by Natalie Miller-Moore
After the long winter break of dreary January and bleak February, March is when the town comes alive again. Not only is the weather moving towards spring, but school groups plan trips to Colonial Williamsburg and families come for spring break. Busch Gardens does a season pass holder preview near St. Patrick’s Day and opens weekends soon after.
Because Virginia has such a beautiful geography, there is a sense that it’s all being renewed. So, time to dust off those sunglasses, shake out the rugs and hit the road – Interstate 64, that is!
My top recommendations for a March trip to Williamsburg:
1. See the lesser known parts of CW and try to avoid the major sites which will be crowded with school kids. Except for the Palace Garden – the tulips in bloom is quite a sight!
March is also Women’s History month and Colonial Williamsburg has events especially to celebrate that fact: special programs, additional trade interpretation and theater performances. Check a Visitor’s Guide for more information.
2. Do go to Busch Gardens – it will be the least crowded you will see it all year. Plus, the flowers are in bloom all over the park. The park opens March 21st. You’ll be able to ride all the coasters as much as you like – try the new Griffon coaster.
3. Enjoy the great outdoors. Take a walk on one of the great trails in the area – behind Bassett Hall or the Virginia Capital trail that runs to Jamestown. You can join the Bassett Hall trail near the lodging houses to the left of the Williamsburg Inn. The Virginia Capital Trail has parking at Jamestown High School and at Jamestown Settlement. It’s great for walking, strollering or bike riding – it’s all paved or covered with wooden bridges.
4. Enjoy some spring farm life – try Hill Pleasant Farm on Richmond Road or a Bush Neck Farm off of Bush Neck Road. Another great activity is horseback riding – there are several stables north of town. Try Carlton Farms or Stonehouse Stables. Toano is the best area of town for this. If you want some real local flavor, stop off in one of the establishments on Richmond Road like the Silver Maple Café for some local contacts.
5. St. Patrick’s Day – unfortunately, the only Irish pub in town has closed down (again.) The hot spots are likely to be in New Town – The Corner Pocket usually has live Irish music, but get there early because it gets crowded. The best Irish / Celtic bands in town are Coyote Run and Poisoned Dwarf – if you see them listed as performing, that’s a sure thing.
Williamsburg is nice to visit any time of year, but hitting it at the beginning of the spring will save you time, hassle and money. March is when things get rolling, and there are a good number of deals to be had in terms of hotel rooms and shop sales. April is usually mild and has a good number of school groups. May is when it really gets crazy, with events like graduations, Mother’s Day, weddings and spring vacations near Memorial Day.
One really special thing about spring in Williamsburg is that it’s lambing season! The many sheep of CW have their lambs and they are spread into different pastures. The sheep aren’t all that friendly, but the lambs are a lot of fun, gallivanting around and teasing their elders. Look in the pasture near Nassau and Francis Streets, or the pasture across from the Powell House on Waller Street. You might even catch someone shearing one of the sheep.
No matter what you choose to do, a trip to Williamsburg will really put a spring in your step!
Natalie Miller-Moore has been a resident of Williamsburg, Virginia for six years and is serving as our monthly guest contributor 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.