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A Colonial Christmas: Williamsburg’s Yuletide History and Traditions

Program Number: 12236RJ
Start and End Dates:
12/3/2014 - 12/6/2014; 12/14/2014 - 12/17/2014;
Duration: 3 nights
Location: Williamsburg, Virginia
Price starting at: $599.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Holidays
Meals: 9; 3 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 3 Dinners    
Meal Options: Gluten Free; Low Salt; Low Fat; Vegetarian    

Step into the enchanting past and experience the history and traditions of a Colonial Christmas. Through the study of 18th-century Christmas decorations, customs, music, foods and religious celebrations, discover the historic and cultural significance of this magical holiday. Marvel at world-famous decorations and learn how they were made, and study the 12 days of Christmas and celebrations including foxhunts, balls, weddings and religious worship.




Highlights

• Meet a delightful constumed interpreter who brings to life the Yuletide customs of the early settlers.
• Stroll the storied Duke of Gloucester Street with experts as they shed light on the Colonial buildings and the fascinating decorations that grace them.
• Tempt the taste buds with delightful concoctions as a Colonial cook describes and demonstrates 18th-century holiday feasting traditions.



Activity Particulars

Walking 1-2 miles daily; some stairs at historic buildings.




Date Specific Information

12-3-2014

This program date leads into Grand Illumination weekend, a magical time in Colonial Williamsburg, full of holiday activities and sights. Expierience strolling musicians, decorated houses, flaming cressets, and even fireworks! You may want to stay extra nights to enjoy the festivities, but book early because of the popularity of this event,



12-14-2014

The Restored Area of Williamsburg, as well as Jamestown and Yorktown, have many holiday related activities scheduled during this time. If you want to add extra days to explore, book early because of the popularity of these events.



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.
 
Meals and Lodgings
   Clarion Hotel Historic District
  Williamsburg 3 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 at hotel/ 4:00pm Check into your room/ 5:15pm Start of Prgm You will be staying at Clarion Hotel Historic District that night.
  End of Program:
Box lunch available after last class about 11:30am for your 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
 

Richmond

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Commercial Van/Shuttle
Oleta Coach Lines Van Service
phone: 757-253-1008

 

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 Groome Transportation (800-552-7911) or Marrow Transit, a private car service,757-564-5466. Call for rates and reservations.

 

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 between the airport and the hotel. Besides the van listed above, several taxi companies are also available in the ground transportation area of the airport. An alternative includes Marrow Transit (757-564-5466). Note that Williamsburg taxis can drop off at the airport, but can't pick up. With Oleta or Marrow, be sure to mention that you are a Road Scholar participant.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 
Driving Directions
  From Hampton Roads Travel WEST on Interstate 64 toward Williamsburg. Take Exit #242A/Route 199. Go approximately one mile and take the exit for Route 60. Stay to the left when the exit ramp splits. At the stop sign, turn LEFT onto Route 60 West. The Clarion is approximately 1 mile down on the right. If you come to a stoplight, you've gone too far.
  From Richmond Travel EAST on Interstate 64 toward Williamsburg. Take Exit #242A/Route 199. Go approximately one mile and take the exit for Route 60. Stay to the left when the exit ramp splits. At the stop sign, turn LEFT onto Route 60 West. The Clarion is approximately 1 mile down on the right. If you come to a stoplight, you've gone too far.
  From Southside Virginia via the Jamestown Ferry Cross the James River on the Jamestown Ferry, exiting the ferry onto Route 31/Jamestown Road. Follow Route 31/Jamestown Road toward Williamsburg for approximately 4 miles. Turn RIGHT at the traffic light at Route 199. Follow Route 199 for approximately 3.5 miles and take the exit for Route 60. At the end of the ramp, turn LEFT at the traffic light onto Route 60 West. The Clarion is approximately 1 mile down on the right. If you come to a stoplight, you've gone too far. Note: the Ferry is free!
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: Arrival/Introductory Class
(Wednesday, December 3)
   
 Afternoon: Program Registration Room Check In Welcome, Program Overview, and Road Scholar 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: "History of Christmas, Part 1" Explore the evolution of holiday traditions from their earliest roots in England through their adaptations by the colonists in the New World in the 17th and 18th centuries. The information in this presentation will serve as a base from which you can expand your explorations in the program's other activities.
   
Accommodations: Clarion Hotel Historic District
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Interpretive performance, history of Williamsburg, guided walk to view decorations, decorating demonstration
(Thursday, December 4)

Note: The field trip includes an extended period of walking interspersed with standing time to view buildings and decorations. A few benches are available for brief rests, but the group is mostly in continuous motion for over an hour along a nearly mile long pebbled street.



