Archive for the ‘See America’ Category

Greater Williamsburg, Virginia is Aglow With Holiday Experiences

November 16, 2021
From dazzling light events to festive concerts to seasonal celebrations of colonial history, Kingsmill Resort and Greater Williamsburg come alive during the holidays with the spirit of the season.

KINGSMILL RESORT, WILLIAMSBURG, VA, — From dazzling light events to festive concerts to seasonal celebrations of colonial history, Kingsmill Resort and Greater Williamsburg come alive during the holidays with the spirit of the season. The area is packed with special events. Here are holiday highlights:

So much festivity, so little time

Williamsburg’s only AAA Four Diamond Condominium Golf Resort, Kingsmill Resort, is offering guests a winter wonderland of activities during the month of December including Christmas eve and Christmas day horse and carriage rides, holiday mixology classes, breakfast and photos with Santa, glow golf, ugly sweater supper, gingerbread making competition, Christmas cookie decorating, wreath making, petting zoo, magic show, scavenger hunts, letters to Santa and lots more! The Christmas Tree lighting takes place December 1 at 6 p.m.

Have a Blast at Busch Gardens Christmas Town

Be wowed by one of the largest Christmas light displays in North America with more than 8 million twinkling lights when Busch Gardens Christmas Town returns for select dates Nov. 12-Jan. 2. Pay a visit to Randolph and Santa, watch a holiday show, and enjoy festive food and drink to help you get into the spirit of the season.

Have a Christmas-Themed Walk

Need to walk into the Christmas season? Williamsburg Walking Tours offers its Christmas Past and Present Walking Tour Dec. 1-31. Stroll through the colonial streets of the historic area and learn how early Americans celebrated Christmas. Discover the sources of modern-day celebrations in Williamsburg and how a Christmas decoration sparked a battle on Duke of Gloucester Street between a rooster and a Dalmatian.

Enjoy a guided look at Colonial Williamsburg’s historic building exteriors and streets decked out in holiday splendor during the Dec. 1 Christmas Decorations Walking Tour. Learn about the materials and construction techniques of these traditional holiday decorations. 

Revel in the Yorktown Christmas Tree Lighting

Delight at the Yorktown Christmas Tree Lighting on Dec. 3, a tradition that began in 1945. The tree is a 20-foot artificial commercial Giant Everest Fir placed in Riverwalk Landing. Tap along to a performance by the Fifes and Drums of Yorktown at the Victory Monument, listen to festive music at Riverwalk Landing, follow the procession of lights through the historic village, and welcome the arrival of Santa and Mrs. Claus.

Thrill to the Grand Illumination

Grab a blanket and pack a picnic basket or just a thermos, and head to Colonial Williamsburg for the Grand Illumination, the finest fireworks in Williamsburg. Special events take place over three weekends, Dec. 3-5, 10-12 and 17-19. On Friday evenings, join the new Procession of the Yule Log and enjoy holiday songs and stories on Market Square. Saturday evenings will include a dramatic presentation of an original holiday story, yuletide music, and a joyful appearance by Father Christmas, culminating in simultaneous Grand Illumination fireworks over the Governor’s Palace and Capitol building.

Enjoy Holiday Music

A seasonal tradition for the entire family, The Williamsburg Symphony Orchestra presents its annual Holiday Pops Concert during the first Grand Illumination weekend, Dec. 4-5. Share in joyful holiday classics and beloved carols with family and friends at the Kimball Theatre.

Watch Lights Dancing on the River

Join in the 25th annual Yorktown Lighted Boat Parade on Dec. 4 at the Yorktown Waterfront. Start by caroling around the beach bonfire, listening to the Fifes & Drums of York Town, and sipping complimentary hot cider before the decorated motorboats, sailboats, and Chesapeake workboats begin their lighted parade on the York River as they compete for best in show.

March in a Parade

Bundle up to join the Williamsburg Christmas Parade on Dec. 4. For the first time, the parade, which kicks off the holiday season with themed floats, live performances, and of course Santa himself, will be held at night.

Munch Cookies with Santa

Bring the whole family to the Gallery at York Hall on Dec. 5 for Cookies with Santa — a complimentary event to make the season bright. After enjoying the refreshments, find unique Christmas gifts and stocking stuffers among the work of hundreds of local artists, including ornaments, paintings, quilts, pottery, and many other one-of-a-kind pieces.

Shop for Christmas Gifts

Looking for the perfect gift for a friend or family member? You’re sure to find it at the Christmas Market on Main Street, Dec. 4 and 5. This is one of the most anticipated Yorktown events every holiday season. Close to 100 vendors line the street selling everything from nautical paintings to handmade soaps to Christmas ornaments and wreaths. On Saturday, enjoy a performance from the Fifes and Drums of York Town, after which Santa Claus himself will greet families. Expect strolling musical entertainment throughout the day and an ice carver set up in front of York Hall on Sunday.

