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Explore a true living history museum when you visit colonial Williamsburg, a town which has played a major role in American history. Williamsburg was founded in 1632 and was the capital of Virginia Colony from 1699 to 1780. The town was the center of political events in Virginia which led to the American Revolution and is the home of the College of William & Mary, which is the second-oldest institute of higher learning in the U.S.
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Colonial Williamsburg is part of the “Historic Triangle,” and shares its place with nearby Jamestown and Yorktown. Colonial Williamsburg is leafy and green and somewhat removed from the more modern center of town, which is spread along U.S. 60.
In Colonial Williamsburg you can stroll the streets as historical interpreters in period dress explain and demonstrate what life was like in the past – they even talk with accents and words commonly used in the 1700s. Unlike other “living history” towns, this one is free to walk through and never closed, though entry is charged for some historic buildings and outdoor performances.
Orient yourself at the visitors’ center near Colonial Parkway – there you can watch the popular short movie “Williamsburg: The Story of a Patriot.” Since vehicles are not allowed in the historic core, the visitors center is also the best place to park. If you are here during the holidays you are in for a real treat – the Grand Illumination ceremoniously brightens the town with Christmas lights.
Besides the historic center, you’ll want to visit the Governor’s Palace – a grand pre-Revolutionary mansion which once was the home of British royals and later housed heads of the state. Other top attractions include the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum, which showcases American folk art such as paintings, quilts, and sculpture, and Williamsburg Winery, which has restaurants and on-site tastings. Also, worth a stop is the Art Museum of Colonial Williamsburg, which displays early American and British antiques and art.
Had enough of history? Well Williamsburg offers plenty more to see. Grab a bike and cycle along the Colonial Parkway or cool off on a hot day at Water Country USA, which is packed with slides and rides. Busch Gardens Williamsburg is the best place in the region for thrills and shows – there are river and rail rides plus plenty of coasters.
Come celebrate America’s history in Williamsburg – it’s like no other place in America.