Are You Afraid of the Dark?

Williamsburg has lots of ghosts. There’s no shortage of ghost tours here, especially in October, but they’re still offered in the winter, too. To keep it fresh, Colonial Williamsburg offeres different types of tours. For example, I went to one once where we went inside three buildings and heard three stories based on actual events.

Tavern Ghost WalkThe Tavern Ghost Tour I took a couple of weeks ago, though, had more like a half a dozen stories, and we didn’t go inside. This tour was all about the hauntings that modern people have experience, not about the dead historical figures doing the haunting. As such, our guide was in modern clothes, and all the stories were about incidents that had ahppened to tavern managers, tour guides, security guards, and guests. To me, that made it all the more scary, because you could easily picture the creepy stuff happening to you! The eeriest thing to me was when she told us about people’s heads not showing up in photos taken in front of the Peyton Randolph House. That freaked me out a little. The ghosts weren’t limited to the colonial era, either- apparently there is a Civil War couple and a shopkeeper from the 1930s who have never left downtown . . .

A note about tickets:
We tried to go by the Lumber House on the Palace Green beforehand to buy tickets, but it was closed. I guess maybe it has reduced hours for the winter season. Anyway, it turned out to be no problem, because we were able to buy tickets at Shields Tavern, where the tour started.
The regular price is $12, but with your Good Neighbor Pass, it should be $7 or 8. When we presented our pass and asked for the 25% discount available to GNP holders, the tour guide said she thought that made the price the same as a child’s ticket ($7), which is what we ended up paying.

If you’d like to go, it’s called the Tavern Ghost Walk and it looks to be offered every Friday & Saturday until the end of February. There’s also a Ghosts Amongst Us tour offered weekends in February, but I haven’t been on it- if you go, let me know what it’s like!

Afterward, why not stop by the Williamsburg Lodge bar for an Old Stitch? At the bar (not the restaurant), they have some decently-priced food. On Fridays, the Timeline Jazz Quartet performs (starting at 8), and if it’s Saturday, you can catch Jocelyn Oldham playing acoustic covers in her own sweet, easy style start at 7pm.

Top Three Things to Know for Williamsburg TURN Fans – plus pics

TURN – the AMC show about Revolutionary War spies- is takin’ over Williamsburg. Monday, they shot part of season 2 right in front of the Governor’s Palace. There were about two dozen extras toting effigies, a carriage, and people on horses. They even sang a song- something about freedom . . .

Photos by Fred Blystone

Photos by Fred Blystone

Turn 2

Photos by Fred Blystone

Turn 3

Photos by Fred Blystone

Turn 4

Photos by Fred Blystone

Turn 5

Photos by Fred Blystone

Turn 6

Photos by Fred Blystone

Turn 7

Photos by Fred Blystone

Turn 8

Photos by Fred Blystone

Turn 9

Photos by Fred Blystone

Turn 10

Photos by Fred Blystone

Turn 11

Photos by Fred Blystone

Turn 12

Photos by Fred Blystone

Turn 13

Photos by Fred Blystone

If you are a big fan of this AMC show, I’ve got a few of pieces of good news for you:

1. You can be an extra

Yes, you! I talked to a nice crew member at the filming site today and she said they still have an open casting call for locals. Go to Arvold Casting to sign up (just keep in mind that they do have some limitations on physical types they will accept- and they prefer people with flexible availability). You get to wear a costume and everything.

2. There’s a discussion with cast and crew next week at William and Mary

Next Tuesday, February 3, W&M is hosting a discussion entitled, “Television, History, & Revolution: A discussion with producers and cast from AMC’s TURN: Washington’s Spies and William & Mary professors.” Here’s the panel:

Barry Josephson, Executive Producer of TURN: Washington’s Spies
Craig Silverstein, Executive Producer of TURN: Washington’s Spies
Alexander Rose, Author of book Washington’s SpiesSusan Kern, Executive Director of the Historic Campus and History Professor
Arthur Knight, Associate Professor, American Studies, English, and Film & Media Studies
Karin Wulf, Director of the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture
Joshua Piker, Editor of the William & Mary Quarterly and History ProfessorModerated by Class of ’38 Professor of History and Chair: Cindy Hahamovitch
[no- she’s not 97 years old- her position is sponsored by the W&M class of 1938]
Now, here’s the deal- if you want to go, IMMEDIATELY RSVP here. The site asks for RSVPS by Wednesday, Jan 28- so there’s only a couple days left. (However, if you’re reading this after that date- go ahead and try to RSVP and show up. There might be some people that don’t end up coming).
3. You can be a spy, too!
Stay tuned for the next edition of RevQuest– Colonial Williamsburg’s cell phone spy game. (Which is free with your Good Neighbor Pass) You get to interact with costumed interpreters and advance in the mission by answering history questions on your cell phone. It usually comes out around spring break for the visiting school kids- so look for it around March.

Jocks vs. Nerds

So I’ve tried out a new thing- making different “tracks” for different things you might be in to. Feeling contemplative? Try the Introvert/ nerd track. Wanna party? Try the Extrovert / jock track. Let me know what you think. Have fun!

