Sneak Peek: Dec 30-Jan 4

Well, it’s been awhile since my last post, as I’ve been indulging in the time-honored Christmas tradition of being lazy and doing nothing but binge-watch TV shows and read books on the couch. It’s been awesome, but I have been letting y’all down! So, back to it. Here are the top things to do in Williamsburg this week:

Celebration in Lights

The other night I got a chance to see the lights at Newport News Park. It was really fun! There were so many different scenes- a Christmas tree forest, polar bears and penguins magically together at the North/South pole- and speaking of North/South, there was a Civil War portion, you guys. Cannon and soldiers and the Monitor and the Merrimack in Christmas lights!

Celebration_in_Lights_Newport_News_2There was also a “critter” portion where deer jumped over your car, and a nautical area with ships on the water and a lighthouse. I don’t want to spoil it all for you, so suffice to say it was really fun, especially if you are into Christmas lights like I am. So grab some friends and pile in a car and head down- it’s still open until January 1 (nightly 5:30-10pm, $10 per car)

First Night Williamsburg

Bobby Blackhat

Bobby Blackhat

How’d you like to go to six concerts in one night? Well, this Wednesday, you can- and for $15. Get your button and plan out your schedule. I highly recommend Bobby Blackhat and the Kenyan Acrobats.  Also there’s fireworks at midnight at Zable Stadium! Unless you’d rather “swing” in the new year with the Williamsburg Swing Orchestra, which sounds pretty fun to me. I look forward to this all year!

First Day Hike

hikeNew Year’s Day will be cold, but at least it’ll be sunny- why not get outside? All Virginia State Parks are hosting a First Day Hike– at York River State Park, there will be a group hike to the Pamunkey Overlook, apparently a bit of a hidden gem in the park that overlooks the former site of Werowicomico, the capital of the Powhatan Empire. Also, if you take a cute pic you could win free stays at state park cabins!

Contradancing

If you’ve never been contradancing at Norge Hall, I highly recommend it. If you’re not a big dancer, don’t worry- it doesn’t require a lot of style, just remembering a few moves- and they repeat a lot. It’s like a line dance in that you always know what the next move will be, but you get to dance with your partner and just about everyone else in your group, so it’s more social than a line dance. One word of advice- don’t overdress. It gets pretty warm in the hall, even in the winter. Also look at your partner’s face when you spin- you’ll get less dizzy.

contradance

That’s it for this week, guys. As always, more things to do in the calendar. Williamsburg is about to enter the January doldrums, when all the students are gone and so are the tourists and everything shuts down- but don’t worry, there are a few things coming up. And I’ll keep you in the loop!

Sneak Peek: Dec 15-21

Between your shopping and bustling, take some time for yourself! Here are some things to do in Williamsburg this week:


Monday

Meditation Class at Williamsburg Unitarian Universalist Church, 7pm- Free

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Taking some time for meditation may be just what you need during the busy holiday season. This free Monday night class is great for beginners and the more advanced alike. The teacher will walk you through the process and you can talk with classmates about your challenges and experiences. When I’ve gone, I left feeling calm and more in control of my life. I hope you will feel the same!


Wednesday

Ballroom Dance Lessons at Seasons, 7:30 pm- Free

Vernon_and_Irene_Castle2

Guys, trust me when I say a man who can dance is very impressive. Also? There is almost ALWAYS  a lack of men at dances! So get out to Seasons and learn some new moves. Dancing is just fun.

One caveat- I haven’t been to these free lessons at Seasons, so if someone goes, please let me know how it is!


Featured Event this Week! (I will be there, come join if you like!)

Saturday

Good Fires, Good Company, and Diversons: The Compliments of the Season at the Powell House 10am-5pm

Photo by the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation

Photo by the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation

This is an event at Colonial Williamsburg that requires a ticket, so grab your Good Neighbor Pass! You do have one, right?

Let’s find out how families (well, at least upper-to-middling families) in the 18th century prepared for Christmas! We’ll observe them cooking special meals, making decorations, and hopefully some singing and dancing. I’ll be there from 10:30-11:30 am if you’d like to join.


Saturday

“It’s a Wonderful Life” at the Kimball, 7pm- $3

It's_A_Wonderful_Life

Thanks to some really nice people who are sponsoring this event (Dennis Kiser, Donna Crinklaw, and Middle Peninsula Insurance), this holiday classic is being shown at the Kimball for only $3 this Saturday. It’s a Williamsburg tradition, apparently! I would advise you to call ahead, though, and see if you can get your tickets ahead of time, as it’s sure to be very popular.


