by Natalie Miller-Moore
There’s something about history that makes people feel romantic. Perhaps it’s the carriage rides or the old-fashioned dress or the quaintness of etiquette from a bygone era. It could be the change of pace from their hometown that lifts their spirits, or the chance to experience something entirely different. If you are looking for a romantic getaway to Williamsburg, I have some suggestions, because I spent my first anniversary here and boy, do I wish I had gotten some advice beforehand. (Luckily, that hotel has been demolished.)
Romantic Places to Stay:
The Williamsburg Inn: It’s not called the crown jewel of Colonial Williamsburg for nothing – this exquisitely restored hotel has the highest rating of anything in town. It has the rooms, the food, the decorative touches and the amenities to make it a memorable trip. It’s also right across from the Historic Area.
If you are looking for something more private, you can book a guesthouse: the Providence Hall guesthouses are located near the Inn in a more private setting. Even though you are separated by woods, you can still order room service from the Inn. The guesthouses operate as satellite suites of the Inn, so it’s the best of both worlds. Another advantage of staying in a CW property is that you will get deep discounts on your passes to the foundation, and can avoid any parking or shuttle delays.
If you want a historic bed and breakfast, the Fife and Drum Inn is located on Prince George Street and run by locals Billyand Sharon Scruggs. The inn has games, a library and a fireplace. All of the rooms are decorated in 18th century style. All of the amenities of Williamsburg are right out the door of the Fife and Drum, including Aroma’s, a great local coffee shop.
The Williamsburg Winery recently opened a European-style inn on its property, and it’s located a few miles outside of the center of town. The views of the vineyard might be just right for a romantic getaway. There are also meals served on the premises for lunch and dinner.
Romantic Things to Do:
A less expensive alternative is to fit the Inn into your plans by dining there. Plan to dine in The Regency Room at the Inn and enjoy live music as well. The Sunday brunch is also an experience. Afternoon tea is served Thursday to Sunday in the Terrace Room at the Inn.
If you are looking for something more casual, stop by The Cheese Shop in Merchant’s Square and pick up the food for a picnic. The Cheese Shop has made-to-order sandwiches, as well as wine, cheese and gourmet snacks. I recommend picking up some imported chocolate as well. Head onto the campus of William and Mary and spread out in the Sunken Garden, a unique sunken field where students study, relax and enjoy the weather.
For a more intimate spot, try behind the Governor’s Palace, where the gardens and the canal are located. Don’t get on the tour– go in the lefthand gate and behind the kitchen building, until you see the canal. There are benches scattered around the canal (which is actually a pond) and even a few benches on the bridges over it. A post-picnic walk through the gardens would be the perfect touch.
In the Historic Area, book a carriage ride at the Greenhowe Lumber House across from the Palace Green. The replica carriages will tour you through the Historic Area, providing a unique perspective. The horse pulling your carriages could be an American Cream draft horse, part of the Rare Breeds program. The carriage drivers are willing to share as much or as little information as you’d like, so just let them know what you are in the mood for. Make sure to book tickets for carriage rides at least the day before, because they often book up quickly.
For an evening out, check the movie schedule at the Kimball Theater and enjoy a movie in the restored theater. There are plenty of places to dine nearby, all within walking distance. The Fat Canary is THE restaurant in Williamsburg and it’s next door to the Kimball, so make reservations well in advance, at least a week or so. The Trellis across the way is home to the Death by Chocolate dessert, and it has an outdoor dining area that’s perfect in nice weather. I’d also recommend the Blue Talon Bistro, which has a French flair to its cuisine, and is on Prince George Street.
Outside of the town center, The Whitehall on Jamestown Road is another great choice. There’s a bar and impeccable service. Expect white tablecloths, waiters with crumb brushes and an extensive wine list at this establishment. The wine cellar is located below the dining room, and you can view it through a clear glass panel in the floor. There’s also a bar, the King’s Lounge, for late night drinks.
I spent a perfect anniversary dinner at Le Yaca, at the recommendation of many locals. It’s a French restaurant located in the Kingsmill Village Shoppes, down Route 60. Don’t be fooled by all the fast food restaurants you have to pass to get there. The restaurant was started by a French woman and her husband, and I understand they have several others in France and St. Tropez. Williamsburg is lucky to have them – the food was flavorful and creative, the service just the right amount of attention and the ambiance was very romantic.
I hope you can find the right romantic tone while you are in Williamsburg…there are certainly a lot of options.
Natalie Miller-Moore has been a resident of Williamsburg, Virginia for six years and is serving as our monthly guest columnist and local expert. On most days, Natalie can be found spending time with her historian husband and young son, tending to her thriving vegetable garden or enjoying all the thrills found right here in Williamsburg.
You can also enjoy Natalie’s writing in the Daily Press.