An October 2002 trip
to Williamsburg by Taylor252
Quote: Williamsburg, Jamestown, and Yorktown -- everyone sees these well-advertised places! We spent time visiting other sites that I believe are worth your time as well. I'll look at several in the entries below.
Attraction | "Candle Factory Outlet"
At this site, the actual process of modern and ancient candle-making comes together. While some of the machinery is mechanized, they still use the dip it over and over and over technique to build up the diameter of the candle. You can tour the factory where you'll see the huge automated wheels of "candles-in-the-making" that get dipped into even larger vats of molten wax. Today, the Williamsburg Soap and Candle Company turns out 6 million candles a year. The workers will talk about what is necessary to make the candle smooth and how they occasionally cut off the bottoms spikes to make sure the candle comes out with a flat bottom. This is basically the same method used 200 years ago only on a much grandeur scale. They will also demonstrate how they make some of the specialty candles such as the twisted or carved varieties.
They also check the candles for straightness and blemishes, no matter how tiny. Any small problem sends the candle to the wholesale counters right there in the factory outlet store. This is where shopping becomes fun. You can purchase factory seconds, overruns, closeouts and test market specials found only at this location for next to nothing!... and I couldn't really find any blemishes worth mentioning! But perhaps even better, they also sell there finest candles at greatly reduced prices since shipping consists of walking the product 50 yards or so! We were there just before Halloween and some of the specialty candles for both the fall and Christmas holidays were out in full force. It was beautiful.
There are also several other stores that are part of the Soap and Candle Co. There is a Christmas House that sells Christmas decorations year round; a colonial/primitive home decor shop called Barney's Country Store; a store called Needlecraft Corner with a large selection; a Tapestry store and a restaurant that features home cooked meals.
Their phone number is 757-564-3354 and the website is www.candlefactory.com. We spent several hours here and enjoyed it very much. So if you're looking for something a bit different while in Williamsburg I think you'll enjoy the Williamsburg Soap and Candle Co.!
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on September 4, 2003
Williamsburg Soap and Candle Company
7521 Richmond Road
Williamsburg, Virginia 23188
Attraction | "Watermen's Museum"
It turns out the Watermen’s Museum is about the Chesapeake Bay men who worked on the water! The only other place in the world where these workers are called watermen is in England. Their jobs might be fishing, ferrying or working on a boat. They could be common laborers or captains but they all worked on the water in and about Chesapeake Bay.
There are displays of boats, old historic maps and navigational charts. There are displays of tools used by these men. There are photographs and other written records that tell the story of one of the oldest colonial habitations in the United States. The Museum also supports educational programs for both children (school programs) and adults (Lifelong Learning Program) and offers memberships to those interested in helping preserve the memory of this ongoing activity. They have a unique gift shop where local artisans sell their wares; you can pick up a specialty cookbook of seafood recipes; or you can find books and tapes about the Bay area including lighthouse info. (They also run a coupon in the "Colonial Guide" free magazine.)
This is a relatively young museum, started in 1981, but it chronicles and preserves information that would certainly have been lost without its existence. They rent out there dock behind the museum to the "Yorktown Lady" which does cruises on the Bay highlighting information about both history and wildlife. The museum's phone number is 757-887-2641. There website is www.watermens.org.
Watermen's Museum in Yorktown
309 Water Street
My all-time favorite candy is Maple Sugar Candy and since I now live in the mid-west, it’s hard to find. In fact, it’s hard to find anywhere outside of New England. However they had it here! I bought three boxes and took their card so I could order more by mail. If you have a favorite candy, I’ll bet they have it also. Here is a partial list of some of the items they carry: candy, honey, BBQ sauces, VA peanuts, bread mixes of all kinds, cider, soup mixes, apple butter, peach butter, Chesapeake Bay Crab Products and Arts of the Table products. They advertise over 10,000 lbs. of candy in the shop at any one time. Watch for coupons in the "giveaway magazine" called "Colonial Guide". It’s available all over Williamsburg. We saw a dollar off each pound of fudge you buy.
While this probably isn’t a destination, it is a nice side trip. Their phone number is 757-464-1151. I’ve included a couple of pictures below for your information. One is a picture of the building which is very helpful if you’re looking for something along the road and the other is a sampling of the candy they offer. These pictures are photographs of an ad in the Colonial Guide mentioned above.
