The Time Joan Rivers Took Judge Judy and Cindy Adams on An 18th-Century Girlfriend Getaway

Jason Kempin/Getty Images for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week
Jason Kempin/Getty Images for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week

The late Joan Rivers was many things—a trailblazing comedian, a fastidious filer, an acerbic critic of Hollywood fashion—but not many knew her as a history buff (beyond, perhaps, her often joking that she was older than dirt). And as she once gushed in a piece for the Daily Mail, for all of her expensive tastes, one of her most beloved vacation spots was Colonial Williamsburg.

"My favorite place in the world is my plastic surgeon's office, of course," Rivers wrote. "But I also adore Williamsburg in Virginia. It's tiny and magical and so nicely preserved."

Colonial Williamsburg is known as the world's largest living history museum. It's part of Virginia's "Historic Triangle," which also includes Jamestown and Yorktown—all important centers in the early years of the American colonies. Actors in full 18th-century regalia greet visitors, give talks about life in the revolutionary days, and put on demonstrations of everything from loading and firing muskets to cooking lessons in the Governor's Palace kitchens. Rivers first visited the town as a child—"which tells you how old Williamsburg is" she joked to the local newspaper, the Williamsburg-Yorktown Daily—and honeymooned there in 1955 with her first husband.

Rivers said in the Daily Mail that she often liked to go for a few days around Christmas, and she turned her December 2011 visit into a girlfriend getaway. Joining her were two longtime friends: New York Post gossip columnist Cindy Adams (close "since the day they first met, in 1847," Joan's daughter Melissa Rivers wrote in her tribute book to her mother), and Judith "Judge Judy" Sheindlin. "Another reason I love Judge Judy," Rivers joked in her book Diary of a Mad Diva, "She's worth $150 million. When I ask her if she wants to go on vacation with me to Tahiti, she never has to say, 'Let me check my budget,' because she owns Tahiti."

The Williamsburg Inn at Christmastime.Via Tsuji, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The trio stayed at the luxury Williamsburg Inn, the kind with sunken marble bathtubs, chandeliers, and cozy afternoon teas by the fire (past guests include Shirley Temple, Queen Elizabeth II, Winston Churchill, and John Travolta). Rivers had her hair done every morning in her bedroom by a local stylist she'd pre-booked while Judge Judy pecked away at her iPad "alongside … a 1773 portrait of whoever Thomas Bolling might've been," Adams reported in her column the following week.

Then, the women went out to see the sites. "We were three tough New Yorkers out to have a good time," Rivers told the local Daily Press. "What didn't we do."

They began with a horse-drawn carriage tour of Colonial Williamsburg led by a private Revolutionary City guide. "Trotting about we saw fifes, drums, muskets, blacksmiths … ladies in frill bonnets, white aprons … flags from the Mother Country and Brit street names," Adams ticked off in her Page Six column. "Enough to make future Queen Kate Middleton whimper: 'This place could've been ours.'"

Brent Hoard, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

Judge Judy tested out the high court judge's seat at the 244-year-old Courthouse, where crimes like petty theft and skipping church were tried, while Rivers did a little Fashion Police-ing of the costumed interpreters doomed to frumpy petticoats: "Lose the apron and just look fetching!" she quipped.

Adams, for her part, was entranced by the elaborate hairstyles … of the men. "Fie on powdered wigs because males were as bald as billiard balls. It was because they were stylish," she wrote. "Fashion was to shave one's head. The richer the dude the jazzier his toupee. Maidens in ye days of yore were attracted by the size of a guy's ringlet."

And like any group of longtime friends, they spent plenty of time just enjoying being together and catching up. "I felt sorry for everyone around us because all we did is laugh," Rivers said of their dinners at the local taverns.

"At Christmas [Williamsburg is] heaven," a wistful Rivers later recalled. "No cars are allowed and you've got the snow and the carol singers, the candlelight, the whole American thing. It may not be everybody's cup of tea, but it suits me."

Take Advantage of Amazon's Early Black Friday Deals on Tech, Kitchen Appliances, and More

Amazon
Amazon

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

Even though Black Friday is still a few days away, Amazon is offering early deals on kitchen appliances, tech, video games, and plenty more. We will keep updating this page as sales come in, but for now, here are the best Amazon Black Friday sales to check out.

Kitchen

Instant Pot/Amazon

- Instant Pot Duo Plus 9-in-115 Quart Electric Pressure Cooker; $90 (save $40) 

- Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Signature Sauteuse 3.5 Quarts; $180 (save $120)

- KitchenAid KSMSFTA Sifter with Scale Attachment; $95 (save $75) 

- Keurig K-Mini Coffee Maker; $60 (save $20)

- Cuisinart Bread Maker; $88 (save $97)

- Anova Culinary Sous Vide Precision Cooker; $139 (save $60)

- Aicook Juicer Machine; $35 (save $15)

- JoyJolt Double Wall Insulated Espresso Mugs - Set of Two; $14 (save $10) 

- Longzon Silicone Stretch Lids - Set of 14; $13 (save $14)

HadinEEon Milk Frother; $37 (save $33)

Home Appliances

Roomba/Amazon

- iRobot Roomba 675 Robot Vacuum with Wi-Fi Connectivity; $179 (save $101)

- Fairywill Electric Toothbrush with Four Brush Heads; $19 (save $9)

- ASAKUKI 500ml Premium Essential Oil Diffuser; $22 (save $4)

- Facebook Portal Smart Video Calling 10 inch Touch Screen Display with Alexa; $129 (save $50)

- Bissell air320 Smart Air Purifier with HEPA and Carbon Filters; $280 (save $50)

Oscillating Quiet Cooling Fan Tower; $59 (save $31) 

TaoTronics PTC 1500W Fast Quiet Heating Ceramic Tower; $55 (save $10)

Vitamix 068051 FoodCycler 2 Liter Capacity; $300 (save $100)

AmazonBasics 8-Sheet Home Office Shredder; $33 (save $7)

Ring Video Doorbell; $70 (save $30) 

Video games

Nintendo

- Legend of Zelda Link's Awakening for Nintendo Switch; $40 (save $20)

- Marvel's Spider-Man: Game of The Year Edition for PlayStation 4; $20 (save $20)

- Marvel's Avengers; $27 (save $33)

- Minecraft Dungeons Hero Edition for Nintendo Switch; $20 (save $10)

- The Last of Us Part II for PlayStation 4; $30 (save $30)

- LEGO Harry Potter: Collection; $15 (save $15)

- Ghost of Tsushima; $40 (save $20)

BioShock: The Collection; $20 (save $30)

The Sims 4; $20 (save $20)

God of War for PlayStation 4; $10 (save $10)

Days Gone for PlayStation 4; $20 (save $6)

Luigi's Mansion 3 for Nintendo Switch; $40 (save $20)

Computers and tablets

Microsoft/Amazon

- Apple MacBook Air 13 inches with 256 GB; $899 (save $100)

- New Apple MacBook Pro 16 inches with 512 GB; $2149 (save $250) 

- Samsung Chromebook 4 Chrome OS 11.6 inches with 32 GB; $210 (save $20) 

- Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 with 13.5 inch Touch-Screen; $1200 (save $400)

- Lenovo ThinkPad T490 Laptop; $889 (save $111)

- Amazon Fire HD 10 Tablet (64GB); $120 (save $70)

- Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids Edition Tablet (32 GB); $130 (save $70)

- Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8 inches with 32 GB; $100 (save $50)

Apple iPad Mini (64 GB); $379 (save $20)

- Apple iMac 27 inches with 256 GB; $1649 (save $150)

- Vankyo MatrixPad S2 Tablet; $120 (save $10)

Tech, gadgets, and TVs

Apple/Amazon

- Apple Watch Series 3 with GPS; $179 (save $20) 

- SAMSUNG 75-inch Class Crystal 4K Smart TV; $998 (save $200)

- Apple AirPods Pro; $199 (save $50)

- Nixplay 2K Smart Digital Picture Frame 9.7 Inch Silver; $238 (save $92)

