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WILLIAMSBURG, VIRGINIA

Deck the Halls: Christmas Traditions from Colonial Williamsburg to the James River Plantations

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Road Scholar
Program #7045RJ
6 Days | 5 Nights
ACTIVITY LEVEL: Active
EasyFor people looking to exercise their minds more than their bodies. There’s minimal walking and not too many stairs.
ModerateThese programs get you on your feet and include activities such as walking up to a mile in a day through a city and standing in a museum for a few hours.
ActiveFor people who enjoy walking as much as two miles a day, perhaps to explore historic neighborhoods or a nature trail.
Moderately ChallengingFor hardy explorers who enjoy a good physical challenge, spending most of their days on the go.
ChallengingGet ready to keep up with our highest-energy group. These demanding — and rewarding — programs are for seasoned outdoor enthusiasts.

Itinerary for Dec 1 — Dec 6, 2014

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Type: Hotel

Description: Beautiful 303 room hotel, close to everything. Has recently undergone a major renovation. Located 1 mile away from Colonial Williamsburg. City bus stop just in front of hotel. Has an actual Civil War redoubt in its back courtyard.

Contact info:
6945 Pocahontas Trail
Williamsburg, VA 23185 USA
phone: 757-220-2250
web: www.fortmagruderhotel.com

Room amenities: Classic decor in every room plus a refrigerator, coffee maker, hair dryer, alarm clock, iron and ironing board. Remote control TV, free cable, high speed internet data port and executive desk. Microwave and roll-away bed available at an additional cost.

Facility amenities: Lounge, guest laundry, indoor and outdoor pools, workout room with treadmill, stationary bike, sauna and more. 24 hour Front Desk. ATM, a sundry shop and complimentary newspapers. 24 hour room service, vending and ice machines on every floor, wake-up service, restaurant, fully air-conditioned.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes

Additional nights before: TBD
Rate varies depending on availability and time of year. Limited rooms. Please call the hotel directly at 757-221-6908 for reservations 8am-8pm Monday-Friday, and 9am-1pm on Saturday. If call is sent to voicemail, please leave name and number for the in-house reservation agent to return your phone call. Let the agent know you are with Road Scholar and the dates you will be with the group at the hotel.

Check in time: 4:00 PM


Day One: Monday, December 01 - Welcome and Class/Program Overview
Afternoon: Check In and Welcome, Program Overview, and Participant Introductions.

Dinner: Enjoy a good, traditional style dinner with a Southern accent, served buffet style in a private dining area. All dinners for the week will be in this venue.

Evening: Class: "Christmas Traditions of the Past" Take an in-depth look at the holiday traditions of the colonial era. Learn about the songs, the ceremonies and the hearth side celebrations that were observed by our ancestors and that echo even today in some of our customs.

Lodging: Fort Magruder Hotel and Conference Center

Meals Included: Dinner
Type: Hotel

Description: Beautiful 303 room hotel, close to everything. Has recently undergone a major renovation. Located 1 mile away from Colonial Williamsburg. City bus stop just in front of hotel. Has an actual Civil War redoubt in its back courtyard.

Contact info:
6945 Pocahontas Trail
Williamsburg, VA 23185 USA
phone: 757-220-2250
web: www.fortmagruderhotel.com

Room amenities: Classic decor in every room plus a refrigerator, coffee maker, hair dryer, alarm clock, iron and ironing board. Remote control TV, free cable, high speed internet data port and executive desk. Microwave and roll-away bed available at an additional cost.

Facility amenities: Lounge, guest laundry, indoor and outdoor pools, workout room with treadmill, stationary bike, sauna and more. 24 hour Front Desk. ATM, a sundry shop and complimentary newspapers. 24 hour room service, vending and ice machines on every floor, wake-up service, restaurant, fully air-conditioned.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes

Additional nights before: TBD
Rate varies depending on availability and time of year. Limited rooms. Please call the hotel directly at 757-221-6908 for reservations 8am-8pm Monday-Friday, and 9am-1pm on Saturday. If call is sent to voicemail, please leave name and number for the in-house reservation agent to return your phone call. Let the agent know you are with Road Scholar and the dates you will be with the group at the hotel.

Check in time: 4:00 PM


Day Two: Tuesday, December 02 - Colonial Williamsburg/College of William & Mary W...
Colonial Williamsburg/College of William & Mary Wren Chapel concert/Decorating Demonstration

Note: The walk through Colonial Williamsburg is a little over a mile long over cobblestone, pebble, and brick paths. There are few opportunities to sit and rest during this leisurely hour and a half long stroll.

Breakfast: Start the day with a generous buffet breakfast in our private dining area.

