Don and I spent a couple nights in Williamsburg last July. We didn't stay at the lovely Williamsburg Inn, but we hoped to at least have a meal there.
When we found out jackets were required in the evening, we figured we would aim for breakfast.
The Inn was adjacent to the Colonial Williamsburg Historic Area, which dates back to the 1600's.
That makes Williamsburg Inn just a baby, at almost 80 years. The inn was actually built by John D. Rockefeller Junior. He played a part in the preservation of the historic community.
Southern Country Estate
The place really did look more like an old home than a hotel. The neoclassical exterior, with whitewashed brick and ionic columns had a formal, grand style.
Two doormen opened the beautiful brass doors as we headed inside.
The sitting area by the lobby desk felt almost rigidly formal, with chandeliers, drapes and portraits. But there was a man seated in shorts and the staff seemed friendly, so on we went.
The decor reminded me of my Aunt Mary's home. I was always in awe of her lovely house, but I never felt truly comfortable. Don and I wandered in search of the dining room.
In 2001 there was a complete renovation at the inn, so everything did look very fresh and lovely in the sunken dining room. We were greeted warmly and asked our names. I wondered why, because there didn't seem to be a wait.
Our table with a view of the grounds was lovely... even with some golf course renovations going on. White cloth and a white rose... and a bell for service?
Actually that was not a bell. That was a very fancy little butter holder with lid. I kind of adored it.
Our server was Cecil and he was delightful. He called us Mr. and Mrs. Zienty, so I guess that's why we were asked about our names. He was dressed in a suit and tie and seemed overly polite at first.
Then I just had to pull out my 1954 Ford Motor Cookbook to ask Cecil if they still served "Williamsburg Orange Wine Cake". He took a look at the book with illustration and recipe and I wish I could have snapped a photo of his expression. His eyes widened and he let out a not so formal laugh!
He was sad to inform me, they no longer serve that cake. So I made another choice.
Breakfast is Served
Ordinarily I feel uncomfortable in a setting that once served only the rich. And looking around, I'm pretty sure the other diners were inn guests. In fact many greeted the staff like old friends.
They had either been staying a long time, or they come back often. But Cecil and our busboy and hostess, were all gracious and made us feel at home.
I had the closest thing I could find to the cookbook recipe... Orange Waffles with Raspberries and Blackberries!
Don went for Corned Beef Hash with Asparagus Toast and Eggs. He's picky about corned beef, so it was nice to see him happy. This was a big treat after our usual traveling breakfast of granola bars!
It was nice having the restaurant relaxed and quiet. We had more time with Cecil and he talked about growing up in Jamaica.
He thought it had been about 39 years since he'd been back. He missed it. We tipped well... hoping he can put that towards his travel savings.
Since we learned that the Regency Dining Room was added in more recent years, we tried to find the original dining room. I think this is it.
We found a few other reminders of how the inn must have looked in 1937. The stairway was the original, I'm pretty sure. And I don't think they install water fountains like that anymore. I tried to imagine Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip visiting the inn, the year I was born. They must have liked it plenty, since they returned in 2007.
Walking Off Breakfast
What a treat to relax and dine at breakfast, then spend the day walking it off in Colonial Williamsburg. Nice way to extend our dining adventure!
The Dining Blog
This is a blog about Dining Adventures. Sometimes, I talk about food. Below, you can read how this started.
On July 4th 2011, I set a goal to try 50 culturally diverse restaurants in one year! (I knew that was possible, living in the Houston area) I spent the year pulling in friends and family to join me, on some unusual dining adventures. I met some curious people, tried some scary foods and explored places and cultures I never would have otherwise. Even though I met my goal, I learned too much to end my adventures in dining. I have continued blogging about memorable dining adventures of all kinds, near and far... and all the discoveries and funny things I've learned along the way!
Locations and types of dining adventures, are listed further down.