   
 Breakfast: Start the day with a generous buffet breakfast in our private dining area.
 Morning: Performance: "A Jamestown Christmas" Enjoy a presentation by a delightful costumed interpreter who brings to life the customs of the earliest settlers as she describes her family's yuletide observations. Class: "Introduction to Williamsburg and Colonial Williamsburg" A Williamsburg native shares her extensive knowledge of her home town as she takes you through the history of Virginia's second capital. Learn about the rise, flowering and decline of the town in the eighteenth century and its resurrection in the twentieth due to the vision of a determined minister and the generosity of the Rockefeller family.
 Lunch: A lighter mid-day fare will be served in our private dining area.
 Afternoon: Field Trip: "Colonial Williamsburg" Accompanied by interpretive guides, explore the Restored Area focusing on both history and the acclaimed Yuletide decorations. While you learn about the shops, homes, and public buildings, also discover the secrets behind the materials, themes, and construction techniques used in the fascinating wreaths and garlands that grace the various structures. Class: "Traditional Williamsburg Christmas Decorating" A demonstration by a master decorator of the techniques and materials used in the renowned Colonial Williamsburg seasonal decorations you have just observed on the field trip. This is a great way to get ideas to take home and apply in your own Yuletide celebrations!
 Dinner: Dinner will again be at the hotel in our private dining area.
 Evening: FREE EVENING
   
Accommodations: Clarion Hotel Historic District
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Stories of Christmases past, concert at the College of William & Mary's historic Wren Building, DeWitt Wallace Museum, musical performance
(Friday, December 5)

Note: The Wren Building visit is leisurely and allows for plenty of time for sitting, though the benches are unadorned colonial style. At the museum the overview includes a fairly short walk after which participants can view the exhibits in depth at their own pace.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at your leisure in our private dining area.
 Morning: Class: "Eye Witness Perspectives of Christmas in Williamsburg: 18th-20th Century" Experience the holiday traditions and beliefs of three centuries of Americans in their own words as you hear excerpts from their diaries and letters. Trace the similarities and changes that occurred through more than 200 years of celebrations. Class: "History of Christmas, Part 2" Continue the investigation of Yuletide customs from Christmas trees to Santa Claus. Learn how the arrival of immigrants from other European countries added to the richness of American traditions.
 Lunch: A lighter mid-day fare will be served in our private dining area.
 Afternoon: Field Trip: "The College of William and Mary Wren Building" Explore the oldest continuously used academic building in America with your experienced guide. Then listen to a special holiday musical presentation in the Wren Chapel. Field Trip: "The DeWitt-Wallace Decorative Arts Museum and Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum" These two wonderful museums feature Colonial Williamsburg's extensive collection of 18th century furnishings and objects of daily living along with an incredible collection of American folk art. After a brief overview of the facilities by a docent, explore the galleries in depth on your own. Time is included after the museum visit to further explore the historic district.
 Dinner: Dinner will again be at the hotel in our private dining area.
 Evening: Performance: "Colonial Instruments" An engaging costumed musician plays and explains instruments of the period from the typical to the unexpected.
   
Accommodations: Clarion Hotel Historic District
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: A delightful performance and a delicious 18th century snack
(Saturday, December 6)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at your leisure in our private dining area.
 Morning: Performance: "Big Wigs, Old Goats, and Loose Women, & A Christmas Wassail Toast" A hilarious, thoroughly entertaining program by a costumed interpreter to really place you in the Williamsburg holiday spirit. Demonstration: "Foodway Traditions" Finish your program deliciously as a former Colonial Williamsburg interpreter takes you through the gustatory customs of colonial Americans. The holidays in the eighteenth century were a time of major feasting and this concluding presentation will leave your mouth watering for the delightful concoctions that you might have experienced long ago. Final Farewells
 Lunch: Pick up a box lunch with sandwich, fruit, chips, cookie, and beverage before heading home. END OF PROGRAM
   
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Free Time Opportunities
 
  Williamsburg Tidewater Area: Williamsburg/Jamestown and Yorktown
When you come to our Road Scholar program, you'll find the schedule filled with classes and extracurricular activities; your free time will be limited to only a few hours a day, especially in this "Snapshot" program. We spend much of our time on field trips to surrounding historic hot spots, yet we won't come close to going to every interesting place in the Williamsburg Area. Consider staying an extra day before or after the program to explore the historic area. To avoid visiting the same locations as program field trips, visit our web page with links, sample schedules, hotel web pages, Colonial Williamsburg and more. For additional information, visit www.wm.edu/learningodysseys
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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