As always, more free and affordable things to do in Williamsburg available to view on the calendar. Have a great week, all!

Scrooge comes to Williamsburg, is haunted by puppets and musical numbers

Each year, Williamsburg’s stately aura of perfectly hung wreaths and picturesque shop windows gets a jolt of silliness: a goofy rendition of the timeless Dickens holiday tale, “A Christmas Carol,” pops up downtown in Merchant’s Square. It’s unbelievably quick (30 minutes), put on by only two people (plus a few audience participants), and always attracts a crowd.

Christmas Carol backlit

The setup is like a life-size Polly Pocket theater- the back and sides all open up and presto, there’s a stage, complete with lights, a set that transforms itself into multiple sets, and even a backstage somehow. Oh! And there’s puppets, for you Muppet Christmas Carol fans.

Christmas Carol Scrooge with puppets 2

The title role is played by Ed Whitacre (a Master Thespian, mind you). He is probably the most over-the-top Scrooge I have ever seen- and it fits the production perfectly. Mark Lerman does everything else, including playing multiple roles (and genders) and controlling the set.

The production this year is a musical (insert jazz hands here!!). So besides puppets and a zany Scrooge, just to make it more ridiculous, there are musical numbers peppered throughout (you may recognize songs from The Pirates of Penzance and Phantom of the Opera, among other musicals).

Christmas Carol from side 2

Now, if you get there early and get a spot up front, you could be picked to participate!

The two people on the left are awaiting their instructions for their roles - a Christmas turkey and an errand boy - from Scrooge and his maid (he made a GREAT turkey btw!)

The two people on the left are awaiting their instructions for their roles – a Christmas turkey and an errand boy – from Scrooge and his maid (he made a GREAT turkey btw!)

I can’t believe I haven’t mentioned that this is free yet, but- it is! The schedule is 5pm Fridays, 3:30 and 5pm Saturdays and Sundays. This Saturday, there’s an extra performance at 2pm on Saturday.

I’ll leave you with a video and more pics. But don’t forget to check out the real thing this weekend or next! As always, more things to do in the calendar. Have a great one, everybody-

Christmas Carol Scrooge and ghost 2

Christmas Carol Scrooge with tombstone

Christmas Carol Scrooge 4

Sneak Peek for the Week Ahead: Dec 8-14

Bunches and bunches of Christmas things to do in Williamsburg this week, and more in the calendar


Tuesday and Wednesday

“A Christmas Story” at the Movie Tavern– 7:30pm

A-Christmas-Story-a-christmas-story-5082964-640-480

I triple-dog-dare you!


Thursday

Social Networking Lunch at Plaza Azteca 12-1pm

Put on by Young Emerging Professionals of Williamsburg (YEP). I went to one once, it was really nice. At least when I went, there were only three of us, so it was easy to get to know one another. It’s a great way to meet new people. And plus- it’s Plaza Azteca! I have made meals of their guacamole alone. . .

3802442389_3079ae3821_o


Friday

Lessons and Carols at Williamsburg Presbyterian- 7:30 pm

The event is free, and everyone is invited.  Special performances will be provided by William and Mary’s Women’s Chorus and the Westminster Ringers of Williamsburg Presbyterian Church.  Students, faculty, and staff will join campus ministers in reading biblical passages appropriate to the season with carols and hymns sung by the congregation, as well as special music.  The service will conclude with the singing of “Silent Night” by candlelight.


Saturday and Sunday

Afternoon Wine Tunes at Saude Creek 2-5pm

Pouring_wine_into_a_decanter

So, I knew that Saude Creek did live music in the summer on Fridays, but apparently they do live music in the winter in the afternoons! This weekend Jocelyn Oldham is playing on Saturday and Dave Pollard is playing on Sunday. A tasting is $7 and BBQ is available for purchase. At least when we went this summer you could bring your own food; I’m not sure if that’s still the case but you could call ahead and ask. Sounds like a great way to escape the holiday bustle!


Sunday

2nd Sunday Art Festival 11am-5pm

Merchant-Square

Don’t worry, it won’t be snowing . . .

Sunday’s going to be a great time to be in Merchant’s Square. It’s the holiday art festival, the Christmas Carol in-a-box, Father Christmas strolling (3:30-6:30), carolers, all that stuff. Grab some hot cocoa and get out there!

Featured Event This Week! (I will be there, come join if you’d like!)

Stockholm_ice_skaters

It will be just like this! Except with less buildings. And less people. More of them falling.

The icerink is open generally all evenings and all day on weekends. I will be at the Iceburg icerink at Mid County Park at 3pm on Sunday to review it for the blog. If you’d like to join, come along!


