‘We Are Tourism’ drives Williamsburg’s economy

WILLIAMSBURG, VA—With a constant stream of visitors, students, residents and retirees mingling amongst the living history implanted in Williamsburg, one does not have to think twice about how the city makes their money. Colonial Williamsburg and William and Mary are the two big institutions in the city itself with other events including Williamsburg Live, Ampersand International Arts Festival, Grand Illumination and more big events like these that are large drivers of tourism in the City of Williamsburg, said Joanna Skrabala, tourism development director. 

“The best answer for [how tourism affects the local economy] and the simplest answer is tax dollars,” said Skrabala. “We are tourism.”

Sammy Pietrinferno

“Because tourism is such a big part of the community, we have a massive amount of jobs that are a part of the tourism industry,” said Skrabala. 

According to the Economic Development Department of the City of Williamsburg, “the majority of the 700 business establishments within the City either fall into the retail trade or accommodation/food services category, which cater to the 6-8 million annual area visitors.”

“We are neighbors to William and Mary so [the school] keeps us pretty steady throughout the year,” said Kelly Williams, front of house manager at DoG Street Pub. “… those short weekends during the holidays where it kind of quiets out gives us a moment to actually breathe because once school goes into full effect and the weekends and the weather gets even better…fall really just opens right up.”

DoG Street Pub located on the corner of Duke of Gloucester Street and South Henry Street in Downtown Williamsburg.The restaurant embraces the city’s culture of living history as it operates in an old 1900’s bank.

Amanda Wilbourne, owner of the Nautical Dog: A photo story

Amanda Wilbourne, owner of The Nautical Dog, poses with Twinkie, a 12-week old kitten up for adoption at the Cat Cove. The Nautical Dog is located at 5102 Main St Suite B at New Town Commercial Association in Williamsburg, VA. It encompasses three storefronts including: the Local Pet Market, Schwartzy’s Cat Cove and the Dog Wash.Schwartzy’s Cat Cove- Nautical Dog’s First Mate, the official name of the Cat Cove, is named after Nautical Dog’s first shop cat. “Schwartzy won everyone over very quickly and would spend his days sitting behind the counter on a stool greeting guests, judging them, and talking a lot.”Large windows and cutouts looking into Schwartzy’s Cat Cove allow passerbyers to stop and take a look at the adoptable cats.239 cats have been adopted out through the Cat Cove in correlation with Heritage Humane Society.16,000 visitors came to Nautical Dog’s Cat Cove this year to see cute cat faces like this one peering down on them. All cats in Schwartzy’s Cat Cove are available for adoption through Heritage Humane Society; these two calico siblings are a bonded pair and are required to be adopted together.Sammy, the orange tabby, takes a snooze on the moon shaped wall mount.

Custis Square Archeological Dig On Its Final Year of Excavation

Custis Square archeological dig site is located on the corner of South Nassau Street and Francis Street.Working alongside John Custis’ previously discovered house, the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation Department of Archeology is onto its fourth year of investigating Custis’ gardens. Under three tents, participants in the Public Archeology Institute help field techs sift through shovel test pits for changes in soil and artifacts. 50cm x 50cm shovel test pits are samples in which field techs figure out where they want to dig next and learn more about the soil. Two high schoolers work side by side in a sifting screen with samples pulled from a shovel test pit. Meghan, the project archeologist, is in charge of the site on a day-to-day basis.According to Jennifer Mcgee, “The changes of color in these piles of soil represent different periods in time and different types of soil, which help archaeologists date when artifacts may have been made.”Participants in the Public Archeology Institute get a taste of an archeological field tech’s life as they work on their hands and knees sifting through shovel test pits.