9.28.2013

Southern Parenting Tale: P-P-P-Popcorn Fundraiser that Can Send Gifts to our Troops

You know the saying. It's hard to resist a man in the uniform.That's why our family will be eating lots of popcorn this year. 



But, that's not so bad. 

  • Air-popped popcorn has only 31 calories per cup; oil-popped popcorn has only 55 calories per cup.
  • When lightly buttered, popcorn contains about 133 calories per cup.
  • Popcorn is a whole grain, making it a good-for-you food.
  • Popcorn provides energy-producing complex carbohydrates
  • Popcorn contains fiber, providing roughage the body needs in the daily diet.
  • Popcorn is naturally low in fat and calories.
  • Popcorn has no artificial additives or preservatives, and is sugar-free.
  • Popcorn is ideal for between meal snacking since it satisfies and doesn't spoil the appetite.
  • 3 cups of popcorn equal one serving from the grain group.
  • Popcorn is ideal for between meal snacking since it satisfies and doesn't spoil an appetite.

My 7-year-old is a Wolf Cub Scout, and this is his first year conducting popcorn sales for Pack 222 in North Carolina. It's the only fundraiser his pack does yearly, and it funds most everything the pack does. 

I wanted to share this news with you not because I want you to buy popcorn, but because we are proud that he is taking an initiative to raise funds for the pack troop. We feel it is a shining moment in leadership, and I wanted to share that milestone with you. 

The popcorn, of course, is priced as a fundraiser. Popcorn is cheaper in the grocery store, but what I do like about this year's fundraiser is that you can also choose to donate a gift of popcorn to our military troops, their families, and veteran's organization.




If you would like to send something special to the troops, or order some early Christmas gifts, my son has set up a special sales website to make it easy for you to do that.  I wanted to pass that information along today. 

Military donations are offered online at two levels - $35 silver level donation and $55 gold level donation - to consumers across the country. When you  purchase this option, Trail's End will send a variety of popcorn treats to veterans' organizations, U.S. troops, and their families.
Trail's End ships popcorn to veterans' organizations, U.S. troops stationed in Afghanistan and Iraq, all other U.S. Military Bases overseas, domestic U.S. Military Bases, and families of U.S. servicemen and women.

Sales close on October 15, 2013 for anyone who is interested in buying popcorn or sending popcorn to the military.  You may start that process at this link: http://www.trails-end.com/?scout=dccbfcdbc11d635

Join the conversation on Facebook



9.26.2013

How to Engage Your Community on Instagram

When I first started using Instagram last summer, I didn't know much about it, but I knew I liked it. It was fun for me to take a break from the grind of daily life, and view eye-pleasing photos. It wasn't like Facebook and Twitter, which are constantly filled with links wanting you to take some type of action. 

Instagram was a refreshing change of pace. I defined it as simple, natural photos that gave me a glimpse of a person's everyday life in the moment. It's now my favorite social media tool out there. 

Like my newly purchased Vietri 30th anniversary mug? All proceeds will go toward Habitat for Humanity.  I love that the company is giving back for its 30th anniversary. 

On my blog Instagram account, I share some personal family moments, my travels, great eats, and of course, fabulous hotel properties.

Lately though, I've been spending more time talking to others on Instagram instead of posting my own photos. It does take some time to comment on a photo (especially since I can't type well on a phone), but I love the connections I am making. I allow several minutes a day to tell people I like their photos or ask questions about their photos.  This helps create a conversation. 

Before I read Katja Presnal's "Instagram as Your Guide to the World" travel book, I did not engage with other users on Instagram much at all. I scrolled through a few photos, hit a few likes, and that was about it. I didn't take the time to talk to others, which if you remember, is basically the foundation for social media.

After being on Instagram for more than a year, I now find myself wanting more of my followers to talk to me, too. The other day I was visiting the Siena Hotel in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. I've already written a "Pack Your Bags" on this beautiful property. I stayed in a lovely renovated room last February, and it was fabulous. 



During my last visit, renovations were ongoing, but now renovations on all 79 rooms at the Siena Hotel are complete. They are all unique, but similar in style. I shot a few photos for Instagram while on property last week. Instead of just sharing photos of the new rooms in my feed, I wanted my followers to feel as if they were part of the tour with me. 

So naturally I asked, "What do you think of these chairs?"




