If there was ever a time to embrace the romantic allure of staycations, it’s now. With the rich history, unforgettable dining experiences, and endless activities to experience in Williamsburg, there is truly no place I would rather spend the weekend (or the rest of my life, for that matter).
While brainstorming ideas for my babymoon (a short vacation for couples who are expecting), my husband, Sam, and I decided to stay close to home and embrace all that Williamsburg has to offer. Personally, I didn’t want the added stress of traveling and potentially getting sick while savoring the last trimester before our baby makes his debut. Since this town has a great reputation for taking extra precautions against COVID-19 with social distancing, outdoor dining, and mask procedures in place, it eased my worries and allowed us to enjoy a romantic weekend without anxiety.
Thanks to the Visit Williamsburg ‘Things to Do’ page, Sam and I were able to plan an unforgettable itinerary in advance to allow for a well-balanced series of dates from our morning at the most charming local coffeehouse to a soothing couples’ massage, and so much more. If you are ever at a loss for what to do in Williamsburg, Visit Williamsburg does an excellent job at keeping tabs on the various events going on in Williamsburg, Jamestown, and Yorktown areas. From family-friendly adventures to romantic restaurants, their ‘Things to Do’ catalog has you covered.
Now I’m going to walk you through what I believe to be the 7 key elements to planning our safe, romantic staycation in Williamsburg. Let’s get started, shall we?
Coffee at Aroma’s Coffeehouse
Aroma’s Coffeehouse has a particularly special spot in my heart because it is the very first place that made Sam and me feel like we belonged when we moved here from Baltimore nearly 2 years ago.
Grabbing a refreshing iced chai latte in the summer and a steaming hot “Honey Do” latte in the winter from this fast-casual cafe quickly became a part of our weekend routine. Not only did the kindhearted staff and owner make us feel welcomed into this quaint town, but the atmosphere of the cozy coffee shop immediately reminded us of home.
Between the William & Mary college students who gather around the tables for study sessions and the town regulars who pop in for a freshly roasted coffee and a warm muffin, Aroma’s Coffeehouse is a local favorite.
When you start your morning with the friendly faces of those working behind the counter and a delicious cup of coffee to fuel your mood, you are guaranteed to have an exceptional day.
Our favorites to order: Iced Chai Tea Latte with Oat Milk, Hot “Honey Do” Latte with Almond Milk, Fresh Chocolate Croissant, and Pastrami on Rye.
COVID precautions: Face coverings are required inside the café. Outdoor seating is available. You can always pick up your drink and wander through nearby Merchants Square.
Breakfast at the Terrace Room in the Williamsburg Inn
Once you’ve got your caffeine fix, hop in the car and take a quick drive to another well-known Virginia landmark, The Williamsburg Inn. As you’ll see, the entrance itself will stop you in your tracks. The expansive fountain as you drive in will leave a luxurious first impression that sets the stage for the rest of your visit.
Upon entering the iconic hotel, you’ll notice dazzling crystal chandeliers at every turn, elegant furniture, and Regency-style wallpaper that you'd probably find on the set of Bridgerton.
Take in the glamorous views of their sweeping golf course and social terrace while waiting for your table in The Terrace Room.
Before long, you’ll be choosing between breakfast dishes on a wide-ranging list of American classics with a contemporary twist. Whether you are in the mood for crab hash with poached eggs or a deluxe build your own breakfast sandwich, there is no doubt in my mind that you will leave The Terrace Room feeling satisfied and ready to carry on with your adventures.
Our favorites to order: Terrace Breakfast Sandwich Your Way (croissant, fried egg, bacon, Havarti cheese, roasted tomato, and truffle-honey aioli) and the Terrace Breakfast.
COVID precautions: There are several COVID-19 safety procedures in place, including reduced capacity and a safe distance between tables in addition to the staff adhering to the Virginia mask policy.
Explore Colonial Williamsburg
Arguably, one of the most memorable spots to check out in Virginia is Colonial Williamsburg. While Sam and I have wandered around the picturesque cobblestone streets several times over the past couple of years, we had never actually taken a proper tour of the living-history museum until our staycation.
Within the 301-acre area, you’ll find several hundred restored or re-created buildings from the 18th century, employees costumed as the original settlers, and specialty artisan-made products that you can’t find anywhere else.
As an admirer of historic architecture and extravagant gardens, my personal favorite location to check out during our tour was the Governor’s Palace. Truthfully, I could have spent hours wandering around inside and out imagining what the day-to-day life was like when the Royal Governors roamed about the Palace.
If we had all day to spare, I certainly could picture myself sitting on one of the intricate iron rod benches at the entrance to the tunnel of ivy winding and weaving above, my nose deep in a novel. Alas, Sam is not much for sitting still for long periods of time, so we continued our journey through each and every the unique shops that line the cobblestone streets. We learned about the history of shoemaking, peered into windows filled with handmade watches, and occasionally caught a whiff of prime rib and mashed potatoes.
As we were walking back to The Williamsburg Inn, we caught a glimpse of the most enchanting horse carriage toting a sweet couple through the streets. Although once we arrived at the Lumber House Ticket Office they were booked for the afternoon, we promised each other that we would be back for a romantic ride before our son makes his arrival.
