What to do in Williamsburg VA to Relax in Seven Easy Steps
My husband picked up the phone after two rings. His first comment after I said hello was, “you sound so relaxed. What’s up?” Apparently, I had forgotten to share how I would be spending my weekend in Williamsburg before he and the boys joined me. What to do in Williamsburg VA? Nonstop food, outlet shopping, a trip to the salt spa, pigging out at the Williamsburg Taste Festival and a walk through Colonial Williamsburg, of course! And it all started with a great night’s sleep.
Wake Up in Your King-Size Bed at Kingsmill Resort
As any mom will tell you, sleep can be hard to come by. Sure, nothing is worse than the brutal baby years, but for one reason or another, someone is always awaking me up. Getting kids to school is a drag, the dog has to be walked, one kid has a nightmare—it never ends.
When I walked into Kingsmill Resort with my bags in tow, the staff gave me a funny look. I was there to check in. They asked if I needed help getting to my room. I said no, I’ve got it. Then they informed me it was in a different building. There were no rooms in the front building. You see, Kingsmill Resort is a full-on condo resort.
I walked into my one-bedroom condo and thought, “mine, all mine!” At least for two nights. That king bed was screaming my name. Throw in the hot tub at the fitness center down the road, and this mama was in heaven. I passed out in front of the television. No one woke me up that night. The dog didn’t need to be walked. All I needed was food, and the Williamsburg restaurants were calling my name.
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Williamsburg Breakfast Spots
Now, not a lot of people know Williamsburg as a food town. Like many mid-Atlantic towns though, Williamsburg has quietly been raising the food bar. Chefs are moving to the area, food festivals are popping up, bigger attractions, like Busch Gardens, are launching food and wine events, and distilleries are making a name for themselves. And while there aren’t a ton of breakfast spots (yet), those that are whipping up a good cup of coffee and pancakes are doing it well. Notable spots include:
- Aromas Coffeehouse and Café, 431 Prince George St, Williamsburg, VA 23185. Locals will point you here first, especially since Aroma grinds their coffee in house.
- Williamsburg Inn, 136 Francis St E, Williamsburg, VA 23185. Great smoothies and donut holes. Beautiful atmosphere if you are looking for a special Sunday brunch spot.
- Culture Café, 747 Scotland St, Williamsburg, VA 23185. You must try the blackberry lavender mocha.
- Food for Thought, 1647 Richmond Rd, Williamsburg, VA 23185. Allergies are taken very seriously at this comfort food joint.
- Shorty’s Diner, 627 Merrimac Trl, Williamsburg, VA 23185. A local staple if you like a good, old-fashioned greasy spoon diner.
Williamsburg Salt Spa
What the heck is a Salt Spa? I know, I asked this too. It’s true, I do love salt. I’ve been known to eat black lava salt straight (you should try it), but a spa devoted to salt?
Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it ladies. The healing properties of salt are real. Inside an unassuming building in what looks like an everyday business park, lives the Williamsburg Salt Spa (more info here). Here you can book a 45-minute salt cave session. Yes, you literally walk into a salt cave and sit for 45 minutes. No, you cannot work on your laptop, play on your phone, talk or even read a book. You just breathe deeply, relax and maybe take a nap.
The cave floor is filled with course salt that feels almost like sand on your feet. The walls are covered with 15 tons of salt from Poland and the Himalayas in order to create a unique microclimate rich in minerals, including sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, bromine and iodine. Humidity levels are kept around 40-50 percent and the temperature is a constant 75 degrees, which can be chilly for some (like me). Don’t worry, they have fleece blankets behind each reclining chair.
Note: You must enter the cave fully clothed. You are welcome to arrive in comfortable yoga clothing, but this is a public space. Bathing suits will not be comfortable and you will be chilly.
My 45-minute salt cave session was restful. There were two other gentlemen in there with me on the opposite side of the room. I don’t often get the chance to relax my brain, which is maybe why I nodded off and found a bit of drool on my chin as the lights came back up after the session ended. This was the perfect prequel to my one-hour Hot Salt Rock massage. I was so relaxed, I’m surprised I didn’t slide off the massage table. After two hours of pampering, no wonder my husband thought I was a new woman!
Lunch in Merchants Square
With great relaxation comes great hunger, and a need to rehydrate. One lesson I was taught at the Williamsburg Salt Spa was that you need extra hydration when exposed to that much salt. I chugged two bottles of water and headed to Colonial Williamsburg’s Merchant Square. The receptionist at the spa had recommended The Cheese Shop, and boy was she on the mark. Everyone I spoke with about what to do in Williamsburg VA that weekend, and friends who knew I was visiting, told me not to miss The Cheese Shop.
Could it really be that good? Yes. I took one satisfying bite of my prosciutto and provolone on focaccia bread, sat back and gave a sigh of satisfaction.
Another reason to love the Cheese Shop? They serve alcohol and you can drink it outside as long as you stay on the patio. Good sandwiches, a glass of wine or bottle of beer, and people watching in Williamsburg, VA? It doesn’t get much better than that.
Shop til You Drop Williamsburg Style
Refueled, I couldn’t help but pop into the boutiques and trinket shops around Colonial Williamsburg’s Merchant Square. Some were known entities like Talbots, Chicos and the Christmas Tree Shop, but the French Twist Boutique had beautiful dresses and flowing tops I just had to try on for summer. I found out that Blackbird Bakery, just down from French Twist, offered all of their pastries half price after 5pm. Naturally, I made a mental note to pop back in later that night before dinner.
Needing to load up on some essentials for my ever-growing boys, I ran over to the Williamsburg Premium Outlets. I was able to breeze through Columbia for a winter coat that would fit my youngest next year and half-price sneakers from Puma for my oldest. With a little time to spare before dinner, I popped into Banana Republic, Anne Taylor Loft and Francesca’s to give my spring wardrobe a little refresh. Mama needs to look good too ya’ll! Yes, being south of the Mason-Dixon in Virginia brings out my non-existent southern roots.
Dinner at La Tienda
Thoroughly spent, and needing a nice glass of wine, I headed to one of the best places to grab pork products on the east coast—La Tienda. This shop/restaurant imports Jamon, wine and fresh pork to roast in the restaurant direct from Spain. Top chefs like José Andrés call up La Tienda to place orders. It’s true!
I had the pleasure of enjoying a wine and food tasting menu with La Tienda, as part of the Williamsburg Taste Festival this spring. I’ve found that food festivals are a fabulous way to get to know the local culinary scene. La Tienda did not disappoint. Asparagus and jamon, pork with crispy jamon, and a trio of desserts with a smooth dessert wine were by far my favorite. You basically had to roll me back to my car.
What to do in Williamsburg VA at night
If I’d had energy, and the where-with-all to plan ahead, I would have booked tickets to see Carmen at the Kimball back in Merchants Square. As it happens, this show sold out every night that weekend. Instead, I headed back to my massive king bed at Kingsmill Resort, snuggled up with a cupcake from Allure Bakery that I had discovered at the food festival, and binged watched some HGTV.
Now that;s what I call a relaxation recipe for what to do in Williamsburg VA in seven easy steps.
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This post is part of a paid partnership with Visit Williamsburg. As always, my opinions are my own. When they aren’t you will be the first to know.