July 29, 2009 by Kristen Pantazes
“Is Williamsburg safe?” As a tour guide, I always get this question from concerned parents, wanting to be reassured that their children will be safe on campus if they attend the College. I could spout off facts proving that Williamsburg is definitely NOT a hotbed of criminal activity, or talk about all the security measures we have in place in town, but a recent event really helped to highlight for me how truly safe I feel in Williamsburg.
The other night, my friend and I decided to go on a late night run down Duke of Gloucester Street (we all call it DoG street here on campus, just so you know!). However, when I reached the top of DoG Street at our set time of 11pm, I found my friend M.I.A., and after waiting for him for a few minutes, it seemed clear he had forgotten about our jog. Rather than forgo my much needed exercise, I decided to just go ahead and run by myself, and embarked down DoG Street.
Colonial Williamsburg (or CW, as I call it) is a very picturesque and beautiful place to run through at any time, but it is particularly lovely and very peaceful at night (especially without tourists everywhere!). Its a very quaint sort of place after dark, well lit thanks to some charming streetlights and frequented by a few couples, some other joggers, and the occasional ghost tour. On this particular night, especially given how late it was, very few folks were out and about, so I was rather enjoying my quiet and contemplative jog. As I went, I of course did the requisite “horse poo jig,” in that one of the biggest dangers you face in running on DoG Street are spotting the plentiful horse pies that come from the horse-drawn carriages of CW. They can oftentimes be very difficult to see at night, so occasionally you have to jump or leap around them, making it look like you’re dancing. Funny to watch, I’m sure, but not so humorous if you mess that dance up!
Anyways, as I ran, I passed a woman and her daughter walking down the street, and after reaching the end of DoG street and touching the gate at the Capitol Building (something I always do to mark my halfway point in my runs), turned around to run back down the street. As I continued on, I carefully made sure to not look at certain houses flanking the street, thinking about all the ghost stories I had heard and how freaked out I would be if I saw anything abnormal or paranormal. However, much to my surprise, when I was once again approaching the pair walking, the woman actually flagged me down, clearly with a question for me.
“Excuse me,” she said. “Sorry to interrupt your run, but I can’t help but notice that you are a young woman running by yourself at night. Do you feel safe to do that? And do you think my daughter and I will be ok to walk back to our hotel right now?”
I immediately assured her that she would absolutely be fine to walk back, telling her about how police patrol CW all the time, both idling in their cars on side streets and riding around on bikes. In fact, I find those bike cops always seem to sneak up on you and come out of nowhere–gives me mini heart attacks every time they pop up and ride by! But anyways, I explained all the security to her and then sent her on her way, safely down good ole DoG.
As I thought about the exchange when I started running again, I couldn’t help but laugh at myself and my fears. Prior to the woman stopping me, I was more concerned about ghosts than anything else security wise–seriously! That made the remainder of my run much more amusing as I scoffed at my own ridiculosity, finishing up my exercise with a smile on my face. I have to say though, being more scared of ghosts than real people is a good indicator of how safe I feel in Williamsburg, don’t you think? So, needless to say, I certainly plan on running again, but I still won’t look at the Peyton Randolph house at night–who knows what ghosties may abound!
July 14, 2009 by Kristen Pantazes
I think Williamsburg might be one of the few places in the world where you can walk into the local convenience shop or store and just happen to run into a Colonist on any given day. I can’t even keep track of the number of times that’s happened to me since I’ve come to the College, but I don’t think it ever gets old. Just the other day, I decided to do some late night grocery shopping, and as I walked through the sliding glass doors, I almost ran smack dab into a Colonial restaurant worker in full garb, including vest, knickers, knee socks and everything, buying some snacks and drinks. An anachronism if I ever saw one, but definitely helped to make my shopping experience much more amusing! As well, pretty much every time I go to Wawa, our local 24-hour convenience store right off campus, I see at least one Colonist buying something. Wawa is definitely a student favorite, but apparently a Colonial favorite too!
And let’s not forget last weekend, when I went to Aroma’s, one of my favorite local coffee shops, to try and get caught up on work and emails. I was sitting there, enjoying a good cup of joe, and just happened to look up in time to see several colonists, including some women in their fancy dresses and mob caps, walk in to grab some scones and coffee. Certainly very funny to see, but not as much so as when you watch a Colonial reenactor drive by in their car, blasting pop tunes and otherwise unwinding as they head either to or from work. Yes, it probably seems a little weird, but I find it an endearing and special characteristic of life in Williamsburg, and I definitely wouldn’t trade it for anything. So if you, dear reader, come to campus, don’t worry if you see a Colonist wandering around our stores–they aren’t ghosts (well, probably not) but rather just another quirky and funny facet of life in the Burg!
July 13, 2009 by Kristen Pantazes
I think I’ve had a new realization of just how much I’ve under appreciated my mother. I mean, don’t get me wrong, coming to college definitely helps you realize how absolutely incredible parents (especially Moms–no offense Dad!) can be. Learning to do my own laundry my freshman year was certainly an experience, and yes, when I’m at home I may or may not still ask my mom when I’m doing laundry as to whether whites go in hot or cold water! However, in terms of food, coming to campus this summer, I decided I would “rough it” and actually cook for myself, in a sort of preparation for my senior year, when I will finally have an apartment with my very own kitchen! Yes, I am very excited about this!
What this means, though, is that this summer is my trial by fire in terms of cooking, especially since I’ve been on a meal plan the past three school years and then had my darling mother to cook for me before that. Let me tell you, my mom is a great cook, something I’m now fully realizing that I’ve started preparing food myself. It’s definitely been interesting so far, my few attempts at cooking/preparing any food in general. I’ve always loved to bake, but I’ve just recently discovered that baking and cooking are two very different things. Basically, up until last night, I’d been sticking to fairly simple “meals”…aka, pouring lettuce out of a bag to make a salad, eating coldcuts, munching on frozen edamame, or maybe, if I’m ambitious, trying my hand at the wonderful creation beloved by college students, EasyMac.
However, last night I decided I was actually going to put the effort in and cook a REAL meal. Yet, as I was desperately trying to try to fry/cook/I don’t even know my salmon filet while also trying to stir fry my veggies and contemplate cooking the couscous I planned to make, it really hit me how totally amazing my mom really is. She always made it look so easy, preparing such yummy, well-balanced meals, with the meat and veggies and sides all so perfectly arrayed on my plate, and yet here I am sweating in the kitchen, dropping carrots, spilling soy sauce, and altogether making a royal mess out of my cooking adventure. Somehow, though, in the end, I managed to scrape together a fairly decent and tasty meal, much to my surprise. And just think, I can only go up from here…right? So yes, Mom, if you’re reading this, I will now totally say that you are the BEST! Now that that’s out there for the world to see, when you come this weekend, do you think you could bring me some food?