I’m lucky, I know that. Living in the Washington, DC metro area there are a lot of options for great getaways; whether for a weekend or a longer vacation. Over the past year my partner and I decided to take advantage of these fun places to visit and our most recent destination was Williamsburg, Virginia. Even though we both have spent a lot of time in Williamsburg as students, I hadn’t been back in several years and I had never visited the town as a tourist. The experience was completely different and a lot of that is due to the luxury accommodations at Kingsmill.
I was invited down to Williamsburg by Kingsmill, and as their guest for the weekend I enjoyed the best this resort has to offer. If you’re not familiar, the history of Kingsmill has been inextricably tied to that of the local community since the Virginia Company first settled the area along the James River in the 17th century. Once a plantation, the lands were purchased in the 20th century by John D. Rockefeller, Jr. who bought most of Williamsburg in order to bring back to life this important, Colonial-era town. Then, in the 1970s, Anheuser-Busch head August Busch, II and the head of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation reached a deal whereby Busch purchased a huge tract of land on which he built a brewery, theme park, a residential community and resort: Kingsmill.
Kingsmill has had a correctly labeled reputation since the beginning as a luxury resort, offering everything from golf to quiet evening sunsets on the James River. I had never visited though, in spite of the fact that I called Williamsburg home for four years and I was eager to see what Kingsmill was all about.
The size of Kingsmill surprised me more than anything. More than just a resort, the property also includes golf courses and a large residential community as well. At the heart of all this though is the main clubhouse and the resort neighborhoods. Rather than a traditional hotel, the suites are in pods spread out allowing guests privacy and amazing views. It reminded me of golf course resorts in Florida, and while the exteriors are absolutely dated, I was pleased to see that most of the rooms have been kept up to date.
What’s great about the resort is the freedom though. It was nice to have my own kitchen, washer and dryer and even a working fireplace. A simple call to the front desk and we had our own stack of firewood ready to go. I was also pleased with the variety of things to do around Kingsmill, especially the dining options. Kingsmill recently hired a new executive chef and the menus at all the resort’s restaurants show this new infusion of energy. My favorite place to grab a quick bite was the cafe known as The Mill. Under the purview of a master pastry chef, this isn’t your average coffee shop. The Mill’s specialty is a European-style sticky bun that is well worth every extra calorie.
Over the course of the weekend I came to appreciate these amenities, especially after a long day of sightseeing around Williamsburg.
Access To Town
Kingsmill is great in its own right, but I am willing to bet that most people visit in order to see Williamsburg and the nearby Historic Triangle of Jamestown and Yorktown. You can certainly drive to these spots, but Kingsmill also has a complimentary shuttle service, which is an amazing convenience. Finding parking in Williamsburg can sometimes be daunting and the free lots are almost always full, so having a safe, convenient and free way to get to the touristy sites was a wonderful convenience. Shuttle service is also provided to nearby Busch Gardens amusement park of course, another savings in time and money.
Williamsburg can sometimes be overlooked, especially by Washingtonians. Many tend to think of it as corny and as a place just for kids or families. That’s not true, and revisiting The ‘Burg as a tourist further confirmed my belief that this is a wonderful place to visit, no matter who you are. Sure, you can spend all day wandering along the old colonial parts of town, which we did for the 1000th time. I love it though, it never gets old for me; there’s something relaxing about walking the one-mile long road that cuts through town, talking with people in Colonial garb and stopping by a tavern for a quick bite. But Williamsburg is more than its Colonial past. Quite a few new and funky restaurants have opened up all around town, and it’s easy to quickly feel like a local. There’s also the Williamsburg Winery, where I worked as a college student, which has really come into its own in recent years. Making some of the best wines in the state, the winery has expanded considerably and is a great place to spend the afternoon, drinking wine and grabbing a bite to eat. Sitting out amongst the vineyards is a beautiful and decidedly non-Colonial way to spend an afternoon.
No matter what you choose to do though, just go. Williamsburg is a special place, thanks to the odd combination of its Colonial past and a thriving university set amongst the reenactors. The students at the College of William and Mary add a perpetual vibrancy to town, ensuring that it will never feel old, regardless of its history. If you are one of those who has dismissed Williamsburg in the past, try a weekend like the one we enjoyed and I think you’ll be surprised. Stay at Kingsmill to relax and be pampered, but also include the great Historic Triangle area in your explorations. I know you’ll be shocked at the width and breadth of things to do in this wonderful part of Virginia.