I still remember my wonder as my family’s baby blue Pontiac pulled up to our accommodations in Colonial Williamsburg. A little browsing around the internet leads me to believe we stayed at what is now called the Williamsburg Woodlands, a budget-minded choice for families, but to me it seemed like Waldorf Astoria. Let me tell you about it.
Bellmen and Multiple Pools
As I said last week, my family was not the resort type. We usually stayed in Holiday Inns. These practical motels would have a few two-story buildings clustered beside the road around a modest pool. Some would be a little bit nicer than others, but it was very, very low key.
The colonial part of Williamsburg is tightly controlled by a foundation. This protects the authenticity of the historical city, but it also keeps Holiday Inns at bay. I remember Mother being almost frantic about our arrival at, what was then called, the Colonial Williamsburg Resort Motel or some other similar name. She’d been nervous about the expense of staying at the resort, but she felt the proximity to the historical attractions justified it.
I’d been traveling with my parent’s for over a decade by this time, but we’d never had a bellhop deliver us and our luggage to our room. I remember my father getting out of the car to check us in and then being escorted through the property by a uniformed bell hop. I wasn’t even sophisticated enough to understand this was a big deal, but I do remember being absolutely blown away by the property. There were multiple pools and each one was huge. The property featured many walkways, inviting benches in shady nooks and amenities like croquet and tennis. I knew I was living the high life.
When we reached our room I wasn’t quite as impressed as I had been with the other parts of the property, because our room looked a lot like our Holiday Inn rooms. It didn’t phase me too much, because I was all for taking a swim in one of the pools I’d seen, but my parents were beat. This was the day we nearly lost Susan at Mount Vernon, so they’d already had about all the monkey business they wanted out of us. Instead of swimming, we got cleaned up and headed to the cafeteria…yes, I said cafeteria.
The property had a huge cafeteria serving meals for the budget-minded. We’re talking trays with partitioned sections to separate the various foods on your plate and a slot for your silverware, just like many schools use. The tabletops were Formica and you picked up your condiments at a station very much like fast food restaurants have today. I was getting less and less impressed with this resort. Perhaps they had a nice restaurant tucked away somewhere, but my family never went there.
I was dying to check out the pools and other amenities, but I knew the drill. Once we had our baths there would be no swimming. We’d gotten cleaned up to go eat and we were supposed to stay that way for the next day. I’m sure I was displaying all kinds of teen-aged angst, but in truth I was never much of a rebel. We’d been promised that we could swim the next day, but that didn’t pan out either. Come back next week and I’ll tell you why.