OK. Maybe not secret locations… but definitely cool locations on the campus of the College of William & Mary!
Note: Please adhere to social distancing if you visit these spots. These are all outdoor locations that you can enjoy walking and get some exercise. Note that there are not public restrooms available as the College of WM is closed.
Here are some of our favorite spots on the campus of the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, VA. We have visited these spots for years, so we are sure you will enjoy them.
This little patch of wonderful you have probably walked by and driven by a hundred times and never noticed it. Framed by a white picket fence on the out skirt of the confusion of confusion corner (I know there is a discrepancy on the actual confusion corner – but after working downtown for sometime now – it doesn’t get more confusing than the intersection of Boundary St., Jamestown Rd + Richmond Road). If you want to know more about it check out this short piece on our visit.
This lovely branch is tucked away so much so that we are posting this little map to help you find it… Crim Dell is #4, and to orientate you, the roads that meet at a point are N. Boundary (#13 is located there) and then Richmond Rd (#11
It is lovely to walk over but be careful who you kiss on this bridge, campus lore says that “two people crossing the bridge while holding hands will be lifelong friends; and if they kiss, lifelong lovers”.
“At the west end of the Dell in the water, look for the 4-foot bronze sculpture “Great Blue Heron with Marsh Wren and Turtle” made by David H. Turner ’83 and donated to the College by Ben Field ’57. It features cattails and a turtle on the base. Originally installed on land beside the water, the statue went missing after Hurricane Ernesto (2006) and was found at the bottom of Crim Dell. Biology Professor Mathes, consulted on the statue’s re-installation, recommended a location in the water at least “one student’s-body length from the shore.” Read more about Crim Dell here
Sunken Gardens is one of the nicest spots to lounge on campus at the College of William & Mary is a perfect escape right now because the students are gone so it is empty. It is a great place to throw a football, frisbee or chase some kids who need to burn some energy. It is pretty huge so social distancing should not be a problem. Here is a great article about the gardens including the trees that are possibly the oldest on campus.
It is also a great spot to have your family photos taken – good to know for the future! The photo at the top of the page with part of a sculpture showing is near the WM Rock Garden, which is also at the far end of the The Sunken Gardens. The Gardens are located directly behind the Wren Building. Get directions to the Sunken Gardens.
While down on WM Campus you have to visit our two other favorite spots…
ECHO (aka Tyler Family Garden)
Ok so it is not called ECHO, that is what our oldest named it when he was around 3 years old and experienced the echo that you will experience if you follow these simple directions. Go to the Tyler Family Garden and stand in the middle of the brick circle on the X – face the James Blair building wall and say anything you want. You will hear an unexpected echo! For little kids to hear it, you will have to lift them up to your head level. Watch this video we took years ago of a tourist who we asked to try it – several years ago!
Where is it? Directly west of the James Blair Building is the Tyler Family Garden. In addition to finding your echo you will find “three bronze busts feature Lyon Gardiner Tyler, the 17th president of William and Mary; his father, the 10th U.S. President, John Tyler, who served as rector and chancellor of the College; and Lyon Gardiner Tyler’s grandfather, John Tyler, who served as the 18th governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia.” To find this building, when you enter the Sunken Gardens by the main brick steps, walk almost to the end of the garden and it will be the right side. Or just walk down the path with the Sunken Gardens on your left. The last building on your right (James Blair Building) will have the Tyler Family Garden behind it. Google Map
Campus Tour of Woody Species
For this one you will need your cell phone because the map above will only give you the number locations. We have put the hyperlinks to each location below – they will tell you in each one what to look for. The whole walk, at a leisurely pace should take about 45 min, but that does not include how long it will take you to find each specimen. Have a fun woody species scavenger hunt!
- CAMPUS TOUR OF WOODY SPECIES
- 1. Sunken Garden
- 2. James Blair Hall
- 3. Crim Dell Meadow
- 4. Crim Dell
- 5. Wildflower Refuge
- 6. Small Hall
- 7. Integrated Science Center
- 8. ISC Greenhouse
- 9. McGlothlin-Street Hall
- 10. Thomas Jefferson Statue
- 11. Washington Hall
- 12. Ewell Hall
- 13. Adams Garden
The Campus has over 300 species and varieties of woody plants. Most of them were planted and selected by John T. (J.T.) Baldwin, Jr., professor of biology from 1946 to 1974. The collection is known as “The Baldwin Memorial Collection of Woody Species”. The self-guided tour has over 70 different kinds of plants and is reminiscent of the original tour Professor Baldwin gave. You can also visit here to read all about the history of the Tour and Professor Baldwin.
We have a few more favorite spots like the outdoor amplitheater and the red bridge, mini secret garden….but we have to save something for next week….