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

Program Number: 7045RJ
Start and End Dates:
12/2/2013 - 12/7/2013; 12/1/2014 - 12/6/2014; 12/8/2014 - 12/13/2014;
Duration: 5 nights
Location: Williamsburg, Virginia
Price starting at: $779.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Holidays
Meals: 15; 5 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches, 5 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; Kosher; Gluten Free    

From holly to history, music to merriment, candles to Colonists, experience the historic and cultural significance of Christmas in early America! Savor music, foods and festivities from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries that contributed to modern customs and traditions. Marvel at the world-famous Colonial Williamsburg decorations, learn how they are made and create your own to bring home. Explore religious customs and lifestyles of the people, free and enslaved, who lived and worked on the great plantations. Savor a meal in the 18th-century fashion at a Colonial Williamsburg tavern and depart filled with the holiday spirit.




Highlights

• View the elaborate decorations displayed on the homes and storefronts of Colonial Williamsburg on a stroll with an experienced interpreter, capped off by a meal in an 18th-century tavern.
• Create your own Colonial wreath using traditional materials after a demonstration and experience the talents of skilled musicians, costumed interpreters and an entertaining chef in a series of period performances.
• Explore three centuries of plantation living, from the great James River mansions to a modest farm house to an urban plantation in the town of Williamsburg.



Activity Particulars

Walking up to two miles per day over brick, cobblestone and uneven ground.




Date Specific Information

12-2-2013, 12-1-2014, 12-8-2014

Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.



Coordinated by Road Scholar.




Williamsburg (Virginia)

One of America’s first planned cities, this one-time capital of the New World was laid out in 1699, and today, the historic community serves as a well-preserved center of American Colonial history, from nearby Jamestown to impeccably restored buildings.



Accommodations
Modern hotel near historic area, indoor pool and fitness center.

Road Scholar Instructors
These instructors are participating on at least one date of this program. Please note that changes may occur.
John Labanish

A native of Western Pennsylvania, John earned his B.A. in history and English from St., Vincent College and his M.A. in American history from the University of Pittsburgh. He taught history, government, and English at private and public schools in Michigan and Pennsylvania. During 13 years at the Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania in Pittsburgh, John advanced from collections registrar to curator of education and exhibits, and eventually became director. John also served as an adjunct professor of museum studies at Duquesne University. In 2008, he retired after 23 years at Colonial Williamsburg where he was involved in historic area interpretation, supervision and training of interpreters, historical building management, and first person character interpretation. Presently, John serves as a docent at the Muscarelle Museum of Art at the College of William & Mary and as a member of the James City County Historical Commission.
 
Dean Shostak

In 1991, Dean Shostak became involved in the revival of the rare and beautiful glass armonica, invented by Benjamin Franklin in 1761. Today, he is one of eight glass armonica players in the world, and the only musician since the 18th century to use a flywheel and foot treadle as Franklin originally designed. Dean began his musical career in Colonial Williamsburg at the age of 14, and after graduating from the University of Virginia, began to study 18th-century instruments such as the pocket violin and the hurdy-gurdy. He has now incorporated spectacular new and antique glass instruments into his show, including the glass violin and crystal handbells. Dean has emerged as a nationally acclaimed touring artist, and his music has been featured on numerous television and radio programs including Voice of America, The Weather Channel, The Discovery Channel, NPR's All Things Considered and Mister Rogers' Neighborhood.
 
Tom Marshall

An instructor in the Music Department at the College of William and Mary for more than 20 years, Tom Marshall has been performing private concerts for Road Scholar participants at the historic Wren Chapel for many years. He has served for two decades as a harpsichordist for the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation where he has performed numerous works of the concerto grosso style in original orchestrations, on original instruments. He is featured on many of the historical recordings issued by the foundation. A long-time member of the American Guild of Organists, he has served as organist for the Williamsburg United Methodist Church since 1977. Tom performs frequently with the Virginia Symphony, numerous baroque chamber ensembles, and organ and harpsichord recitals throughout the United States and Europe. He has made seven study tours in Europe to examine and play many surviving keyboard instruments from the 15th to the 19th century.
 
