CategoryWilliamsburg

Memorabilia and Memories of Beethoven’s Inn

In one of the first posts I wrote after setting up this blog two years ago, I shared my fond memories of the lovely Beethoven’s Inn on Merrimac Trail in Williamsburg. The Inn was opened on December 16, 1975 (Beethoven’s birthday) by Jim Wesson and his wife Ann. The Wessons ran the beloved establishment for 22 years, until handing the keys to a long-time employee and moving on to new adventures. A few years later, sadly, Beethoven’s Inn closed its doors forever.

In writing that early post about this establishment that I loved so, I did a lot of digging online for photographs or other artifacts relating to the Inn to share with readers, but sadly I found little. Today, however, I am delighted to be able to share some memorabelia that recently came to me from the original owner of Beethoven’s Inn, Jim Wesson himself.

Jim recently came across my earlier post and commented, graciously offering to send me some items from the Inn that he has kept all these years. I was quick to take him up on his offer and I’m happy to report that I’ve just received a Beethoven’s Inn pamphlet with coupon, a pamphlet for Jim’s other restaurant, The Ancient Mariner’s Inn of Yorktown, as well as the full Beethoven’s Inn 11×17-inch menu, which immediately brought back a sea of splendid memories.

I’ve scanned the items in and a click on the images you see here will take you to the full 600dpi scan files. Enjoy! (And thank you so much Jim.)

As a related item, I wanted to share a rather touching story that I was fortunate enough to have stumbled upon while doing research to put this post together. Then-student Alyssa Lodewick recently shared a life changing, personal experience that she had while working at the Inn one hot summer night, 25 years ago. A couple came into the Inn for a meal, but when they got up to leave, what they gave Alyssa was much more than just a check for the bill.

✢ ✢ Leave a comment

Perry Como’s Early American Christmas in Williamsburg – 1978

I was standing with my parents in a crowd along Duke of Gloucester street in Colonial Williamsburg one autumn day in 1978. I remember the moment well, though I was only six years old at the time. People had gathered to meet Perry Como and John Wayne who were scheduled to make a public appearance in the vicinity of the colonial Printing Office & Post Office. They were in Williamsburg filming the upcoming Perry Como’s Early American Christmas TV special, which aired a short time later, on Friday, December 13th.

My father was a particular fan of Perry Como (though I didn’t know who he was), and so we arrived early in order to find a good spot to meet the celebrities as they came out onto the street. We were waiting there for some time; as I recall the singer and actor were running a bit late (the latter moreso than the former, it would turn out). Finally and to much applause Perry Como emerged from a garden path that ran between two of the colonial houses on the streetside. He was alone, and began shaking hands and chatting with the crowd.

It seemed that I was the only one frustrated that John Wayne hadn’t yet appeared. After staring down that path for several minutes, I turned and loudly cried out in a voice heard by all, “Wait a minute! Where’s John Wayne?!” It was laughter all around and a smiling Perry Como walked over and tousled my hair!

My parents told that story to friends and family more times than I could count, over the years. It’s an amusing little anecdote I wanted to share, as I just noticed that the entire 42-minute Christmas special has recently been placed online (thanks Cost Ander). You can see it above (here’s the direct link) and here is a WAVY TV-10 news report from 1978 in which local anchor Bruce Rader discusses the filming of the TV special.

I have a great pile of movies and TV specials of olde that I watch religiously every year around the holidays — and I drive my wife and daughter crazy with some of them (Little Lord Fauntleroy (1980) yearly is too much for some, apparently). It’s a real treat to be able to add this Christmas special, of which I have a very particular memory, to the list.

✢ ✢ Leave a comment

Antique Shop Find: A Collection of Virginia Postcards from Decades Past

31020408326_0d8ccdb980_oA few weekends ago my family and I took a fall weekend trip to Berkeley Springs, West Virginia in hopes of seeing deeper shades of autumn than Alexandria was offering. It’s a quaint little town that my wife and I have visited several times during our stays at the nearby, now-abandoned Coolfont resort.

One of the shops in town that I quite enjoy is the Berkley Springs Antique Mall, an expansive space chock-full of all manner of things out of the past century or so. We stopped in for a visit and after wandering about the place for half an hour or so, I found myself rummaging through a series of boxes full of postcards organized by state. I dug around and uncovered the Virginia box and, flipping through the postcards, pulled out a few that particularly struck my interest and brought them home with a mind to share them here.

The postcards I selected appear to be from the 1960’s or thereabouts. Two of them were postmarked (1961, 1967) with greeting notes penned on the back. I have laid them out below, with all of the descriptive text found on the back of each shown below its card face. You can also see these in my Flickr album.

31055046735_53c025740b_o

The Motor House Pool, Williamsburg, Virginia

The three swimming pools of The Motor House offer guests of this unusual establishment a refreshing pause in the sightseeing schedule of the historic city. There is a pool for diving, one for swimming and another for wading. Adjacent are a playground for children and sports areas for adults. The Motor House is Williamsburg’s most popular family accommodation.

