by Natalie Miller-Moore
April 1, 2008
April is one of the most beautiful times of year in Williamsburg. The azaleas are blooming pink, white and fuschia. The trees are starting to bud, the birds are singing and everything seems alive – it’s the essence of spring. Also, a great place to come for a spring break of any kind.
Here are a few suggestions for the most scenic spots – for a picnic or to take some vacation photos.
Lake Matoaka – This lake is adjacent to the college, and you can get a great view of it from Jamestown Road. It’s very placid and the trees that surround us make it very picturesque. The secret though, is to park and find the entrance to the amphitheatre hidden in the woods. Right now, there’s construction on the new William and Mary School of Business, but it’s still accessible. Park in the new parking garage on Ukrop Way and head over. The amphitheatre is newly renovated and there are stone benches nestled into the hillside. The stage is right on the water, and if there’s no one there, eat your lunch there. You may be joined by some ducks from the lake as well.
Jamestown Beach – The beach is actually on the way to Jamestown via the Colonial Parkway. I don’t think it has an official name, that’s just what it’s called by locals. Park on the right side overlooking the marsh and carefully cross the parkway to a curved area of beach. It’s not very deep and the water is mixed fresh and salt because it’s an estuary. You can swim there, but it’s at your own risk. I recommend it in the early spring to enjoy the view and look for wildlife. It’s also a great place to walk your dog, so long as you don’t mind your dog taking a dip.
Busch Gardens – You might be surprised to see a theme park on the list of most scenic places, but this local gem keeps getting voted “World’s Most Beautiful Theme Park” and it’s for good reason! The landscapers there work round the clock to mulch, plant, trim and create the landscape. They have beautiful hanging baskets, tulips, Bells of Ireland, and tons of greenery. My favorite picture spots are in front of Das Festhaus and on the Bridge over the Rhine River. You can also get some good shots on the bridge going into Killarney. Oh, and kids will love this scenic place, too, for other reasons. Try to get them to enjoy the beauty of it…maybe by sitting down with an ice cream cone.
Palace Green – This is one of the nicest spots in Colonial Williamsburg to enjoy yourself. There’s space to sit under the trees or let your kids run around for a bit. You can see the palace, several important colonial homes, and it’s on the carriage route so you can wave to the passengers and enjoy the clip clop of the horses’ feet as they pass by. I’d also recommend a trip to the Palace Gardens, which feature a canal and hundreds of tulips this time of year. If you’ve already seen that, head down Nicholson Street to the paddocks and look for new lambs…this is the time of year to see them frolicking together and learning how to do important sheep tasks like eating grass and getting their photos taken with visitors!
Photographs by local photographer, Magali de Vulpillieres
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.