Stephen Christoff

Stephen Christoff has been a musical fixture at Colonial Williamsburg for more than 15 years. Since 2006, he has performed his one-man show called "Seller of Songs" at the Hennage Theater in Colonial Williamsburg to sell-out audiences and rave reviews. In 2007, Stephen was a member of a collaborative performance team that played over 100 performances of "American Musicworks," a signature show designed for the Dewitt Wallace Galleries folk art exhibition, and also performed for the Jamestown 2007, Godspeed Sail and Landing Party Festival. He has headlined at locations including Mount Vernon, Chestertown Tea Party Festival, Virginia's Yorktown Celebration Festival, The National Portrait Gallery, The Library of Congress, The Black Swamp Arts Festival and Disney's Epcot Center.
 
Meals and Lodgings
   Clarion Hotel Historic District
  Williamsburg 5 nights
 Clarion Hotel Historic District
Type: Hotel
  Description: The Clarion Hotel Historic District features 143 well-appointed guest rooms. On-site recreational offerings include a fitness center, an indoor heated pool with whirlpool and a game room. The hotel also offers great food and entertainment at the Bourbon Street Restaurant, which serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. Walking distance to Colonial Williamsburg and two miles to Busch Gardens.
  Contact info: 351 York Street
Williamsburg, VA 23185 USA
phone: 757-229-4100
web: www.clarionwilliamsburg.com
  Room amenities: Room Amenities: Free high speed Internet access in all guest rooms and public spaces; dual-line speaker telephone; iron/ironing board; in-room movies; coffee maker; hair dryer; in room safes at no additional charge
  Facility amenities: Facilities: 24-Hour Front Desk, business center, guest laundromat, dry cleaning service, fitness facility, game room, lounge, indoor whirlpool and indoor pool.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: $69p+ ($89+ sp. event wknds) Make arrangements directly with the hotel. Limited rooms available at the discounted Road Scholar rate. Rate not available if hotel is sold out. Reservations require credit card guarantee. Cancellation must be made 48 hrs prior to arrival to avoid charge.
  Check in time: 4:00 PM
  Additional nights after: $69p+ ($89+ sp. event wknds) Make arrangements directly with the hotel. Limited rooms available at the discounted Road Scholar rate. Rate not available if hotel is sold out. Reservations require credit card guarantee. Cancellation must be made 48 hrs prior to arrival to avoid charge.
  Check out time: 11:00 AM


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
4:00pm: Program registration begins and hotel check-in begins in the hotel lobby. 5:15pm: Start of Program. You will be staying at Clarion Hotel Historic District that night.
  End of Program:
Program ends at 11:30am, box lunch available after class for trip home You will be staying at Clarion Hotel Historic District the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required.
  Parking availability:
Free parking at hotel.
Transportation
To Start of Program
  Location:  Williamsburg
  Nearest city or town:  Richmond
  Nearest highway: Interstate 64
  Nearest airport:  Williamsburg/Newport New Airport (30 minutes)
  From End of Program
  Location: Williamsburg
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details
 

Williamsburg

 

From Train Station

 
 

Service:

 

Taxi
Triangle Taxi
phone: 757-564-6969
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

varies depending on gas prices; call for rates
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

10 minutes 

 

Distance:

 

2 miles

   

Williamsburg is served by both Amtrak and Greyhound, which both arrive at the same Transportation Center. For train information, call 1-800-872-7245 or go to www.amtrak.com. Additional taxis are available to transport to hotel; all rates are the same.

 

Williamsburg

 

From Bus Terminal

 
 

Service:

 

Taxi
Triangle Taxi
phone: 757-564-6969
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

varies depending on gas prices; call for rates
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

10 minutes 

 

Distance:

 

2 miles

   

Williamsburg is served by both Amtrak and Greyhound, which both arrive at the same Transportation Center. For bus information, call 1-800-231-2222 or go to www.greyhound.com. Additional taxis are available to transport to hotel; all rates are the same.