It was a lot of fun, and I absolutely adored the engagement. People took the time to give me their opinions. Some thought the chairs were quirky and fun. Others thought they would be uncomfortable. A few thought they were beautiful.  And my absolute favorite comment was, "They look like something in the Capitol in the Hunger Games." I can see that, and some of my followers did, too. 

The chairs were imported from Italy. They look grand in the room. The rooms are the true essence of an Italian villa. 


Personally, I think the chairs work for the room, and do not look weird in person at all. They were really stunning. I think this is one reason why I like boutique hotel properties so much. They are not afraid to show a little personality. 


Rates at the Siena Hotel range from $150 to $300 per night, depending on season and availability. The hotel is part of the Marriott Autograph Collection.  Engage with your followers as much as your time allows. I think you will find it rewarding. 

If you are a blogger, link up with us and you may end up on my Facebook page. I share some of my favorite photos from the week. 





Take a look at the link-up rules below before linking, and please link back to a host so others can find everyone's links. 



Take a look at the official rules on Skimbaco Lifestyle, but here are some important things to remember when linking your post.


Here are the Linky rules:
Link to a new Instagram travel post and use the permalink of your post, not the homepage URL.
Only new posts from the week of the linky and no giveaways, other linkys or sales pitches.
No links to your Instagram profile, only links to your blog.
Link back to one of the Instagram Travel Thursday hosts.
Visit a few other posts in the linky and show them some love (comment, tweet, Pin etc.).
Links that do not follow the guidelines will be removed.


The Instagram Travel Thursday linky is posted on Thursdays at 1AM EST and the linky is open until the following Wednesday.
Be sure to follow me on one or more of my social media platforms.  TwitterInstagram ,FacebookPinterest, Google Plus or on Bloglovin, if you just want post updates. When traveling, I'm on Instagram the most.  My personal family Instagram account is LeighPHines.



9.22.2013

NC Theatre Opens New Season with Premiere Production of CATS {Win 2 Tickets for 10/8 Performance in Raleigh}

Need a date night? I've got one for you on Tuesday, October 8. Win two tickets to see NC Theatre's premiere production of CATS on opening night, courtesy of NC Theatre and my blog. CATS will run from October 8 to October 13 at Raleigh Memorial Auditorium in the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Raleigh

NC Theatre will open its 2013/1014 Season with CATS from October 8 to October 13. 

CATS is one of my all-time favorite musicals. I saw the original cast on Broadway in 1982, and enjoyed it in London's West End in 2002. I have also seen the production on tour several times. I'm a big fan of Rum Tum Tugger.





I've had three cats own me in my lifetime, and they all had a little bit of Rum Tum Tugger's personality.  I promise you that if you see this production you will forever breakout in song and sing, "Rum Tum Tugger is a curious cat" at the most strangest times. The music from CATS sticks with you.

Based on T.S. Eliot's OLD POSSUM'S BOOK OF PRACTICAL CATS, and with music by legendary Andrew Lloyd Webber, CATS won seven 1983 Tony Awards including Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical, Best Lighting and Best Costumes.

CATS tells the story of the Jellicles, a tribe of cats who assemble for their annual junkyard ball where they announce the cat that will be reborn.

   
Casting for North Carolina's production includes Kenneth Prymus as “Old Deuteronomy”, who played the role on Broadway for 7 ½ years. The production will also star Thay Floyd as “Rum Tum Tugger” from NC Theatre’s The Producers and A Christmas Story on Broadway and Jennifer Shrader as “Grizabella” (Broadway’s Beauty and the Beast, Swing!) Also appearing is Raleigh native and ECU graduate Kinsland Howell as “Demeter” (Tours: Young Frankenstein, A Chorus Line), NC favorite Dirk Lumbard (NCT’s The Drowsy Chaperone, Legally Blonde) and Kathleen Lynch as “Jellylorum” most recently appearing in Theatre Raleigh’s 23rd Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.

For tickets to NC Theatre’s production of CATS, visit www.NCTheatre.com or call Ticketmaster at 800-745-3000. For groups of 10 or more, call 919-831-6941 x5204. Also coming up this season: ELF, WE WILL ROCK YOU, LES MISERABLES, DRIVING MISS DAISY AND DISNEY’S THE LITTLE MERMAID

Win two tickets for the opening night performance on October 8 at 7:30 p.m. One winner will be drawn at random.  The giveaway ends on October 1 at 12 a.m. 

