Thursday, July 10

our williamsburg, va vacation - part 2 - yankee candle village store + busch gardens

Onward with the vacation recaps!  On Sunday, our first full day in Williamsburg, we spent some time exploring our resort and enjoying the adult pool.  In my post last week, I shared a few photos from our trip to Yorktown, but what I neglected to tell you about was our delicious dinner at Peking restaurant in Williamsburg.  It's not your typical Chinese buffet - they also have Mongolian barbecue, Thai food, Japanese Hibachi and a SUSHI TRAIN.

Monday was especially exciting for me because Mr. Q and I met my cousin and her family in Merchant's Square for lunch.  Merchant's Square is right between the College of William & Mary and Colonial Williamsburg.  We are at The Cheese Shop on Duke of Glouchester Street, which is famous for its fresh bread, delicious sandwiches, and secret recipe dressing, and then took my little cousin (and ourselves) to Wythe's Gourmet Candy Shop, which was full of drool-worthy goodies.

That night we visited the Yankee Candle Village Store, only because one of my best work friends had told me it's a must-see in Williamsburg.  The store lived up to the hype, mainly because my mother-in-law and I had found coupons for FREE DIPPED CANDLES in the local tourist magazine!

I am super proud of my rainbow candle.

The Village Store has several sections: a traditional Yankee Candle store like you'd find in a shopping mall, the WaxWorks, where visitors can dip candles and make wax molds of their hands and such, a middle section with mainly home decor items, and a Christmas village with a faux night sky and soap-bubble "snow" every four minutes (only around that one lamppost though).  The Christmas village had German beer steins and Black Forest clocks, nutcrackers, all kinds of ornaments, caroler figurines, and a whole room of Department 56 Christmas and Halloween miniatures.

On Wednesday, we decided to visit Busch Gardens since the forecast for the rest of the week was looking questionable.  I hadn't been since high school, but I think I appreciated the park more as an adult - it's considered one of the most beautiful amusement parks in America and I don't think I really noticed all of the attention to detail and pretty landscaping when I was younger.  We arrived right as the gates were opening and the park was not too crowded.  If you've never been, Busch Gardens has a European theme and as you walk through the different zones in the park the scenery changes from England, Ireland, and Scotland, to Greece, Italy, Germany, and France.  I remembered some advice from an old travel guide to go left rather than right at theme parks to avoid crowds, so we headed to Greece and started the day with one of my favorites, Escape from Pompeii.  It's basically a log flume ride, but with added fire and falling statues, and while the drop at the end is scary it's not actually painful at all.  

Mr. Q and his sister rode the hilly roller coaster Apollo's Chariot next; I passed on that one because I don't really enjoy drops on coasters.  After that, we cooled off on the Roman Rapids (which is a disappointment compared to White Water Canyon at King's Dominion).  After that, I was ready for a roller coaster, and one of the park staff members had recommended Verbolten.  I thought I would enjoy it because my favorite roller coaster of all time is an indoor coaster (Flight of Fear at KD) and Verbolten is an indoor/outdoor hybrid.  Verbolten's theme is a ride on the Autobahn and through the Black Forest, so it starts out very smooth on the outdoor track and then goes crazy with a linear launch into the indoor section.  The ride is completely pitch black at some points and has spooky lightning effects that light up the track just enough to show riders that a drop is coming.  I was completely surprised when the car came to a stop and then dropped straight down as if the floor had given way, then flew out of the building and down a pretty steep drop.  My legs were shaking when I got off, but I loved it!

Apollo's Chariot and Verbolten

We were getting tired (and anxious about the USA vs. Belgium World Cup match), so we ended our visit with a jaunt on the park's Skyride, played in the Sesame Street Forest's water area just to cool down, then headed back to Scotland where we visited the famous Budweiser Clydesdale horses and had lunch.  I will also admit that I was so exhausted from the heat that I slept through most of the soccer game, but woke up in time to see the US team's valiant effort.  That night, we kept things low-key and had pizza night with takeout from Old Towne Pizza, and rested up for Colonial Williamsburg and Jamestown Settlement!

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