For Thanksgiving this year, I went to Colonial Williamsburg VA. Despite the fact that I grew up in this general area, this was my first visit. The area certainly lived up to the good reports I’d received from those who had been there before me.
Originally established as part of the British Colony of Jamestown in 1698, the Middle Plantation was chosen as the site of the College of William and Mary in 1699. The location was later renamed Williamsburg to honor King William III. Situated on a 301-acre tract at the heart of present-day Williamsburg VA, Colonial Williamsburg includes structures built from 1699 to 1780. The restoration of Virginia’s first capital was promoted by W. Goodwin and J. D. Rockefeller Jr. Historic Jamestown VA is located 11 miles southwest of Williamsburg, and Yorktown VA is sited about 12 miles to Williamsburg’s northeast.
As you see in the map below, today’s historic area covers approximately 5 by 12 blocks with beautifully restored buildings and populated by a great many re-enactors. Horse-drawn carriages of many types are available for those who wish to tour, but it is very easy to walk around here. Surprisingly, you can drive your car through some of the streets.
Quite a number of historical figures lived in or visited Colonial Williamsburg.
- Patrick Henry served in the Virginia House of Burgesses and as Virginia Governor
- Thomas Jefferson attended the College of William and Mary and later served as Virginia’s Governor
- George Washington also attended William and Mary, and served on Virginia’s Legislature
- of course Martha Washington
- George Wythe, and others.
I’ll share a number of photos taken at Colonial Williamsburg in the next few posts.