The majority of activities that take place in Colonial Williamsburg are outdoors. Activities that do take place indoors allow a limited number of visitors, and masks are required.
Mixed Media Class at Colonial Folk Art Studio & Gallery
After getting our share of outdoor adventures for the day, we popped into Colonial Folk Art & Gallery for a private Mixed Media class which was equal parts intimate and wildly creative.
Having taken my last art class several years ago, I was more than delighted to embrace my inner child and spend an hour exploring my imagination. After our instructor went through the rules for the class (spoiler: there weren’t any!), we each got our own mini canvas and began painting with the colors of our choice.
Once we had a colorful and expressive foundation to build upon, Sam and I rooted through a box filled with one-of-a-kind pieces of fabric, newspaper clippings, bold sheets of paper, and hand-drawn maps. As we eagerly chose the layers and textures that would fill our canvas, we felt empowered and passionate about what would become our own custom art.
The end result was two completely unique canvases that represented our personalities and how we were feeling that day, and I couldn’t be happier with how the entire experience went.
Throughout the class, we noticed art students coming and going and were pleased to discover that in addition to hosting classes and having a wonderful art shop, Colonial Folk Art Studio & Gallery also acts as an open studio for students perfecting their craft in wheel throwing, painting, wood carving, and much more. Not surprisingly, we worked up quite the appetite during our Mixed Media class. We said our goodbyes to our extremely knowledgeable instructor and made a beeline to one of our most loved restaurants in town to refuel.
COVID precautions: Our Mixed Media Class was private (just Sam and I) which was not only a relief, but very intimate as well. We were seated off to the side of the studio, so that we did not come in close contact with the students or customers throughout our time inside. Everyone, including us, wore face masks the entire time in the studio.
Lunch at Blue Talon Bistro
Now, imagine you are on the set of Emily in Paris ordering crepes and truffle fries at a chic bistro while French jazz music plays softly in the background. Stepping into Blue Talon Bistro, a brasserie boasting a modern mix of traditional French classics and All-American favorites is truly the next best thing to booking a ticket to Paris yourself.
With sophisticated indoor and outdoor seating, traditional French decor, and some of my favorite dishes in all of Virginia, I am confident that you will love this restaurant as much as I do.
As we were dining during our most recent trip, Sam and I had the pleasure of speaking with one of the owners while finishing off our entrees. He told us a charming story about how he celebrated his wedding anniversary in the private dining room adjacent to us while they were closed one night during the pandemic. It was a sweet story that Sam and I both could relate since we also celebrated our wedding anniversary in the midst of these unprecedented times.
Our favorites to order: Braised Lamb Shank, Chicken and Mushroom Crepes, and Truffle Parmesan Frites.
COVID precautions: Blue Talon Bistro has made outdoor seating romantic and charming with string lights and charming French decor. While we opted for indoor, there was still evidence of distance between tables and reduced capacity.
Couples Massage at Serenity Spa of Williamsburg
Once we had our fill of savory crepes and tender braised lamb shank, we were both ready to unwind and take a quiet break. Thankfully, our couples’ massage at Serenity Spa of Williamsburg was just what the doctor ordered.
I was pampered with my first prenatal massage and an added sugar foot scrub, and Sam enjoyed a deep tissue massage with a hot stone element. The spa music, dimly lit room, and silky soft massage beds allowed us to fully rest and appreciate this peaceful moment.
When we emerged from the room, Sam and I both were visibly more relaxed. I couldn’t believe this was the first time I had gotten a prenatal massage during my pregnancy, and I swore while we stood there in total tranquility that it wouldn’t be my last.
COVID precautions: We felt extremely safe throughout our entire spa experience. Although the massages obviously result in close-contact with the providers, there were only 4 of us in the room total, and we all wore our face masks the entire time. We were also the only clients in the spa at the time of our visit, which felt reassuring and private.
Dinner at Opus 9 Steakhouse
It felt only appropriate that we end our extraordinary series of dates with nothing less than a candlelit dinner at Opus 9 Steakhouse. From appetizer to dessert, dining at this intimate and elegant restaurant is a one-of-a-kind experience.
After discussing the launch of a new beverage menu that was to be introduced the following night with Travis, the attentive manager and brilliant sommelier, Sam was able to preview the “Williamsburg” cocktail, which he was absolutely delighted about.
We started our dinner with the Caramel Pecan Brie, which was oozing off the plate in all of its glory, treated ourselves to the Seafood Trio and Steak and Lobster, and capped off our culinary journey with the chef’s favorite dessert, tiramisu.
If you intend to spoil yourself or your partner this Valentine’s Day with dinner at Opus 9 Steakhouse (which I highly recommend), make sure to book a reservation in advance before they fill up!
Our favorites to order: Caramel Pecan Brie, Seafood Trio, Steak and Lobster, Tiramisu.
COVID precautions: The Steakhouse had reduced capacity, and there was a safe distance between the tables. The staff was extremely courteous, adhered to the mask policy throughout our visit, and ensured that all diners followed the procedures in place as well.
While this trip has come to an end, I can’t help but look forward to our next weekend adventure in Williamsburg already. Whether you are a Virginia local like us or booking your next getaway, hopefully this post can serve as a first-hand guide to enjoying a romantic weekend in Williamsburg.