Here is a must do for history enthusiasts: Colonial Williamsburg. This is a place to learn American history, hands on. Costumed guides and history
re-enactors roam the streets and fill the exhibits and museums. It is like a very fun time warp back to the Revolutionary War – but with modern bathrooms! Our dolls enjoyed dressing in colonial costumes (they can be rented or bought there, but we put ours together with a Rapunzel and a Red Riding Hood costume, aprons and purchased mob caps) and being addressed as colonists by the re-enactors. For one price you can get multi-day passes for all of Colonial Williamsburg and the “Historic Triangle” which also includes Jamestown and Yorktown. This is what I recommend: Spend two or three full days (preferably not in the heat of summer) in Williamsburg and another day each in Jamestown and Yorktown. And to round out your vacation, you might want a little non-educational, mind-numbing fun at nearby Busch Gardens Williamsburg and Water Country USA.
Some top favorites in Williamsburg, for our family were the arsenal, the coffeehouse, the apothecary, the printer, the wigmaker, and the
Governor’s Mansion. The idea is to wander into the shops and homes to get a feel for life in colonial times. Some let you touch things, others give samples. All are entertaining for all ages (though very small ones will tire of the walking quickly). This is the place for kids with questions! The guides patiently answer anything. There is a handy schedule available every week to help you not miss any great presentations, like traitor Benedict Arnold’s recruiting speech or George Whitfield’s fiery preaching.
We enjoyed the old style southern cooking, and specifically the unusual biscuits, of the Old Chickahominy House one evening for dinner.
There are historic shops to browse and a good art museum is included in your multi-day ticket. Take advantage of the opportunity to visit the Jamestown settlement. They have done a wonderful job recreating the fort and Powhatan village, the Native American settlement. You can sit in the wigwam and help scrape the dug-out canoe. My little doll proudly wore her Pocahontas costume and purchased her own beaded leather “hom-a-hawk” and headband set. This was my little one’s favorite stop on our trip. There is a farm and replicas of the three ships that brought the colonists over to explore.
Yorktown, home of the signing of the Treaty of Paris that brought the Revolutionary War to an end, houses a terrific interactive Revolutionary War museum. They have musket firing demonstrations that kids won’t want to miss. The gruesome tasks of the field surgeon are explained in one area of the Continental Army Encampment and a little later they fire the cannon in another. They will not forget what they learn when they hear, see, and feel! And smell the gunpowder!
There is no place for diving head first into colonial history like Colonial Williamsburg! I hope you give “Revolutionary City” a try.
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