There’s a Cure to that Dull Summer…

The house in the quiescence of Williamsburg

Colonial Williamsburg is welcoming its newest residents!  Kate Hughes and I have been given the tremendous honor of becoming the residents for the 2011-2012 school year in the William Randolph House. We are tremendously excited and consider ourselves very, very lucky. We have some very interesting and new ideas planned for William and Mary students to hopefully allow a closer look at Colonial Williamsburg programming, especially concerning the Arts. We will let you know about the programs and events we plan throughout the year through this blog, Our Facebook Page, or you can join our listserv for quick updates and reminders about CW House events by entering your email for cwhouse-l at

While my lovely counterpart is currently conducting her Monroe Project in her native Long Island, I have been given the opportunity to live in the William Randolph house for the remainder of the summer in order to conduct research in the Biology Department before the beginning of school. Waking up to the clapping of horse-drawn carriages, streaming sunshine from the beautiful gardens, and utilizing my HUGE skeleton key to the house forged by the blacksmiths, has already been a rewarding and unique experience. Having spent two summer in Williamsburg on campus before, it certainly is a much different experience to live in Colonial Williamsburg—even though it’s only a slight distance away from the hubbub of campus. I’ve felt the dullness before, and many students always complain that William and Mary is “boring” during the summer–that there’s never enough to do without constant student activities and the general excitement on campus besides go to Movie Tavern eight times and try and figure out how many pounds you’ll gain by eating at Nawaab daily. However, there is actually plenty to do right up DOG street. If you’re in Williamsburg this summer, catching yourself in a summer lull with nothing to do, here are some quick suggestions to liven up the day:

  1. Beat the summer heat by purchasing a 2011 souvenir mug for only $10! Refills are completely free and the mug is good until the end of 2011! These souvenir mugs can be purchased at the Kimble Theater concessions stand, Chowning’s Tavern, Shield’s Tavern, Raleigh Tavern Bakery, or the Visitor’s Center. During the summer months, fill up your mug with cool cider or with vanilla, chocolate, or swirled soft-serve ice cream!
  2. Kick back and enjoy a little music Wednesdays with the Summer Breeze Concert Series in Merchants Square.  From 7-9pm on Wednesdays, enjoy bands playing a variety of music! If you don’t have one, borrow a chair from the CW House to return for an easy night of entertaining. A recent concert on July 27th featured the band “Slapwater.” In the following weeks, enjoy tunes from USAF Rhythm in Blue Ensemble, USAF Heritage Ramblers Ensemble, USAF Blue Aces Ensemble, and the USAF Concert Band.
  3. Instead of debating where to eat dinner, take your friends or visiting relatives to one of the taverns! In the 18th century, taverns provided lodging for travelers as well as meals, conversation, and entertainment. The taverns of Colonial Williamsburg carry on the tradition of good food and a cozy and entertaining atmosphere. This summer includes programs such as:
  • Chowning’s Beer Garden: Gather in the Garden for an entertaining evening of lively music, visits from characters of Williamsburg’s past, a colonial magician, and 18th-century games. Enjoy casual quick fare.
    Nightly, 5–9 p.m. June 17–Sept. 1
  • Chowning’s Gambols: Experience an evening in an 18th-century alehouse! Join in rousing period sing-alongs and learn to play popular games of the day. Snack on Virginia peanuts, light fare, and local wines and ales, and select from a wide variety of other refreshments.
    Nightly from 9 p.m.
  • Shield’s Tavern: High Life Below Stairs—A three course meal complete with a show about magic, foolishness, bravery, intrigue, greed, and love. $45.95 adults; $23.95 children ages 6-12; children 5 and under FREE. Prices include tax and gratuity. Tuesdays & Saturdays, June 18–Aug 30; 5:00 pm seating; Reservations required
  • Raleigh Tavern Bakery: 20% off by showing your student ID from their selection of tasty treats!

4. Take your visiting family or friends on a Williamsburg Ghost Tour! Each tour is led through the streets of Williamsburg by candlelight, sharing in some eerie folklore and favorite scary stories. Purchase tickets online or at the Williamsburg General Store, and meet your tour guide before your tour in Colonial Williamsburg. During the summer, tours are only $10 with your Good Neighbor Pass.

5. The Farmer’s Market, open every Saturday from 8am to 12pm, is an excellent opportunity to pick up fresh produce or gifts and spend your morning in CW, escaping the heat of the day.  Enjoy a loaf of fresh banana bread or pick up a bunch of wildflowers, and then take a stroll through the gardens!

6. Invest a little time exploring the vast artistic and educational opportunities in Williamsburg:

  • There are countless activities everyday, free for those with a William and Mary student ID. Look online at Colonial Williamsburg’s page for daily events or special exhibitions.

7. If the humidity and heat has got you down, pay a visit to the Kimball Theatre and enjoy a CW experience (from the comfort of air conditioning). Enjoy movies, shows, and educational exhibitions for the rest of July/August before the stress of school and classes fills up your time.

Many, but not all of these events can be made more affordable for students by showing your student ID as your “Good Neighbor” pass. Many shops and events in Williamsburg offer discounts especially for students, so please ask!

Students at William and Mary during the summer might think that Williamsburg is only for the tourists—but just do a little exploring and you’ll see that there’s plenty to do besides the occasional stroll down DOG Street. Even though you might be far removed from your family or your friends, enjoy as many of the countless opportunities in Williamsburg during the summer that you can. As always, feel free to use Kate and I as a resource for what types of programs are available in CW. We’ll be updating soon about our planned events for the House, so stay tuned!

Until next time,

Leah Towarnicky

Categories: Student Blogs, Williamsburg
1 Comment
  1. BLBC

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