We set out for Williamsburg on Friday morning, January 7, 2022, two days after our actual 20th wedding anniversary. There was snow in the forecast. Just like there had been on the day of our wedding when we left for our honeymoon in Williamsburg. The day before, I was getting my hair purpled at Christy’s, then picking up the top-tier replica of our wedding cake from Unique Cakes, whose father had passed away the previous weekend, but who kept us on their books for our big celebration, even though I told them it wasn’t necessary, to please take that time and grieve properly. It had already snowed 10+ inches in Richmond and beyond earlier in the week, and we honestly weren’t sure what the weather would hold for our trip, so we took Rupert, our trusty 2009 Hyundai Santa Fe four-wheel drive.
On the way up, we stopped off in Wytheville, VA, to drop off some Scentsy to one of my friends there, and to have lunch at the Peking Chinese Restaurant. It was Russ’ first time and he really enjoyed it. I eat there often with my friend Kandy. My fortune from the fortune cookie has since then become a sort of mantra for me: “You find beauty in ordinary things. Appreciate this gift.” I want it to be my outlook for 2022! We arrived in Williamsburg later that evening, stopping for some scenic shots in the leftover snow of the Shenandoah Valley and surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains. That night, we ate at one of our favorite restaurants, Captain George’s Seafood Buffet. Crab legs and Baklava to my heart’s content! Then we went back to Comfort Suites, where we were staying on Friday night, since we hadn’t been sure what time we would arrive on Friday and wanted to have the best use of time for the room in the Colonial Tavern when we got checked in there.
On Saturday morning, it occurred to us that we weren’t supposed to check in until 4 that afternoon, but that our tickets for Williamsburg were tied to our room, so we went over to the Williamsburg Inn around 10:30 to see if we could access our tickets, even though it was too early to check in. Luck was on our side. No one had been booked in our room the night before, so our room was made ready for us in short order, and we were able to start our day to the fullest.
During the off-season, Williamsburg is a little different. During Covid, Williamsburg is a little different. So, while we were visiting, we had hoped to go on at least one carriage ride, but there were some staffing/stable issues during the time we were there, so no carriages were running during our time there. Bummer. (So, after all of my years of visits there, I still have never had a carriage ride, lol! Next time, by golly, I will!)
Saturday afternoon, we toured the Wythe House, some of the artisans’ buildings, and had lunch at Chowning’s Tavern, the only one of the Colonial Taverns open during our stay, warming up with some Hot Buttered Rum with my Grilled Beef Steak. As it was only in the mid-30’s while we walked around that day, we were pretty frozen by lunchtime, so we walked back across the street to our room in the Market Square Tavern, to rest up for a while. Which was somewhat a mistake, since everything in the colonial district closed for the day at 4-4:30. But we went back out at 3 – right after a footman made a delivery to our tavern room with sparkling cider on ice and a congratulatory/thank you note for spending our anniversary with Colonial Williamsburg – and caught the most exquisite re-enactor at the Apothecary, who truly knew her Colonial Business! We met a couple of nice ladies in there, a retired doctor and her sister, and the doctor and Russ talked about covid a little bit outside, and about the challenges to the medical professions. The sister and I thanked both of them for their service. They were staying in one of the small houses, courtesy of the sister’s daughter, as they had discovered through genealogical research that one of their ancestors had been born in that same house. They had come there seeking answers. I hoped that they would find the abundantly.
That night, Russ and I dined at Food For Thought, which my friend and Big Sister Lynne Bishop had introduced me to on our Williamsburg trip in October. Again, the food was delicious! Russ really enjoyed it, too, which pleased me, too. After dinner, we went back to the Tavern Room, watched a little TV, and called it a night – a peaceful, lovely, magical night.
Sunday dawned clear and cold again, an anticipated high around 50 degrees Fahrenheit. I was awake before Russ and chomping at the bit to be up and about. We scouted out the grounds of the Randolph House, explored some artisans’ shops and trades centers. A cousin of mine on the Anderson and Hash lines was coming to visit us later that afternoon, and to check out some Scentsy that I had brought with me for him to try sniffing. That afternoon, we decided to have lunch at The Cheese Shop on the “other end” of Duke of Gloucester Street, in Merchants Square outside of the historical district. We had a sumptuous cheese, meat, and dried fruit tray with French bread and blueberry/cranberry juices and artisanal potato chips. My favorite, of course, was the Wensleydale Cranberry Cheese, which Russ introduced me to in Chicago several years ago. I eat it any time I get a chance. Cousin Clinton came over and we entertained in the original sitting room in the Market Square Tavern downstairs, eating wedding cake, drinking water and juice, taking pictures, and swapping old family stories, while sniffing Scentsy. It was an enjoyable afternoon! Dinner that night was at the Aberdeen Barn in Williamsburg. Great steaks and excellent Crème Brulé!
On Monday, it was down again in the mid-to-upper-30’s for the high. We toured the Charlton Wig Maker’s, and then the Charlton Coffee House (brothers) first thing that morning, which ended with luxurious hot chocolate. Then we listened to the great Patrick Henry speak on topics every bit as pertinent today as in Colonial Times, something that I truly love about the way they do things in Colonial Williamsburg… Afterwards, we had lunch again in Chowning’s Tavern again, where I warmed up with some delicious hot apple cider with my Grilled Beef Steak. We shopped around at a couple of stores, and then called it a day, going back across to the Market Square Tavern. After another chilly day, we decided to warm up for dinner at Paul’s Deli & Neighborhood Restaurant, where they had phenomenal French Onion Soup and great Cheese Steak Sandwiches.
Tuesday morning, we hit the Raleigh Bakery for hot apple cider and orange-cranberry muffins, after we packed up most of our gear. It was even colder than it had been on Saturday and Monday, so we decided to just go ahead and take one last walk down Duke of Gloucester Street before checking out at the Williamsburg Inn and going to the Visitor Center to get a case of my favorite Williamsburg beverage, Chowning’s Root Beer, and to pick up some last-minute souvenirs.
From there, we stopped in Charlottesville to meet friends for a late lunch – and to drop off more Scentsy. We left there to resume our trip home around 5 p.m. and arrived back in Bristol around 10: 30 that night. It was a delightful time, full of friends and fun, and time on our own in the best of ways and the most intriguing of places. Thanks to everyone who sent us well-wishes on our 20th anniversary. Here’s to 20 more, and then 20 more, again! I love you, Russell Peters!