The Greater Williamsburg Chamber & Tourism Alliance sends out quarterly eNewsletters to meeting planners.

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Lisa Pacheco
Director, Conference Sales & Sports

Williamsburg for Meetings | Quarterly Newsletter

February 2, 2011 - This issue contains:

In the Spotlight: The Williamsburg Lodge & Colonial Williamsburg

You may already know that Colonial Williamsburg has provided the backdrop for our country's most influential meetings and events here in the Historic Area for 250 years.  But what you may not know is that each of the meetings hosted here in Williamsburg annually is completely customized.  When is comes to meetings, we don't live in a one-size-fits-all world.  We work with meeting planners to create unique meetings and events that astound and inspire, regardless of size or budget.  It's why some businesses have held their conferences in Williamsburg each year, for over 30 years straight. 

It starts with space - and plenty of it.  More than 67,000 square feet of updated space is flexibly configured to host small meetings, large events and everything in between.  All space offers the very latest technology including Wi-Fi and state-of-the-art audiovisual equipment.  And all within just a few paces of each other on a campus-like setting.

The largest meeting venue is the Williamsburg Lodge, one of four official Colonial Williamsburg hotels.  Furnishings are inspired by art from the nearby Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum.  Since first envisioned by John D. Rockefeller Jr., this property has grown to comprise eight buildings that are interconnected by sheltered, brick-paved walkways.  It offers 45,000 square feet of meeting space, 28 versatile function rooms and four outdoor entertainment areas.  Signature rooms at the Lodge include the nearly 7,000-square-foot Colony Room and the 11,000-square-foot Virginia Ballroom, which comfortably hosts lavish affairs for up to 1,400.  Accommodations at the Williamsburg Lodge include the all-new Federal-style guesthouses, the renovated Tazewell Hall or beautiful rooms in the main Lodge building.

The Williamsburg Woodlands Conference Center also accommodates large corporate events while smaller conferences may opt for the cozy Williamsburg Inn.  Regardless of budget, planners can find just the right choice for their attendees' comfort and convenience.

Choice is on the menu when it comes to dining as well.  In fact, a varied selection of restaurants is sure to satisfy the palate of every group member.  Southern-style delights such as fried oyster salads and Brunswick stew.  Casual fare such as sandwiches and pub fare.  World-class cuisine such as dry-aged tenderloins and succulent catches of the day.  It's all here, and more, for culinary enjoyment. 

Of course, no meeting would be a complete success without a good dose of play.  Colonial Williamsburg is as expert at in-between meeting experiences as it is at meetings.  Nightlife abounds, ranging from sophisticated hotel lounges and boisterous taverns to special evening programming featuring live performers.  During the day, attendees, their spouses and their  families can recreate and relax with a wide variety of activities, all located within walking distance on the campus.  These include 50 distinctive shops, 45 holes of golf, eight tennis courts, five swimming pools, a full-service luxury spa and acclaimed cultural activities such as numerous art museums, reenactments and tours.  Add unique activities available at each hotel, such as lawn croquet and horseshoes, and renowned on-site live entertainment, and it's clear why this has become a perennial favorite of some of the country's top corporate and association meetings.

Colonial Williamsburg's experienced staff makes hosting a meeting easy.  It's also an easy destination to reach with a location between Richmond and Norfolk on I-64.  There are three international airports within an hour's drive, and 200 flights arriving daily and nonstop flights from some 30 major U.S. cities. 

Colonial Williamsburg's celebration of hospitality excellence has been recognized with the prestigious Pinnacle Award from Successful Meetings, an honor based on the real-life meeting experiences of the magazine's readers.  Colonial Williamsburg has received the annual Pinnacle Award 23 times, and was inducted into the publication's first-ever Bronze Circle, recognized properties that have received this recognition for 20 consecutive years. 

Visit to plan your next Williamsburg Meeting or Convention. 


The Landing at Riverwalk Restaurant

Enjoy an off-site venue on the beautiful Yorktown waterfront that has become a dining landmark.  Riverwalk Restaurant is known for its devotion to the diverse seafood of the Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Ocean on seasonal menus that also feature lamb, poultry, beef and local produce prepared both with traditional and contemporary recipes.  Popular with locals and visitors alike, the restaurant's dining experiences range from the casual Rivah Cafe and outdoor courtyard featuring all-American sandwiches, salads and light entrees, to the full-service Riverfront Dining Room and The Landing, Riverwalk Restaurant's private function room.   