Introvert / Nerd track


Monday- 7pm- Meditation at the UU church– Ben teaches you how to meditate- FREE

Tuesday- Searching for Justice in Times of Tragedy– Dinner at 6 and then a discussion- FREE- led by a pastor who volunteered during the VA Tech shootings.

Wednesday- Tea Tasting 6pm- the folks at Discover Teas lead you through 3 teas- FREE

Thursday- 7:30 pm Open Mic Night @ Aroma’s– always free, and you never know what you’re gonna get- poetry? ukeleles? bongo drums? probably all of the above . . .

Friday- 8pm Timeline Jazz Quartet– spend a classy evening at the Williamsburg Lodge- no cover

Saturday- Spend the day at the Muscarelle– open noon-4pm- $10- currently featuring Japanese woodblock prints, classic european paintings, and 17th century engravings

Sunday- spend the day at Colonial Williamsburg– with your Good Neighbor Pass, learn something about the way things were (and maybe gain a new perspective on the way things are?)

Extrovert / Jock track


Monday- DoG Street Pub Running Club– Bring a new member now through February and each of you can have a beverage or snack on the house. Registration starts at 5pm; at 6pm everybody goes for a 5K.

Tuesday- Yorktown Pub Open Mic

Wednesday- W&M Vs. Hofstra basketball $6-10

Thursday- apparently Thursday is a big night in Williamsburg: Slider Night at DoG St, Young Emerging Professionals Networking at the Paul’s in New Town, and Karaoke at Corner Pocket and at Daddyo’s

Friday- Blue Ribbon at Daddyo’s- this band is really cool and has been featured on Out of the Box– no cover

Saturday- 3pm- Hash Run– at your own risk

Sunday- Live Music at the Aleworks Taproom 2pm

Jazz Festivus for the Rest of Us

Unless you’ve been under a rock lately, you know that the Winter Blues Jazz Fest is coming up this weekend. And you may have looked at the price for the pass to all the events ($155) and said “forget it!” BUT WAIT there are several events that are free and a few more that are only $15, so don’t despair. I really have to hand it to the organizers for making this accessible to the whole community.

Jazz Fest

1.  FREE Community Concert! 2pm Sunday Jan 18

The William and Mary Jazz Combo led by Harris Simon will perform, and get this- FREE hot chocolate as well! In a heated tent on Merchant’s Square, no less. Here’s a link to some songs put together by Simon in the 70s and another recording of him playing recently as a preview.

2. FREE movies at the Kimball:

Bird (1988): Saturday at 4pm and Sunday at 6:30pm
A biopic of Charlie “Bird” Parker


The Cotton Club (1984): Saturday at 7pm and Sunday at 4pm
based on the legendary jazz club in Harlem

The Cotton Club

3. Winter Blues Jazz Band Friday at 6:30- 10pm: $15

Each of the following bands will perform, culminating in a one-hour jam session. Dancing encouraged!

Your ticket includes one drink, and they’ll have food available for purchase. Tickets are selling fast, though, so I’d recommend you buying them very soon.

4. Jae Sinnett Quartet Friday and Saturday at 7:30: $15

You know Jae Sinnett, right? Hosts the jazz on NPR at night? He’ll be playing his crazy jazz at the library Friday and Saturday nights. $15 for adults, $13 for Friends of WRL and students, $8 for those under 17.

There are a lot of other events in conjunction with the festival, including the Big Bold Beer Festival (which looks really cool), with tickets at $30 and up. Oh, and one more thing- you still may be able to sign up to volunteer for the fest- you’ll get to see concerts AND get fed AND get a t-shirt. Win win win!

As for the rest of the week? Don’t worry, our calendar has you covered with trivia, yoga, movies, and more.  So, will you bundle up and venture outside this week? I hope so!

Sneak Peek: Jan 4-11

Sure it’s January, sure it’s Williamsburg . . . but there’s still plenty of things to do (if you’re willing to go outside, that is). Check it out:

Today: Pint Day at Yorktown Pub 2-5pm

Yorktown PubYou know Yorktown Pub, right? Cool local dive bar right on the river in Yorktown? Well today they are doing a “Pint Night” (which I am renaming “Pint Day”- because it’s not at night) featuring Williamsburg Aleworks. For $5 you get a draft and you can keep the pint glass. And then you can have a cabinet full of pint glasses! Or maybe that’s just at our house . . .

Monday: Irish Music at the W&M Bookstore (7pm)- free

It'll be just like this! Minus the beer . . .

It’ll be just like this! Minus the beer . . .

I keep meaning to check this out- the first Monday of every month, there is an irish music jam at the William and Mary Bookstore. So if you are a fan of irish music, or if you play an acoustic instrument and want to jam, this would be a good place to be-

Wednesday: Live Music and Burger Specials at The Cove (6pm)- no cover

Mike deMoss

The Cove has burger specials Wednesday nights ($6) and usually also has live music. This week, it’s Mike deMoss- he does lots of covers (Grateful Dead, Tom Petty, Beatles, Bob Marley, Eric Clapton) and he has some original stuff, too. You can preview his style at his website.