For those needing extra help with Rafflecopter
1. Click on "Use Your E-mail" or "Sign in with Facebook"
2. A box will pop up. Enter your name. Enter your e-mail address or Facebook ID.
3. Click on "Log In".
4. A box will pop up with choices to enter.  Put your mouse on the +1 button. Click it.
5. Hit "Enter" and your e-mail address should be in the system, and you will have one entry. You will have several ways to earn entries. 




a Rafflecopter giveaway

9.19.2013

Instagram Travel:The Thrill of Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Va

When I was in Colonial Williamsburg this summer, I posted a few Instagram photos of Busch Gardens while visiting the theme park. The photo below appeared in my Instagram feed.  I asked my community if they would watch, like me, or if they would take the 240 feet DROP on the Mach Tower.  It is the highest ride in the park. 



The majority said, "Watch!" What would you do?

Honestly, I did a lot of watching at Busch Gardens. I'm a bore. I loaded my body with Dramamine because I'm prone to motion sickness.  And despite drugging myself so I won't be dizzy, I just cannot get on rides like the Griffon with a 90-degree, 75 mph freefall from 205 feet. 



I got the heebie jeebies every time this roller coaster dangled people over this ledge. Look at that drop! Busch Gardens is filled with thrill rides like this. My children are either too young or either my oldest child is still too short to ride these types of rides. Those factors caused us to debate on whether or not to go to the theme park at all during our vacation. 

It was a big debate because one day at the park for a family of four without any discounts was $268. Knowing that we did not have teenagers who love these thrills, we wondered if we should wait to spend that type of money when our kids were older, and could ride more. 

However, I talked to several friends who had visited the park with young children, and they all agreed that it was worth the expense. They encouraged us to visit.

Why?

Here's a clue.




And let's not forget this superstar.




I need to go ahead, and let you know now that our visit to the park turned out to be complimentary at the very last minute as a surprise for my family due to my working with Colonial Williamsburg on several feature stories. Even though, we had only food costs associated with this park visit, I believe Busch Gardens is certainly a thrill for all ages. It is worth the expense, in my opinion. 



I was impressed with this park a lot. Busch Gardens is extremely clean and attractive. There are rides for the younger kids in each section of the park, the entertainment is good, and the food is reasonably-priced, especially for a place that has captive guests. If you are there, you are not going off property to eat. You will eat at the park. I really enjoyed the pretzels in Germany. 


The Sesame Street Forest of Fun is a blast for toddlers, preschoolers, and even young elementary-aged students who are still too small for the big thrill rides. We hit that area twice. During the summer season, this area of the park hosts a splash park so bring the bathing suits or either a change of clothes for the little ones. 

I would suggest booking a Bounce Pass to Busch Gardens with your hotel package to save money. The Williamsburg Lodge was my "Pack Your Bags" feature this month, and I highly suggest buying tickets as part of your lodging package. It's the way to go. Most hotels in the area offer some type of ticket savings package. Colonial Williamsburg provides complimentary transportation from its hotels, and it's a breeze getting there. With a bounce pass, you can go as often as you like while on vacation. 

I think the park is the most fun at night. 

As for my most popular photo on Instagram during my visit to Busch Gardens, the honor goes to this twirling ride. 



I guess people just love giant tea cups. And as much as I love tea, I had to stay off of this ride. With my motion sickness, I don't do spinning.  See, I told you I was a bore. 

For more information on travel to Greater Williamsburg, visit www.visitwilliamsburg.com. Busch Gardens is hosting Howl-O-Scream now through October 27 and Christmas Town from November 22 to December 31. 

Want to Go:
Busch Gardens
1 Busch Gardens Blvd.
Williamsburg, VA

If you are a blogger, link up with us and you may end up on my Facebook page. I share some of my favorite photos from the week. 




Take a look at the link-up rules below before linking, and please link back to a host so others can find everyone's links. 



Take a look at the official rules on Skimbaco Lifestyle, but here are some important things to remember when linking your post.


