A colonial ghoul straddles a tree near Shields Tavern on Duke of Gloucester Street in Williamsburg, Va., on Oct. 23. (Kevin Ambrose)

It was spooky! Just as the dark, stormy skies began to clear from the remnants of Tropical Storm Nestor, ghouls, ghosts and specters appeared in the streets of Colonial Williamsburg. And they were wearing colonial clothes!

Unbeknown to me, I had arrived in Williamsburg just in time for the Haunting on DoG Street. I originally made the trip to shoot fall foliage, but the ghosts and specters stole the show for me.

My favorite spooky scene was a sword-wielding crocodile skeleton fighting another specter near the Colonial Capitol. At least I think it was a crocodile? You can judge for yourself; I have included a photo below.

The fall foliage in Williamsburg, which was just starting to turn gold and red, gave the colonial spooks the perfect Halloween backdrop for a scary but festive scene.


A fight in the streets of Williamsburg, just in time for Halloween. (Kevin Ambrose)

During my stay, I also visited Yorktown and the American Revolution Museum, which featured outdoor living-history exhibits, including a recreation of a Continental Army encampment and musket and artillery firings.

If you’ve watched the cannons fired at Colonial Williamsburg, the cannons at Yorktown are louder and give you more of a chest thump from the concussion. I was told by a Yorktown artilleryman they use a larger cannon and more gunpowder than Colonial Williamsburg.

No cannon balls are used for the demonstration, of course, but I witnessed a huge piece of wadding shot out of the cannon that landed in the woods. The artilleryman explained it’s aluminum foil and it’s later cleaned up.

Inside the museum, the story of the American Revolution, from King George III ruling the colonies to the election of President George Washington, is told through interactive displays, large storyboards and a nice collection of artifacts and paintings.


Preparing to fire a cannon at Yorktown. (Kevin Ambrose)

And to finish my photo shoot, I took a horse-drawn carriage through the streets of Colonial Williamsburg. The fall foliage was just starting to pop, and the scenes were beautiful.

Dan Hard, my carriage driver, explained the biggest challenge for driving a carriage is sudden movement to either side of the horse. Trash blowing across the street or a tourist moving quickly into the street can scare a horse, whose instinct is to bolt.

Hard said to train the horses to stay calm, they are put in stalls and tissue paper is repetitively tossed to their sides. Over time, the horses learn that tossed paper doesn’t hurt them and they become much less stressed.


Foliage turns yellow near Palace Green in Colonial Williamsburg. (Kevin Ambrose)

I also visited the Williamsburg Winery and learned how this year’s flash drought provided excellent conditions for the grape harvest, meaning 2019 should be a very good year for local wines. But that’s a weather and wine story for a different day.

Included in this post are a few of my favorite photos from my three-day photo shoot. Weather was a challenge much of the time, starting with flooding rains on Sunday and continuing with two days of cloudy skies. But, on Wednesday, the sky cleared and brilliant sunshine followed, which provided nice lighting for shooting photos.

During the photo shoot, I stayed at the Williamsburg Lodge and dined at the Williamsburg Inn for dinner, in the Rockefeller Room, and at Traditions in the Lodge for breakfast. It was fine dining with a colonial feel.

I think the fall foliage should peak in the Williamsburg area in the next two weeks, so there is still plenty of time for a visit.


Colonial ghouls on Duke of Gloucester Street. (Kevin Ambrose)

A Continental Army re-created encampment in Yorktown. (Kevin Ambrose)

A horse-drawn carriage on Duke of Gloucester Street in Colonial Williamsburg. (Kevin Ambrose)

A spooky scene in Colonial Williamsburg. (Kevin Ambrose)

Smoke fills the air after firing a cannon in Yorktown. (Kevin Ambrose)

A horse-drawn carriage is prepared for passengers in Colonial Williamsburg. (Kevin Ambrose)

A spooky scene in Colonial Williamsburg, just in time for Halloween. (Kevin Ambrose)

Dan Hard drives a horse-drawn carriage through the streets of Colonial Williamsburg. (Kevin Ambrose)

A fall scene in Colonial Williamsburg. (Kevin Ambrose)

Colonial Williamsburg ghouls and specters rest against a picket fence. (Kevin Ambrose)

The remains of Tropical Storm Nestor dumped heavy rain on the Williamsburg area. This photo was taken soon after the rain ended on Oct. 19. (Kevin Ambrose)

The Haunting of DoG Street in Colonial Williamsburg continues until Halloween. (Kevin Ambrose)

Mrs. Washington gives her horse a drink of water. (Kevin Ambrose)

The author makes a new friend in Colonial Williamsburg. (Kevin Ambrose)