Williamsburg, Virginia was founded in 1632 as a fortified settlement between the James and York rivers. The city served as the capital of the Colony of Virginia between 1699-1780, and was the political center of Virginia leading up to the American Revolution.
I’ve visited Williamsburg twice in the past year. Williamsburg nowadays is known as the world’s largest living history museum. You really step back in time to a vibrant 18th century city that is teeming with life and engaging activities depicting Williamsburg’s time as Virginia’s colonial capital.
The first time I was there was with my family. We began our day in the visitor’s center. While the city is open to the public tickets are needed to be able to enter the buildings that are open and to participate or talk with some of the trade’s people. We bought our tickets and because my father has limited walking he can do we waited for one of the transport buses to take us to the half mile to the city. If you can there is a long bridge and walking path that you can walk across. If you take this route pay attention to the plaques on the ground, they take you back in time.
The shuttle has multiple stops for drop off but I highly suggest taking the first one and getting off at the Governor’s Palace. It is a great spot to start your time in Williamsburg. For both of my trips to this unique city/museum we started here at the Governor’s Palace.
The palace is opulent for the time period and each room is brightly colored. The grounds are pretty expansive with a hedge maze in the back and the kitchen and stock rooms out front. There is a long park like field that stretches the expanse from the palace gates to the main road in Williamsburg. Some of the buildings in the city are still private homes and some are stores and trades workshops where they still build items the same way they were built in the past. This includes the carriage builders, the blacksmith, the shoemaker, and the dressmakers to name a few. Everywhere you look people are dressed in period clothing and they don’t break character. The city is alive in the same way it was when it was the capital of Virginia.
There is a courthouse, a church, a jail, and restaurants and taverns that are still in working order. If you want to eat in the city be sure to make a reservation. They are only open for a certain time and the seating is limited.
At night there are optional ghost tours that you can purchase tickets to go on, and during the day there are still architectural digs happening all over parts of the city so keep a look out for those.
The people that live in and operate/work in the city really take pride in preserving that way of life for these future generations to see. They are skilled craftsmen and women.
Williamsburg is a unique experience and completely worth the trip. Go back in time to visit a center point of the United States just before the American Revolutionary War. Discover a new way of living.