Searching for the perfect Saturday

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September 11, 2009

2:19 AM

The relentless summer heat is beginning to subside and cooler days are ahead at the College of William and Mary. With crimson leaves on their way, you may be looking to break out of Earl Gregg Swem Library and take in the beautiful autumn weather. Here are some fun and affordable ways to enjoy a Saturday during Williamsburg’s most colorful season:

Every Saturday through Oct. 31, a multitude of vendors transform Merchant’s Square with a bright array of food, flowers and shoppers. This weekly event offers the perfect place to take a morning stroll through the Williamsburg Farmers Market. From 8 a.m. until noon local producers line Duke of Gloucester Street to sell locally grown products ranging from squash and sunflowers to artisan cheeses and pastries. Live music and a visiting chef bringing local restaurant cuisine to the street welcome all who pass by into the market. The Williamsburg Farmers Market was recently named “America’s Favorite [Mid-size] Farmers Market” by Farmland Trust and is a great place to do your grocery shopping or just grab a cup of coffee.

To experience the great outdoors without leaving campus, head no further than Lake Matoaka. At the Matoaka Boathouse next to the amphitheater you can rent canoes and kayaks free of charge with a student ID. Runners and nature lovers alike can explore the 10 miles of paths surrounding the lake and take in the spectacular fall foliage.

Autumn is the perfect season to take advantage of all the picturesque spots and quaint shops in Colonial Williamsburg. If you take a walk down DoG Street, be sure to stop by Kimball Theatre, where the purchase of a $10 travel mug includes unlimited hot cider refills through the end of the year. The purchase of the mug also includes free refills of Coca-Cola fountain products at Shields Tavern and Chowning’s Tavern.
Nearby, the Wythe Candy and Gourmet Shop sells caramel apples — a fall favorite — starting at $3. The widely popular Cheese Shop sells bread ends for $1 and the Peanut Shop always offers free samples. If you are looking for a place to picnic, the Palace Gardens offers many shaded benches.

On those rainy fall days in Williamsburg, which happen so often, cozy up in a nearby cafe to study or relax with friends. Besides Aromas and the Daily Grind, try New Town’s artcafe26 located on Center Street. Advertised as “a touch of Europe in Williamsburg,” artcafe26 showcases paintings, ceramics and glassware and offers hot beverages and breakfast on a student budget. However, if you are willing to splurge, they also have a creative and extensive culinary art menu.

Fall means football season. After a surprising victory over the University of Virginia and rising to no. 7 in national polls released by the FCS Coaches and the Sports Network this week, the College is sure to have some exciting games ahead. The team has five home games this season; the next is Saturday at 7 p.m. With free student admission and a winning team, this fall activity is a must. And if you feel inspired, the campus offers plenty of places from the Sunken Garden to Yates Field for a fun pick-up game.

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