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We may earn a commission from affiliate links. One of America's best-known living history towns, Colonial Williamsburg is not a reproduction or a group of buildings collected from other sites. This was the capital of the colony and later the state of Virginia from untiland today re-creates those times in their original locale, often in the original buildings. Others are meticulously rebuilt or restored on their original sites. But Williamsburg is not just for history buffs, nor is it all about the Revolution.
Its tourist attractions include two outstanding museums of art, a major theme park, and a water park. Even if you don't go to Williamsburg for its history, you'll enjoy walking through the restored area, where you'll meet people dressed in 18th-century clothing and engaged in the everyday life of more than two centuries ago.
Note: Some businesses may be temporarily closed due to recent global health and safety issues. In the setting of more than original and reconstructed buildings from the s, costumed interpreters recreate the excitement of the era just before and during the American Revolution in a prosperous colonial capital.
Along with the everyday life of artisans, shopkeepers, and residents are daily reenactments of militia drills, trials, political meetings, and other activities, many of which are outdoors. Others are in the handsome Capitol Buildingwhich for 80 years was the political center of Virginia, one of England's largest and wealthiest colonies. Candlelight tours, carriage rides, and tours following special interests such as gardens there are more than of these in Colonial Williamsburg are also offered.
Be sure to check the daily schedule to find those activities and tours that interest you, as some are not repeated frequently. While you can stroll down Duke of Gloucester Street through the center of the restored area, eat in the taverns, and visit the shops, you cannot enter any of the historic buildings or gardens without a ticket, and even the street may be restricted to ticket-holders for any of the many costumed parades and reenactments. Tourists can secure tickets in advance, which grant access to all of Colonial Williamsburg's museums, historic sites including Governor's Palacereenactments, and other attractions.
Official site: www. Williamsburg Map Historical. Governor's Palace at Colonial Williamsburg. The original home Anyone downtown Williamsburg tonight the Royal Governor was completed in but it burned to its foundations and was replaced with a replica in The Governor's Palace was the social center of Williamsburg, scene of gala dinners and balls, and it was built to impress the locals with Royal authority.
After the Revolution, it was home to the first two governors of Virginia. Inside, along with its beautifully appointed rooms, you'll see a display of period firearms and swords. Outside, explore the terraced formal gardens, which include a hedge maze, and a peek into the kitchen and scullery allows you to watch period foods being Anyone downtown Williamsburg tonight.
The finest private home in Williamsburg, the George Wythe House was built for a prominent attorney in the midth century. Today, it's decorated and furnished in period pieces, so you can see what life would have been like in s Williamsburg. George Wythe was among the most enlightened and influential men of Anyone downtown Williamsburg tonight Revolutionary era, a mentor to Thomas Jefferson and other Virginia patriots and leaders.
He was a delegate to the Continental Congress, and er of the Declaration of Independence. But the distinguished history of the house doesn't end there. InThomas Jefferson and his family stayed here while he was delegate to the Virginia General Assembly. Along with the house are outbuildings that include a kitchen, smokehouse, dovecote, and stable, as well as lovely formal gardens. In colonial Virginia, taverns were where local people and travelers gathered for news, food, and sociability.
Some of those in Williamsburg are still active dining places where you can get a feel for 18th-century social life and taste authentic dishes that Jefferson or Washington might have enjoyed here. Raleigh Tavern was a social hot spot favored by members of the House of Burgesses, and equally popular was Wetherburn's Tavernright across the street. Balls and banquets were held at both taverns, and during restoration, nearlyartifacts were found on the site of Wetherburn's. King's Arms Tavern opened in and catered Anyone downtown Williamsburg tonight the gentry with the finest furnishings and service.
Today, it continues that standard as the premier dining room in the historic area, with 18th-century musical entertainment. Much more informal is Chowning's Tavern Anyone downtown Williamsburg tonight, which first opened in catering to a less lofty clientele. Today, the restaurant retains this spirit, serving traditional English fare, and featuring evening Gambols, with colonial games and music. George Washington's favorite was Christiana Campbell's Tavernand you can still enjoy Christiana's special seafood dish here as he did. Shields Tavern serves a varied home-style menu in a casual atmosphere.
Some of the taverns are also considered to be hubs of paranormal activity, and are featured in many of the town's ghost stories. Tourists looking for a spooky treat can take a two-hour evening ghost and witch tour of Williamsburg, which is led by a costumed guide who will tell local legends while showing some of the town's most haunted spaces. Whether you're a parent, a thrill-seeker, or you just like a day of carefree fun, there's something for you at this lively combo of adventure park, zoo, playground, and entertainment stage.