 

Norfolk

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Commercial Van/Shuttle
Oleta Coach Lines
phone: 757-253-1008
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

varies, depending on current gas prices; call for rates
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

1-1.5 hours, depending on traffic 

 

Distance:

 

about 45 miles

   

Travel from this airport to the hotel (and back after the program) includes passage through the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel which is frequently congested, causing long delays. The trip may well cost in excess of $100 per person one way. We recommend using Richmond or Newport News Airports if possible. Alternate transportation includes Marrow Transit (757-564-5466) or Cary Airport Connection (757-963-0433). If using Oleta or Marrow, be sure to mention that you are a Road Scholar participant.

 

Newport News

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Commercial Van/Shuttle
Oleta Coach Lines
phone: 757-253-1008
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

varies depending on gas prices; call for rates
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

20-30 minutes 

 

Distance:

 

about 20

   

Although this is a smaller airport than Richmond or Norfolk, it is the closest and most convenient in terms of getting from the airport to the hotel and back. Besides the van service listed above, several taxi companies are also available in the ground transportation area of the airport. Alternatives include Marrow Transit (757-564-5466) or Triangle Taxi (757-564-6969). When using Oleta or Marrow, be sure to mention that you are a Road Scholar participant.

 

Richmond

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Commercial Van/Shuttle
Groome Transportation
phone: 800-552-7911

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

varies, depending on current gas prices; call for rates
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

about an hour depending on traffic 

 

Distance:

 

about 45-50 miles

   

Alternate transportation from/to airport available through Oleta Coach Lines van service (757-253-1008) or Marrow Transit, a private car service,757-564-5466. Call for rates and reservations.

 
Driving Directions
  From Hampton Roads Travel WEST on Interstate I-64 toward Williamsburg. Just EAST of Williamsburg, leave I-64 on exit #242A/Route 199 toward Jamestown. Drive 1.3 miles; take exit for Route 60. At stop sign at bottom of ramp, turn left onto Route 60 WEST. The hotel is a little over 1 mile on the right, shortly after the road narrows to two lanes. If you get to the stoplight, you have gone too far.
  From Richmond From Richmond: Travel EAST on Interstate I-64 toward Williamsburg. Leave I-64 on Exit #242A/Route 199 toward Jamestown. Drive 1.3 miles; take exit for Route 60. At stop sign, turn left onto 60 WEST. The hotel is a little over 1 mile on the right, shortly after the road narrows to two lanes. If you get to the stoplight, you have gone too far.
  From Southside Virginia via the Jamestown Ferry From Southside Virginia via the Jamestown Ferry: Cross the James River on the Jamestown Ferry/Route 31. Follow Route 31/Jamestown Road toward Williamsburg for about 4.2 miles. Turn right at the traffic light on to Route 199. Follow Route 199 3.8 miles to exit for Route 60. At the bottom of the off-ramp there is a traffic light, turn left onto Route 60 West and follow it in the direction of Williamsburg. The hotel is a little over 1 mile on the right, shortly after the road narrows to two lanes. If you get to the stoplight, you have gone too far.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1: Welcome and Class/Program Overview
(Monday, December 2)
   
 Afternoon: Check In and Welcome, Program Overview, and Participant Introductions.
 Dinner: Dinner at hotel
 Evening: Class: "Christmas at Jamestown" Discover the simple customs and observances of the very first Englishmen to celebrate this holy season in the New World.
   
Accommodations: Clarion Hotel Historic District
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Colonial Williamsburg/College of William & Mary, Christmas Carols
(Tuesday, December 3)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel
 Morning: Class: "Decking the Halls: Colonial Days and Ways" Learn about the materials and techniques that are used to create the incredible holiday decorations that you will observe in your walk later today. Class: "Williamsburg and Colonial Williamsburg", 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: Lunch at hotel
 Afternoon: Excursion: "Visitor Center, Colonial Williamsburg and College of William and Mary Wren Building" First view one of the films highlighting the restoration or colonial life, then enjoy a guided walk down Duke of Gloucester Street to view the decorations, shops, homes, and public buildings. Finish with a visit to the 300 year old Wren Building of the College of William and Mary. Performance: "Christmas Caroling" A delightful performance of traditional holiday songs by the Christopher Wren Singers of the College of William and Mary
 Dinner: Dinner at hotel
 Evening: Free Evening: Information will be given about activities that you can choose from to enjoy on your own.
   
