What has 5 million visitors a year, 8,000 parking places, covers 200 acres and has 32 buildings? The world-famous Williamsburg Pottery Factory is as much an attraction as a shopping area. This place has been in existence since 1938 and has grown way beyond the pottery that is created here – although those are among some of the best items. With the feel of an international bazaar, this place has bargains galore. But be prepared to walk and be overwhelmed.
Pewter is synonymous with Colonial times, and Shirley Pewter Shop has wonderful reproduction designs, many of which are produced at the workshop on Jamestown Road. Items include lamps, dinnerware and tableware, and most pieces can be engraved in a day. The shop also has excellent limited-edition pieces and works from over 40 other manufacturers.
In business since 1977, A Touch of Earth now has works from over 200 artisans. You can find original porcelain, stoneware, glass, photography and watercolor pieces in a wide range of prices. On weekends, local musicians perform. There are monthly shows by select artists and frequent demonstrations of techniques. This is an excellent place to peruse or purchase a unique item.
The 45,000 square feet of space and the 400 dealers at this antique mall are well organized, and it is a good thing since the place is so huge. You are greeted at the door by lots of smaller items in cases while the larger pieces are located toward the back. Many, many out-of-state trucks with U-Hauls inhabit the parking lot, making for some serious trading going on here. You could easily spend a day here browsing for collectible gifts or something for yourself! There are numerous restrooms and a small cafe.
Incredible handmade items by Virginia artists have made this a traveler and local favorite among the shops in Merchants Square. The stained glass fireplace screens are one of a kind, and there are many other equally interesting items. You will find a wide price range, arts and crafts in different mediums and helpful but not overbearing staff to assist you.
For serious collectors, this is nirvana! With an incredible selection of books, maps and prints, this shop demands that you allow for time to browse and discuss items with the very knowledgeable and helpful staff. Prices are wide ranging – there are items from $35 to over $4,000. There is a wonderful catalog you can subscribe to or view online. The Bookpress has raised the level of selling books and artifacts to an art form, and it is reflected in their merchandise – so enjoy your visit. Open on weekends by appointment only.
Owned by the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, this is the shop for Colonial Williamsburg reproductions. This location in Merchants Square sells items that you will see throughout the historical area. From brass decorative items to bedding and rugs, this store has marvelous 21st-century samples of 18th-century goods. The quality is high and the staff helpful. The flagship Craft House is next to the Williamsburg Inn and has a garden section. If you go to only a few shops, this should be one of them.
With an on-site workshop and their own stamp, this small place has exquisite jewelry and other small items. Their pewter Christmas ornaments, called the Peaceable Kingdom Collection, feature beautiful small animals ranging from dolphins to lambs to ducks, and they can be used as ornaments or necklaces. The quality of the merchandise and the friendly staff make you feel like you have gone back in time. They offer a prompt engraving service.
Some of the finest shops in the area are located right next to Colonial Williamsburg. Over 40 local merchants present their wares in one of the most picturesque settings imaginable. From clothing to quilts to nationally known restaurants, this is a wonderful place to shop. It is closed to traffic, so walking is marvelous, and there are numerous benches for rest in between purchases. An unhurried atmosphere and very personable clerks make this a great way to indulge in the age-old pastime of merchandising. This shopping district, along with most of downtown Williamsburg, is a WiFi hotspot.