If none of this tickles your fancy, of course there are more events on the calendar. Some to consider are another concert of the Messiah, in case you missed the one last week, the lights in Newport News Park, a gingerbread house competition, and non-holiday stuff like $5 yoga, music jams, open mics, movies, and more.

So last Thursday, I got to fly in a spaceship

This is a review of Thursday Adventure Nights, happening every Thursday starting at Martins.

Unexpected Nerdvana at Martins

Unexpected Nerdvana at Martins

I showed up at the Martin’s on Monticello last week not knowing what to expect. I was running late due to having to work late (it was a crazy day). I ran home, changed, and grabbed a can of Glory blackeyed peas for dinner (actually pretty alright and very filling.)

So anyway, I walk into Martins and turn right where their little food court / dining area is. and there are about eight guys at a long table. I think to myself, Oh lord Crystal, what have you gotten yourself into now? But they greet me, and make a seat for me at the table, and are very welcoming and pleasant.

Turns out some of them go (or went) to the same church together and they have been hosting these nights for about a year now. They saw a dearth of free / low cost fun things for people to do around here and so they decided to make their own. The group is organized by a guy named Scott, who comes up with many of the ideas of things to do and posts to the Facebook page. It sounded like some of the more popular events have been:

A couple of girls did eventually show up- they said that in general, the crowd tends to be more “mixed” when the activity is something outdoors, or at least not confined to the Martin’s food court. But I mean, if you are a woman deciding whether or not to go- the gender balance power is in your hands!

So anyway- this particular Thursday was Game Night! We were encouraged to bring a favorite board game, and in my family we have this game we call “the dice game.” But it takes a few minutes to explain, so I picked up some UNO cards instead, thinking that would be simpler. When it came time to start the game, one of the guys pulled out this game he was really jazzed about, but I had never heard of it. Apparently he had just ordered it in the mail after hearing about it from a friend- it was called “Space Cadets.”  And we start unpacking this game, and there are about a billion dice, most of which have weird symbols on them instead of regular dots (I’m thinking, whaaaa. . . ?). After about 45 minutes of figuring out what this symbol meant, and what happens if this happens, and frequent consultation with the rulebook (I thought my game was complicated!), we start playing the game. And y’all- it was awesome.

It was basically like playing Star Trek. Everybody had a panel they were in charge of (navigation, weapons, shield, targeting, power), and then there’s an engineer (essentially a de facto captain) who rolls the dice that dictate what the team is able to do. Then you as the navigation person, or whatever, you get to roll your weird symbol dice as many times as you want until you get the result you want. And there are no turns. So the effect is the constant rattle of dice clattering and shouts of “Give me a torpedo in the side chute!” and “I need threes!” and “Full targeting achieved!” and finally, “Firing!” upon which word everyone stops and you roll to see if you missed, and if not, how much damage was sustained. It ended up being a lot of fun. I felt like Chekov or something. It was cool.

Space Cadets II

So, even if the activity is “board games at the Martins on Monticello,” don’t worry, it will be fun. Oh, and one more thing I forgot to mention. If you get there before 6:30, just be aware that they have  a little devotional with a Bible verse and a reflection. Nothing super-hard-core, just, like, trying to be a better person-type stuff. But at 6:30 that part is over and they don’t bring it up anymore out of respect for those that aren’t in to that. Bottom line, this is a fun group of folks who are very welcoming and I highly recommend checking out a Thursday or two. Here are their upcoming events (meet at 6pm each week at Martins on Monticello):

– Thursday 12/4, Grand IlluminaTAN:
Join us in an evening of Christmas light viewing, culminating in a drive through Newport News Virginia’s “Celebration In Lights.” You won’t want to miss this award-winning display, a two-mile drive-through of spectacular animated scenes!

-Thursday 12/11, Ginger Bread House Competition:
Best Ginger bread house wins! Structural supplies will be provided. Decorative supplies will be purchased by competitors. After dinner, we will set up in the upstairs cafe at Martins. People will divide into teams and purchase supplies. Bartering for supplies with other teams is allowed and encouraged. 3 prizes will be awarded: -Most Adventurous -Best Architecture -Most Likely to Withstand Blizzard Conditions

Thursday 12/18, Christmas Caroling:
We will be heading to Colonial Williamsburg to spread Christmas cheer by singing loud for all to hear! Bring warm clothing. a flash light, and a few dollars for hot chocolate at the end of the night. Feel free to make any song suggestions at www.facebook.com/tanwilliamsburg

Thursday 12/25, No Meeting:
Merry Christmas!