Here are the Linky rules:
Link to a new Instagram travel post and use the permalink of your post, not the homepage URL.
Only new posts from the week of the linky and no giveaways, other linkys or sales pitches.
No links to your Instagram profile, only links to your blog.
Link back to one of the Instagram Travel Thursday hosts.
Visit a few other posts in the linky and show them some love (comment, tweet, Pin etc.).
Links that do not follow the guidelines will be removed.


The Instagram Travel Thursday linky is posted on Thursdays at 1AM EST and the linky is open until the following Wednesday.
Be sure to follow me on one or more of my social media platforms.  TwitterInstagram ,FacebookPinterest, Google Plus or on Bloglovin, if you just want post updates. When traveling, I'm on Instagram the most.  My personal family Instagram account is LeighPHines.


Disclosure: I received complimentary tickets to Busch Gardens during my vacation. As always, my opinions can't be bought and your experience may vary.



9.15.2013

Keeping Your Weight on Track After 30

In the past ten years, I have been five different sizes, ranging from size 4 to size 12. My normal weight has ranged from 124 pounds to 136 pounds through those years. Sure, two pregnancies are to blame for some of the yo-yo numbers, but I have also learned that the older I get, the harder it is to maintain my weight without some plan in place.

I made this pizza during the first two weeks of my Denise Austin eating plan. The pizza did not call for tomatoes, but I added them for color and extra nutrients. 

When I worked full-time at a desk job in communications before having children, I hovered around 130 pounds. After children, and exercising consistently with fitness expert Denise Austin, I was able to get below 130 pounds.  At the age of 40, before my second pregnancy, I was at my lowest weight of 124 pounds.  I had not been that low in weight since my TV days in my 20s. You may remember that I did a fall renewal detox last year, and got close to that figure again.

Here I am at about 128 to 130 pounds this past winter at the Washington Duke Inn for afternoon tea.  I'm certainly not skinny here, but my body definitely looks better at this weight instead of 135.  I am less fuller in the breasts, stomach, and hips.  But, I can wear this form-fitting sweater dress at this weight without any bumps and rolls showing. 
I have a big birthday coming up this December. I will be 45. I like to be candid about my age because I feel good about my age, and don't want to hide it. I have tons of grey hair, a few more lines under my eyes, but I feel better at 45 than I ever did in my 20s and 30s.  However, I noticed that this year has become the hardest year for me to maintain my weight, and my middle area has become more problematic which is very new for me, even after two pregnancies late in life.

This is me this past July at about 135 pounds. Here, my face is fuller and I'm hiding some tummy pudge. 
From the spring to the end of summer, my weight jumped from 128 to 136 pounds. I admit that I was not as consistent about exercise as I should have been, and I ate more than my metabolism would burn.  And yes, I write about travel and food, which does not help me with controlling my weight. I had a busy summer with lots of food stories as you may have read on Skimbaco Lifestyle. My metabolism was not an issue for me in my 20s, and 30s. However, it is a huge issue now that I am in my mid-40s.


I knew I had to get ahead of this problem now. Unfortunately, I can't cut calories without help. I need recipes, ideas, and some guidelines. I turned to Denise Austin, and checked out her book, Tone Your Tummy Type, from my local library. I lost all of my pregnancy weight and more by using her recipes and techniques so it was only natural for me to look to her for guidance on this new journey.  Denise is also my in-home personal trainer, and I probably own about eight of her exercise videos. She's been a consistent part of my life for over twenty years. I am not a fitness fanatic, nor am I that active, but I like Denise's work-outs and I have been loyal to her over the years. I've bought a few other DVDs by other people, and they basically  collect dust.

An easy breakfast on the plan, a whole wheat blueberry waffle topped with greek yogurt and fruit. 

For the past two weeks, I have been using her book as a guideline. I have been exercising, cooking her recipes, and keeping my calorie count around 1300 calories for weight loss.  She wrote this book in 2007 when she was almost 50.  We all know that Denise Austin exercises a lot, and has always looked good, but she said when she reached perimenopause in her 40s, things changed for her. She started gaining weight in the tummy area, and realized she needed to focus more on diet and core exercises as she aged.

I really related to what she had to say, and so far, I'm seeing success on her plan.  I'm eating delicious foods such as eggplant, spinach, and cous cous. I'm eating healthy pizzas, getting  new breakfast ideas, and even thinking about what I'm eating in restaurants. It's also all about portions, and making good choices.