The Candy Store Factory Warehouse Outlet
6623 Richmond Road
Williamsburg, VA 23090
Attraction | "Nauticus National Maritime Center-Part 1"
There are quite a few things to do at Nauticus and many of them are geared for children. There are interactive displays throughout the building. In one you can pretend to be a gunner on a battleship. In another, you can touch a shark. Kids seemed to be having a great time . . . and there were A LOT OF KIDS THERE! It was obvious to us that this is a popular site for school trips. One of our main interests was taking a boat tour of the Naval Shipyard. You can purchase tickets for this in the Nauticus. We choose the 2 hour cruise aboard the Victory Rover (phone #: 757-627-7405; website: www.navalbasecruises.com). The boat is a double-decker with an air-conditioned windowed cabin on the first floor and an open deck with chairs upstairs. Actually the day we were there (mid-Oct.) was chilly so the people up top kept coming inside to get warm! The tour departs from a pier about 500 yards. from Nauticus, so it is very handy. We saw several huge cargo container ships and many different types of naval vessels, however, the aircraft carrier had just left a couple days before. We did see several nuclear submarines and different types of battle ships. I bought a card that is supposed to help you identify what you're seeing, but frankly it was easier listening to the narrative that came over the loudspeakers. As a result, I don't know the ship types for any of the pictures I've enclosed. Those of you with military knowledge can fill in the blanks.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 4, 2003
1 Waterside Drive
Norfolk, Virginia 23510
Attraction | "Nauticus National Maritime Center-Part 2"
Another part of the Nauticus complex is NOAA National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration. I love weather stuff so this was high on our list. On the 3rd floor of Nauticus is their exhibit called 95,000 Miles of Coastal Knowledge. It explains the part NOAA has in keeping ships safe that are approaching the U.S. They can be reached at:
Phone: (757) 627-7072 E-mail: email@example.com.
There is also a Tupboat Museum that we didn't have time to see. The admission costs for Nauticus are: adults $9.95, children (4-12) $7.50, AAA/Senior/Military $8.95, children 3 and under are free. It is a place of many piece parts and I think most anyone of any age can find something to do here.
The story, according to geologists starts when this world was very young. A comet or asteroid struck the earth forming Chesapeake Bay. If you're not used to the area -- and we weren't -- the roadways are a maze of bridges, tunnels, and land based roadways. The James River looks more like a bay itself and the York River isn't much smaller. But it all comes together and dumps into Chesapeake Bay. By all accounts this Bay is rather inhospitable. It can direct the waves of hurricanes on shore in the summer and fall, and then winter adds strong winds and stinging cold spray. In fact, in the middle of building this structure a hurricane came along and sunk an expensive boat used in constructing the bridges. We were there on a late fall day where the stinging cold spray was all too real.
We entered the structure from the Virginia Beach side and paid a toll of $10.00. You rise up off the beach and ascend a high bridge (clearance 75 ft.), then come back down to level off at about 30 feet off the water just before the bridge makes a wide sweeping 90 degree turn. The northbound lanes (the side we drove on first,) make up the original bridge, which was finished in 1964. There was one lane going each way until a second parallel bridge was added in 1999 allowing for two lanes going in either direction.
After the turn you will drive straight until you get to the first of four man-made islands. Yes, man-made islands. There was 300,000 tons of rock and 1,500,000 tons of sand, most of which came from the floor of the bay used in making these islands. Each of the four islands is an entrance or exit for a tunnel. The first, coming from our direction was called Thimble Shoal Tunnel and the second was called Chesapeake Channel Tunnel (both about a mile long.) On the first island of the Thimble Shoal Tunnel (the southernmost island), there is a long fishing pier as well as a restaurant and souvenir store. We stopped and had a lunch of hot dogs and watched several large ships pass over the tunnel and out into the Atlantic Ocean.
After lunch we continued through the second tunnel and then onto a bridge which allows an 75 ft. clearance. Lastly we descended down onto the Delmarva Peninsula. We drove a short ways, did a U-turn and drove back on the new side. The main difference between the ‘64 side and the ‘99 side is the presence of a shoulder. The ‘99 has one and the ‘64 doesn’t. The entire bridge carries U.S. Rt. 13 just under 18 miles and allows you to drive 55 MPH. The water is between 25 and 100 feet in depth. I hope you get the opportunity to either drive the bridge or see the Discovery Channel piece on it. What an amazing engineering feat.
St. Louis, Missouri