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Foods and Feasts of Colonial Virginia

There’s no better place to celebrate the Pilgrims’ original harvest festival than where the dawn of America took place. Visit Historic Jamestown to celebrate an authentic American Thanksgiving, and stay with us at King’s Creek this November to experience food and feasts of Colonial Virginia, and more seasonal activities!

Foods & Feasts of Colonial Virginia
November 26 & 27, 2021

Anyone who’s hosted Thanksgiving knows what a labor of love it is to prepare traditional Thanksgiving dishes for any size crowd. But do you ever wonder how early Americans cooked a feast without the help of microwaves, electric stoves and refrigerators? Or how they preserved foods that spoiled easily?

Jamestown Settlement and the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown can answer these questions and more. This Thanksgiving, explore centuries-old cooking techniques at Foods & Feasts of Colonial Virginia, a two-day event that lets you step back in time to discover the history behind traditions we continue to hold so dearly each and every year.

Jamestown Settlement

At Jamestown Settlement, discover how Virginia’s English colonists and Powhatan Indians gathered, preserved and prepared food on land and at sea. Cooking demonstrations will be going on all day in re-creations of a Paspahegh town and colonial fort and along the ships’ pier!

Paspahegh Town

A re-creation of Paspahegh Town, based on the archaeological findings at a nearby site along the James River once inhabited by Paspahegh Indians, lets you step back in time to witness the Powhatan way of life. 

At this exhibit, get a better idea of what was available to eat (think venison, turkey and other game, roasted over an open fire). Watch stews of corn, beans and squash cook in clay pots, and learn the importance of corn to the Powhatan Indians, including how it was used in cuisine. Throughout the day, watch demonstrations that show how Powhatan Indians made hunting and cooking tools out of stone and bone.


At this recreation of an English fort, you can watch historical interpreters bake bread in a cloame oven and learn all about culinary skills brought to Virginia by English colonists. Watch demonstrations of open-hearth cooking techniques of foods like pudding, pies and pottage that are based on recipes from the late 16th and early 17th-centuries. You can also learn about European military tactics during artillery drills near the fort on both days at 4:15 p.m.

Ships’ Pier

Can you imagine how your daily life would change if there were no grocery stores? This larger-than-life outdoor recreation exhibit demonstrates how crucial shipping of provisions was to life in colonial America. Walk along the ships’ pier, and see typical sailors’ fare of salted fish and meat, biscuit and dried foods, and discover the kinds of fresh provisions that sailors picked up along their island stops on the way to Jamestown.

American Revolution Museum at Yorktown

This history museum is a sister to Jamestown Settlement, and tells the story of the Revolution and the establishment of a new nation through immersive galleries and outdoor living history. 

Through recreations of a Continental Army encampment and a Revolution-era farm, Foods & Feasts will demonstrate how Continental Army soldiers earned their rations and transformed produce and proteins fresh from the fields into stews, pies and breads. 

Continental Army Encampment

Discover how soldiers tried to turn meager rations of dried beans, salted meat and hard bread into nourishing soups and stews. Daily artillery drills will show visitors how soldiers earned their rations.

Revolution-era Farm

A variety of dishes from the time period will be prepared using 18th-century open-hearth cooking techniques and recipes. Compare the traditional fares of farm owners and enslaved people, and explore the methods that were used to preserve and store goods through harsh winter months.

Learning about our nation’s beginnings and discovering stories of America’s earliest days is important for so many reasons—namely, for developing a greater understanding of ourselves that impacts the modern world. Buy your tickets for this unique event here!

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