Morning: Performance: "A Jamestown Christmas" Learn about the very earliest and more austere customs of this holy season as they would have been practiced by the first English settlers in the New World. An engaging colonist shares her memories of her seventeenth century Christmases on the edge of the wilderness in her strange new home. Class: "Introduction to Williamsburg and Colonial Williamsburg", Through the lifetime memories of a Williamsburg native, receive an introduction to the colonial town and its restoration, undertaken through the vision of a local minister and the generosity of John D. Rockefeller, Jr.

Lunch: A lighter mid-day fare will be served in our private dining area.

Afternoon: Field Trip: "Colonial Williamsburg and Its Decorations" Walk the length of historic Duke of Gloucester Street in the company of expert guides. Focus on the one hand on the homes, shops, and public buildings. At the same time investigate the remarkable decorations that adorn those buildings. Your guides will describe events and townspeople along with the materials and techniques used to create the wreaths and sprays. Performance: "Colonial Concert" Enjoy a concert of colonial and Christmas music performed in the Chapel of the historic Wren Building by a talented musician from the staff of the Music Department of the College of William and Mary. Class: "Decking the Halls: Christmas Decorations Demonstration" Now that you have seen the wonderful decorations in the Restored Area, learn the details of how to put together similar displays. The class covers the types of materials that can be used, how to select and care for materials, and how wreaths and other displays are created. The class is interspersed with the holiday experiences of the local florist who shares her expertise with you.

Dinner: Dinner will again be at the hotel in our private dining area.

Evening: Free Evening: Information will be given about activities that you can choose from to enjoy on your own. During this festive time there are numerous concerts, street theatre, and other entertainments throughout the area.

Lodging: Fort Magruder Hotel and Conference Center

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Hotel

Description: Beautiful 303 room hotel, close to everything. Has recently undergone a major renovation. Located 1 mile away from Colonial Williamsburg. City bus stop just in front of hotel. Has an actual Civil War redoubt in its back courtyard.

Contact info:
6945 Pocahontas Trail
Williamsburg, VA 23185 USA
phone: 757-220-2250
web: www.fortmagruderhotel.com

Room amenities: Classic decor in every room plus a refrigerator, coffee maker, hair dryer, alarm clock, iron and ironing board. Remote control TV, free cable, high speed internet data port and executive desk. Microwave and roll-away bed available at an additional cost.

Facility amenities: Lounge, guest laundry, indoor and outdoor pools, workout room with treadmill, stationary bike, sauna and more. 24 hour Front Desk. ATM, a sundry shop and complimentary newspapers. 24 hour room service, vending and ice machines on every floor, wake-up service, restaurant, fully air-conditioned.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes

Additional nights before: TBD
Rate varies depending on availability and time of year. Limited rooms. Please call the hotel directly at 757-221-6908 for reservations 8am-8pm Monday-Friday, and 9am-1pm on Saturday. If call is sent to voicemail, please leave name and number for the in-house reservation agent to return your phone call. Let the agent know you are with Road Scholar and the dates you will be with the group at the hotel.

Check in time: 4:00 PM


Day Three: Wednesday, December 03 - Colonial Williamsburg Visitor Center/John D. Rock...
Colonial Williamsburg Visitor Center/John D. Rockefeller's Williamsburg Home/Tavern Lunch/Musical Performance

Note: The walking today can be as little or as much as you like. The trips to the Visitor Center and Bassett Hall are leisurely and you can pace yourself for the afternoon of Independent Exploration in the Restored Area. Bus transportation will be available back to the hotel at the end of the day.

Breakfast: Breakfast at your leisure in our private dining area.

Morning: Class: "Eye Witness Perspectives of Christmas in Williamsburg: 18th-20th Centuries" Take a more personal look at the yuletide across time by considering the words of people living in Williamsburg over 300 years. Share your own family traditions, both those inherited and those newly begun. This look at holiday observances will help tie the old to the new, bringing a new richness to your own holiday observances. Field Trip: " Colonial Williamsburg Visitor Center" Start your day's outings by viewing one of the informative films highlighting the restoration or colonial life at the time of the American Revolution. Field Trip: "Bassett Hall" Visit the beautifully restored home used by the Rockefellers on their visits to Williamsburg after they became involved in its restoration. Abby Aldrich Rockefeller called this retreat her "Dream of Dreams" and it is lovingly preserved and decorated for the holidays based on her vision. Afterwards, take a leisurely stroll to the Restored Area and begin your personal exploration before pausing for lunch.

Lunch: Enjoy the ambiance of a Colonial Tavern as you are entertained by strolling musicians and local personalities from the past. Taste southern comfort food in the charm of Shields Tavern, a reconstructed building with a history all its own. In the 18th century, public houses were gathering places for residents and travelers. Partake of a dining experience similar to one enjoyed by patriots like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Patrick Henry.

Afternoon: Independent Exploration: "Colonial Williamsburg" Building on the overview of the Historic Area that you enjoyed on Day Two, take time now to return the shops and homes that are of special interest to you. This time will extend into the early evening when the candles come on in the windows, the cressets are lit, and perhaps even a strolling musician or two will add to the magic of your experience.

