April 3, 2012
Anniversary Dinner and Reception Fête Williamsburg Inn
An anniversary reception and dinner April 14 celebrates the 75th anniversary of the Williamsburg Inn – the landmark property conceived and built by John D. Rockefeller Jr. and opened in April 1937. It has been the crown jewel of Colonial Williamsburg hotels for 75 years.
The 75th anniversary celebration is priced at $75, plus tax and gratuity, and includes both reception and dinner. The evening begins at 6 p.m. with a champagne and hors d’oeuvre reception in the East Lounge, where a collection of photographs, menus and other treasures from the Inn’s history will be displayed. Dinner is served in the elegance of the Regency Room at 7:15 p.m. Inn executive chef Travis Brust has prepared a special menu to mark the occasion, selecting favorites from the past 75 years prepared with a contemporary twist. The evening is a rare opportunity to experience the exquisite service, stunning surroundings and unforgettable food guests of the Inn have enjoyed throughout its history.
Selections at the reception include tastes of Carolina rice-dusted fried local oysters, spring pea soup, crabmeat Randolph, Virginia cheeses and artisanal breads. The dinner includes lobster bisque, an intermezzo of mint julep sorbet, beef Wellington with truffle whipped potatoes and spring vegetables and a Williamsburg Inn dessert sampler of favorites. A 75th anniversary birthday cake completes the evening’s festivities. Paired wines are priced separately. For reservations, call (757) 229-2141.
Completed in just one year, the Williamsburg Inn was built because of the success of the adjacent Historic Area, today a 301-acre living interpretation of colonial Virginia’s history. Working with renowned Boston architect William Perry, Mr. and Mrs. Rockefeller designed and decorated the Inn in the Regency style of early 19th-century England. The architectural style was deliberately chosen to contrast with the colonial architecture of the neighboring Historic Area. Its striking whitewashed brick façade is marked by a generous balcony with tall Ionic columns, wrought-iron railing and a graceful arched portico entrance. The Regency style is evident in neoclassical architectural features ranging from interior cornices and chair rails to the exterior’s pediments, arches and columns.
All rooms feature period furnishings of Honduras mahogany, original artwork and the handmade silk window treatments that have been a Williamsburg Inn signature for decades. Renovated with attention to every historic detail in 2001, the Inn evokes a time and place in American travel that may seem lost forever to one generation and never experienced at all by another. Afternoon tea, leisurely cocktails in the Restoration Bar, Sunday brunch, dancing to live music in the Regency Room, wood-burning fires in two large fireplaces in the elegantly furnished but comfortable lobby, fresh flowers throughout the public spaces – all combine to make a stay at the Williamsburg Inn an experience to remember. But far from living in the past, the Inn is fit for contemporary travelers with wireless Internet access and resort amenities that include a 20,000-square-foot spa, three swimming pools, eight tennis courts, 45 holes of golf, walking trails and outstanding cuisine served throughout the day.
One of the Inn’s richest and most elegant spaces, the Regency Dining Room incorporates design elements from the Royal Pavilion at Brighton, England. Details include Egyptian palm-leafed columns, crystal chandeliers, silk draperies and leather-upholstered dining chairs. Windows on all four sides overlook striking garden and lawn views evocative of the English countryside. Table settings include gold-rimmed dinnerware and elegant hem-stitched table linens.
The Inn has hosted royalty, heads of state, military leaders and celebrities from all over the world, including Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip – in 1957 and again in 2007.
The Williamsburg Inn is a National Trust for Historic Preservation Historic Hotel of America and one of the Leading Hotels of the World. It has been recognized over the years with many awards for excellence in accommodations, food and beverage and resort amenities.
Established in 1926, the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is the not-for-profit center for history, citizenship and democracy, encouraging audiences at home and around the world to learn from the past. Colonial Williamsburg offers more than 1,000 guest rooms among five hotels, including the landmark Williamsburg Inn, celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2012, four historic dining taverns and six other restaurants, a full-service 20,000-square-foot spa, 45 holes of golf at the Golden Horseshoe golf courses and 67,000 square feet of conference space centered at the renovated and expanded Williamsburg Lodge.
Williamsburg is located in Virginia’s Tidewater region, 20 minutes from Newport News, within an hour’s drive of Richmond and Norfolk, and 150 miles south of Washington, D.C. For more information about Colonial Williamsburg, call 1-800-HISTORY or visit Colonial Williamsburg’s website at colonialwilliamsburg.com. Purchase of Colonial Williamsburg products and services supports the Foundation’s preservation, research and educational programs.