Drink coffee the way George Washington used to

Remember the coffee revolution of the Nineties, when what used to cost 25 cents at some crappy diner suddenly cost $3 at a snooty cafe? Well, at least instead of drinking what looked and tasted like dishwater you now got something that tasted like actual coffee. Ah yes, I was in graduate school then and the coffee revolution came along just at the right time! But coffee has been around a lot longer than that, as a new/old coffeehouse at Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia shows.

Americans have been drinking coffee since before they’ve been called Americans. A local wigmaker and caffeine junkie named Richard Charlton opened a coffeehouse at Williamsburg more than 240 years ago, when Virginia was still a colony. Today Colonial Williamsburg, an interesting and authentic recreation of a Colonial town, has reopened this coffeeshop on the same site. You can sit in 18th century style while sipping a coffee, chocolate, or tea. You’re not allowed to dump the tea into the sea, that was in Boston, but Charlton’s coffeeshop was the scene of angry colonists confronting the British-appointed governor of Virginia colony to protest the Stamp Act in 1765.

This wasn’t surprising. Coffeeshops were places to meet and discuss politics. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson drank coffee at Charlton’s shop. There’s no record of what they talked about over a good cup of Joe, but we can imagine. Did hepped-up caffeine addicts create the superpower we know today? Stranger things have happened. . .

Busch Garden Williamsburg give-a-ways: Season pass included!

One wonderful detail about summer travel is that it can spill over into autumn and beyond–particularly if it comes in amusement park entertainment.

In the spirit of the summer is not over yet, and when it is, don’t stop the fun, Gadling has paired up with Busch Gardens Williamsburg for some give-away action. Williamsburg, Virginia, known for its colonial past, is steeped in American history.

Pairing a visit to Colonial Williamsburg with a visit to Busch Gardens Williamsburg (and Water Country USA) adds amusement park excitement and a step into Europe to an American history lesson.

Busch Gardens Williamsburg, with its European inspired theme, boasts rides such as: Escape from Pompeii–a water ride, Griffon, a roller coaster that has a 90 degrees, straight down drop, and The Curse of DarKastle, a haunted house. Rides are set in settings reminiscent of European countries. The photo is from Da Vinci’s Garden of Inventors.

Along with rides, there are animal attractions like Eagle’s Ridge, a sanctuary for injured eagles, and Jack Hanna’s Wild Reserve, a section where exotic and endangered animal exhibits highlight the importance of habitat preservation.

For people who aren’t particularly fond of rides–and those who are, there are shows to enjoy. Emerald Beat, an Irish step-dancing performance, is one of them.

Because Busch Gardens’ season extends past Halloween, certain events reflect the time of year as well. On two September weekends, Bud & BBQ “celebrates great food, great beer and great music.”

For Halloween, there’s Howl-O-Scream. It begins in September and runs through the last weekend in October.

So, dear Gadling readers, what can you win? There are four different prizes.

  • Prize 1 – Season Pass Voucher to Busch Gardens which also gets you into Water Country USA, the water park that is part of the Busch Gardens family– a $154.95 value and a Busch Garden’s T-shirt (T-shirt value, $10)
  • Prize 2- Season Pass and a Busch Gardens visor (visor value, $5)
  • Prize 3- Exxon Mobile Gas Card for $25 and a Busch Gardens T-shirt
  • Prize 4–Exxon Mobile Gas Card for $25 and a Busch Gardens visor

To enter, leave a comment below telling us why you need a longer summer vacation and what you’d do with the time.

  • The comment must be left before Friday, August 15, 2008 at 1 PM Eastern Time.
  • You may enter only once.
  • Winners will be selected in a random drawing.
  • Open to legal residents of the 50 United States and the District of Columbia who are 18 and older.

See the complete rules here.

Good luck!!