The Landing caters to meetings, receptions, luncheons and dinners for groups of up to 72 persons.  It offers wide views of the Coleman Bridge, Gloucester shoreline, and the historic York River with its diverse water traffic of day and evening, ranging from sailboats and fishing boats to naval vessels and Yorktown's own tall ship, the Schooner Alliance.

The menus offered in The Landing celebrate the foods and spirits of America.  Food and beverage service includes continental breakfasts, coffee breaks, receptions with hosted cash bars, an array of hors d'oeuvres, and lunch and dinner menus.  Banquets are designed to let you create your own memorable menu.  When your selections are finalized, a menu will be printed and presented to your guests, allowing them to view the menu while selecting their entree choice.  All menus include bread, fresh vegetables, side dish, and a beverage. 

In addition to group events, The Landing can also accommodate off-site meetings in both classroom and theater-style set-ups.  In-house wireless internet, wireless microphones, five-disc CD player, and other meeting accessories are available.

The room rental fee for events is $100 for Sunday - Thursday; $200 for Friday and Saturday.  The room rental fee is waived for groups of 40 or more when one of the restaurant's lunch or dinner menus is chosen.  The room rental fee for meetings is $100 for three hours, and $50 for each additional hour plus cost of food/refreshments (30 guest minimum), Sunday - Thursday.  Meeting space is not available on Friday or Saturday.

The Landing at Riverwalk Restaurant is located at 323 Water St., Suite A-1, Yorktown, VA 23690.  For more information and to discuss reservation details, please call 757-875-1525; fax 757-875-1526 and ask for the banquet manager.


Williamsburg Event Rentals: A Partner for Great Events

Williamsburg Event Rentals is now in its 15th year serving Greater Williamsburg as the area's premier special event rental company.  The firm's outstanding reputation has been earned by providing personal service and close attention to detail that goes far beyond clean, new equipment and a staff that is courteous and helpful.  "We are passionate about our work and take time to get to know you so that we can make your event just as special as you envision," says Steve Rose, the firm's president.

Clients benefit from Williamsburg Event Rentals' knowledge and thoughtful approach by becoming involved in the planning and decision-making process.  "An informed client knows that there's more to planning an event than just choosing the decor and visiting our recommended local florists and caterers," Rose notes.  "Locations, tent type, load-in/load-out, and other logistical considerations all make an impact on the feel of an event.  We strive to make our events run smoothly from start to finish by helping out clients make well-informed choices, and our experience makes that possible."

That experience includes servicing events as complex as America's 400th Anniversary in 2007, which included visits by Queen Elizabeth II and President George W. Bush plus diverse cultural and hospitality assemblies over the course of the commemorative year.  Long before arriving in town, even planners and designers can tap Williamsburg Event Rentals' in-depth knowledge of the area's many event venues, obtaining recommendations and specific tent sizes for outdoor locations or suggestions regarding linens and accessories that work with indoor venues being considered. 

Logistical expertise is combined with creativity and an impressive inventory at this full-service event rental company, which offers from tents, tables and chairs, china, glassware and linens.  Inventory is always being added to as the firm anticipates new trends and ideas.  Rose and his staff are adept at creatively translating clients' objectives into reality.  To convey one organization's new sports marketing initiative, they converted a mundane exhibit space into a lively "football tailgate" framed by goal posts and astro-turf where client staff attired in referee jerseys met attendees amidst checkerboard tablecloths, footballs, pom-poms and serving dishes filled with promotional material.

As seasoned planners know, even the most carefully laid out plans can fall to pieces when Mother Nature causes havoc.  Williamsburg Event Rentals' strong relationships built throughout the area have created a network the company can draw on to overcome any issue that may arise.  "Whether it be floral, catering, lighting, power generation, landscaping or transportation, as a planner you can be confident that when working with us, you become part of this network and have access to the resources that guarantees the success of your event," states Rose.

Commitment to service and relationships extends into the community, as well.  In addition to offering the company's resources to support local charities and causes, Rose and his wife Laura founded Inclusion, a non-profit organization with the mission to inform, inspire and involve children from diverse backgrounds in the Historic Triangle community.  Inclusion's two annual fundraisers - the Matoaka Summer Concerts and The Chocolate Affair - are eagerly anticipated throughout the region by lovers of good music, great chocolate - and beautifully produced events. 


Enjoy the Splendor of Gardens

Gardens in Williamsburg VA

Every season in the Williamsburg area has its particular charms, but for splendid color and fragrance, the month-long period of mid-April through mid-May is unsurpassed.  The many gardens and natural landscapes that are popular year-round come alive with stimulating sights and scents as bulbs, plants, shrubs and trees blossom.  The new is a portal for information, suggested itineraries and walking tours, as well as links to all places and things blooming in the Historic Triangle.  The following are just a few highlights. 

