"Grand Illumination Celebration" - Adult Tour
Day 1 - Williamsburg, Newport News
Arrive in Williamsburg, VA and meet your Colonial Connections Tour Manager (Group should plan on having lunch prior to touring)
Guided tour of Colonial Williamsburg, the Revolutionary City
Explore the nation's largest living history museum. From 1699 to 1780, Williamsburg was the political and cultural center of Britain's largest colony in the New World. In the shops, taverns, government buildings, homes and streets, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry, George Mason and other Virginia Patriots debated the ideas of liberty, independence, and personal freedoms that led to the founding of American democracy and inspired generations of Americans and others from around the world.
A stroll through Colonial Williamsburg during the holiday season is a treat for the senses. Windows and doors are decorated in 18th century fashion with handcrafted wreaths, fresh greenery and festive garlands. Learn the stories, traditions and celebrations of Christmas in colonial times.
Check into your Williamsburg hotel (includes round-trip baggage handling)
Choose from limited to full-service properties with exterior or interior corridors, indoor or outdoor pools, with deluxe continental breakfast or full breakfast buffet, priced from budget and moderate to deluxe.
Depart for Dinner
Before dinner we'll light up your holidays with the award-winning Celebration in Lights, a two mile drive through Newport News Park that includes spectacular animated scenes. View whimsical toys, elegant swans, leaping reindeer, multi-colored snowflakes and scenes from Virginia’s past portrayed in a kaleidoscope of dazzling color.
“Dinnertainment” provided at The Boxwood Inn
Formerly the home of Simon Curtis, the Inn is located in Historic Lee Hall Village. Tonight we'll experience a Dickens Christmas Dinner. Envision a British manor house in December 1870. Christmas is celebrated in the finest traditional sense, complete with "The Holly and the Ivy," "Deck the Halls," "Gloucester shire Wassail" and "Good King Wenceslas."
Return to hotel. Colonial Connections Tour Manager departs.
Day 2 - Jamestown, Williamsburg
Deluxe Continental breakfast at the hotel
Depart for Jamestown with your Colonial Connections Tour Manager
Guided tour of Jamestown Settlement
Connect with the experiences of the 17th-century colonists as you explore Jamestown Settlement, the recreation of the first permanent English settlement in America. Tour indoor galleries, talk with costumed interpreters, and visit the re-created James Fort and Powhatan Indian village. Board full-size replicas of the Susan Constant, Discovery and Godspeed - the three ships that brought settlers to Virginia in 1607.
A short holiday film and special interpretive programs compare and contrast English Christmas customs of the period with how the season may have been observed in the difficult early years of America’s first permanent English colony. In England, the holiday season – extending from December 25 to January 6 – was a time of merriment and feasting. Little is known about Christmases at Jamestown, but it is likely there were few celebrations other than church services to mark the holiday.
Enjoy lunch at the Jamestown Settlement Cafe followed by a brief stop in the Settlement's gift shop (on own)
Depart for holiday shopping stop at the Yankee Candle Village and Williamsburg General Store before returning to the hotel to relax before tonight’s grand event
Depart hotel for the Grand Illumination
Grand Illumination Festivities Begin
Grand Illumination is an adaptation of a common practice during the 18th century when ordinary citizens celebrated extraordinary events - major military victories, the arrival of a new colonial governor or the birthday of the monarch - by firing guns and using fireworks. The festivities begin with a variety of traditional holiday entertainment - Fifes and Drums provide 18th-century holiday music, balladeers and musicians perform, church choirs sing Christmas carols and costumed performers present entertainment reflective of the time period.
Grand Illumination Fireworks
A magnificent fireworks display will take place simultaneously at three locations in the Historic Area - Palace Green, the Magazine, and the Capitol. Candles are then lit in the public buildings, shops and homes, throughout Colonial Williamsburg's Historic Area.
Dinner provided at The Whaling Company
Long recognized as Williamsburg’s seafood specialist, the Whaling Company is reminiscent of a charming New England boathouse and prides itself on the freshest fish in town and melt-in-your-mouth hand cut steaks. Since everything is made-to-order, every item is a “special!”
Return to hotel. Colonial Connections Tour Manager departs.
Day 3 - Yorktown
Deluxe Continental breakfast at the hotel. Colonial Connections Tour Manager rejoins group and facilitates check-out and baggage handling.
Depart for Yorktown
Guided tour of the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown
Gain a new appreciation and understanding of our nation's beginnings at the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown where America's evolution from Colonial status to nationhood is chronicled. Outdoor living history areas include a re-created Continental Army encampment and 1780s farm.
Soldiers of the American Revolution had little opportunity for Christmas merriment. At the Yorktown Victory Center, hear accounts of Christmas and winter in military encampments during the American Revolution and glimpse holiday preparations on a 1780s farm.
Visitors to the Continental Army encampment can learn about winter camp life and hear accounts of Christmas during the war, as well as assist the quartermaster in preparing military supplies. At the farm, historical interpreters will demonstrate a variety of holiday activities, including setting a farmhouse table for a holiday feast, decorating with greenery, and open-hearth cooking in the farm kitchen.
Depart for home. Colonial Connections Tour Manager departs.
Note: The “Annual Christmas Homes Tour” sponsored by the Green Spring Garden Club is held the first Saturday in December and can be added to this itinerary with an additional night’s stay.