Stores by the Shore - My Family Travels

            “Virginia is for Lovers” as so many tourists illustrate each year. As a resident of the Tidewater region in Virginia, I have grown accustomed to the many out of state license plates. History buffs come for the historical triangle of Williamsburg, Yorktown, and Jamestown. Thrill seekers appreciate amusement parks including Busch Gardens and Water Country USA.  Nature-lovers enjoy the serenity of Botanical Gardens and the Virginia Living museum. Almost every visitor takes a day to catch some waves and soak up some sun in Virginia Beach.

            These activities may not endear all tourists. Many travelers yawn at the idea of Civil War reenactments, and others cannot overcome motion sickness. Several people would rather repel nature with bug spray, or may sneeze at the whiff of a daisy. There are some people that cannot stand the beach for the simple reason that they fear foraging seagulls that circle above or sunburn even when they apply SPF 200. I have these issues, and instead of overcoming my fear of birds and allergies to sand, I have found other forms of entertainment. One of my favorites is the art of shopping.

            Shopping seems to be an average activity in which people go to stores in order to purchase something of desire. Some love it; and others hate it. Merriam-Webster defines shopping as ahunt through a market in search of the best buy. The Williamsburg Premium Outlets makes the experience much less of a hunt and more of a find. All of the 127 stores have sales year round. From Nike to Ann Taylor to the Children’s Place, there are options for everyone. Family visits are common, especially in August for back to school shopping. There is almost always a percentage off sale, so bad dates to visit do not exist. A visit to the outlets will allow anyone to feel like a successful shopper off of Extreme Couponing.

            Not far from the Williamsburg Outlets is the Yankee Candle Village Store. With different stores that sell a large variety of merchandise, this Yankee Candle outlet mall doubles as a miniature village. A candy shop sits alongside the toy store, which connects Yankee Candle’s Home Store. This village’s Holiday Park is a must see with snow that falls every four minutes. Christmas cheer is always present as Santa Clause greets children every day. All of the shops surround Town Square, where guests are invited to watch the Hickory, Dickory, and Doc animatronic band.

Many visitors sit by the fountain eating baked goods or salty snacks. My personal favorite is a box of homemade fudge from the Café. The actual Yankee Candle Store has an assortment of scents that are not present in local stores. This shopping experience can be one that tourists will never forget, especially when they take the opportunity to make their own candles.

            Christmas is also in full swing at the Christmas Mouse. Walking into this store, shoppers will be stepping into a Christmas tree forest. Ballet trees, ocean trees, sports trees, Nutcracker trees, fishing trees, and animal trees cover this two-story wonderland. The Christmas Mouse displays Christmas spirit on every shelf containing holiday stockings, cookie jars, and snowman statues. If visitors are willing to hear “Frosty the Snowman” in July, they will probably receive a Christmas bonus at the cash register.

            The shopping opportunities listed are some of the best of several shopping centers in Virginia. So instead of paying for a surfboard and ten bottles of sunscreen, I would recommend that tourists purchase a nice pair of walking shoes and save the rest for spending.


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