Colonial Williamsburg re-creates life in Virginia as it existed in the 1770s, just before the Revolutionary War. Williamsburg, once the political and cultural center of the new world, has more than 500 buildings on its 301 acres, of which 88 homes, shops, public buildings, and taverns are original and the others are re-creations. Union flags hang outside the historic buildings that are open for visitors.
Stroll Duke of Gloucester Street, the heart of the Historic Area, to obtain a sense of colonial life. Must-see buildings include the Capitol and the Governor’s Palace as well as the Peyton Randolph House and the George Wythe House, homes of wealthy families.
Tip: The best way to make the most of your visit is to interact with the “persons of the past” and to take part in special programs. Chat with these Virginians as they cross the Palace Green or meet the tradespeople at the apothecary, blacksmith, milliner and at other shops. At the courthouse, visitors participate as witnesses and plaintiffs in cases. “Ghosts Amongst Us,” one of the popular evening walking tours, allows you to experience the Historic Area by lantern while listening to interesting, and not too scary, anecdotes.
For some tours you can purchase tickets online weeks or months in advance. For other tours such as carriage rides, you must purchase same day tickets at the Lumber House ticket office. Reserve early in the day.
Download the Colonial Williamsburg app to purchase admission tickets, passes to some special programs and to track “characters” from the past.