Accommodations: Clarion Hotel Historic District
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Colonial Architecture/John D. Rockefeller's Williamsburg Home
(Wednesday, December 4)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at your leisure
 Morning: Class: "Plantation Architecture" An overview of the evolution of the manor houses and their dependent buildings from humble beginnings to the great mansions that graced the river banks in colonial times. Excursion: "Bassett Hall" Visit the beautifully restored home used by the Rockefellers on their visits to Williamsburg after they became involved in its restoration.
 Lunch: Tavern lunch: Enjoy the ambiance of a reconstructed colonial tavern as you are entertained by strolling musicians and other engaging personalities from the past.
 Afternoon: Free time to return to the Restored Area on your own to take a more in-depth look at your favorite sites or to visit some of the other historical sites in the area.
 Dinner: Dinner at Hotel
 Evening: Free Evening. Information will be provided about activities that you can choose from to enjoy on your own.
   
Accommodations: Clarion Hotel Historic District
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: 18th Century Religious & Secular Customs/Christmas through the Centuries/Antebellum Homes
(Thursday, December 5)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast
 Morning: Class: "Eighteenth Century Religious and Secular Customs" An introduction to the traditions of the holiday season that would have been typical in towns and on the plantations of the colonial period. Observances across the social classes will be described. Class: "Eye Witness Perspective of Christmas in Williamsburg: 18th-21st Centuries" A continuation of the exploration of Christmas customs through the centuries to modern times through the eyes of the people living then.
 Lunch: Lunch at hotel
 Afternoon: Excursion: "Antebellum Plantations" First visit Endview Plantation, built before the Revolution, but interpreted during its pre-Civil War years. Then move on to the 1850's Lee Hall Mansion, with its unusual Italianate architecture. Both houses will be decorated for the Antebellum holidays.
 Dinner: Dinner
 Evening: Class: "Civil War Era Christmas Customs" In the midst of a terrible war, families continued to honor family traditions as best they could. Learn about the efforts that were made to maintain some measure of holiday normalcy despite shortages and missing family members.
   
Accommodations: Clarion Hotel Historic District
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Rare Colonial Instruments/James River Plantations
(Friday, December 6)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at your leisure
 Morning: Performance: "Colonial Instruments and Music" Enjoy the talents of a costumed musician as he plays and describes instruments of the period, both typical and delightfully unusual. Class: "James River Plantations: Urban vs. Rural" A comparison of the societies that existed in the towns and plantations of colonial Virginia. Consideration will be given to the lifestyles of the various classes of people found in the two situations.
 Lunch: Lunch at hotel
 Afternoon: Excursion: Participate in guided visits of Shirley Plantation, "Virginia's oldest James River plantation" and Berkeley, "the Most Historic", both decorated in anticipation of the holiday season. Time will be given at both sites for individual exploration. Holiday snacks & cookies will be served.
 Dinner: Dinner at hotel
 Evening: Performance: "African American Stories and Songs" Enjoy the wonderful tales and music of a talented entertainer as she provides the perspective of the slave families who combined their ancient African traditions with the customs of their masters.
   
Accommodations: Clarion Hotel Historic District
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Colonial Foodways/Departure
(Saturday, December 7)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at your leisure in the hotel
 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. Final Farewells
 Lunch: Box lunch available after class for trip home.
   
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Free Time Opportunities
 
  Williamsburg Tidewater Area: Williamsburg/Jamestown and Yorktown
Our 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 taking time after the program concludes to enjoy local attractions. Visit our web page with links, sample schedules, hotels, web pages, Colonial Williamsburg and more. For additional information, visit www.wm.edu/Elderhostel
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


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