Weekend in Williamsburg, Va.

BUDGET

Getting there: The drive to Williamsburg is about 20 minutes from Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport. One-way sale rates from $54; nonstop, AirTran or Delta.

Stay: One of the newest in town, the Holiday Inn Historic Gateway is minutes from Busch Gardens and a mile from Colonial Williamsburg. Fresh accommodations feature a refrigerator and microwave. Amenities include turndown service and delivery of the morning newspaper. Rates from $105.95. 515 Bypass Road. 757-229-9990, www.holidayinn.com.

Eat: Locals love Second St. bistro, owned and operated by two brothers born and raised in Williamsburg. John and Mickey Chohany promise the best in service and cuisine. An early-bird menu of three courses is offered 4:30-6:30 p.m. daily (be seated by 6:30) for $45 (a $65 value). Entrees, $15-$29. 140 Second St. 757-220-2286, www.secondst.com.

Experience: Colorful replica open-air trolleys loop greater Williamsburg on the half-hour from New Town to High Street to Merchants Square; 50 cents per round trip. www.williamsburgtransport.com. Don't miss the Saturday morning farmers market in Merchants Square, held through Oct. 30 (and special autumn-winter dates). The market features 30 producers and vendors with specialty local foods and live entertainment. 402 W. Duke of Gloucester. 757-259-3768, www.williamsburgfarmersmarket.com.

MODERATE

Getting there: One-way rates of $117 require a 21-day advance, $127 with two-weeks' notice and $167 with a seven-day advance; nonstop, AirTran or Delta.

Stay: Cedars is considered one of the most romantic and charming bed-and-breakfast properties in town. Hosting guests since 1935, this inn is a seven-minute walk to Colonial Williamsburg and across from the College of William & Mary(don't miss the college's Muscarelle Museum of Art). Guest rooms, $150-$215, and include breakfast, snacks, refreshments, teas and coffees. 616 Jamestown Road. 1-800-296-3591, www.cedarsofwilliamsburg.com.

Eat: Since opening six years ago in the heart of Colonial Williamsburg, Fat Canary has received the AAA four-diamond award each of the past five years. This fun and contemporary family-run restaurant features seasonal menus, with appetizers from $12 to $18; entrees, $27-$38. 410 W. Duke of Gloucester, 757-229-3333, www.fatcanarywilliamsburg.com. The family also operates a delightful cheese, wine, coffee and sandwich shop next door (www.cheeseshop williamsburg.com).

Experience: Walk the darkened streets of Colonial Williamsburg by candlelight while listening to eerie ghost stories and fun folklore; $11 per person. 345 W. Duke of Gloucester. 1-877-624-4678 (1-877-62-GHOST), www.theghosttour.com. Take a one-day trip along the National Park Service's Colonial Parkway, a 23-mile-long winding scenic byway linking Williamsburg, Jamestown and Yorktown, the historic triangle of Virginia. www.byways.org/explore /byways/60441/itinerary/60472.

SPLURGE

Getting there: One-way, walk-up business class rates from $375, AirTran; from $425, Delta.

Stay: Heads of state and celebrities seek to experience a stay at the gracious Williamsburg Inn. Guest rooms (averaging 500 square feet) are luxuriously appointed with marble bathrooms, soaking tub, robe, slippers, English Regency-style furnishings and comfortable seating areas. An Autumn Stories package, averaging $513 per couple for king accommodations with a fireplace, includes Wi-Fi, nightly turndown, breakfast, Tavern ghost tour and length-of-stay admission to Colonial Williamsburg exhibits and museums. Packages include a $100 gift card (per stay) for purchases at Colonial Williamsburg shops, restaurants, spa and recreation facilities. 136 E. Francis St. 757-253-2277, www.history.org.

Eat: Chef John Gonzales, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, has held executive chef positions at the Watergate Hotel, the Jockey Club and the Washington Ritz-Carlton. Today, he teaches and entertains in a theater restaurant during the preparation of a five-course dinner with three paired wines and recipes. Dinner with hors d'oeuvres and champagne is $84.50 per person. 501 Prince George St. 757-564-8500, www.achefskitchen.biz.

Experience: Take in the tranquil village streets and paths from the York River aboard the Tall Ship Alliance. A two-hour sunset cruise sails from the Yorktown Riverwalk Landing pier through Oct. 31; $35 per person. The trip is not narrated, but ask the captain or crew to share a bit of local lore. Watch for dolphins and osprey. Beer, wine and snacks are sold on board. Day sails are $30. 1-800-979-3370, www.schooneralliance.com.

Clara Bosonetto Maerz is a retired travel consultant. Look for her daily deals on ajc.com/travel.