The College of William and Mary is the second oldest college in America, founded by King William III and Queen Mary II of England in 1693. A cutting-edge research university, W&M is one of eight “Public Ivies” in the country, offering its 6,285 undergraduates a rigorous liberal arts education. Located in the historic downtown of Williamsburg, Virginia, the campus is adjacent to Colonial Williamsburg, America's largest outdoor history museum. The area is part of the Historic Triangle that includes nearby Jamestown and Yorktown. Brick lined Merchant's Square, adjacent to the historic area, is the town’s commercial area offering 21st-century shopping and eating.
Stay: The Williamsburg Inn, built in 1937 by John D. Rockerfeller Jr. is just steps from the center of town. Sleep in style at this 5-star property and a National Trust Historic Hotel, the most iconic and luxurious lodgings in town. The Fife and Drum Inn also right in town, offers a unique stay. Each of the nine rooms are named after something of importance in Williamsburg’s history such as Drummers Cottage or Yorktown Room and decorated with objects relating to their name. The Williamsburg Lodge, part of Marriott’s autograph collection is also right in the thick of things, Williamsburg within walking distance to everything in town. If you plan on staying for an extra day or two, consider the Kingsmill Resort, right next to Busch Gardens with three golf courses to keep enthusiasts happy. The city of Williamsburg is itself a tourist attraction, and the area offers an extensive range of accommodations, for more hotel information click here.
Transportation: Williamsburg, Virginia, is approximately 150 miles south of Washington, D.C. and located midway between Richmond and Norfolk, Virginia. Williamsburg is a three-to-four-hour drive from Washington, depending on traffic. Though Williamsburg has a small airport, most students and visitors fly into the nearby hubs of Norfolk or Richmond, both about an hour away and served by the major carriers. Both Amtrak and Greyhound depart and arrive at the Williamsburg Transportation Center.
Fun Facts: The first academic Greek society in America, Phi Beta Kappa, was founded at W&M in 1776, the same year the school severed formal ties with England.
Coffee:Aroma’s Coffeehouse is a favorite morning spot with two locations, one in town on Merchants Square and one right on campus in the Swem Library. It opens at 7:30 during the week; join students on their way to class as you head to your tour. (Saturday and Sunday Aromas on campus opens at 10 am.) There is also a Starbucks in the William and Mary Bookstore, operated by Barnes and Noble in Merchants Square.
Breakfast: Start your day at Aromas in Merchants Square, every local’s favorite, known for an eclectic breakfast menu with various breakfast sandwiches, egg dishes, and omelets. One student told us if you don’t order the brie-stuffed french toast you’re making a big mistake. Have you ever had an egg on a donut? Throw a different breakfast sandwich into your rotation at Duck Donuts. Emily’s Donuts is another well-loved donut shop. From the team behind popular Williamsburg spots The Trellis, Blue Talon and DoG, Blackbird Bakery is the place for inspired sweets. Shorty’s Diner and the Colonial Pancake House are two other good morning options.
Lunch: One parent of a current student told us, and quite definitively that The Cheese Shop is the ONLY place in Williamsburg to get lunch! Her favorite sandwich is the Combo with Havarti and House Dressing on French, but there are tons of other sandwich options. “On a nice day, why not have a picnic on the lawn of The Governors Mansion in Colonial Williamsburg, our family’s favorite spot for an impromptu lunch.” (Every sandwich is made to order on their homemade bread so if you’re in a rush call ahead and they’ll have your order ready.) A short drive from campus, sample Virginia-style barbecue at local legend Pierces Pit Bar-B-Que, milder and smokier than North Carolina’s famous vinegary, tangy bbq. Paul’s Deli is a Williamsburg institution serving college style food late into the night—come for pizza, pasta, nachos, and subs. Right across the street from campus grab a quick meal at the College Delly, we hear the Hot Holly is the sandwich to order.
Casual: After a long day touring, make your way to Second Street Bistro serving elevated tavern fare. If you didn’t make it to Pierces at lunch, order a smoked meat platter with all the sides at Old City BBQ. In the mood for something different, Food for Thought’s extensive menu of globally inspired fare has something for everyone with lots of options for vegetarians. Blue Talon Bistro serves serious comfort food in a French brasserie style. (It’s also a great spot for brunch if you're in town on the weekend.)
A Step Up: The Fat Canary is widely considered the best restaurant in the Williamsburg area, from the same owners as The Cheese Shop and also situated right on Merchants Square. Fat Canary serves modern American cuisine, a fusion of local ingredients with creative flair and is the go-to reservation for students when their parents are in town visiting. Locally sourced seafood is the star at Waypoint Seafood, located in Quarter path Crossing, right outside of town. The Trellis serves delicious seasonal American fare, and be sure to save room for dessert, known as the original creator of the now famous death by chocolate, don’t miss this decadent seven-layer chocolate cake with chocolate mousse and cocoa meringue.
Local Attractions: Step back in time and experience 18th-century life in Colonial Williamsburg with a Williamsburg Walking Tours. If you don’t have time during the day, it’s even more fun to go on an evening Ghostly Tales walk-our family loved it! Get your culture fix at the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum and W&M’s Muscarelle Museum of Art. Depending on the time of year, the kids will be thrilled to spend an afternoon or day at Busch Gardens, an amusement theme park located just a few miles outside of town. History buffs must visit Jamestown, part of the Colonial National Historical Park and the site of the first permanent English settlement in America. Yorktown, the location of Washington's definitive victory over Cornwallis in 1781 is also just a short drive, part of the 23-mile Colonial National Historical Parkway.
— Why W&M —
— Quotes From Campus —
W&M FAST FACTS
Green, Gold and Silver
116 Jamestown Road
Williamsburg, VA 23185
(p) (757) 221-4223
(f) (757) 221-1242
Tim Wolfe, Associate Provost for Enrollment and Dean of Admission
NCAA Division I
+ W & M CHEAT SHEET +
Colonial Pancake House
The Cheese Shop
The Governors Mansion
Pierces Pit Bar-B-Que
Second Street Bistro
Food for Thought
Blue Talon Bistro
The Fat Canary
The Cheese Shop
+ LOCAL ATTRACTIONS
W & M
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