Colonial Williamsburg's Historic Area offers more than 90 acres of green spaces and gardens.  Certainly a highlight of any tour is the Governor's Palace.  Its complex of gardens, spread over 10 acres, resembles English country estates during the reign of King William III and Queen Mary II.  Three original features from the 18th Century remain: the ice mount, the falling gardens (terraces), and canal. 

More than 26 other well-known historic and pleasure gardens as well as kitchen gardens make a superb walking tour in Colonial Williamsburg.  To name just a few, the Prentis House is an excellent example of garden development within the confines of a typical one-half acre lot.  The pleasure garden, behind the service yard, has been designed with six parterres edged in yaupon holly.  The simple kitchen garden parallels the pleasure garden on the east, and a small orchard near the back of the street is balanced by the stable and paddock at the rear of the site.  The Bryan House features an arbor covered with trumpet honeysuckle and American wisteria that offers a splendid view of the carefully trimmed boxwood parterres.  At John Blair House, visitors will find a kitchen dooryard and small herb garden reminiscent of the "physick" gardens popular in colonial times.  Make sure one of your stops is the Colonial Garden and Nursery, which displays many rare and unusual varieties of heirloom vegetables as well as a collection of heirloom rose and fruits.  Staffed by interpreters and garden historians, it features a botanic garden of North American and European herbaceous plants and an herb garden with examples of culinary, medicinal, and household herbs used by colonists. 

Adjacent to Colonial Williamsburg at the west end of Duke of Gloucester Street is the Sir Christopher Wren Building at the College of William and Mary, the oldest college building in America and the heart of the colonial campus.  The Wren Building opens in back onto the William and Mary Sunken Gardens.  Its design follows the spirit of 18th-century English landscape gardens, which abandoned the geometric parterres of Europe in favor of sweeping lawns intended to uplift the spirit by leading the eye toward a distant, natural setting.  In our case that setting is the Crim Dell, one of the most beautiful spring photo sites in the Williamsburg area.  According to campus lore, two people crossing the bridge while holding hands will be lifelong friends; and if they kiss, lifelong lovers.  Pathways around Crim Dell are planted with varieties of rhododendron, azaleas, and spring- and fall-blooming camellias, and large stands of Mountain Laurel present a spectacular display of blooms in May.  The campus is also home to numerous other gardens and green spaces, including the William and Mary Wildlife Refuge, a shady habitat that shelters four Trillium species, a variety of ferns, a number of common wildflowers and several rare species that have been rescued from construction sites.

Connected to Williamsburg by the Colonial Parkway, Historic Jamestowne, Jamestown Settlement, Historic Yorktown, Yorktown Battlefield, and Yorktown Victory Center each feature diverse examples of agricultural and botanical gardens typical of the 17th and 18th centuries.  Late April and early May is typically the most spectacular time to drive the Colonial Parkway, when the dogwoods and redbuds are in bloom. 


Mobile Site Offers One-Click Access

Smartphone users now have quick access to local information for everything from restaurants and attractions to current events and services like auto repair, banks and healthcare facilities through the Alliance's new area-wide mobile website.  The new site, accessed via, provides easy one-click navigation on icons for attractions, dining, lodging, maps, services, community and business events, plus coupons and seasonal offerings.

Among the site's convenient features is that each listing includes one-click links to a map of the individual location, its website and automatic dialing to its telephone number.  The site also enables searching by keyword.

"Our goal is to serve our many visitors who now use their mobile phones instead of their PCs to access the Web," said Bob Harris, Alliance vice president, tourism.  "More than two-thirds of travelers with Web-enabled mobile devices used them to find local services and attractions in 2009, and mobile subscribers using their phones to access business directories increased 14 percent last year."

Listings accessed by the site's opening icon screen include:

Attractions: attractions; amusements and entertainments; arts; golf; outdoor; museums; shopping; and guided tours.
Dining: restaurants, currently in alphabetic order.
hotel and motels; bed and breakfasts; vacation rentals; campgrounds; and guest homes.
grocery stores, hospitals and medical care; banks; transportation; auto repair and parts; churches; spas; shipping and packaging; pharmacies; visitors centers; and miscellaneous services.
Events: including both area and member events.
Area map: Google maps, including zoom, directions and search by search functions.
Coupons: Mobile coupons for various categories of products and services.

A seasonal icon takes users to a list of major programs and special events of the current season.