Local Activities | October 29, 2015
There are many historically important places to explore within a few hours’ drive from Baltimore. Fall is a perfect time to visit Williamsburg, Virginia. Williamsburg, Virginia is a small college town located on the Virginia Peninsula in the Hampton Roads area. It is home to the College of William and Mary and Colonial Williamsburg , a restored section of the historic part of the city and a very popular tourist attraction. The city is also close to the historical cities of Jamestown and Yorktown and receives over four million visitors per year. For anyone interested in seeing how people lived in the Colonies in the 1700’s, Colonial Williamsburg is a perfect place to visit and explore. There is so much more to do than just learn about history; visitors actually feel like they are a part of history.
Colonial Williamsburg is a 301 acre historical area where visitors are transported back to 18th century Pre-Revolutionary Virginia. Operated by the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, the area is the world’s largest living history museum. Within the “city” there are hundreds of restored, reconstructed and historically finished buildings representing 18th century lifestyles, challenges and events. Everyday citizens and historically important figures are “played” by reenactors allowing visitors to experience life during the late 1700’s in Virginia.
There are so many things to do and see during a visit to Colonial Williamsburg. The area is a resort within itself. There are golf courses, museums, spas, shops, restaurants and theaters to keep any “time traveler” busy. The main attraction is the “Revolutionary City” where visitors are transported to life in Virginia in the 1770’s. This is a living, breathing community. Townspeople, soldiers, government officials, and patriots all live together in one town and explain their roles to the visitors as people can see historical events, such as the “Gunpowder Incident” take place. Visitors can walk through the Governor’s mansion and take part in a debate in the capital building. There are many taverns and restaurants where patrons can enjoy 18th century or contemporary cuisines. There are more than 20 unique stores in Williamsburg including home furnishings, clothing, books and educational items.
Colonial Williamsburg hosts special events throughout the year. Over Halloween weekend, the area has a free event called Blackbeard’s Revenge. Most of the special events have already sold out for the weekend including trick-or-treating, a haunted house, and a pirate adventure. The Williamsburg Harvest Celebration is November 11th which celebrates great American culinary delights. But it is during the holidays when Colonial Williamsburg is truly magical. From the end of November to December 26th, visitors can experience Christmas in a whole new way. There are special performances, illuminated trees and buildings, shopping, special dining experiences and much more.
English colonists began arriving in Virginia in 1607. Jamestown was the first settlement and the first capital of the Virginia colony. After many trials and tribulations in Jamestown, the capital was moved officially in 1699 to a settlement called Middle Plantation, which was later changed to Williamsburg, named after King William III of England. In 1722, the town of Williamsburg was granted a royal charter as a city. The city hosted many dignitaries given the prominence of the College of William and Mary which included many important colonists of the day such as Thomas Paine and Thomas Jefferson. In 1780, the capital of Virginia was moved to Richmond. The city of Williamsburg played a big role during the Civil War and was the site of Battle of Williamsburg on May 5, 1862. There was quite a lot of damage done to the historical buildings during that time. Williamsburg reverted to being a “sleepy” small town through the early years of the 20th century. Dr. W. A. R. Goodwin, an Episcopalian priest made it his mission to restore the 300 year old Bruton Parish Church. This lead to major restorations on the other colonial era buildings in the area. Today, Colonial Williamsburg and other historic buildings in the city are visited by millions of people each year due to the efforts of Dr. Goodwin and John D. Rockefeller Jr. The area has hosted world leaders including Queen Elizabeth in both 1957 and 2007, members of the 1983 G7 World Summit and many United States presidents from President Ford to President Obama.
Colonial Williamsburg is one of the many great 1 Day trips from Baltimore. Step back and experience a “revolutionary time” in history. It is a visit that you soon won’t forget.