You can meet the Muppets, cruise the "Rhine," clap to Bavarian oompah bands, ride in a teacup, or hop aboard the historic Loch Ness Monster roller coaster. Rides have German Anyone downtown Williamsburg tonight other European themes - a Anyone downtown Williamsburg tonight ride through Pompeii's ruins, the Verbolten, and the hair-raising foot Alpengeist, one of the world's tallest and fastest coasters with inversions at speeds up to 67 miles per hour. Less adrenaline inclined visitors can watch border collies herd sheep at the Highland Stables, meet Clydesdales, interact with colorful exotic birds at a free-flight aviary, and learn about wolves and other predators in Wolf Haven.
To save time, tourists can purchase mobile tickets in advanceensuring that your family gets the most out of your day at the park. The Historic Jamestowne Visitor Center is home to an exhibit of more than 1, artifacts that were discovered on the site since excavations began, as well as exhibits that tell the history of the site as far back as prehistoric times.
The largest collection, however, is in the Archaearium, an archaeology museum, which houses over 4, artifacts. Exhibits include descriptions of the evolution of the recovery process and explain what the objects tell us about the everyday lives of the area's native populations and its first European settlers. Tourists can also explore the active archaeological site, which has 33 separate dig sites, including the remains of row houses, barracks, a blacksmith shop, a bakery, churches, and wells.
A free walking tour is included Anyone downtown Williamsburg tonight admission, guided by an archaeologist or scholar. In addition to regularly scheduled tours, specialty tours are available, Anyone downtown Williamsburg tonight take a closer, behind-the-scenes look at the discoveries and the techniques used. Official site: historicjamestowne. Jamestown Settlement. Adjacent to Historic Jamestowne on Jamestown Island, Jamestown Settlement recreates portions of the first successful English settlement on the mainland of North America.
Deed to bring to life the artifacts and remains found in the nearby excavations of the site, Jamestown Settlement is a living history museum. Among the attractions are a recreation of the original James Fort, a Powhatan Native American village, and authentic replicas of the settlers' ships the Susan Constant, Godspeedand Discovery. These replicas make it easier to relate the archaeological finds to the lives of the people who settled here.
Costumed interpreters demonstrate skills needed for settlers' daily lives, and at the re-created Paspahegh Anyone downtown Williamsburg tonight, you can see how the Powhatan people prepared food and made tools and clothing. The historic recreation is based on archaeological evidence, artifacts and descriptions left by the settlers themselves. The interpreters' demonstrations and the of interactive exhibits make Jamestown Settlement an especially good place to go for families with children. Two outstanding art museums share a building that, while connected to Colonial Williamsburg, is not part of the Revolutionary City historic area.
Specialties are the world's largest collection of furniture made in the American south, one of the largest collections of English porcelain outside of Britain, and a major collection of English silver. The Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum contains one of the most complete collections of American folk art, which includes sculptures, paintings, toys, woodcarvings, needlework, quilts, and decorative items created by untrained artists.
The fresh des, vibrant colors, and creative ideas expressed in these works show an exuberance and spontaneity that makes them especially appealing. The combined museums require a separate ticket from the Revolutionary City sights. Some of the most fascinating places to visit in Williamsburg are the many artisans' shops where costumed craftspeople practice and demonstrate the skills that were necessary in any prosperous 18th-century city. Step into these to see authentic tools, clothing, and utensils being handcrafted and to talk with the craftspeople.
You can watch fashionable hats created at the Milliner's Shop; see wigs made from human, goat, and horse hair at the Wigmaker's Shop; and watch the cooper as he works on casks and pails at his shop in the Ludwell-Paradise Stable. At the Apothecary, you'll learn how apothecaries functioned as doctors at that time, treating patients and performing surgery.
The most historic of all the plantations along the James River, Berkeley has earned its National Historic Landmark status several times over. The first Thanksgiving was celebrated here inand Taps was composed here in when it served as the headquarters of Union General McClellan during the Civil War. Berkeley was the birthplace of President William Henry Harrison. But today's tourists will remember it most for its beautiful Georgian architecture and for the rooms furnished with priceless antiques. Be sure to visit the restored gardens in boxwood-hedged terraces overlooking the James River.
The restored houses along Duke of Gloucester Street were homes of the wealthiest leaders, but that's not the way most 18th-century residents of Williamsburg lived. Most lived and worked on small plantations owned by farmers who were not men of wealth. They lived in small houses or cabins; many were slaves. Great Hopes Plantation is a newer addition deed to represent the lifestyle on one of these small family farms.