Dinner: Dinner will again be at the hotel in our private dining area.

Evening: Performance: "Colonial Instruments and Music" Enjoy the talents of a costumed musician as he plays and explains instruments, both familiar and unusual, of the eighteenth century. Hear the Christmas music popular in colonial celebrations and be prepared to join in on a familiar song or two before the evening ends!

Lodging: Fort Magruder Hotel and Conference Center

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Hotel

Description: Beautiful 303 room hotel, close to everything. Has recently undergone a major renovation. Located 1 mile away from Colonial Williamsburg. City bus stop just in front of hotel. Has an actual Civil War redoubt in its back courtyard.

Contact info:
6945 Pocahontas Trail
Williamsburg, VA 23185 USA
phone: 757-220-2250
web: www.fortmagruderhotel.com

Room amenities: Classic decor in every room plus a refrigerator, coffee maker, hair dryer, alarm clock, iron and ironing board. Remote control TV, free cable, high speed internet data port and executive desk. Microwave and roll-away bed available at an additional cost.

Facility amenities: Lounge, guest laundry, indoor and outdoor pools, workout room with treadmill, stationary bike, sauna and more. 24 hour Front Desk. ATM, a sundry shop and complimentary newspapers. 24 hour room service, vending and ice machines on every floor, wake-up service, restaurant, fully air-conditioned.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes

Additional nights before: TBD
Rate varies depending on availability and time of year. Limited rooms. Please call the hotel directly at 757-221-6908 for reservations 8am-8pm Monday-Friday, and 9am-1pm on Saturday. If call is sent to voicemail, please leave name and number for the in-house reservation agent to return your phone call. Let the agent know you are with Road Scholar and the dates you will be with the group at the hotel.

Check in time: 4:00 PM


Day Four: Thursday, December 04 - Christmas during the Civil War/Antebellum Homes/T...
Christmas during the Civil War/Antebellum Homes/Traditional African American Customs

Note: The two historical houses visited today will have limited access for those with mobility concerns. The first floors of both houses can be reached with lifts, but at Endview, the other floors are only accessible by stairs, as is the second floor of Lee Hall. Overall, the walking is not extensive. At both homes, the grounds can be explored and at Lee Hall there is a museum on the ground level that can be reached by ramps.

Breakfast: Breakfast at your leisure in our private dining area.

Morning: Class: "Civil War Era Christmas Customs" In the midst of a terrible war, families continued to honor family traditions as best they could. At the same time, soldiers in the field made some attempt to remember the season even as they wrote home of loneliness and hardship. Learn about the efforts that were made to maintain some measure of holiday normalcy despite shortages and missing family members. Explore the similarities of mid-nineteenth century customs with those of today. Field Trip: "Antebellum Plantations" First visit Endview Plantation, built before the Revolution, but interpreted during its pre-Civil War years. This small farmhouse will stand in sharp contrast to the typical picture of an American plantation, though its owner was one of the wealthiest farmers in the county. Then move on to the 1850's Lee Hall Mansion, with its unusual Italianate architecture and experience a more ostentatious antebellum home. Both houses will be decorated for the holidays in mid-nineteenth century style.

Lunch: A lighter mid-day fare will be served in our private dining area.

Afternoon: Class: "James River Plantations: Urban vs. Rural" This discussion provides a comparison of the societies that existed in the towns and on the plantations of colonial Virginia. Consideration will be given to the lifestyles of the various classes of people found in the two settings, from gentry to middlin' class to slaves. Free afternoon: Spend the remainder of the afternoon exploring the area further on your own, or taking a quiet break at the hotel. Suggestions will be provided for activities that may interest you.

Dinner: Dinner will again be at the hotel in our private dining area.

Evening: Performance: "African American Stories and Songs of the Season" Delight in the wonderful tales and music of a talented entertainer as she takes you on a journey across the years through the eyes of African-Americans, slave and free, as they celebrate the yuletide in Virginia. This engaging performance provides the perspective of the slave and free black families who combined their ancient African traditions with the customs of their masters.

Lodging: Fort Magruder Hotel and Conference Center

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Hotel

Description: Beautiful 303 room hotel, close to everything. Has recently undergone a major renovation. Located 1 mile away from Colonial Williamsburg. City bus stop just in front of hotel. Has an actual Civil War redoubt in its back courtyard.

Contact info:
6945 Pocahontas Trail
Williamsburg, VA 23185 USA
phone: 757-220-2250
web: www.fortmagruderhotel.com

Room amenities: Classic decor in every room plus a refrigerator, coffee maker, hair dryer, alarm clock, iron and ironing board. Remote control TV, free cable, high speed internet data port and executive desk. Microwave and roll-away bed available at an additional cost.