She has a pinto bean bowl on this plan, and I decided eat itt over a bed of Kale. She recommends using white or yellow onion tossed with balasamic vinegar,garlic, lemon and olive oil.  I used red onion for this lunch, and it is over powring. The yellow or white onion as Denise Austin suggested is so much better. 

I'm not finished with this plan yet. The second half of the plan, moves you up to 1500 calories a day along with consistent exercise for another two weeks.

I'm not perfect. I splurged a little over this past weekend. I inhaled a small homemade cupcake at the VendRaleigh conference on Friday and I enjoyed two gin and tonics using delicious, local TOPO gin made of organic red wheat, while enjoying the company of some of college friends in Chapel Hill.  I also dined in restaurants (a total of 4 times) more than the plan allowed, but I tried to keep my calorie count down, and make healthy choices while in those restaurants.

Denise Austin does  not recommend alcohol on the plan, especially the first two weeks. But, I don't get together with these friends often. I chose a TOPO gin and tonic.  In hindsight, I should have ordered  TOPO gin and soda water with a splash of  tonic, but you live and learn. 
But this is life, those events were on my calendar, and as long as I make progress on this plan, I'm going to enjoy life.  It may take me just a little bit longer than the average person who follows the plan exactly.

I've known these  ladies for 24 years now. We always enjoy being back in Chapel Hill, NC. 



After two weeks, I currently weigh 131 pounds, and I have lost five pounds. My clothes fit better, and I feel more confident about my body. The rolls are leaving.  My stomach is no longer bloated, and the weight loss has definitely come out of this area, and in my bust. The hips and buttocks will be the last to reap any benefits.

Exercise Plan

I enjoy doing Denise Austin's kettlebell inspired work-out from her 3-week Body Bootcamp DVD.  Since I own Denise Austin DVDs,  I am able to do a variety  of workouts from strength training to yoga,  but I tend to choose the kettlebell work-out the most. I do that work-out about four times a week, and I also try to do a 15-minute indoor walk on other days or yoga stretching.  Lately, life has been busy so I've been doing a jog/walk to the bus stop instead of organized work-outs on some days, which is not as good as the video, but at least I'm active. Denise released a new fat-burning 30-minute work-out this month.  It's on my list to purchase because I'm ready to have another work-out option in my library.

I will let you know how things continue to go, and will disclose some of the things from her plan that I'm adding in my life once the next two weeks are over.





Join the discussion on Facebook.

Disclosure: This post is not sponsored. I am just telling you what works for me.  I will happily reveal though that Denise Austin and I follow each other on Twitter.  If you don't follow her, you should. She offers some great tips. 

9.12.2013

Instagram Travel: What Captures Your Heart on Instagram?

I love the Instagram account of Eatlivtravwrite. Don't look at her account hungry.

We're going to talk about something fun here today for Instagram Travel. Once you get to know me, you will find that I like to be light-hearted, and have a few laughs.

Also, I've had a busy week and I don't really feel like being too serious or informative. I finished my "Pack Your Bags" on the Williamsburg Lodge this week.  Truthfully, after I write those features, I don't really feel like writing anything else for a week.  I love them, but they drain me because I want them to be just right. 

However, I have writing commitments besides my own blog so today's post is my fourth article this week.  I researched some great ski travel deals for Skimbaco, and I even learned how to "twerk" for an article.  Yeah, really!  Jimmy Kimmel put me in a tail spin this week once he revealed he uploaded a fake video to "You Tube" less than 12 hours before my local column was scheduled to run online. I had a piece on how girls should keep their booty off camera. I went with it anyway with a disclaimer.  Now that I think about it my advice applies to Instagram, too.  We all should keep our booty off of Instagram, too.

But, let's talk about the elephant in the room, shall we?  Literally. (Make sure you are in another browser than Internet Explorer, or this video may not load.)


I have to admit that I don't always take the time to view videos on Instagram. But, I'm a big fan of the Four Seasons Instagram account, and I think the caption of the video intrigued me. 

 "You can do it, baby elephant! How cute is that?" This video came from the Four Seasons Safari Lodge Sergenti.

That baby elephant reeled me right in. It tugged at my heart.

And, at the same time, it also caused me to learn a little bit more about this particular hotel. I even put it on my "potential" bucketlist for when my kids are teens. Due to the nature of the Lodge, only guests over 8 are permitted. 

