all season long. Start at Howl-O-Scream at Busch Gardens, a Halloween staple in Williamsburg. This year, this scary celebration marks its 20-year anniversary and a new Era of Terror. Filled with new shows, scare zones, and haunted houses, it’s a must-see!

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For a more historical Halloween scene, try a Ghost Walk in Colonial Williamsburg, or a haunted hayride at York River State Park on October 20, 26, and 27. Also check out Monsters, Mayhem, and Musick, a baroque concert series playing every Tuesday at the Governor’s Palace. These are great opportunities to experience a new side of history and are a fun way to see the area!


NOVEMBER:

As the season of harvest and Thanksgiving approaches, there are a few great opportunities in the area to make this year extra special. The Virginia Thanksgiving Festival on November 4 kicks off the season with a day immersed in the history of the First English Thanksgiving, complete with food and dance.

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On Turkey day, Blue Talon Bistro’s annual Turkey Trot is a great way to start! It’s a time-honored tradition that supports local charity and brings people closer together. Finally, you can sit down to a beautiful Thanksgiving buffet at the Williamsburg Inn.

No matter how you choose to spend your fall season, it’s the people you spend it with that make it truly special. We hope that as the air gets colder, the company around you gets warmer.

Who will you be spending this season with? Leave a comment and let us know!

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!

Spring in Williamsburg at the Fife and Drum Inn!

men in blue coats shooting rifles

Spring in Williamsburg has been a bit unpredictable this year. We’re experiencing a bit of moodiness in our weather lately: sunny with a high of 75° one day, and the next we’re bundled up in scarves and boots. Trees are bare, but the daffodils are in full bloom…we’re not sure what to expect hour to hour. Fortunately, we’ve got the perfect array of activities around here to keep ourselves and you busy until we get solidly into our summer. So pack your layers, grab your umbrella, and hit the highlights of the next few months in Williamsburg!  


March 

Sunshine: Use a piece of history! Colonial Williamsburg is running a spring special on a program in which participants are educated on weapons history…and allowed to fire authentic reproductions of Flintlock muskets. This has very limited availability and requires a separate ticket from general admission, so plan this excursion ahead of time. 

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Showers: Want to relax with a beer while still flexing your brain? Pop into a local brewery for trivia night! A Williamsburg staple since 2006, Alewerks hosts trivia every Wednesday night . Whether or not you remember anything you learn is one thing, but you’re sure to have a great brew no matter what. April Sunshine: Get outside! Paddle boards, canoes, and kayaks are all available for reservation or walk-up rental at the James City County Marina, just a 15 minute drive from the inn. The same inlets and shoals explored by John Smith are now yours for the viewing, up close and personal. 

April 

Sunshine: Get outside! Paddle boards, canoes, and kayaks are all available for reservation or walk-up rental at the James City County Marina, just a 15 minute drive from the inn. The same inlets and shoals explored by John Smith are now yours for the viewing, up close and personal. 

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Showers: Head over to the Muscarelle museum for a special collection of Dutch and Flemish pieces visiting Williamsburg from all over the southeast! These schools of art, famous for their focus on the beauty of light, should keep you feeling cheery whether or not you’re escaping a rain.     

May 

Sunshine: Get going! If you’re the sort who brings their running shoes on vacation, meet up with other like minded folks every Thursday at the Williamsburg Winery for a gorgeous run.    

​(And if you happen to be in town on May 5th, you can even run, walk, or bike the Colonial Parkway–one day only– for beautiful views of the river.) 

Showers: Laugh it up! The Comedy Club of Williamsburg features a couple of hours of hilarity every weekend, with a mix of national headliners whose names you’ll recognize, and more local talent from up and down the East Coast. Check it out!   

Will you be spending Spring in Williamsburg? 

What to do this Winter in Williamsburg

orchestra and audience

Think Williamsburg is charming when the birds are chirping and the sky is blue? Our colonial town knows how to turn up the charm when the days get shorter and the weather gets chilly. Check out these suggestions for places to eat, drink, and be merry as you escape the winter blues in Williamsburg.


Eat

All within walking distance, these establishments made the list because of their warm and cozy atmospheres. Trust us, you’ll want to hole up with a good book, good company, and good food for hours and never go back out into the cold.

Culture Cafe – Offering small plates in an eclectic setting. Perfect for a coffee or quick bite.

Aromas – Surprisingly delicious fare for a coffee shop – try their daily homemade soups or their brie fondue.

Lokal – A hidden treasure right below the inn. This healthy spot prides itself on locally sourced ingredients providing you with sandwiches on freshly baked bread, fresh smoothies, an array of teas, coffee, hot chocolate, and SO much more. Did we mention there is a piano that you can play too?!

