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Spring in Williamsburg

It’s here, it’s here! Warm weather means we can all wave goodbye to the winter doldrums and get in the great outdoors for a much-needed reboot! Let’s get outside this Spring in Williamsburg!

Luckily, Williamsburg, Virginia, is home to some of the most rejuvenating and beautiful outdoor spaces around. Come check them out this spring!

We all know that nature benefits mental health, but here are our three favorite facts about the benefits of the great outdoors:

  1. The sounds of nature (or even silence outdoors) lowers blood pressure and cortisol (stress hormone) levels. (1)
  2. Research shows that people who have recently experienced stressful life events like a serious illness, death of a loved one, or unemployment had the greatest mental boost from a group nature outing. (1)
  3. Proximity to a green space helps you feel more creative. (2)

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So with these things in mind, it’s time to schedule an outdoor adventure or two.

The College of William & Mary

Our first stop for Spring in Williamsburg, adjacent to Colonial Williamsburg at the west end of Duke of Gloucester Street, is the Williams & Mary’s Sir Christopher Wren Building, the oldest college building in America! The Wren Building opens onto the Sunken Garden and the Crim Dell meadow. The Sunken Garden is modeled after the Chelsea Gardens in London. If you look toward the Sunken Garden from the steps of the Wren building, you will see what are likely the two oldest trees on campus, a willow oak to the south (Quercus phellos) and a water oak (Quercus nigra) to the north. 

The Crim Dell Bridge is associated with a bit of folklore. If two people cross the bridge holding hands, they’ll be lifelong friends. If they kiss, they’re destined to be lovers for life. Who would you bring to the Crim Dell Bridge?

Pathways around Crim Dell are planted with rhododendron, azaleas, and spring- and fall-blooming camellias. This May, don’t miss the spectacular blooms of Mountain Laurel. The William & Mary campus is home to numerous other gardens and green spaces as well, including The William & Mary Wildlife Refuge, a shady habitat that shelters four Trillium species, a variety of ferns, a number of common wildflowers and several rare species. Feel relaxed yet?

Colonial Williamsburg

Colonial Williamsburg’s Historic Area offers more than 90 acres of green spaces and gardens for visitors. The Governor’s Palace, for example, is home to a complex of gardens spread over 10 acres. As you make your way through gardens designed to honor English country estates during the reign of King William III and Queen Mary II, you’ll feel your stress melt away. 

More than 26 other well-known historic and pleasure gardens, as well as kitchen gardens, make a superb walking tour in Colonial Williamsburg. Take in the sights of trumpet honeysuckle-covered arbors, carefully trimmed boxwood parterres, heirloom vegetables, roses and fruits, and herb gardens with a fascinating history. 

Jamestown Settlement & American Revolution Museum at Yorktown

Springtime is planting time in fields and gardens at Jamestown Settlement and the Yorktown Victory Center! The stories of these living history museums are rooted in agriculture. Learn how varieties of crops, herbs and vegetables were grown in the 17th and 18th centuries at Jamestown Settlement’s recreated Powhatan Indian village and English colonial fort, as well as Yorktown Victory Center’s recreated 1780s farm. There, children and adults alike may get the chance to help historical interpreters turn the earth, water and weed.

Virginia Living Museum

The Virginia Living Museum has the largest display of native plants in Virginia, making it the perfect stop to experience Spring in Williamsburg! Through exhibits, landscape plantings and display gardens, the museum sends a beautiful message to visitors about conservation gardening and gardening with wildlife in mind.

Plantings within the indoor Cypress Swamp and Mountain Cove habitariums include trees, shrubs and perennials found in those areas of Virginia. And don’t skip the Butterfly Garden, a certified Monarch Waystation which contains more than 60 species of plants native to Virginia. Wander and take in the beautiful sights of native trees, shrubs, vines and perennials loved by bees and butterflies alike. 

You can also visit the Virginia Garden, which displays native plant species that were present when the first settlers arrived at Jamestown and flora that was introduced to the colonists by Native Americans. Believe it or not, these plants actually helped the settlers survive in those first critical years in the colonies. 

Learn more about the incredible gardens at the VLM here.

Williamsburg Botanical Garden

The Williamsburg Botanical Garden is located in Freedom Park, a two-acre ellipse seen by visitors approaching the parking area. Within these two acres, 18 distinct habitats are waiting to be explored by visitors who need a dose of nature. Walk the pathways through the butterfly garden, the herb garden, the native garden, two wetland sites, a native meadow, pine woodlands and native grasses. You can even bring lunch and eat in the shaded pavilion with a green roof, or at the benches and picnic tables. *Note: Be sure to enter “Freedom Park” into your GPS to get to the right spot!

We hope you enjoyed this blog for noting the must-see stops for Spring in Williamsburg! Stay with us and see all of what the great outdoors in Greater Williamsburg has to offer.

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