The Romance of Ice Skating in Colonial Williamsburg
My husband and I ended November exhausted. Work and family issues were wearing us down, and we weren’t feeling very festive. Not only did we need to rest and recharge, we needed a Christmas catalyst to jumpstart our holiday season. I longed for a Hallmark-card weekend in some romantic snowy location, but we were too frazzled to free up an entire weekend. What we did have was a Sunday night.
And that Sunday was magical.
We decided to book a Romantic Colonial Holiday Package ice skating package at Williamsburg Winery. For one wonderful and luxurious day and night, we forgot our worries and immersed ourselves in the Christmas spirit. And it felt like an entire weekend away from our daily grind.
We arrived at Wedmore Place from Richmond early and checked into our European-style suite. The Provence Room glowed with soft light from the corner windows, bouncing off the buttery yellow walls and fluffy white duvet. We dropped off our overnight bags and headed out for some Colonial Williamsburg ice skating.
The hotel package includes ice skating, which comes with, of course, skate rentals and passes to Liberty’s Ice Pavilion in Colonial Williamsburg. Right in the middle of Duke of Gloucester Street, the rink is real ice (not the plastic that some southern rinks use). Although my husband used to play college hockey, I’m not nearly as graceful. We laughed and stumbled our way around the rink for a few turns before we warmed to the ice. Before long we were holding hands and gliding through the turns, admiring the real skaters making loops and turning backwards.
A little breathless but happy, we decided to take a break and check out the holiday decorations (the skating pass is good for the entire day). We walked up and down Colonial Williamsburg, window shopping and admiring the greenery and the giant tree. The getaway package includes two glasses of mulled wine at the new Williamsburg Winery tasting room in Merchant’s Square, so we finished our outing there.
The new tasting room is a clever blend of modern and Colonial, with hardwood floors, wine barrels tables, period windows and chalkboard wall décor. We warmed up with our steaming mulled Settlers' Spiced Wine, and then decided to taste a flight of flavorful local hard ciders and meads from Silver Hand Meadery. Nina in the tasting room suggested some festive wines, and we indulged in tastes of the winery’s bubbly Cremant du Loire and several sparklers from nearby Thibaut-Janisson winery.
We left with a few bottles for the Christmas table, watched the ice skating for a bit, then headed back to the Winery for a small lunch. It was warm enough for us to sit outdoors, under the hydrangea arbor at the Gabriel Archer Tavern. We ordered a glass of the Cremant with fresh local oysters and soaked up the sunshine.
After a wine tasting next door in the winery’s tasting room, we were ready for a recovery nap! That’s an indulgence I rarely get at home, but I went all-in on the stack of feather pillows on our welcoming bed. We woke up as the sun was slipping behind the tree line.
Every room in Wedmore Place has a fireplace, and ours had two inviting chairs right in front of the hearth. The romance was irresistible, could we actually have a fire? I called the front desk and they apologized, explaining that the fireplace venting system only worked properly if the temperature was below 50 degrees. It was such a warm, beautiful evening that I figured I had to let that dream go.
But 15 minutes later, the front desk called back and said the temperature had just dropped to 49 degrees! A fire expert arrived in our room with a stack of well-seasoned wood and a handful of pine cones. I say “expert” because within minutes he built a roaring fire, and left us to enjoy it for the hour before our dinner reservation.
The romance continued at Café Provencal, where we had a quiet table with candlelight and flowers. I ordered the Cremant yet again, to enjoy with our “amuse bouche” of broiled Big Island Aquaculture oysters. It paired well with the seasonal roasted root vegetable salad with poached egg. But for the oxtail soup (which the waiter poured tableside), we switched to the Winery’s Merlot, which seems to go with nearly everything.
We enjoyed local rockfish and a juicy thick heritage-breed pork chop from Autumn Olive Farms. For dessert we shared a polenta cake with sweet mascarpone, and a festive pumpkin ice cream dish with pumpkin seed brittle and caramelized pumpkin skin. The dishes were so pretty that we had our cameras out the entire meal.
Back in the room, we opened our complimentary bottle of wine while our fire expert rekindled the romance in the room. It definitely did not feel like a typical Sunday night as we sipped our wine by the crackling fire.
Monday morning couldn’t have been any more relaxed. We had croissants with jam and warm quiche for breakfast, then loaded our “to go” cups with hot morning drinks for the drive back to Richmond. I was sitting at my desk by 9:45, smiling and refreshed. Why isn’t every Monday like this? I would never have thought of Colonial Williamsburg ice skating, but it jump-started our holiday season. And the next time we need a romantic refresh, I know exactly where to go.