Thursday: Meditation in Yoga at Body Balance– 6pm, $10

YogaMy buddy Ben is starting a 4-week class on meditating while doing yoga this Thursday at Body Balance. Ben is a great teacher of both meditation and yoga. Here’s his description:

We will explore meditation as it connects to the 8 Limbs of Yoga, plus integrating meditation into our asana practice. Cost is $10 per class, but classes will build on each other so attendance at all is encouraged.

Now, I have no idea what the 8 Limbs of Yoga are, but if there’s anybody that can explain it in a down-to-earth way, it’s Ben. You’ll be in good hands.

Friday: Weeping Molly at Daddyo’s in Norge – no cover

Weeping Molly

A hard-rockin band from Richmond comes to the little town of Norge- a self-described “Rock-n-Roll w/ Blues & Soul” band, Weeping Mary plays covers and original songs. They have some recordings of their shows on their website if you’d like to check them out before driving out to Daddyo’s. They sound like a really high-energy band to start out your weekend right!

Saturday and Sunday

OK, I’ll admit that there’s not much going on this weekend in our little town, so it might be a good time to take a day trip somewhere. However, there are a couple of things that look interesting (especially if you’re feeling a little low-energy):

Introduction to Tea Class– 2pm Saturday, free, at Discover Teas


Whether you have never enjoyed a cup of loose leaf tea or you are a connoisseur of many years, this quote may describe how you feel when it comes to teas. We welcome everyone from tea lovers to curious beginners to join us in Williamsburg every Saturday at 2 PM for a tea class with our team. We start the class by introducing loose leaf teas and the basics of tea culture before spinning off into some of the more subtle details of our teas that are guaranteed to fascinate!

Sunday- Ceramics Up Close- 1:30 pm (Good Neighbor Pass or Museum Admission)


What sort of dishes did our colonial ancestors buy? Where did the ceramics come from and how were they used? First, join the conversation on a guided tour, then drop in for a behind-the-scenes view of the museum’s ceramic storage vault.

This tour is at the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum in Colonial Williamsburg. The guides there really make the material intriguing.

Of course, this is only a sampling- there’s more things to do in Williamsburg listed on the calendar. No featured event this week, as I haven’t decided which I will go to, but I will let y’all know if that changes. Have a great week, all!

Iceburg: No Ice and Not Much Skating

Solo SkaterSpectatin
On the Ground

I was kindof excited to go ice skating. I’ve only ever gone two other times in my life- once with friends where we all fell down but had a good time, and once on a date where he knew how to skate and taught me a little. So, I went into it thinking, sure we don’t know how to skate, but it’ll be fun! How wrong that prediction turned out to be . . .

We drove out to the park and drove around to find the rink (turn left onto News Road from Monticello, btw, and then turn right). We headed towards the rink, where there was music playing.

The rink is surrounded by a waist-height white wall, and surrounding it were tables and heat lamps. We rented our skates ($7/ea- what a waste that turned out to be!). I passed a sign that said how you could use your smartphone to determine which music was played, but didn’t investigate.

More SpectatinGettin SkatesMusic

We hobbled our way into the rink and tried to skate. It was hard. The “ice” was this slippery plastic stuff. It was different than the other times I had gone skating, where you just slide back and forth, parallel to your skates, but you could push off from your back foot and could go forward as long as you were balanced right. On this plastic stuff, I would try to push off, but my skates would slip perpendicular to the blade. I couldn’t get anywhere and for some reason I was terrified of failing. Not that I was alone not being able to skate- of the 20 or so people on the rink, there was only one who could skate- he was trying to teach his kids. But most of the other kids out there (and they were mostly children) were hugging the wall, hugging the orange cones that were supposed to guide skaters, or running into each other and falling down.

KidsRink with SkaterHangin On

I tried to be inspired by them- those plucky kids, out there enjoying themselves even while falling down.

“I fell like, a hundred and one times!”
“Well I fell down a thousand and one times!”

I resolved to try one more time around the rink.

Meanwhile, Scott seemed to be managing to get around, despite never having ice-skated before. He looked a bit like a marionette, with his limbs all askew, rocking back and forth from foot to foot, but he was getting around.

Startin OutScott Askew

By this time, I had had it. I wasn’t having fun. I still don’t know why I was terrified of falling down (I must just be a scaredy-cat), but I was so upset about it, I was stressing a lot.

I told Scott I was ready to give up. He convinced me to go one more time around with him, holding hands. I hoped maybe it would be better having a partner- but no. I kept asking him to slow down, again, because I was so scared of falling.

After our last rally, we threw in the towel. Hey, we tried. We took off our skates (Scott said his ankles were killing him), turned them in about a half hour after we checked them out- and went to DoG Street for a beer.

BeerUs at DoG St

So. I don’t know how much this exerience had to do with the synthetic rink, our inability to skate, or time of day. All I know is that I can’t in good conscience recommend it. However, if you’ve got your heart set on going, please don’t let my story stop you!

Ah well. Onto the next adventure!