- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 6, 2001

Williamsburg inns and outs
Wondering about lodging and dining at Williamsburg? Here's a brief guide.
Of course there are countless hotel rooms throughout the area, but first-timers might opt to stay within Colonial Williamsburg proper. Choices include the city's landmark Williamsburg Inn, which reopens this month after a year of renovations; Williamsburg Lodge and Conference Center, combining Southern tradition and hospitality; authentic period accommodations in several Colonial houses; a family retreat called Williamsburg Woodlands; and the Governor's Inn. Information is available at 800/ HISTORY.
When the Williamsburg Inn originally opened its doors in 1937, the press release described it as "designed in the Regency manner, its architecture reminiscent of the early 19th-century hotels which the Virginia springs and watering places made famous everywhere. Its spacious rooms have all the charm of a small country inn." Williamsburg benefactor John D. Rockefeller was instrumental in its design.
Highly recommended outside of Colonial Williamsburg proper is the nearby 2,900-acre Kingsmill Resort, a Conde Nast Traveler Gold List entry, Mobil Four-Star and AAA Four-Diamond award winner with a history as a major 18th-century river plantation. Noted for its tranquil, three-mile-long setting along the James River, Kingsmill's reputation among golfers is legendary. Its three courses (River, Woods, Plantation) offer 54 championship holes, and each is a registered Audubon sanctuary. The tennis center features 13 fast-dry clay courts, and the resort houses Williamsburg's only spa. There's also a popular marina. Kingsmill, just minutes by free shuttle from Busch Gardens, features 400 villa-style rooms, one to three bedrooms, with kitchens if you're so inclined. (www.kingsmill.com or 800/832-5665)
Dining options abound in Williamsburg. You can stick with the Colonial experience and try one of the taverns, such as King's Arms, Christiana Campbell's, Chowning's or Shields. Or go modern with good seafood at Berret's Seafood Restaurant and Raw Bar, within walking distance from many hotels. For high-end cuisine and desserts made famous by chef Marcel Desaulniers of "Death by Chocolate Cookbook" fame, don't miss the Trellis Restaurant in the heart of Market Square. For award-winning barbecue, check out Pierce's Pit Bar-B-Que on East Rochambeau Drive.
For more information, see www.colonialwilliamsburg.org or www.visitwilliamsburg.com; call 800/HISTORY (Colonial Williamsburg) or the Williamsburg Convention and Visitors Bureau at 800/368-6511.

Williamsburg plus
Colonial Williamsburg is one thing, but the area holds many more attractions. Virginia's "Historic Triangle" includes not just Williamsburg but Jamestown Settlement, site of the first permanent English settlement in the New World, and Yorktown, site of America's victory in the war for independence. For both, call 888/593-4682 or see the Web site at www.historyisfun.org.
And for most visitors, especially families with children, a trip to Williamsburg would be incomplete without a visit to nearby Busch Gardens, owned by Anheuser-Busch of Budweiser beer fame. Yes, you can see the Clydesdale horses here. The theme park is laid out in "countries" Scotland, England, France, Germany and Italy. There's a new country to explore: Ireland.
Ireland features "Irish Thunder," a dance troupe in "Lord of the Dance" style; "The Secrets of Castle O'Sullivan," a special effects show; "Corkscrew Hill," an adventure journey through mythical Irish lore; the Anheuser-Busch Beer School; an Irish pub; and Irish gifts for sale, such as linen.
Within the park, you'll find similar specially themed shows, rides and shopping attractions for each particular country, such as the Globe Theater in England, where there's a pirate movie and live performances, and an Oktoberfest celebration in Germany.
Throughout the park, there's live music, such as the big-band sounds of the Starlight Orchestra. There's also Jack Hanna's Wild Reserve, featuring an up-close look at gray wolves, an aviary where lorikeet birds will land on you and eat from your hands. There are also rare raptors and exotic birds, and a presentation on reptiles.
Overall, though, like many large theme parks, Busch Gardens is best known for its massive roller coasters. The Loch Ness Monster, the world's first interlocking, double-looping steel coaster, carries 1,700 passengers at speeds reaching 60 mph. The Big Bad Wolf, among the world's first suspended roller coasters, has its 1,600 passengers per hour hanging from 2,800 feet of track and includes a 99-foot drop. Other offerings here are Apollo's Chariot, Alpengeist and Wilde Maus.
Busch Gardens was voted America's "Most Beautiful Theme Park" for eight consecutive years by the National Amusement Park Historical Association, which has named it one of America's "Favorite Theme Parks." In 1999, the park earned Amusement Today's "Golden Ticket Awards" in the categories of best landscape, best food and cleanest park.
Busch Gardens is 150 miles from the District, three miles east of historic Williamsburg. For admission and other information, see www.buschgardens.com or call 800/772-8886.
Anheuser-Busch also operates nearby Water Country USA, the Mid-Atlantic's largest family water play park (www.watercountryusa.com or call 800-343-SWIM).


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