CategoryYork County

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.

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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.

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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 ]

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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.

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LINK: Whither Radio Shack

The Tiny Little Book Nook That Once Was My Library

York County Public Library pre-1984

Here in Alexandria, my family and I visit the local libraries rather frequently (we have an eight year old daughter). The libraries around here are excellent — expansive and full of books, audio / video media, and computers for the public galore.

When I was a kid growing up (long ago) in York County, however, things were a little less lavish. First of all, spotting a computer anywhere in public when I was my daughter’s age (that would be 1980) was an occasion to be noted. And second, the local library was, well, a somewhat limited resource.

Our local library, the York County Public Library in Grafton, was small. It was so small that it resided in a (small) strip mall along George Washington Memorial Highway known as Grafton Shopping Center [map]. It was roughly the same size as the ABC store next to it and smaller, as I recall, than the lovely Joe & Mima’s pizzeria and the Boulevard Cleaners that flanked them both. It was truly small.

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LINK: It Was More Fun When Stores Had Arcade Games

Yorktown’s 1977 Bicentennial Time Capsule Ceremony

Taylor and Warner at Bicentennial Ceremony

I grew up in an area of York County known as Dandy. It’s located just a few miles from historic Yorktown and its Revolutionary War battlefield and historic museums. My family spent a lot of time in Yorktown when I was young, and one of my earliest memories of Yorktown proper is the April 1977 burial of a time capsule on the grounds of the Yorktown Victory Center in celebration of the American Revolution Bicentennial.

1097103_10151597728728129_1204954903_oThe event took place on Friday, April 15th and was presided over by then-Governor Mills Godwin. Notably in attendance were then-Senator John Warner and his wife, actress Elizabeth Taylor. During the procession, the bullet-shaped time capsule was filled with a variety of items, including a letter written by Godwin to a future governor, a Bicentennial pen worn by Warner in his travels across the country during the Bicentennial year 1976, and a red bandana donated by Taylor used in her film Giant (filmed, in-part, in Virginia).

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Welcome to My New Blog!

blake_kite_yorktown_1975

Let me welcome you to Nostalgic Virginian, a blog that I conceived several years ago and has finally been born. For, you see, I happen to be a nostalgic Virginian.

This is a place where I look forward to openly sharing a few stand-out memories of people, places, and experiences that I formed over the years living all my life here in Virginia. It is my hope that a few geographically similar, like-minded people will find this blog and have their memories occasionally stirred by my accounts and, if so inspired, share their own thoughts and memories in the comments.

That’s what this blog is all about, in a nutshell. More details can be found in my About Page, for the intrigued.

This is going to be fun. Welcome and enjoy.

[ Photo is of me at age three or so (~1975), flying a kite in my front yard in Dandy (Yorktown) where the York River meets The Bay ]

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