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Old 04-23-2013, 10:15 PM   #1
kandb
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? About Williamsburg, Va during slow time

Hi, my children don't start school this year til Sept 9th, so we are planning a Wash,DC and Williamsburg vacation for Labor Day week. I am planning on things being pretty quiet because we will be touring after labor day. My main question is, is there enough things to do in Williamsburg for 3 full days? We will be staying at an embassy suites with a pool so that will help and we will do the colonial tour of williamsburg, but other then that, is there anything else to do? Thanks
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Old 04-24-2013, 06:53 AM   #2
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My kids would have gone insane if they had to spend 3 days at Colonial Williamsburg! Lucky for them, there are several other attractions around. In addition to Colonial Williamsburg, there is also Jamestown and another historical site (sorry, forgot the name). We also spent a couple of days at Busch Gardens Williamsburg and Water Country. Between the 5 attractions, we were easily entertained for a full week.
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Old 04-24-2013, 10:45 AM   #3
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My family are big Historical buffs and we can do about a day and a half at Williamsburg. They have a reenactment program now where you follow historical figures around the town and either see the Revolutionary war start or you're in the middle of it - the program alternates every day.

I would suggest paying a bit more and getting a pass for the Historic Triangle. You can go to Jamestown which is a lot of fun for kids, it has a replica settlement and Indian village and Yorktown which is interesting but a little less interactive in my opinion. They're all a pretty reasonable drive and educational and you won't be stuck with just one option for three days.
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Old 04-24-2013, 11:32 AM   #4
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There is a huge difference between just walking through Colonial Williamsburg and actually participating in the plethora of activities available there. You have to pay extra for them, but we have seen all kinds of musical and theatrical presentations there as well as toured the art museums, etc.
I do agree that you should do the entire historic triangle, and a day at Busch Gardens is fun too, assuming it is open when you go.
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Old 04-24-2013, 01:07 PM   #5
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I haven't been to Williamsburg in ages, so I'm not much help there. The recommendation of a pp for Jamestown is a good one. My 4th grader went there on her class field trip this year and loved it.

Crowds will likely be lower. But keep in mind that approximately half of the school districts in VA, including most of those in the DC metro area (Fairfax County for sure) also don't start school until after Labor Day due to the so-called "Kings Dominion Law". So there may still be a decent number of locals at all of your destinations! Most of my friends take a last short-distance trip during that same time, before sending the kids back to school.
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Old 04-24-2013, 08:56 PM   #6
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I checked schools around the area. It seems like most go back to school the day after labor day or that Wednesday. The price for tickets for the historic triangle are pricey. It's $83/adult and around $40/children. I didn't think the tickets were going to be that expensive. Anyone know if they are ever discounted?
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Old 04-24-2013, 10:40 PM   #7
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We were in Williamsburg for 4 th of July last year. My kids really get into historic stuff ... We spent two days at colonial Williamsburg and felt like we still didn't see everything. They also sometimes have an interactive game which my 8 year old twins really got into (last summer it was called revquest). Not sure if that runs all year but you should check it out. Of the other two historc sites, my kids liked the two Jamestown areas more than Yorktown... I agree, Yorktown is less interactive. We had a great time!
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Old 04-25-2013, 08:02 AM   #8
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I think you can also get a combined bush gardens/Colonial Williamsburg ticket.
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Old 04-25-2013, 02:26 PM   #9
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I checked schools around the area. It seems like most go back to school the day after labor day or that Wednesday. The price for tickets for the historic triangle are pricey. It's $83/adult and around $40/children. I didn't think the tickets were going to be that expensive. Anyone know if they are ever discounted?
I think we ended doing a year's historic triangle pass and did two trips because they had a military/government employee discount we could take advantage of which made it much less per trip. You could Google for stuff like that which applies to you.
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Old 04-26-2013, 04:13 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by twinmom319 View Post
We were in Williamsburg for 4 th of July last year. My kids really get into historic stuff ... We spent two days at colonial Williamsburg and felt like we still didn't see everything. They also sometimes have an interactive game which my 8 year old twins really got into (last summer it was called revquest). Not sure if that runs all year but you should check it out. Of the other two historc sites, my kids liked the two Jamestown areas more than Yorktown... I agree, Yorktown is less interactive. We had a great time!
RevQuest is only offered during spring break and summer, so it won't be going on (we haven't done it but have some neighbors who loved it, so I looked into it).
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Old 04-26-2013, 04:16 PM   #11
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I checked schools around the area. It seems like most go back to school the day after labor day or that Wednesday. The price for tickets for the historic triangle are pricey. It's $83/adult and around $40/children. I didn't think the tickets were going to be that expensive. Anyone know if they are ever discounted?
I've never noticed any discounts, but that's for 7 days. You'd pay more than that for one day at WDW.
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Old 04-26-2013, 06:44 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by kandb View Post
Hi, my children don't start school this year til Sept 9th, so we are planning a Wash,DC and Williamsburg vacation for Labor Day week. I am planning on things being pretty quiet because we will be touring after labor day. My main question is, is there enough things to do in Williamsburg for 3 full days? We will be staying at an embassy suites with a pool so that will help and we will do the colonial tour of williamsburg, but other then that, is there anything else to do? Thanks
I live in Yorktown, Va just 20 min. from Colonial Williamsburg. Everyone goes back to school the day after Labor Day so most of the crowd will be gone. There is plenty to do around the area. Colonial Williamsburg, Busch Gardens, Water Country (last day open is Labor Day), historic Yorktown, shopping at the outlets, Jamestown, Richmond is an hour away, Va. Beach is an hour the other direction, Virginia Living Museum, and several other museums!
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Old 04-27-2013, 10:35 AM   #13
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I checked schools around the area. It seems like most go back to school the day after labor day or that Wednesday. The price for tickets for the historic triangle are pricey. It's $83/adult and around $40/children. I didn't think the tickets were going to be that expensive. Anyone know if they are ever discounted?
Ha! I am a travel agent, I help people plan Disney trips. When people balk about the price (and most people DO!) I ask if they ever go on vacation anywhere. We have been to Williamsburg, DC, the Grand Canyon, etc. We used to live outside of Chicago. There is no place worth going that is cheap, especially if you have 3 or 4 kids, or more!