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Photo: Aromas Cafe

Drink

Sweet Tea & Barley at Williamsburg Lodge – With live music and a huge fireplace, this is a great spot to stay cozy.

Amber Ox – For the beer connoisseur, this high quality craft brewery is always inventing new small batch brews.

Eight Shires Colonial Distillery – This micro craft distillery offers unique flavors with a old world flair.

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Photo: 8 Shires

Be Merry

Kimball Theatre – Hosting world class artists on the stage, escape the cold with a heart warming show at the Kimball.

The Abby Aldrich Folk Art Museum – This stunning museum highlights the intersection of art, culture, and history and is sure to inspire conversation.

Prime Outlets – Warm up with a brand new sweater or scarf from top brands at discount prices.

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Photo: Kimball Theater

Colonial Activities & Opportunities to Learn

Coffee House – Grab a free sample of coffee or sipping chocolate as an interpreter fills you in on the importance of coffee houses in the 18th century as meeting places for the great first leaders of our country.

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Care to get more hands on in your education this winter? Hop over to the Jamestown Archaearium and tour the Archeology Labs to see how the historians discover hidden gems from the past.

With so much to explore in Williamsburg, you won’t have time be bothered by freezing temps. Fill up your day with shows, museums, and historic exploration, and cap it off with award winning restaurants and creative pubs. Check out this link to schedule your stay!

3 Reasons to Visit Williamsburg in Winter

houses in snow

A Wonderful Winter Getaway in Williamsburg

Have a more private & personalized Williamsburg vacation: It’s no secret that winter is the off season for anywhere that’s not someplace tropical – and this is a fact that only a few think to take advantage of. If you’re looking to escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and just enjoy some quiet time with your loved one – we guarantee you, THIS is the best time to do it.  


Never-ending exploring on the inside: 

There is SO MUCH to experience in Williamsburg in the warmth of the indoors. From touring the buildings in the historic area, to brewery and winery hopping (we now have – count ‘em – FIVE breweries in the city of WIlliamsburg!), to restaurant scouting (see our favorite restaurants here), to attending a concert at the Kimball Theatre in Merchants Square, there is no shortage of memorable experiences to choose from on your winter getaway.  


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Picturesque adventuring on the outside: 

Williamsburg in the winter is a dreamscape for any photographer, or for anyone who just loves looking out the window to a beautiful winter landscape. We usually see snow each winter, and because the Fife & Drum Inn is in such close proximity to the Historic Area/downtown Williamsburg, there is no need to worry about road conditions as everything is an enjoyable walk away. Picture snow flurries gently falling on the colonial houses, stepping into the Coffeehouse down by the capitol building for some hot chocolate, and warming yourself by a cedar-burning fire. Sound like heaven? Come experience it for yourself!

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Sweet Honeymoon Suites in Williamsburg at the Fife and Drum

bed with white and blue linens and yellow pillows

Couples in the midst of wedding planning have so much on their minds – flower arrangements, catering options, booking the perfect photographer to capture the day. One part of planning that can never be overlooked, though, is deciding where to spend that special day.


Once a venue is chosen, finding the perfect honeymoon suite in Williamsburg for guests and, of course, the bride and groom, also has to be checked off the to-do list.

With its picturesque scenery, mild weather and small-town feel, Williamsburg is popular for both weddings and honeymoons all year round and as a tourism hotspot, there is no shortage of hotels in town. However, few are quite as charming and unique as the Fife and Drum Inn.

The inn offers any of its rooms to brides and grooms celebrating their first night(s) of marriage, but some of the more popular options are:

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The Cedars Suite – boasting a fabulous king-sized bed, separate sitting room and private access to the inn’s porch, this room gives couples a sense of privacy that most hotels lack. 


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The Conservancy Room – this lovely room features a grand, heavily draped, colonial style bed and a footed tub in the room, perfect for couples wanting to relax and unwind after months of stressful wedding planning.


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The Cottage – separate from the main inn building, the cottage is a couple’s own little house in downtown Williamsburg, giving them seclusion and ultimate privacy. Some couples opt to rent out the entire inn for their wedding party to stay in and use the cottage themselves.

In addition to just hosting the wedding party, did you know the Fife and Drum Inn has actually hosted some wedding ceremonies, too?

Weddings as small as only the bride, groom and two witnesses, to larger groups of up to 15 people, have been held at the inn. Billy and Sharon are touched when couples decide the inn is the perfect place for their marriage to begin and assist in any way they can. This includes offering their recommendations for a Justice of the Peace to officiate the ceremony, or providing a quaint backdrop for couples to get married in full colonial costume.

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One couple said their “I dos” at the inn, then were picked up by a horse-drawn carriage for a celebratory ride around the historic area before being dropped off at the cottage.

