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Colonial Williamsburg isn’t just a history attraction, it’s the world’s largest living history museum. With over forty sites, two museums and lots of activities and programs, there’s always something new to explore here whether it’s your first visit or your fortieth.
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When you visit Colonial Williamsburg, you are totally immersed in an 18th Century city. Instead of learning about how things used to be, you will get to experience them first-hand in the here and now. Spread throughout the Historic Area, are over forty different sites where you’ll encounter blacksmiths, brickmakers, cabinetmakers, carpenters, silversmiths, gunsmiths, woodworkers, milliners, shoemakers, tailors, weavers and wigmakers in historically-accurate settings.
You can learn about the Revolution at George Wythe’s house, the early experience of African Americans at the Peyton Randolph house, early Colonial medicine at the Apothecary and what meals were like in the 18th Century at the Governor’s Palace Kitchen. In Market Square, you’ll have a chance to meet with members of an Indian delegation, go shopping at the Market House or listen to a proclamation from the courthouse steps. Then, relax at R. Charlton’s Coffeehouse and chat with people from the past over a coffee, tea or hot chocolate.
But, the experience doesn’t stop there. Throughout your visit, you’ll be able to interact with a group of historic interpreters known as the Nation Builders. These costumed characters portray real historical figures that made important contributions to American history, in 18th Century Williamsburg. Chat with famous ladies like Edith Cumbo or Martha Washington. Or discuss history with a former president like James Madison, Thomas Jefferson or George Washington.
There are also two world-class art museums to explore within Colonial Williamsburg. The Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum contains one of the largest collections of American folk art and includes paintings and sculptures by self-trained artisans. While the Dewitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum features 15 different galleries of furniture, paintings, prints, textiles and ceramics from the 17th, 18th and 19th Centuries. It is also home to the world’s largest collection of southern furniture and one of the largest collections of British ceramics outside of England.
When you’re ready to relax after a long day of exploring and learning, settle in for a horse-drawn carriage ride through the historic area or enjoy an authentic Colonial meal at one of the four taverns in Williamsburg. Try Shepherd’s Pye or Bangers and Mash at Chowning’s Tavern, Miss Christiana’s Crab Cakes at Christiana Campbell’s Tavern, or pork chops or roasted lamb at King’s Arms Tavern. At Shields Tavern, the fare is a little more international with unique offerings like black eye pea soup, butter chicken and West African stew.
With so many different things to see and do, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by it all. But Colonial Williamsburg Explorer – the official Colonial Williamsburg app – makes it easy to plan your visit. You can plot out your day, purchase admission tickets, take photos, retrieve coupons and even track where your favorite historic characters are in real time. You can also follow one of several suggested itineraries based on your interests like foodies, fashionistas, garden enthusiasts or history buffs.