I think we all have things that trigger our emotions and interests when we take the time to engage on Instagram. 

I like to follow Mardi at eatlivtravwrite. She captured that gorgeous champagne flute in Vancouver at the beginning of this post.  And guess what? I know Mardi in person. My editor, Katja of Skimbaco, introduced her to me when were in Toronto. Mardi concentrates on culinary travel, and food blogging. I've learned from Mardi's feed that well photographed food gets me excited.  I mean, really. She makes me want to finish food when she's already taken a bite. 


But, Mardi also has a knack of occasionally appealing to the cat lover in me. She shot this photo in France this summer.  I fell in love. It's so artistic, and reminds me of a postcard. 

I did not use statigram here to label Mardi's photo  because I didn't want to hide the cat.  Photo by Eatlivtravwrite. 
Mardi cooks a lot.  I am smart enough to know just how lucky her cat, Cleo, must be to live in her house, and drink crème anglaise..This photo captured life in Mardi's house very well.  She's not traveling here, but none of us travel every single day of our lives.  It's nice to show a little bit of real life on Instagram, too. 




Mardi's Instagram account appeals to many.  She has more than 18,000 IG followers. 

So tell us, what types of photos can you not resist on Instagram? Dogs? Cats? Water? Cocktails?  Tory Burch shoes?

If you are a blogger, link up with us. Take a look at the link-up rules below before linking, and please link back to a host so others can find everyone's links. 



Take a look at the official rules on Skimbaco Lifestyle, but here are some important things to remember when linking your post.


Here are the Linky rules:
Link to a new Instagram travel post and use the permalink of your post, not the homepage URL.
Only new posts from the week of the linky and no giveaways, other linkys or sales pitches.
No links to your Instagram profile, only links to your blog.
Link back to one of the Instagram Travel Thursday hosts.
Visit a few other posts in the linky and show them some love (comment, tweet, Pin etc.).
Links that do not follow the guidelines will be removed.


The Instagram Travel Thursday linky is posted on Thursdays at 1AM EST and the linky is open until the following Wednesday.
Be sure to follow me on one or more of my social media platforms.  TwitterInstagram ,FacebookPinterest, Google Plus or on Bloglovin, if you just want post updates. When traveling, I'm on Instagram the most.  My personal family Instagram account is LeighPHines.


9.09.2013

Pack Your Bags: A Traveler’s Look at the Williamsburg Lodge in Colonial Williamsburg, Va



If you want to immerse yourself in colonial life, be in the best location possible for a Colonial Williamsburg vacation, and stay in a family-friendly hotel that meets most of my luxury hotel standards, then there is no doubt in my mind that you need to stay in the Williamsburg Lodge.



Colonial Williamsburg has several properties for all budgets, but the true luxury hotel lover will probably be happy only in the Premium properties, which include the Williamsburg Inn, The Williamsburg Lodge, and the Providence Hall Guest Houses. 

There is nothing wrong with the other properties in the deluxe and value categories at all, but you know we talk about luxury here, and it’s important for me to tell you that there is even a big difference in luxury between the Williamsburg Inn and the Lodge, where I stayed.



The Williamsburg Inn (read about my private tour of the Inn) is going to have what most expect in a luxury hotel: turn-down service, robes, slippers, 24-hour room service, and marble bathrooms.  It falls into the real category of a luxury property, just as its founder John D. Rockefeller envisioned.  Also, as a Leading Hotel of the World property, there are certain expectations that the Inn maintains, and its nightly rate of more than $500 per night reflects this.

The Williamsburg Lodge, with its folk-art décor, has a more refined, casual, fun vibe. 



The Williamsburg Lodge Rooms

The rooms are missing plush robes, duvets, scales, and large luxury bathrooms that you typically find in the properties that I’ve visited for this blog, but these rooms are spacious and clean, they’re equipped with Keurig coffee machines, and bathroom amenities are from the Williamsburg Inn Spa.



It’s definitely conference-friendly, and the public areas give it more of a lux feel than the rooms do.  Rooms rival the amenities found in moderate to upscale national hotel chains, but custom period furnishings take these up a notch for theming and individuality. 

The Williamsburg Lodge furnishings transport you back to colonial days, but with some very modern conveniences like a fitness center, complimentary Wi-Fi, select hours of room service, and a full-service restaurant. 


