Colonial VA 2023

Colonial Williamsburg

Day 4

Today, we finished up our visits at Colonial Williamsburg and the Yorktown Battlefields, and ate some more excellent food.

Column 15 Coffee

First thing, we drove over to Column 15 Coffee on the outskirts of Williamsburg to get some breakfast and coffee. We’d intended to get it to go, but the cafe had a neat atmosphere (and Connect 4 on the tables). We ordered some bagels (Asiago cheese with basil-garlic butter), and some of their seasonal and specialty coffee drinks. After playing at least a dozen games of Connect 4, I received the semi-worthless title of “Connect 4 champion”, and we headed out to begin the day’s historical adventures.

Column 15 Coffee
Williamsburg, VA

A neat coffee shop with a tasty food menu and interesting atmosphere.

* – Would definitely visit again

** – Exceptional, must visit if you’re in the area

*** – Worth making a special trip to eat there

For more info on food ratings, click here.

Colonial Williamsburg

After breakfast, we drove back to Colonial Williamsburg, parked in the same spot we did a couple days earlier, and walked back to Duke of Glocester Street. We visited a variety of stores that we missed on Friday, including the tailor, joiner, carpenter, wheelwright, and weaver.

Governor's Palace

We walked over to the Governor’s Palace, and ran into a character portraying Patrick Henry, so we talked to him for a while. Once at the palace, we waited for the next guided tour to start. While we waited, we explored the cook’s exhibit in the scullery kitchen on the west side of the palace. That was a fascinating presentation; the demonstrators were very knowledgeable.

Soon it was time for our tour, so we went through the house, learning more about the colonial lifestyle and the history and politics of the area.

At the conclusion of the tour, we walked through the gardens, went down in to the palace’s cellars, and revisited the scullery to ask some more questions about importing cheese and other preserved goods to the colonies.

Musket Demonstration

We briefly split up so Faith could refill her water bottle (it’s déjà vu all over again!), and met back at the powder magazine to wait for the afternoon musket firing demonstration. Since we had 30 minutes to kill, Faith and I walked down to the gunsmith’s shop, passing by the farming demonstration along the way.

Back at the magazine and market, we watched a presentation in the guardhouse, and then the musket firing demonstration.

Amber Ox Public House

It was now mid-afternoon and we were all extremely hungry, so we decided to seek out some food. We walked past the Merchant’s Square, towards William & Mary’s campus. We decided we’d eat at Amber Ox Public House, after reading rave reviews online.

We started out by splitting a cured ham board, which came with: southern-style cured ham, ham salad, drop biscuits, everything spiced lavash crackers, house pickles, pickled vegetables, jam, and pimento cheese. For the main course, Cody got a black garlic shortrib with garden bean salad, pickled herbs, sorghum molasses, and a black garlic glaze. Morgan got the bacon burger, which came with white cheddar, bibb lettuce, tomato onion jam, lacquered bacon, herbed mustard aioli, and hand-cut fries.

Faith and I split a few things: shrimp and grits, Reckon Acres’ pork meatballs, and cauliflowers burnt ends. The shrimp and grits had NC greentail shrimp, tasso sausage, butter sauce, and Anson Mills’ grits. The cauliflower came with house bread & butter pickles and harissa aioli; the meatballs were parmesan crusted, with grits, hot honey vinaigrette, and crispy pickled shallots.

Amber Ox definitely lived up to the hype. It was an excellent meal, and I’d definitely like to go back to try more off the menu.

Amber Ox Public House
Williamsburg, VA

A really good meal with excellent service. The restaurant has a creative menu, with unique ingredients. They serve lots of house-made preserves, pickles, and sauces. Great selection of local and seasonal ingredients.

* – Would definitely visit again

** – Exceptional, must visit if you’re in the area

*** – Worth making a special trip to eat there

For more info on food ratings, click here.

Battlefield, Part II

After lunch, Morgan and Faith drove back to the townhome to rest and feed the babies. Cody and I drove back to the Yorktown battlefield and completed the “Yellow Loop” of the driving tour. First, we headed to the Surrender Field so I could visit an exhibit that Cody saw but I missed. Several of the British cannons were on display, and there was an audio presentation in a covered observation platform.

From the Surrender Field, the driving tour took us to American Artillery Park, General Washington’s Headquarters, French Cemetery, French Artillery Park, French Encampment Area, Pigeon Hill Redoubt, and Untouched Redoubt. This section of the drive had lots of roadside signage explaining what used to be there, but there weren’t many preserved sights remaining.

For most of the drive, Cody took pictures of the signs as we went by; we’d try to get the gist and read the rest later. Like yesterday, the scenery was very nice. It was especially interesting to drive the section of road that followed a creek bed via which the French and American alliance moved cannons, out of sight from the British forces.

We finished the loop around 16:30. Since we had a little time, Cody and I went in the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown to scout for our visit the next day. We walked around for a few minutes, browsed the gift shop, and the left right as they closed at 17:00.

Dinner and Dessert

Cody and I arrived back at the townhome shortly after sunset. We killed some time,  and then decided we were all hungry enough to eat a light dinner and maybe some dessert. I drove back out to pick up a small order of sushi from YamaChen’s Yorktown location, and swung into a Food Lion near Newport News to get some Ben & Jerry’s pints for dessert.

The sushi was good, but not as good as Umi right down the road (which was unfortunately closed). We hung around the Airbnb for the remainder of the evening, playing games and watching some TV shows.


Here’s a short video from today’s adventures.

The Best Things we Saw Today


The best thing I saw today was… “the cellars and kitchen at the Governor’s Palace”.

The best thing I ate today was… “the entire meal at Amber Ox, particularly the cauliflower burnt ends”.


The best thing I saw today was… “the hike to Hidden Falls”.

The best thing I ate today was… “cinnamon brioche and coffee”.


Tomorrow, we’ll explore the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown, and then head back to NC.

– The Churches and McKinneys

2 Responses

  1. Sounds like a perfect day. I am amazed at the food you are all able to consume. Thanks for sharing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *