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Colonial Williamsburg: The Ultimate Historical Haven

- Justine

Ever wish you could go on vacation to a different era? How about a trip back to the founding of our country? No futuristic technology necessary: all you need is a family getaway to Colonial Williamsburg.

Founded nearly four hundred years ago, this bustling center of culture and politics served as the capital of the Colony of Virginia after the Jamestown statehouse burned down twice (oops!). For many of us today, it’s hard to find traces of our colonial history, especially with iconic cities pushing us ever forward into modernity. Lucky for us, the historic district of Williamsburg has remained rooted in revolutionary times.
Its motto? “The future may learn from the past.”

Stepping onto Duke of Gloucester Street at the heart of the district, I was certain I had gone through some sort of time portal to 1700. Men and women in traditional colonist garb strolled in and out of taverns, trade shops, and colonial homes while the sound of heroic drums and twittering fifes carried through the air. Several majestic buildings such as the Capitol, the Governor’s Palace, and the famed Raleigh Tavern have been restored in order to preserve the historic feel of this treasured landmark. For visitors, this provides both escape and education; a place where you can spend a relaxing vacation while learning and thing or two (or fifty!) about the beginnings of our nation.

For a short visit, check out one of the dozens of guided and self-guided tours that happen daily. Orientation walks familiarize newcomers with the city, while other tours center around archaeology, colonial trades, folk art, stables, or the impact of the Revolutionary War. If your feet get tired but your mind still wants to explore, try a horse-drawn carriage tour of the city. For adventure-seekers, going on the nighttime ghost walk is a must.

Perhaps the coolest part of touring the Revolutionary City is that the historic townspeople will gladly engage you in a conversation about their lives and politics as colonists. Tours provide something for all ages and interests, making it easy for families to enjoy the colonial experience together.

This summer, Williamsburg is brimming with special events for you and your family. This includes “Live after 5” activities which feature live performances and ghost stories at night. If you have a hankering for espionage, be sure to visit before September 3 to enjoy Rev Quest: The Lion and the Unicorn. You can get a spy name on line here and then when you get to the Colonial Williamsburg Regional Visitor Center, you’re receive your secret set of orders to accomplish your mission during your stay here. In addition, the city will be celebrating the 250th Anniversary of Cherokee peace this year, hosting events that offer visitors a glimpse of indigenous life in colonial Virginia.

As tempting as it may be to spend a hot summer’s day in an air-conditioned museum, it is infinitely more rewarding to experience living history in a museum that exhibits the sounds, colors, and tastes of our past. Tickets and passes to Colonial Williamsburg are available on their website, as well as family vacation packages – such as Summer Bounce Package for a family of four — that provide access to even more historical adventures and excitement. Opportunities to time travel are scarce, and with the treasures of Williamsburg at your fingertips, there’s no resisting the richness of learning from the past.

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