TagWilliamsburg

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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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.

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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…

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