Free Colonial Williamsburg Tickets August 8 – 14, 2016 for Area Residents

Colonial Williamsburg has been selling low-cost “Good Neighbor” passes to locals for a long time – with “local” meaning residents of the city of Williamsburg, James City County, and upper York County only.

As a special treat for the coming week, residents of Hampton Roads and Tidewater* can get FREE 1-day passes! That’s a value of $41 for adults and $21 for kids, so take advantage of it if you can. You’ll get into more than 40 historic trade shops and sites. Come see master craftsmen make amazing musical instruments, furniture, silver objects, guns, and more! Learn about our nation’s revolutionary history! See rare breeds of animals and beautiful gardens. It’s so much fun and educational, too.

*Includes Williamsburg, Chesapeake, Hampton, New Kent, Norfolk, Poquoson, Portsmouth, Suffolk, and Virginia Beach.

Jamestown Beach

Jamestown Beach, Jamestown, VAI kicked off the holiday weekend at Jamestown Beach today. Locals get in for free (the county is issuing parking decals this year) and visitors pay $4 weekdays/$7 weekends & holidays. I’m impressed with the work the county has done the last few years to make this beach family friendly. It’s dog-friendly, too!

  • 3 crescent-shaped sandy beaches
  • picnic areas (some shady) with grills
  • concession stand with soft drinks, chips, and ice cream
  • bathrooms
  • outside shower
  • kayak & canoe launch site
  • kayak rentals ($9/hour, 2-hour minimum)
  • ample parking
  • ADA access to the water

It’s a great place to relax, get some sun, swim, picnic, and launch your paddle craft. You can paddle your kayak or canoe from the easy put-in all the way around Jamestown Island. From the beach you can  see the Jamestown Ferry taking cars across the river; paddlers will see the 3 ships that are replicas of those sailed from England to Jamestown in 1607.


Kayaking in Poquoson, VA

Rens Road Boat Ramp

A favorite paddling put-in location for one of my groups is the public boat ramp at Rens Road in Poquoson. It’s about a 45 minute drive from Williamsburg. The Hampton Roads Kayakers group is very active and we sometimes gather for after-work paddling sessions there to enjoy the sunset and moonrise. (If you’re not familiar with, check it out – there’s an activity, hobby, or interest for everyone!) The members of the Hampton Roads Kayakers have taught me a lot about kayaks, equipment, and paddling. They love the sport and are generous with their knowledge, especially with beginner paddlers.

I took one of my favorite photos when we got out for a stretch break one evening on Racoon Island:

Sandy Bay panorama by Laurie Brown, copyright 2016, all rights reserved.
Racoon Island in Sandy Bay, off of the Poquoson River, VA. Photo by Laurie Brown, copyright 2016.

Round trip from the boat ramp to the Sandy Bay and back is 6 – 7 miles.

img_0559 george_laurie_selena_052616

We’ve seen eagles, ospreys, egrets, isis, and oyster catchers, plus lots of jumping fish. At times, I’m told, you’ll even see dolphins.

11 Reasons Every Parent Should Add Williamsburg, VA, To Their Summer Plans

boy zipline williamsburg vaWilliamsburg is in the “buzz.”, that is. I couldn’t agree more with this popular site’s advice for parents: Bring your kids to Williamsburg for a great vacation!

Check out 11 Reasons Every Parent Should Add Williamsburg, VA, To Their Summer Plans for your self and see what all the buzz is about.

Ice Skating at Colonial Williamsburg

What fun to see people of all skill levels enjoying the new skating rink on Duke of Gloucester Street in Colonial Williamsburg, VA. You can check the hours of operation and buy tickets online at Colonial Williamsburg’s site.

$12 Tickets to Busch Gardens Christmas Town Available Certain Dates

If you plan to visit Busch Gardens Christmas Town on certain days this season, you can purchase tickets for only $12 online. That’s a savings of $15 off the regular $27 price. You must redeem the tickets November 21, 22, 23, 30, Dec 5, 7, 15, 16, 17, 18, 22, or 30, 2014.

$12 tickets to Busch Gardens Christmas Town 2014

Williamsburg Community Pool

I have fond memories of riding my bike to Williamsburg Community Pool and playing with my friends in the sun, so I was glad to see today’s article in the Virginia Gazette.

When you need a place to swim laps, play with the family, or just chill out, without the extra travel time needed for Water Country USA, this is great option.

New family memberships are $295 for the season and returning families pay $320. It’s well run and maintained, plus it’s convenient to shopping for a few errands on the way home when you’re feeling refreshed.

Williamsburg Community Pool, photo by Ann Effimetz

Bounce House

If a bounce house at a festival is fun, then what is a whole warehouse filled with bounce houses? Super fun! That’s what my 3 and 2-year old nieces thought today at Bounce House Inflatable Playground at 3032 Richmond Rd. in Williamsburg. They ran from house to house, climbing, sliding, and giggling the whole time. At $10 each for toddlers, it was a great way to run off some steam and prepare for naps in the car for the long ride home.

The weekend rate for kids 5 – 12 years old is $13. They also have bumper cars for an extra fee. I was impressed with the cleanliness of the place and was told by the staff that they carefully vacuum and sanitize the vinyl houses. With adirondack chairs for the adults, family-friendly restrooms, and a snack bar, it’s a fun outing.

Bounce House, Williamsburg, VA


Bounce House, Williamsburg, VA

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Charity Golf Tournament to Support Youth Football and Cheerleading

The James City Jaguars Youth Football and Cheerleading organization (ages 6-14) is holding a charity golf tournament at Ford’s Colony on May 3rd, 2013 at 11:00 a.m. They have 150 football players and cheerleaders from the city of Williamsburg. All proceeds from the event will be used for new equipment and uniforms for the players and cheerleaders. The registration form and details are at Businesses can


Another Great Turkey Trot 5K to Benefit Local Charity

I had so much fun cheering my friends when they ran in the Blue Talon Bistro 5K Turkey Trot a couple of years ago that I decided to check it out again this year. They’ve almost doubled the number of participants in two years! I’m not surprised, because it’s great exercise and entertainment for the whole family on Thanksgiving morning. Registration money benefits the Williamsburg Area Meals on Wheels program, a very worthwhile organization.