Wednesday, April 4, 2007


Williamsburg, Virginia, Day 4: (retrospectively)
JG and I finished up our trip to Williamsburg with a relaxing day of vacation-y activities: sleeping in, shopping, and playing mini-golf. We expected a rather ordinary day, but we got a healthy dose of Williamsburg oddity, instead.

In our hotel’s “Welcome to Williamsburg” packet, I saw a bright ad for a place called Williamsburg Pottery. I thought it might be fun to wander around and buy a new dish to take home as a souvenir, and maybe we could even see them making the pottery. I don’t think I can accurately capture the peculiarity we encountered there. We drove up to a collection of steel warehouses that housed a random assortment of chintzy stores like Totes/Sunglass World, Stained Glass and Collectibles, and something called African Gallery. Since I was on the prowl for actual pottery – imagine that! – JG and I wandered to a larger building that appeared to be the main event. Picture the many aisles of Ikea crossed with bizarre goods from Big Lots in massive quantities, separated into departments like “Oriental” and “Kitchen Gadgets.” This main building (which went on for miles) was slammed up against the largest garden supply store this side of the Mississippi with a collection of statuary to match. Next door, another steel building was labeled, “Hardware, Wine, and Cheese.” With every new step that did not reveal a large pottery-manufacturing site, I wondered if I would be A Total Tourist by asking, “Could you point me in the direction of the pottery?” But seriously! The place is called Williamsburg Pottery, for goodness’ sake. JG now wonders if the site used to be the home of pottery production but has now been accosted by these strange stores in the warehouses. Whatever the case, words can not express the weirdness.

After a cute lunch and some outlet shopping, JG and I set out for a round of mini-golf. We followed our usual routine:

  • I accept the fact that I will lose and choose a golf ball that matches what I’m wearing that day.
  • JG makes sure I have a putter that’s small enough for me; in this case, it was a child’s large size.
  • I remember that I have no sense of aim or speed.
  • JG, ever the teacher, tries to give me a few tips to “make it a lot easier.”
  • I cheerfully refuse the tips because the frustration of trying to improve my nonexistent game will take away from my enjoyment of how many times I can chase the ball past the hole.
  • JG putts cleanly, with maybe one occasion of 3 shots or more.
  • I celebrate anything at par, but spend my time mostly craning my body to will the ball to curve left or right, because, you know, that totally helps.
  • JG wins by a landslide and all is right with the world.

This time, the mini-golf routine was upset by a few rounds of turtle-watching because our mini-golf course doubled as a turtle rescue center. Seriously. They had signs all over the place about their mission, how the turtles gave joy to their patrons, and NOT to feed them, because so many guests smuggle in turtle food, I guess. Additionally, the waterfalls and little ponds in the course were all dyed a bizarrely unnatural shade of turquoise. Isn’t that kind of bad for living things?

At the end of the day, JG and I agreed that even though we couldn’t have predicted what we experienced, it was fun to get a glimpse into the strangeness in Williamsburg. It’s not just colonial history, folks.


alyndabear said...

I am, without a doubt, the world's most hopeless minigolf player. I also sulk. (Uh-oh!)

Sounds like you've had yourself a charming little vacation. :)

L Sass said...

My competitive side makes it difficult for me to play mini golf... since I am also undeniably awful at any sport involving aim.

I'd totally love watching the rescued turtles, though. Too bizarre.

s'mee said...

Ahh, Colonial Williamsburg! Whenever I think of colonial times I always think of Pelicans! Whenever I think of "Oriental" I always think of gynormous lions! Well, and of Hello Kitty...where was the Hello Kitty isle?

Accordin to their video, on their website, there is an actual pottery guild on just need to pick up silk flowers and put together your own lamp before they let you know where it is.

Your trip has been fun. And weird.