Handel’s Messiah in Williamsburg

You have at least two great options to hear a live performance of Handel’s Messiah this year.

Saturday, Dec. 3, 2011 at 5:00 p.m. Volunteers perform at the Williamsburg Methodist Church on Jamestown Road. See their 2009 performance on YouTube.

Thursday, Dec. 8, 2011 at 8:00 p.m. the Virginia Symphony Orchestra performs at Phi Beta Kappa Hall, College of William and Mary. Tickets $20.

Family Activities After the Thanksgiving Feast

Having the whole family in town for Thanksgiving? You’ll need to plan some activities for the non-football fans. There’s always shopping on Black Friday, but if that’s not your thing, try these ideas:

  • For theme park fun lovers, Busch Garden’s Christmas Town is open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (Nov. 25-27, 3:00-10:00 p.m.)
  • Visit Colonial Williamsburg
  • Catch a performance of Coyote Run‘s Celtic Solstice Celebration at the Kimball Theater on Merchants Square. This popular local band is back in town for their annual Thanksgiving weekend concert. Read last year’s review. Call 1-800-447-8679 for tickets: $20/$17/$14.
  • Get a copy of The Art-Full Tree by local authors Jan Gilliam and Christina Westenberger. It’s available at Colonial Williamsburg and Barnes and Noble locally, as well as online. The book shows you how to make Christmas ornaments inspired by objects in the museum’s collections from household materials and supplies readily available at craft stores.
  • Visit the Williamburg Antiques Mall for a trip down memorabilia lane with your older relatives. You can also score some vintage Christmas gifts. Be sure to laugh lovingly at the people circling for parking spots at the Premium Outlets on your way to the other side of the railroad tracks. (Closed Thanksgiving Day)
  • Get some exercise at Freedom Park, at the intersection of Longhill and Centerville Roads. There’s a brand new interpretive center where you can learn about Hotwater Plantation in the 1650s and one of the earliest free black settlements. With more than 20 miles of wooded trails, you’ll be hungry for turkey leftovers in no time.
  • Head to Jamestown Settlement for their new exhibit The 17th Century: Gateway to the Modern World. You’ll learn how explorers helped transition from the old world of Mediterranean and European centers of commerce to the globally connected world in the 1600s—with lots of gorgeous paintings and artifacts for illustration.
  • Check out the paintings of Amy Hautman     and ceramics by Lynn Trott at This Century Art Gallery.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Impressionists Show at Muscarelle Museum Opens Oct. 22

Paintings on loan from the High Museum of Art in Atlanta make the Muscarelle Museum exhibit a “must see” this fall. You can preview the paintings with a fun interactive showcase on the museum’s web site. Admission is $10.

Public Hours
Tuesday – Friday : 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Saturday – Sunday : 12 noon – 4 p.m.
Closed Mondays

Celebrate VA Archaeology Month at Historic Jamestowne

If you can’t make it to the special dinner on Jamestown Island Thursday night, you have another option on Saturday, Oct. 8 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. to learn about the most recent discoveries at James Fort during the 2011 field season. This special day will include historic trades demonstrations, ranger and archaeologist tours, and kids’ activities. Admission is $10 for adults, free for children under 16.

Special evening at Historic Jamestowne

Enjoy beautiful scenery and learn more about Jamestown and the Civil War at a special dinner on Thursday, Oct. 6, 2011. The program begins at 5:00 p.m. and includes a picnic dinner. Historic Jamestowne’s web site says you’ll “explore the story of Fort Pocahontas, one of five Civil War-era forts constructed on Jamestown Island … hear first-person accounts of Confederate soldiers stationed at the fort … and enjoy an update with Jamestown Rediscovery Senior Archaeologist Dave Givens on the most recent findings from the fort’s excavated bomb shelter.”


Italian Festival

There’s no shortage of fun things to do this weekend! The Italian Festival is being held Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 8 & 9 at Walsingham Academy, 1100 Jamestown Road in Williamsburg from 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.  They’ll have wine tastings, great food, and entertainment.

There’s an admission fee, in addition to the cost of the food, because this is the biggest fundraiser of the year for the Colonial Italian American Organization. This group funds $2,000 scholarships for 4 high school students annually, as well as providing grants to other local educational charities.


  • $12 advance, $15 at gate with Wine Tasting
  • $5 advance, $8 at gate
Get your advance tickets at a number of local merchants, or purchase online at the festival web site.

Fish Fry at the Firehouse

If you’re still hungry when you leave the Hickory Neck Fall Festival on Saturday, Oct. 8,  there’s a convenient solution for you. Just up the road, the James City-Bruton Volunteer Fire Department in Toano is holding its annual Fall Fish Fry from 3:00 to 7:00 p.m.

Meet the volunteer fire fighters and see the trucks and equipment they use to protect us and our property. Tickets are $10/adults, $5/kids under 12. The spread includes fried flounder, baked beans, cole slaw, hush puppies, water, iced tea, or coffee.

Free Concert Oct. 15, 2011: Tidewater Guitar Orchestra

I had never heard of a guitar orchestra until I saw an ad in the Virginia Gazette for a free performance of the Tidewater Guitar Orchestra  at the Williamsburg Baptist Church. Curious, I visited the orchestra’s web site, where you can hear samples of their music. Lovely! I’m going and hope to drag hubby, too. Performance starts at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 15, 2011. See you there.

Fall Festival to Support Local Charities


The 11th Annual  Hickory Neck Family Fall Festival will be held on Saturday, October 8, 2011 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.  The event is great fun for the whole family while raising funds for local charities including Grove Christian Outreach Center, SpiritWorks Foundation, Faith in Action, Angels of Mercy, H.E.L.P., and others.

Enjoy homemade BBQ and other luncheon favorites followed by treats from the “Amazin Grazin” bakery and gourmet items sale.  There are lots of children’s activities while you enjoy live music.  Browse the Arts & Crafts show or find a treasure at Attic Antiques.

The Silent Auction offers incredible bargains including gifts certificates to local shops, restaurants, golf venues and many other great values.  Tours of the historic chapel are available.  For additional information call (757) 566-0276 or visit www.hickoryneck.org/festival. (Disclosure: Williamsburg Native is a member of Hickory Neck Episcopal Church)

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Williamsburg’s September Art Events

Fall is a wonderful time for outdoor festivals all over Virginia. Williamsburg’s Occasion for the Arts, held the 2nd Sunday of October since 1969 is well known. This year, the city is building on that show’s success by expanding its Fall Arts programs into September.

On Saturday, Sept. 24, 2011 from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at Merchants Square on Duke of Gloucester Street,  artisans will demonstrate and sell their work.  They’ll offer live demonstrations, including a potter’s wheel, glass fusing, jewelry making, weaving, printmaking and more. Colonial Williamsburg is providing FREE tickets to its Historic Trades to link the past (historic trades) to the future (contemporary artisans).

Also on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2011, wander away from Merchants Square to find artists working en plein air. From 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., you can visit artists painting throughout Colonial Williamsburg, downtown Williamsburg, and the campus of the College of William and Mary. At 3:30 p.m. the artists will display their newly completed art in Merchants Square to be juried for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd places. From 4:00 to 5:00 p.m. The plein air art is available for sale. Hors d’oeuvres will be served, with wine, beer and beverages for sale.

On Sunday, Sept. 25, 2011, check out the “Art on the QT” fundraising event at This Century Art Gallery. Artists are donating works measuring 5 x 7 inches for sale in a silent auction.