Along with replicas of their buildings, you can see rare breeds of farm Anyone downtown Williamsburg tonight they would have known, visit their gardens, and see demonstrations of how they cooked. Interpreters are Anyone downtown Williamsburg tonight at the tasks of everyday life - planting, caring for animals, making implements, cooking, and domestic tasks - and are happy to discuss the lives of small farmers and their work.
The College of William and Mary was founded in and is the second oldest college in the United States, behind Harvard. The Wren Building is the oldest active educational building in the United States, originally built inand reconstructed in after a fire. The first floor of the Wren Building is open, and student-led campus tours are filled with history and stories about the college.
You can see the building where British General Cornwallis stayed and attend free organ concerts in the chapel. The Muscarelle Museum of Art stages visiting exhibitions, and throughout the campus are pieces of sculpture. The 18th-century home of John D. Rockefeller Jr. The house has been restored to its appearance in the s and '40s. A minute film sets the background, and a visit to the Rockefellers' home gives a perspective on the family that made Colonial Williamsburg possible.
Be sure to visit the extensive flower gardens. Another fine example of one of Williamsburg's oldest houses is the Brush-Everard House, restored to its state and authentically furnished to illustrate the life of Thomas Everard, an apprentice who rose to become a planter and community leader. The home is especially known for its beautifully crafted staircase with carved stair brackets and turned balustrades. You can also see the original kitchen and smokehouse. When children tire of restored colonial homes and antiques, and the summer afternoon heat is getting to the adults, everyone will enjoy a visit to nearby Water Country, a water park with pirate-themed rides and miniature golf replete with water hazards.
Visitors can ride on the Hubba Hubba Highway, not quite the placid river it appears to be, and get wet on one of the waterslides or in the wave pool. This park is affiliated with the mega-park Busch Gardensand families who are planning on visiting both parks can take advantage of combination tickets. We recommend these conveniently located hotels in Williamsburg close to the top historical attractions:. Historic Virginia: History-lovers have plenty to explore in this Anyone downtown Williamsburg tonight of Virginia, and two major historic centers are within an hour's drive of Williamsburg.
Coastal Norfolkknown for its naval base and military history, is full of related attractions including the Battleship Wisconsin. Inland, the vibrant city of Richmond was first an important colonial city with strong ties to the independence movement and later ravaged by war as the Confederacy tried to keep it out of Union hands for over five years during the Civil War. Washington, DC is home to some of the most iconic American landmarks and the most popular tourist attractions in the country, from the Lincoln Memorial to Anyone downtown Williamsburg tonight massive collections of the Smithsonian Institution.
Just beyond, Baltimore, Maryland is home to even more museums, ranging from fine art to cryptology, as well as many family attractions like the National Aquarium and the Maryland Science Center. Romantic Getaways: One of the top Virginia destinations for younger couples is Virginia Beachloved for its festive atmosphere and multitude of things to do. Those looking for a different vacation experience might want to look just a little farther south to find romantic getaways in North Carolina.
Virginia Travel Guide. Written by Barbara Radcliffe Rogers Updated Jun 23, We may earn a commission from affiliate links One of America's best-known living history towns, Colonial Williamsburg is not a reproduction or a group of buildings collected from other sites.
Discover interesting things to see with our list of the top attractions in Williamsburg. See also: Where to Stay in Williamsburg Note: Some businesses may be temporarily closed due to recent global health and safety issues. Governor's Palace Governor's Palace at Colonial Williamsburg The original home of the Royal Governor was completed in but it burned to its foundations and was replaced with a replica in Address: Harrison Landing Road off Rt.
Where to Stay in Williamsburg for Sightseeing We recommend these conveniently located hotels in Williamsburg close to the top historical attractions: Williamsburg Inn : The luxury hotel echoes Colonial Williamsburg in its decor and its over-sized rooms furnished with fine period reproductions. Relax Anyone downtown Williamsburg tonight sightseeing at the spa, fitness center, or the indoor and outdoor pools; bike rentals are available.
Comfort Inn Williamsburg Gateway : Budget-friendly rates include breakfast, and there is an outdoor pool. More Related Articles on PlanetWare. Discover destinations, find outdoor adventures, follow the journeys of our travel writers around the world, and be inspired. More on Virginia Virginia Travel Guide. All rights reserved. Unauthorized duplication in part or whole without prior written consent prohibited by international laws.Anyone downtown Williamsburg tonight
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