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Whether you’re planning a solo trip this summer or you plan to bring the whole family along, you’ve simply got to experience one of the most interactive and historic places in our country—the Historic Triangle.
What is the Historic Triangle, you ask? Well, you’ve come to the right place to find out! Three historic colonial communities bordered by the York and James Rivers —Colonial Williamsburg, Yorktown and Jamestown—are just brimming with things to see, learn and do. Each point of the triangle is an example of living history, and each manages a magical balancing act between the old and the new in a way that will enchant, entertain and enrich.
One of the most incredible things about visiting the Revolutionary City is the rare chance to (almost) literally step back in time. There’s a reason they call it the world’s largest living history museum. The shops, the buildings—even the people!—seem just as they were back in the 18th century, when Williamsburg was the colonial capital.
Stroll the streets of Merchants Square and be amongst street fairs, farmers markets, theatrical events, seasonal celebrations, quaint shops and delicious fare. Walk by the 3,380-square-foot historic Governor’s Palace with its immaculate grounds, or tour the inside to learn about the life of what would have been the king’s representative in the 18th century. Other historic buildings on display include the Courthouse, the Magazine, plus taverns, historic homes, and blacksmith and trade shops that line the cobblestone street.
Buy passes to get access to interactive tours and exhibits, experience the beginning of the American Revolution and hear a colonist’s perspective of life in wartime. You can actually become a citizen of this community by hearing the stories of the townspeople, shopkeepers, political figures, women and slaves who lived during this time in America. Few history lessons get you this close to the emotions, hopes and struggles of the people who make up the past!
First, pay a visit Colonial National Historical Park. Admission for a whole week is just $10 per adult, and includes access to:
Jamestown Island. This is where the successful English colonization of America began! We recommend a stop at the Glasshouse, where you can watch artisans make glass items similar to the ones that colonists used to use every day—think vases, wine bottles, candle holders and paper weights. It’s all available for purchase at the Glasshouse Gift Shop!
Yorktown Battlefield. If you’re a battlefield enthusiast, the site of the last battle of the Revolutionary War is a must-see.
The Colonial Parkway. This 23-mile scenic road connects the three points of the Historic Triangle and affords travelers tremendous views of the landscape, including the James and York Rivers.
Next, head over to the Jamestown Settlement and the Yorktown Victory Center to come face-to-face with amazing interactive displays and reenactments. The first thing you should do is climb aboard stunning replicas of the three ships that delivered America’s first colonists. You’ll be guided by costumed historic interpreters, who will explain the perils of this 17th-century voyage. At Jamestown Fort, your kids will be fascinated as they witness life reenacted by blacksmiths and other townspeople (and try on replicas of the metal helmets and heavy chest plates of the time!). And don’t miss the incredible Powhatan Indian Village, where you’ll witness a real-life recreation of an Indian village and the ways of life of this tribal culture.
If there’s a place on this list you’ve never been to, you owe it to yourself (and definitely your kids!) to get immersed in at least one of these incredible historic destinations.
We know where you can stay to be at the center of it all!