Saturday, December 31, 2011

Back to Britian

With 300 years passed, it’s easy to forget that we were once British and glad to claim the pedigree. That’s the good thing about re-visiting Williamsburg, Va. This tidewater city was the capitol of the biggest and wealthiest British colony in the New World in the 1700s.

The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, which operates the historic area and several outlying museum and other attractions, is careful to remind visitors of those English roots. A special program yesterday in the courthouse was set in the years before American Independence, when British justice was the rule in Williamsburg and a “dissenter” Presbyterian could be tried for missing Sunday services at Bruton Parish Anglican Church, the official church of England.

Today, during a program at the Capitol building, the tour guide reminded about 50 visitors that revolutionary colonist weren’t particularly angry about British rule. They generally were proud of their nation. They rebelled because they felt the crown wasn’t affording them the rights guaranteed to every British citizen.

There are a million things to enjoy in Williamsburg. It’s hard to believe that after seeing the Fife and Drum Corps, it’s still possible for its music to stir the soul. A kids program at the magazine deftly engaged children of several ages while being funny and informative at the same time.

Thanks to the Foundation’s marketing department for complimentary admission to its programs.

Out of N.C., on to Williamsburg

Williamsburg is not in North Carolina, and this is a North Carolina travel blog. But this North Carolinian has traveled to Colonial Williamsburg this New Year’s weekend. So I’ll write a few posts about it.

It’s a familiar place for my family. We’ve visited in the area several times where our daughter was younger, and one year even enjoyed an annual pass. We drove to Virginia’s colonial capital four times that year. Another year, we took my mother and mother-in-law for several days. This year, we’ll travel with our daughter, her husband and our three grandsons.

What’s the draw?

Plenty. Williamsburg is one of the more unique historic attractions in the nation. It consists of several blocks of restored colonial-era buildings. Historic interpreters in period costumes inform the hundreds of thousands of visitors who make the trek each year. Cars are banned from the restored area, so it is nearly always family-friendly. Thomas Jefferson earned his law degree in this town, at adjacent William and Mary College. A 20-something George Washington took a seat in the House of Burgesses in Williamsburg, worshipped at Bruton Parish Church in town and spent his honeymoon in Williamsburg after marrying the widow Martha Custis. There was Peyton Randolph. Lady Dunmore. The traitor Benedict Arnold, who seized Williamsburg for two days in spring 1781.

Virginia was one of England’s first New World settlements, and it became one of this nation’s most prominent colonies, both financially and politically. The Royal Governor resided in Williamsburg.

What is there to see? The Governor’s Palace. The courthouse and the armory. Greenhowe’s general store. A period bakery. Several taverns that still serve meals. A renown Fife and Drum corps that performs regularly.

It would take years to see everything. I’m a witness.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Groupon Deals

Groupon, the e-mail discount coupon service, is offering a nice deal in North Carolina. You can save a bundle on a cabin in the Great Smoky Mountain town of Bryson City. The venue is Mountain Vista Log Cabins at 11 Hwy. 19 South. An example: four people, two nights, for $155. There's a deadline to book (about eight days from now). There's a limit to how many cabins will be rented at the discounted rates. Taxes and a $25 cleaning fee are additional. Here's the website

A separate deal offers a one-night stay for two adults and up to two youngsters at The Blake Hotel in Charlotte. It's a king or double room, and you can combine up to three nights. There's a deadline for this one, too (about eight days).
Here's the link

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Quick, Beach Cottage Contest

One more contest, this one for a free week’s accommodation in an oceanfront cottage at Sunset Beach this spring. Deadline to enter is Dec. 15th.

Sunset Properties has teamed up with Our State magazine for the special promotion. You’ll stay in Sea Oats West cottage, which has four bedrooms and four baths. Sleeps up to 10!

Includes free linens and setup, free DVD movie rentals and discounts to area businesses.

Sunset is a wonderful beach, and within easy driving distance to wonderful food in the small town of Calabash and the big entertainment in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Sunset Properties has been around since 1988 and offers more than 400 homes on the barrier islands of Sunset Beach and Ocean Isle Beach.

Enter Here...Good luck!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Win a River Cruise

This post has nothing to do with North Carolina travel, but it looks too good not to pass on to you. I found it on's Twitter account (@MyBestFareFindr).
The Great American Steamboat Company is giving away a 7-day river cruise for two to St. Louis, Missouri, over the July 4th holiday. You'll cruise June 28 to July 5, 2012 aboard the steamer American Queen. You'll luxuriate in a Deluxe Stateroom with veranda.
Go to the website below to enter. Deadline is March 15.
Click Here to Enter

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Graveyard Worth Visiting!

The state Department of Cultural Resources operates three fine maritime museums, including one on the Outer Banks. Here's a press release about that facility's Christmas open house, which is coming up fast!

HATTERAS – Cookies and caroling will be among the delights of the first annual Christmas Open House at the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum on Saturday, Dec. 10, from noon until 4 p.m. Vintage Santa Claus displays, twinkling lights and a holiday village will make for festive times at the free family-friendly event. Even the animatronic dog and bear and a snowman or two will be part of the fun.
Children will enjoy making nautical bracelets and stencils. A variety of homemade soups will warm the soul, and door prizes will be given. All donations brought for the food bank will earn a 5-percent discount in the gift shop and also a special holiday bag.

Island history will be on display in the “Flags Over Hatteras” Civil War exhibit, and in the familiar names and faces of the “Ship Ashore” exhibit. Actual artifacts from Blackbeard’s Queen Anne’s Revenge shipwreck are in the “Pirates, Scalawags, and Brigands” exhibit, and will make for a full fun-filled day.

The Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum is located at 59200 Museum Drive, Hatteras, N.C. 27943, and is one of three N.C. Maritime Museums, along with the N.C. Maritime Museum in Beaufort and the N.C. Maritime Museum in Southport. The Maritime Museums are part of the Division of State History Museums in the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources.