I recommend the Colonial Half Marathon, but with reservations. I wouldn't recommend it as anyone's first (or even second or third) half marathon and I wouldn't recommend it for back-of-the-pack runners. However, if you like a challenge, enjoy small races (there were 717 half marathon finishers), like the idea of being led to the start by marching fife and drum, and appreciate a bargain (early registration was about $50), this may be a great race for you.
Course: To say it was challenging would be an understatement. The course was ALL hills -- a constant up and down with very little level terrain. The course was mostly out-and-back, with a little loop at the halfway point. We began on the campus of William and Mary, took a road through town, then took a paved trail through the woods. Most of the course was on the paved trail, but there was a brief section around the 6 mile point where we had to run through what felt like 6 inches of mulch. (At least one person twisted her knee in this area and couldn't finish. Most of us just slowed down or walked this part.) Then we got back on the paved trail and took the trail and roads back to the campus, where we finished inside William and Mary Hall. The paved trail was about 3 people wide, but the good running surface was only about 2 people wide, so it was difficult to pass people who were running or walking in pairs. Because there were no starting waves, many people walked the hills, and no one moved to the side when they were walking, it was frustrating at times trying to pass people. The scenery was pretty running through the woods and on a boardwalk through wetlands, but it became monotonous at times. There were very few people cheering along the course. I wouldn't call this a fun race, but I felt like it was a major accomplishment to run it and run it well.
Support: There were 5 water stops. I had my own water, so found the 5 stops sufficient, but others complained there wasn't enough water. There definitely weren't enough porti-pottis - only one at each of the 3 stops. There were plenty of course marshals when I was running, so I had no difficulty finding my way, but the course marshals near the end left before the back-of-the-pack people finished. I didn't need first aid, but my friends who did said the first aid stations didn't have band-aids or anything to clean wounds.
Expo: The "expo" consisted of maybe 6-8 tables, and nothing that interested me. Packet pick-up was the morning of the race, which was good for those of us from out of town. Because it was a small race, there weren't the usual crowds to fight.
Parking: Parking was super-easy. There were plenty of spaces in the parking lot right next to William and Mary Hall, which was the location of packet pickup and the finish. There was even a grassy area behind some of the parking spaces, which was perfect for pre-race tailgating, stretching, etc. There was no bag check, so it was especially nice that cars weren't too far away.
After Party: I loved that the finish was inside the stadium, which is perfect for a typical February day, but I didn't like that they started packing things up and closed the beer garden before a number of people had finished. The post-race food consisted of bagels, bananas, and Gatorade.
SWAG: All entrants received a long-sleeved technical shirt and finishers received a finisher's medal - well worth the $50 entry fee. (This event is a fundraiser for William & Mary Track & Field program.)
There was also a 5K, a kids run and a 1K walk.
For me, it was a good race. I liked the low price, the small size, and the low-hassle, low-key nature of the race, and I ended up PRing despite the challenging course and unseasonably hot weather (68 degrees F). I was worried about pre-race fueling due to the 1:10 p.m. start time, but I ate a good breakfast and mid-morning snack, and allowed plenty of time to digest both, and it worked out well. I'll definitely do it again.