If you tour only one town in Virginia, make it Williamsburg – home to Colonial Williamsburg, one of the most comprehensive, largest, living-history museums in the United States, and perhaps even the world. If any place is going to get children into history, this is it, but it’s lots of fun for adults as well. The town of Williamsburg, Virginia’s historic capital, from 1699 CE to 1780 CE, is a magnificent place. Luckily, William & Mary college campus adds a pinch of youth culture as well.
Top Attractions in Williamsburg
The capital of England’s largest colony in the New World is a brilliant attraction for travelers of all ages. This is not some fenced-in, phony theme park: Colonial Williamsburg is a breathing, living, working history museum with a researched environment that cleverly evokes 1700s CE America. It comprises 88 original 18th-century buildings and numerous hundred faithful reproductions, and an extraordinary museum complex.
The park doesn’t gloss over the United State’s less glorious moments. Today’s re-enactors question and debate slavery (over 50% of the population of 18th-century Williamsburg were sadly slaves), the rights of indigenous Americans, and women’s suffrage.
Strolling around the historic district and exploring the taverns and shops is free, but entry to most exhibits and building tours is restricted to ticket holders. Expect lines, crowd, and overtired kids, particularly in summer. There are several taverns and a decent bakery where you can eat.
Accessed through Colonial Williamsburg’s ancient public hospital, this construction is home to two equally marvelous museums: the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum and the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum. The decorative arts museum is home to the world’s most extensive collection of Southern furniture and one of the largest British ceramics collections outside Europe. The folk art museum has one of the most comprehensive American folk art collections – portraits, musical instruments, quilts, toys, and much more.
College of William & Mary
Established in 1693 CE, the College of William & Mary is the second-oldest college in the nation. It retains the oldest academic building in constant use in the USA, the Sir Christopher Wren Building. The school’s alumni include James Monroe, Thomas Jefferson, and comedian Jon Stewart. An interactive map and free campus audio tour are available online. If you’re approximating campus from Colonial Williamsburg you will discover the College’s Sunken Garden just adjacent to the Wren building. The Sunken Garden is a superb place to sunbathe, walk, and play frisbee.
What to eat in Williamsburg?
There are several places to eat in the historic town of Williamsburg. They are mostly situated in two areas: Richmond Road and Merchants Square. Richmond Road holds many of the chain restaurants seen all over the east coast. In Merchants Square you will come acorss The Blue Talon, The Trellis, The Fat Canary, The Cheese Shop, Lenny’s, and Aromas. The Trellis and Blue Talon are favorite places for more upscale gourmet cuisine. The Lenny’s and Aromas and Cheese Shop are best for lunch and they are also well worth trying. The popular Gazebo, on Bypass Road, is an excellent breakfast place.