We bought a multi-day pass thing that included Busch Gardens, Williamsburg, the historic triangle, Water Country, and more. We would love to go back
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Old 04-27-2013, 09:28 PM   #14
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Quote:
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Hi, my children don't start school this year til Sept 9th, so we are planning a Wash,DC and Williamsburg vacation for Labor Day week. I am planning on things being pretty quiet because we will be touring after labor day. My main question is, is there enough things to do in Williamsburg for 3 full days? We will be staying at an embassy suites with a pool so that will help and we will do the colonial tour of williamsburg, but other then that, is there anything else to do? Thanks
I live here - we (York/Williamsburg James City County) do go back to school the day after Labor Day, so it should be the 3rd of September this year. With the locals going back to school comes reduced hours at some places. Water Country's last open day will be Labor Day Monday and it will be PACKED until about 4-5pm. Busch Garden's last regular day will also be Labor Day Monday - it will also be crowded. After Labor Day Busch Gardens is only open on the weekends until the end of October - so Saturdays especially at Busch will be crowded during nice weather.

Jamestown Settlement & Yorktown Victory Center also drop back to regular hours - closing at 5, instead of 6. I think it's October when Colonial WIlliamsburg closes earlier too. Hmm, maybe it's October for both - Historic Triangle does Homeschool Days in September, and it's probably after that. I should also note that Yorktown Victory Center is under construction right now. They're in the middle of a massive expansion project. They're still open, but it does have some impact on the visit. (noise)

You can easily spend several days here without getting bored.

Spend a day at Jamestown - start your morning off at Jamestown Settlement - plan about 3-4 hours here. Either picnic outside or eat in the cafe (very good, but expensive) then head over to the Historic Island (National Park) right next to the Settlement. There's a glass house, a new museum, an ongoing archeological dig and some neat stuff to explore. Complete the Junior Ranger program. End your day at the hotel pool or with a ghost tout at Williamsburg.

Spend another day in Yorktown - take Colonial Parkway down. Virtually no traffic, and no way to get lost. Lots of driving tours available. Here I would probably start at the Historic site, check out the museum, then do the Junior Ranger Program through the town. Have a picnic lunch. Then head up the hill to Yorktown Victory Center. Plan on about 2 hours here. Back down the hill for some time at the beach and dinner in the pub or Carrot Tree. When you're completely exhausted have ice cream at Ben & Jerry's and go back to the hotel.

Spend 2 days in Colonial Williamsburg. The Revolutionary City program that is part of your ticket is done in two parts on separate days, so plan for one morning to mid afternoon and one afternoon into evening. (It's been a while since we've caught the program, but I believe it's at 2pm). If your kids are under 10 - rent costumes. It's really fun for the kids and they get a scavenger hunt to complete. Stray off Duke of Gloucester (DoG) street. There are more buildings to explore and pens with animals to see. There's also a recreated military encampment on a back street. Visit the museums and check out the evening programs. Ghost tours are a lot of fun, but there are others also. The Cheese shop in Merchants Square is a local favorite for dinner.

That's 4 days right there and it's only scratched the surface of this area.

The best thing you can do at any historical site is TALK. Talk to the interpreters - they really do make the experience and love talking to guests. You are guaranteed to hate the historic triangle and think it boring if all you do is walk around and look at things. Go into the coffee house - sample the cocoa, tea and coffee. Have a meal in a pub, talk to the interpreters, ask questions - sometimes there are things for the kids to do, games set up in areas. Plan on watching the fife and drums come up DoG street to the Governors Palace, get lost in the maze in the Governors Garden. If you have a daughter, read the American Girl Felicity books. They are set in Colonial Williamsburg. If you have a boy read Blood on the River (I recommend 3rd grade and up) about the voyage from London to Jamestown. Jan Fritz (I think that's who it is) has a mystery novel for kids set in the Historic Triangle that features her grand kids. It is a fun and easy read.

As for deals and discounts - There are a couple of passes that include multiple sites. I don't know how cost effective they are in the off season. Yorktown Battlefield and Historic Jamestowne Island are run by the National Park Service, if you live near any National Parks it may be worth it to get an annual pass. Otherwise the fee isn't bad. You can get a combo ticket for Jamestown Settlement & Yorktown Victory Center for $20.50 per adult, good for 7 days. Williamsburg tickets can be pricey, there are discounts available with certain qualifications. (educator, homeschooler, military)
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Old 04-27-2013, 10:03 PM   #15
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OP here. Thank you so much for all the valuable info, especially you pp. We are thinking of doing a few days in Wash DC as well, so I will "plan" a schedule that hopefully the kids will love. Thanks again
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