Ektachrome by Thos. L. Williams

Mirro-Krome® Card by H. S. Crocker Co., Inc., Baltimore, Md. 21224

Official Colonial Williamsburg Card

[ see the back of this postcard ]

Continue reading…

✢ ✢ 5 Comments

On the Passing of The Pottery Wine and Cheese Shop in Williamsburg

cheeseOn my last trip to the Hampton Roads area with my family, I was dealt a sorrowful blow. One of the favorite fixtures of my youth is The Pottery Wine and Cheese Shop in the The Village Shops at Kingsmill on Pocahontas Trail in Williamsburg. I should say that’s the name by which I came to know it when my mother and I first discovered it in the mid-’80s, though it has more recently been known as The Wine & Cheese Shop at Kingsmill. What it has lately been called is of little import however as, quite sadly, after over 30 years in business it has closed.

The place holds a great many pleasant memories for me. I grew up in York County, and my family and I (my mother and I, mostly) spent a lot of time in Williamsburg. I attended Walsingham Academy during Kindergarten and 1st Grade, and so we made the weekday trip up the Colonial Parkway from Dandy to that Catholic private school on Jamestown Rd. Even on weekends we spent a lot of time around CW. The whole region was and is awash with history and my parents were fond of the colonial atmosphere of Williamsburg. I, too, became so and at a very early age.

We actually moved to Williamsburg (the Kingspoint neighborhood) in the late spring of 1986, but our stay there was destined to be a short one, as my parents decided to divorce the morning after we moved in. All of the stress and anxiety which that sort of thing puts on a 14-year-old aside, it was nice living in town for the summer while we waited for the house to sell. (After the summer, mom and I ended up in Village Green in the Oyster Point area of Newport News).

22289313384_fc5f50b64a_oAfter we got settled, mom and I resumed our weekend trips up to Williamsburg and around that time discovered The Pottery Wine & Cheese Shop when we were walking around The Village Shops, mom in search of sewing supplies of some sort. It was a lovely place, a small gourmet market and deli that made wonderful fresh baked bread and sandwiches with the most amazing sweet mustard sauce. Mom and I ordered the Turkey Trot (french bread, turkey, swiss, sauce) that day and, since then, I’ve surely eaten over a hundred of them. I have an aunt Jane on my father’s side who is a gourmet, and on our visits to her cottage on Fishing Bay in Deltaville she instilled in me a love of cuisine rather richer and more exotic than that which piques the typical young boy’s palette. Because of this, the cheeses, meats, imported crackers and pastries, and all manner of such things that lined the market’s shelves appealed  to me greatly. (There was much wine, as well, but that was something that would wait some years to enter my sphere.) I remember young teenage me thinking that it would certainly be a measure of adult professional success to be able to regularly shop at this market. I hoped I’d get there one day!

Lunch at the Wine & Cheese shop became a weekend ritual for my mother and I, compounded by the proximity of Next Generation Computers of Williamsburg, just around the corner. Being a computer geek since age 10, we purchased an original Macintosh, an Apple IIe, and an Apple IIgs from the place, and so I would have fun fiddling around in there for half an hour, chatting the ears off of poor salesman Dennis Long, while mom perused the yarn and fabrics a few shops down. And after that: the Turkey Trots. That was the drill, basically every weekend for a couple of years, and we loved it.

Continue reading…

✢ ✢ 3 Comments

Beethoven’s Inn — Oh, How I Miss Thee

beethovens_inn_sqFrom birth to present I’ve lived in Williamsburg exactly one summer and one full year.

The summer I speak of was in 1986 when my mother, father, and I moved from Dandy in York County to Kingspoint in Williamsburg. The morning after the move, my parents decided to get a divorce, and so that Williamsburg stay was limited to one summer. I was disappointed (on a few counts).

My second stint as a citizen of Williamsburg came after I graduated CNU and moved to an apartment there, where I lived while working for an engineering firm in Newport News. The year was 1996 — ten years later.

While I’ve spent a rather small percentage of my life as a Williamsburg resident, I’ve spent a great deal of time in Williamsburg. I love the colonial atmosphere and have enjoyed frequently visiting with my family, as both child and adult. I also had a habit of dating Williamsburg girls in my youth (and outside that, those I met in Williamsburg, at any rate). Ahh, the romance of Williamsburg…

Nowadays, most of my family’s visits are centered around the Great Wolf Lodge, which my daughter loves. But at each visit my mind wanders back — far back — to people and places that were truly special to me. One of them is the now defunct Beethoven’s Inn which was located on Merrimac Trail in Williamsburg.

Beethoven’s Inn was a special place. It was a New York-style deli that was opened by Jim Wesson on December 16, 1975, 205 years — to the day — after Beethoven’s birth.

Continue reading…

✢ ✢ 7 Comments