We stayed in a lodge deluxe room with two queen beds in the Custis House.  Some rooms have hardwood floors. Our room had carpeting. The original lodge is a historic property built in 1939. Today, the hotel boasts 323 guest rooms and 45,000 square feet of meeting space.



The Lodge complex is made up of eight distinct buildings.  The Custis building is one of four buildings added in 2006.  The entire lodge facility is connected by a series of covered walkways for convenient access in any weather.  And we certainly saw torrential rains on our first evening there.

The Williamsburg Lodge is Best for Families who Like Upscale Surroundings

After touring the Williamsburg Inn, and staying in the Williamsburg Lodge, I’m going to stand by my opinion that the Williamsburg Lodge is the best place for families to stay if they like more upscale surroundings. 



The beds are comfortable.  The lobby is beautiful, and the food is delicious.  I had the three-cheese flatbread pizza in the Lobby Lounge on my first night there, and I thought it was exceptional.  The Lodge also has many Virginia craft brews on tap.

The hotel also shares an indoor lap pool and an outdoor pool with the Williamsburg Inn. 




The location of the Lodge cannot be beat.  The Fife and Drum corps pick up guests every morning and march them into the Revolutionary City.  You are just steps away from the action.

The Luxury Perks

The doorman greets with you a smile after your day of sightseeing, and the complimentary water is a great perk on hot days.  Staff will make reservations for you and help with your tour plans.




Staying on property at Colonial Williamsburg has many perks, including discount tickets, preferred reservations for dining and attractions, as well as complimentary shuttle transportation around Revolutionary City and other area attractions.   We took the shuttle to Busch Gardens, and it was a seamless process.  Colonial Williamsburg also provides transportation to Yorktown and Jamestown, seasonally.




And here’s another inside tip for you: If you do stay in a premium property, you will be the last pickup before the bus heads to Busch Gardens, and you will be the first stop on your return. You will be dropped off before guests staying in the Deluxe and Value Resorts. 

Room Service

We were busy while in Williamsburg, but we also wanted to have some downtime, too.  A hotel pool can truly be a highlight of a child’s vacation, so we opted for an early-evening swim followed by in-room dining.  




Room service prices were extremely reasonable, and I think a reason for that is there are only so many restaurants in the area that are owned by Colonial Williamsburg, and since this is such a family-friendly destination, I think it’s treated not only as a luxury, but also a necessity for families.  I ordered a delicious crabcake sandwich from the downstairs restaurant, Traditions, for under $14.

In HinesSight on my Stay

I would definitely stay at the Williamsburg Lodge again on a visit.  Would I splurge on the Williamsburg Inn instead since I love luxury so much?  Maybe so, if I were traveling with my husband for a special occasion, but not as travelers with young children.  The Lodge meets my traveling expectations.




I think a Bounce Package with tickets to the Revolutionary City, Busch Gardens, and Water Country U.S.A are definitely the way to go with this hotel for a family, and it’s reflected in the rates of over $350 compared to regular rack room rates. Busch Garden passes are expensive. One day is $72 for an adult, if bought separately. I think you definitely save money by getting a package, and you can bounce around from the water park, Busch Gardens, and Revolutionary City during your vacation. 





Jamestown Settlement and Yorktown are included in addition to the parks in the Williamsburg Flex package. I would not book the room-only rate for this hotel unless you already have tickets and passes.  Always take advantage of tickets. 

Packages with Tavern dining also would be a plus for you because Tavern dining is expensive.  It’s worth the expense, though.  I named Shield’s Tavern as one of my Top Southern Culinary Bites for Summer 2013 in an article for Skimbaco Lifestyle this month.




Typically, if you stay on-site, you will also get complimentary admission for one evening event that requires a special purchased ticket.





Fall and the Christmas holidays are a great time to visit Colonial Williamsburg and the Williamsburg Lodge.  For more information on travel to Greater Williamsburg, visit www.visitwilliamsburg.com.


FTC Disclosure:  I stayed at the Williamsburg Lodge while in Williamsburg with a combination of complimentary and special rates to produce this "Pack Your Bags" feature/review. Opinions about my experience in Colonial Williamsburg are my own. All food costs, including room service, on this trip were my own expense

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