Although it’s fairly rare for guests’ weddings to take place inside the inn, they are often held nearby, often at William & Mary’s Wren Chapel, and wedding parties utilize their rooms to get ready for the big day. In smaller, more intimate ceremonies, some couples go with their invited guests and Justice of the Peace to say their vows under a tree in a nearby garden, or to Crim Dell bridge on William and Mary’s campus. Legend has it that if a couple kisses on the bridge, they will be together for life, adding a little bit of extra romance to a unique spot.

The inn’s location, charm, character, proximity to nearby dining and entertainment options and small, intimate size make it ideal for wedding and honeymoon accommodations. Whether it’s an entire wedding party or just a bride and groom celebrating together, the Fife and Drum Inn loves helping couples celebrate their special day!

Enhance Your Williamsburg Getaway With Live Music

Candlelight concert in historic times

A Williamsburg getaway is only made better with all the opportunities to hear live music, especially in the summer! Have you attended any of these before? If not, we suggest including some live music in your visit!
Downtown

  • Summer Breeze Concerts are a Merchants Square tradition; each Wednesday of the season, different artists perform outside on Duke of Gloucester Street for free. So grab a lawn chair and take some to-go food from one of the many restaurants around!
  • Lake Matoaka Ampitheatre Concerts take place in perhaps the most beautiful venue in Williamsburg. Enjoy a variety of concerts, many times free, with a backdrop of the gorgeous lake and college woods.

Colonial Williamsburg

  • Kimball Theatre brings in all kinds of musical acts – find their schedule here.
  • Taverns – dine in a colonial atmosphere, partake in “Gambols” at Chownings, all whilst being serenaded with tavern songs by talented musicians.
  • Palace & Capitol Concerts – there is nothing quite like an elegant baroque concert by candlelight. Schedule here.

Candlelight Concert at the CW Governors Palace

  • The Fife & Drum Corps – one of the most iconic sights and sounds of Williamsburg (and our namesake, of course) can be heard several times a week strolling down DoG Street.
  • Funhouse Fest – Happening June 23-25, this is the second year of this festival created by Williamsburg native Bruce Hornsby, and the lineup is amazing this year!

A Few Restaurants
These are a few great places to eat in the area, with equally great live music to fill out the atmosphere.

  • Berret’s Seafood Restaurant & Taphouse Grill
  • Oceans & Ale
  • Cogan’s Deli & Sports Pub

Click for more dining options in Williamsburg

Reasons for Romance in Williamsburg: Proposal, Anniversary, Elopement

Since it is the month of romance and Virginia is indeed for lovers, we thought we would write a post this month about all things LOVE in Williamsburg.

Whether you need suggestions for a date night, inspiration for a proposal spot, or lodging for a wedding party – look no further!

DATE IDEAS & ROMANCE IN WILLIAMSBURG

1. The Spa at Colonial Williamsburg is a perfect way to relax with your valentine on any day of the year.

2. Dinner at the Fat Canary*, a true Williamsburg treat usually requiring a reservation due to its popularity

3. Dinner (and a show) at A Chef’s Kitchen*, where chef John Gonzales cooks your multi-course meal right in front of you, pairing with drinks all along

4. Find the perfect gift at the Precious Gem in Merchant’s Square

5. A scenic carriage ride through Colonial Williamsburg – where else will you have the chance to see the sites in a colonial carriage?

*ask us to help make reservations for you!

PROPOSING IN WILLIAMSBURG?

There are many spots for proposing in Williamsburg that are ideal. Here are our top 3.

Crim Dell – a romantic bridge hidden behind the Sunken Gardens of William and Mary College, this spot has seen many a proposal in its time.

The River – in our area we have not just one, but TWO scenic rivers: the James and the York, both a short, beautiful drive away via the Virginia Parkway. Sunset on the river is an unforgettable place to pop the question.

Lake Matoaka Ampitheatre – this gorgeous outdoor theatre hidden in the college woods is a perfect backdrop to get on one knee.

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CELEBRATE AN ANNIVERSARY IN WILLIAMSBURG

We have returned to the Fife & Drum for our anniversary each year. It is the little special touches that mean so much to us.” ~ Sarah & Roger

Through the years, we at the Fife and Drum Inn have hosted countless anniversary celebrations and weddings. Our space provides the perfect relaxing, private area for your occasion and Billy and Sharon can help you come up with the perfect plan for romance. See our Romance Package here!

ELOPEMENT

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Weddings in Williamsburg are always a wonderful idea, in our opinion. Some of the best places for the ceremony to consider include:

The Wren Building at William & Mary

Jamestown Church at Historic Jamestown 

Bruton Parish Church in Colonial Williamsburg

We hope you will consider a romantic getaway in Williamsburg this year… you may just fall in love all over again!