Facility amenities: Lounge, guest laundry, indoor and outdoor pools, workout room with treadmill, stationary bike, sauna and more. 24 hour Front Desk. ATM, a sundry shop and complimentary newspapers. 24 hour room service, vending and ice machines on every floor, wake-up service, restaurant, fully air-conditioned.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes

Additional nights before: TBD
Rate varies depending on availability and time of year. Limited rooms. Please call the hotel directly at 757-221-6908 for reservations 8am-8pm Monday-Friday, and 9am-1pm on Saturday. If call is sent to voicemail, please leave name and number for the in-house reservation agent to return your phone call. Let the agent know you are with Road Scholar and the dates you will be with the group at the hotel.

Check in time: 4:00 PM


Day Five: Friday, December 05 - James River Plantations/Decorations Workshop/Hist...
Note: As with the historical homes on Day Four, the two homes visited this morning will have limited access for those with mobility restrictions. In entering each home, visitors must negotiate a half story of steps (6-10) to get to the main floor, and also to the basement of Berkely for the introductory film. At both homes, the grounds can be explored with little difficulty.

Breakfast: Breakfast at your leisure in our private dining area.

Morning: Field Trip: "The James River Plantations" First visit Berkeley, "the most historic" of the great river plantations. This is the ancestral home of the Harrisons, who boast a signer of the Declaration of Independence and two presidents among their descendants. Explore the 1726 Georgian mansion with your guide, then stroll the extensive grounds on your own. Next travel to Shirley, first of the James River plantations, dating to 1613. Here you will see original furnishings and portraits from the 18th century owners whose descendants remarkably still occupy the home. Both of the homes will be decorated in anticipation of the holiday season. Time will be given at both sites for individual exploration. Holiday snacks & cookies are traditionally served.

Lunch: A lighter mid-day fare will be served in our private dining area.

Afternoon: Workshop: "It's Your Turn: Hands On Decorating" Having now seen and learned about holiday decorations in a variety of settings, you have the opportunity to assemble your own table center piece. A wide variety of natural materials, candles, and florists' items are available for you to work with. Your facilitator will spin many yarns about his own decorating adventures as he guides you to create your masterpiece.

Dinner: Dinner will again be at the hotel in our private dining area.

Evening: Performance: "A Colonial Lady's Christmas: Martha Washington" You will be honored with a visit from America's first First Lady as she reminisces about her Yuletides past. She will describe colonial Christmas traditions in town and on the plantation and share some stories about her famous husband at home and on the field of battle.

Lodging: Fort Magruder Hotel and Conference Center

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day Six: Saturday, December 06 - Colonial Foodways/Wassail/Departure
Note: End the week on a quiet but festive note with traditional food and drink.

Breakfast: Breakfast at your leisure in our private dining area.

Morning: Class: "Plantation Foodways" Learn about the foods, tools, and techniques of colonial cooks as you participate in the concoction of a simple but delicious dessert of the time. Not only will you get to assist with the preparation, you will enjoy a sample of this traditional holiday treat. Performance; " Christmas Music and Wassail Toast with Mistress Cynthia" Delight in the antics of a talented historical interpreter as she entertains you with music and tales of the common folk. Then finish your week of traditional Christmas celebrations with an appropriate wassail toast. Final Farewells

Lunch: Pick up a box lunch with sandwich, fruit, chips, cookie, and beverage before heading home.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch


Free Time Opportunities


Williamsburg
Tidewater Area: Williamsburg/Jamestown and YorktownOur Road Scholar programs are filled with fascinating and informative classes, field trips, excursions and extracurricular activities. The day-by-day itinerary details what you will see and do. The schedule includes a free afternoon during the week to pursue your own interests; otherwise, there will be only a few hours of unstructured time per day. Because the Road Scholar schedule is so full, there will be little opportunity for independent exploration of other sites in the Williamsburg area. We suggest you consider staying additional time before or after the program to enjoy local attractions, particularly because of all the special events during the holiday season. Visit our web page with links, sample schedules, hotels, web pages, Colonial Williamsburg and more.
For additional information, visit: www.roadscholar.org

Important information about your itinerary:
Please know that while we do everything we can to finalize all aspects of our programs well in advance, there are logistics that occasionally must be altered. Our website will reflect the most recent information, and we are committed to providing you with final program details no later than eight weeks prior to the start of programs outside the U.S. and three weeks prior to the start of programs within the U.S. If you ever have questions about your program, please don't hesitate to contact us and we will be happy to assist you.
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Our Value Promise To You

You won't find a better value.

Included
at no additional cost on this date ...
5 nights of accommodations
15 meals: 5 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 5 dinners
6 Expert-led lectures
6 Field trips
2 Hands-on experiences
6 Performances

Ratings

4.8
Ratings are determined by participant evaluations.

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