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Have You Been to the Colonial Williamsburg Arboretum? We’ve been trapped indoors for a long time now. That might explain the rise in popularity of house plants lately—after all, plants are beautiful to look at and have been shown to have a calming effect on us.
But the science goes deeper! Our tendency to feel soothed in the presence of plants actually has a name: Biophilia. Early humans spent most of their time outdoors, so today, we still have that irresistible pull toward natural elements, even though we now spend a lot of our time indoors. Research even shows that the “absence of plants in our lives can actually cause physical and mental stress.” Basically, plants are therapy. Learn more about the incredible effects of plants here.
Spending quality time in nature can act as a reboot. And since spring is right around the corner, a visit to the Colonial Williamsburg Arboretum may be just what the doctor ordered after a YEAR (can you believe it?!) of isolation.
THE WILLIAMSBURG ARBORETUM
In case you didn’t know, an arboretum is a place where trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants are cultivated for scientific study. People can come visit to soak in the good vibes.
To put it simply, the Colonial Williamsburg Arboretum is magical. Filled with extraordinary trees and shrubs dating back to the 18th-century, the collection features 25 period species of oak trees and more than 30 historic gardens. That’s a lot of therapy! Some of these trees have even been named state and national champions by the global community of arboreta and gardens.
Some of the more impressive sights you’ll see here are the Compton Oak, an enormous hybrid specimen growing on the Court House Green in Colonial Williamsburg. This incredible tree is a state champion big tree, measuring over 70 feet tall and 97 feet wide, with a trunk that is 14 feet around.
You can also visit the long arbors in the north garden at the Governor’s Palace. American beech trees line both sides of a path, meeting in the middle to form a cozy botanical tunnel. This is a great spot to snap some beautiful photos in spring and summer.
Finally, the paper mulberry, another champion tree that is native to Asia, grows along a beautiful fenceline in Colonial Williamsburg for a breathtaking effect. Thomas Jefferson noted centuries ago that “They are charming near a porch for densely shading it.”
Nature, history, and mental health all go hand-in-hand at the Colonial Williamsburg Arboretum. There is no better time to plan a visit to Colonial Williamsburg, so come take a look! We know a great place to stay.
If you can’t make it here just yet or you’d like to know more about the arboretum and the surrounding areas, try a self-guided tour of the Bassett Trace Nature Trail at Bassett Hall or a virtual tour of the arboretum and all of its wonders.