Our Marriott Platinum challenge continues with our next stop: Williamsburg, Virginia. Like our previous VA Beach stay, we slightly modified this hotel stay on arrival as well, staying 2 nights in this Marriott, and 3 nights in another Marriott property in the historic district. Both properties were excellent, but the first property (while much nicer as it was part of Marriott’s Vacation Club) was located a bit too far out of the Williamsburg historic area for us, so we decided to move closer in to the district for the last three days, so we could walk around the area instead of diving a few miles to get there.
We left the VA Beach Courtyard Hotel around noon, and headed to Williamsburg, less than an hour away since there were no traffic delays at the tunnel or elsewhere. On the way we dove past the iconic Hampton Collesium, which I always thought was an interesting shaped building.
For the first two nights in Williamsburg, we stayed at the Marriott Vacation Club Manor. This was an outstanding property, and while we don’t have ownership in the Vacation Club, the rooms are rented out to non-members based on availability. In the photos below we are standing just outside the check-in area, before diving over to our assigned building complex.
We had a large one bedroom suite with a living room, faux fireplace, dining area, washer and dryer, kitchen with full size appliances and furnishings (utensils, plates, etc), and large bath with jacuzzi tub and separate shower. The room was basically a full size one bedroom apartment, and perfect for families (with sleeper sofa in living room) or retired couples who enjoy golf (54 holes on propety) and the quiet upscale country club community in the greater Williamsburg area.
There was also a large screened-in patio just off the living room. We were on the first floor of three, which was very convenient coming and going.
During our two day stay at “The Manor” we dove around the Williamsburg area to get our bearings as it had been a few years since either of us was here last. It was a bit rainy the first day, so we opted for some of the indoor shopping activities around Williamsburg. We first went to what I thought was the old Pottery warehouse, but unfortunately over the years it had been re-built into an upscale, European-like strip mall. I remember going to the pottery warehouse as a teenager on a school trip many years ago. Way back when, it was huge and inexpensive, offering something for everyone, with bus loads of people coming to shops there. Now, not only were there no buses, but sadly hardly any people either, most likely due to the COVID pandemic, off-season, and rainy weather.
We considered going to the Premium outlet malls (we did go on our last day) but stopped by the Yankee Candle Shop (YCS) complex instead. The YCS complex was an enclosed mini-mall made up of several stores with a fancy Christmas-themed courtyard in the middle. The center complex is designed so it has an outdoor Christmas village feel to it, aided by the painted blue-sky ceiling, streetlights, trees, a huge fountain, gazebo, and brick and stone walkways.
Surprisingly we didn’t buy anything, although it was not for a lack of finding things we liked. The prices didn’t really seem discounted from Yankee Candle stores back home, but they did have a huge selection of everything from candles, gift sets, toys, to Department 56 Dickens pieces. As we were already full with car space going home, (from packing up things at Mom and Dad’s house) we at least had an excuse not to go on a shopping binge!
Still it was nice to look around at the various Christmas (and to a much lesser extent, the Halloween, and Thanksgiving) displays.
Pre-COVID it used to “snow” every 20 minutes in the village square, but it still has a wintery feel to it, and a train and other animated displays operating at scattered times for your enjoyment. We were really impressed with the Yankee Candle Store complex, and even if you’re not a big shopper, it’s a wonderful place to get in the Christmas spirit. After all when we were there in September the countdown lock reminded us Christmas was only 99 days away!
For dinner the first night we had Italian food at a nice Sicilian family-owned restaurant, Francesco’s. Francesco’s is located in a strip mall about a 10 minute drive from our hotel. Francesco’s has a nice upscale, and casual Italian decor, and offered great food and service. We had meatballs for appetizers, salad, and then a huge chicken parmesan meal with tasty fresh herbs on top. The chianti wine complemented our meal wonderfully. We had a nice meal, and definitely didn’t leave hungry! Francesco’s also observed social distancing with the table distancing as well as all staff were wearing masks.
The second night, we had dinner at the Aberdeen Barn, which was a sister property of the one we had eaten at recently in Charlottesville. Aberdeen Barn is famous for their prime rib, so it wasn’t a choice of what to have; rather how big a portion to get. DOS and I both had the standard-sized Prime Rib (medium rare of course), and paired with the Barboursville Cabernet Franc (from a Charlottesville, Virginia we had visited recently) it was plentiful and delicious! Like Francesco’s, Aberdeen Barn utilized social distancing in their seating (we had a nice and private booth away from others), and the servers and staff all wore masks.
So I’m going to end this post with our first two days in the greater Williamsburg area, and continue on in the next post where we change hotels to stay in the historic Colonial Williamsburg district.