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Foods and Feasts of Colonial Virginia at Jamestown Settlement

Ever wonder how early Americans cooked for a crowd without the help of microwaves, electric stoves and refrigerators? Or how they preserved foods that spoiled easily? This Thanksgiving, Foods and Feasts of Colonial Virginia at Jamestown Settlement has all the answers! 

On Friday, November 24, and Saturday, 25, 2023, Jamestown Settlement & the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown will host a traditional Thanksgiving holiday where guests can explore centuries-old culinary practices and cooking techniques of early Virginia. Who knows—maybe you’ll pick up a trick or two you can use in your own kitchen! 

At Jamestown Settlement, a museum of 17th-century Virginia history and culture, discover how food was gathered, preserved and prepared on land and at sea by Virginia’s English colonists and Powhatan Indians. Throughout the day, you can watch cooking demonstrations in recreations of Paspahegh Town, a colonial fort and along the pier where three recreations of English ships are docked. It’s like watching a cooking show in real time, but with techniques and tricks used three hundred years ago!

At Paspahegh Town, you’ll see venison, turkey and other game roasted over an open fire, while stews of corn, beans and squash cook in clay pots. You will learn the significance of corn in Powhatan culture and the variety of dishes in which it was used. You’ll also discover how Powhatan Indians made tools made from stone and bone that helped them hunt, harvest and prepare food.

At James Fort, see the culinary skills English colonists brought to Virginia as historical interpreters bake bread in a cloame oven and demonstrate open-hearth cooking of pudding, pies and pottage, based on historical recipes of the late 16th and early 17th centuries. Actor-interpreters at the fort will also teach guests about European military tactics during artillery drills each day at 4:15 p.m.

To get a ticket for Foods and Feasts of Colonial Virginia at Jamestown Settlement, choose from:

  • A combination ticket (online only), which offers seven days of unlimited admission to both museums
  • An America’s Historic Triangle ticket, which offers unlimited admission for up to seven days to Jamestown Settlement, Historic Jamestowne, Colonial Williamsburg, Yorktown Battlefield and the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown
  • A one-day, single-site ticket, which offers admission to either museum for one day only

Children ages 5 and under receive free admission to both museums.

Foods and Feasts of Colonial Virginia at Jamestown Settlement is a unique opportunity to learn much more about a long-standing American holiday. Bring the whole family!

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