- All-New Amazon Echo Dot with Clock and Alexa (4th Gen); $39 (save $21)

- MACTREM LED Ring Light 6" with Tripod Stand; $16 (save $3)

- Anker Soundcore Upgraded Bluetooth Speaker; $22 (save $8)

- Amazon Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote; $28 (save $12)

Canon EOS M50 Mirrorless Camera with EF-M 15-45mm Lens; $549 (save $100)

DR. J Professional HI-04 Mini Projector; $93 (save $37)

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10 Festive Christmas Decorations You Can Buy on Amazon

Hallmark/Amazon
Hallmark/Amazon

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

‘Tis the season to start decking the halls, bringing out the Christmas lights, and hanging up the stockings: As hard as it is to believe, Christmas 2020 is officially here. Embrace the festivities by snagging some (or all!) of these 10 cheerful Christmas decorations—all of which are available on Amazon.

1. Joyin Bathroom Decoration Set; $29

Joyin/Amazon

Forget your living room: This year, give your bathroom the Christmas makeover it so badly deserves. This Santa Claus-themed decoration set comes complete with a toilet set cover, rug, hand towel, tissue box cover, and toilet tank cover. (Who knew a toilet tank could be considered festive?)

Buy it: Amazon

2. Christmas Vacation “Save the Neck” Kitchen towel; $15

Mahmos House/Amazon

This witty Christmas Vacation kitchen towel is certainly Clark Griswold-approved. Featuring 100-percent terry fabric, the towel is lightweight, absorbent, and even doubles as decor.

Buy it: Amazon

3. National Tree Company Artificial Christmas Tree; $79

National Tree Company/Amazon

This year, order your Christmas tree online and save yourself the time, energy, money, and hassle of shopping IRL. This artificial one—which is designed to last for years, thanks to its durable metal base—is under $80 and has a 4.5-star rating on Amazon.

Buy it: Amazon

4. Seinfeld “Festivus for the Rest of Us” Sweater Ornament; $19

Hallmark/Amazon

George Costanza would definitely appreciate this adorable Festivus-inspired sweater ornament. Nearly 23 years since the famous Seinfeld episode's debut, the holiday for the holiday-fatigued has gained a cult following. And if count yourself among its devotees, then you'll need this dangling from your tree.

Buy it: Amazon

5. Multicolor LED String Lights; $180

Twinkly/Amazon

No Christmas is complete without twinkly LED string lights. Best of all, you can control the effects, timers, and power of these lights straight from your smartphone. The lights are also compatible with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, and can be used indoors or outdoors.

Buy it: Amazon

6. Inflatable Gingerbread House; $90

Aster Outdoors/Amazon

Embrace the Christmas spirit with this giant blow-up gingerbread house, making it the ideal addition to any yard. It even comes complete with Santa Claus, a Christmas tree, and LED lights. Plus, its water-resistant polyester fabric ensures long-lasting use.

Buy it: Amazon

7. Kitchen Appliance Cover Set (3-Piece); $13

Harbor Bay/Amazon

Everyone’s favorite holiday couple is back and better than ever: This time, in the form of appliance covers. This handmade, three-piece set is ideal for microwaves, dishwasher handles, and refrigerator handles.

Buy it: Amazon

8. Elf Christmas Pillow Covers; $17

Valery Madelyn/Amazon

These cute-as-can-be velvet pillowcases will easily liven up any living room, den, or bedroom. Even the Grinch would approve of the delightful statement-making decor.

Buy it: Amazon

9. Grinch Stealing Christmas Lawn Decoration; $70

Amazon

...Speaking of the Grinch, this adorable 48-inch-tall lawn decoration is sure to put a smile on anyone’s face.

Buy it: Amazon

10. Snoopy’s Dog House Decoration; $25

Department 56/Amazon

Peanuts fans everywhere will appreciate this miniature edition of Snoopy’s famous red dog house decked out in festive Christmas lights. At just 8 inches tall, it makes the perfect addition to any coffee table, mantle, or desk display.

Buy it: Amazon

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