More Yorktown shopping opportunities await at Mistletoe Market on Dec. 11. Browse for chowders and soups; baked goods; jams, jellies, and honey; holiday wreaths; candles and soaps; and local seasonal art. March in the annual Toyland Parade and hop aboard the Riverwalk Landing Polar Express for a loop around the festivities. Marvel at a fascinating live demonstration by a professional ice carver set up in front of the Riverwalk Landing fountain.

Sing Carols of Yesteryear

Ring in the holidays on Dec. 16 with musicians Brian Forsman and Bill Weldon as they trace the roots of seasonal tunes and popular carols to the music that our ancestors sang and danced to in colonial times. During Now Christmas Comes!, sing along with carols from Christmases past before the lighting of the Community Christmas Tree on Market Square. 

Watch the Colonial Williamsburg Christmas Tree Lighting

Gather in Colonial Williamsburg on Dec. 16 for the annual Community Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony. Listen to a special reading of The Night Before Christmas in front of the Courthouse steps and learn about the first Christmas tree in the United States. Sing along to classic Christmas carols and watch as the 40-foot spruce tree on Market Square is illuminated with 7,500 twinkling lights. 

Live an Authentic Colonial Christmas

Christmastide in Virginia returns Dec. 18-31 at Jamestown Settlement and American Revolution Museum at Yorktown, offering a glimpse of 17th- and 18th-century holiday traditions through interpretative programs and demonstrations and period musical entertainment. At Jamestown Settlement, special programs will compare English Christmas customs of the time with how they were observed in the difficult early years of the first permanent English settlement. At the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown, learn about winter camp life and hear accounts of Christmas during the war. Observe open-hearth cooking and watch as period dishes are made in the farm kitchen. Interpreters will also demonstrate a variety of holiday activities, including setting a farmhouse table for a holiday feast and decorating with greenery.

Immerse Yourself in Christmas Stories

Gather the entire family together for 12 Days and Night Before Christmas on Dec. 24 at the Hennage Auditorium in Colonial Williamsburg. Watch two classic Christmas stories come to life.

Participate in a 19th-Century Christmas

Spend an hour with the Colonial Singers for a re-creation of a 19th-Century Williamsburg Christmas in the “living room” of the famous Tucker family home in the Hennage Auditorium in Colonial Williamsburg on Dec. 26. Clad in beautiful 19th-century costumes, they share stories and songs centered around the Civil War, the college town of Williamsburg, circa 1850, and tales of Charles Dickens. Enjoy decorating the Tucker family Christmas tree.

Re-Live Four Centuries of Virginia Christmases

Enjoy early hymns, English songs of roast beef and revelry, Irish and Scots dance tunes, poetry, prose, and stories galore during Four Centuries of Virginia Christmases at the Hennage Auditorium in Colonial Williamsburg on Dec. 28. Sing, clap, toe-tap, and share the fun of beloved holiday traditions as veteran Williamsburg musicians Kelly Kennedy, David Gardner, Cliff Williams, and Doug Austin celebrate Christmases past in the Old Dominion. 

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Easing Back into the Big Easy And Reasons to Visit New Orleans this Summer

May 14, 2021
New Orleans French Quarter. Plenty of opportunities to enjoy New Orleans’ famed music outdoors (c) Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

There are many great reasons to plan a trip to New Orleans this summer or later. Here are some:

New hotels, including Four Seasons (opening mid-2021), Hotel Saint Vincent (opening ~June 1), Virgin Hotels New Orleans (opening late summer) as well as The Chloe (opened Oct. 2020) and Columns (opened Feb. 2021).

More ways to enjoy food and libations – safely – with friends, with breweries such as Miel and Zony Mash Beer Project offering ample outside seating with epic food trucks, pop-ups and live music. Many restaurants in the French Quarter offer courtyard dining for those looking to enjoy an elegant meal outdoors. Bonus: famed Galatoire’s Restaurant now takes reservations, meaning it’s easier than ever to snag a table and avoid long wait times.

New cultural attractions, including the Museum of Southern Jewish Experience opening May 27. Many favorites have reopened safely for visitors to enjoy with enhanced safety measures as a priority, such as Audubon Zoo, Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, Sazerac House, The National WWII Museum, New Orleans Jazz Museum, New Orleans Museum of Art and Ogden Museum of Southern Art. And the new Children’s Museum will reopen on May 29.

The return of beloved festivals including Hogs for the Cause (June 4-5), the New Orleans Wine and Food Experience (June 9-13), Satchmo SummerFest (July 30-Aug. 1), Beignet Festival (Sept. 25), French Quarter Festival (Sept. 30-Oct. 3) and a once-in-a-lifetime fall Jazz Fest (Oct. 8-17).

Great, safe outdoor experiences, including picnicking in Audubon Park or City Park, biking, golfing, and plenty of opportunities to listen to live music, including Bacchanal (now taking reservations), Lounge Vue House and Gardens’ Twilight at Lounge Vue outdoor music series, The Soul Rebels at the Broadside Theater, Steamboat Natchez Jazz Cruises, and much, much more.

More details and insights on what’s new, what’s open and what’s coming can be found on the New Orleans Insider’s Blog

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