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Our lodging recommendation depends on your party and your taste. Nothing can give you a better feel for how the colonists lived than to spend a night or two in their beds, in their homes. You can do that by reserving a room or small house right in the historic district (1-800-History). However, if you have a group, or if you insist on modern amenities, there are very nice lodges just on the edge of the historic district, in easy walking distance. If you were bringing a youth group in the Summer, there is also dorm lodging at William & Mary. The college was and still is an integral part of the historic town, and has many sights worth seeing in their own right. Remember many of the founding fathers came here to attend William & Mary, so you're still immersed in history. The central number for all Williamsburg lodging is 757-565-8440. This same number can make your restaurant reservation at Christiana Campbell's, Shields or The Kings Arms. You need advance reservations because all three fill up and there are few cancellations or no shows.
We are huge fans of The Cascades. This is a 1950s motel behind the Visitor Center. It's not exactly 1700s, but it has its own charms. It sits in a 40 acre woodland. A miniature golf course winds through the trees, and there are outdoor shuffleboard and table tennis court facilities. You share a beautiful outdoor pool with The Woodlands, a more modern luxury hotel. Your reservation includes a very ample Continental Breakfast. The Cascades is a one floor building allowing you to park right in front of your room door. Windows look out onto woods and flower gardens. One appeal of The Cascades is it allows dogs. The rooms are rustic but beautiful with hardwood floors and wood trim. The location is ideal. You can park your car and leave it. You're steps away from the Visitor Center, with its stores, theatre and programs. You can ride the shuttle or walk the one mile well landscaped trail over to the historic district and various restaurants and shops. You're just across the lawn from Huzza's, a family restaurant with pizza for the kids and reasonably priced entrees for adults. A short drive around the Visitor Center plus a left turn puts you on the Colonial Parkway, where you're 15 minutes from Jamestown (turn right) or Yorktown (turn left). Williamsburg does not promote The Cascades because they don't have to; it has its own loyal visitor base who return every year and keep it filled most nights. So you have to ask about it. A typical double room is about $89.
If you're not into 1950s rustic but you want the location near the Visitor Center and Colonial Parkway, you have The Woodlands, a very modern facility with rates in the $130 range. You won't be able to park near your room, but you will have wireless internet access, sitting area with table suitable for computer use, and comfortable seating for reading or watching tv.
The third family lodging is the Governor's Inn. This might also be suitable for youth groups, as the room rates are in the $60-70 range. The Governor's Inn is at the opposite side of the historic district from The Cascades and Woodlands, so it's further from the Visitor Center. But it's only a two block walk to Market Square and William & Mary, and three blocks to the historic district. There's a nice pool at the Governor's Inn and the shuttle stops by frequently, which you can take around to the Visitor Center or various stops on the periphery of the historic district. Guests here also have a Continental Breakfast and wireless internet.
If you want to go upscale, there's the magnificent Williamburg Inn, tastefully restored to its former glory. If you stay elsewhere, you still should come by and visit, because this is a great example of Virginia class and dignity. The Williamsburg Inn sits two blocks off the historic main street in the opposite direction from the Governor's Palace. The Inn was intended to replicate the plantation homes along the James River, so you'll enjoy marble bathrooms, English Regency furniture, poster beds and afternoon tea in the Terrace Room. The Regency Room is the kind of restaurant visiting dignitaries would have found suitable, with a British and French inspired menu. Most of the rooms have a single King or Queen sized bed plus comfortable seating, so this not a place for families or youth groups. Even if you don't stay here every year, it makes a great Special Occasion hotel. There's no hotel in America that better captures the aristocratic glory of Colonial Virginia.
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