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Whether you’re planning a summer vacation with family, a good friend or two, or even if you’re flying solo, you’ve simply got to escape to the past this summer and experience one of the most unique, interactive and historic places in our country—the Historic Triangle.
Three beautiful historic colonial communities bordered by the York and James Rivers —Colonial Williamsburg, Yorktown and Jamestown—are packed 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.
One of the best things about visiting the Historic Triangle is how close it comes to actually stepping 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.
Head to the streets of Merchants Square and walk 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!
If you want to see the site where English colonization of America first began, escape to the past this summer and pay a visit to the Colonial National Historical Park. Admission for a whole week is just $10 per adult, and includes access to:
We recommend a stop at the Glasshouse on Jamestown Island, 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!
If you’re a battlefield enthusiast, Yorktown Battlefield is the site of the last battle of the Revolutionary War and is a must-see.
The Colonial Parkway
The Colonial Parkway is a 23-mile scenic road that 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 American Revolution Museum at Yorktown 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 Paspahegh Town, where you’ll witness a real-life recreation of a Paspahegh village and Powhatan culture. Witness costumed historical interpreters discuss and demonstrate how Powhatan people grew and prepared food and made clothing, tools and pottery. You’ll even learn some common Algonquian words, like racoon, moccasin and opossum!
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 hope you get a chance to escape to the past this summer… We know where you can stay to be at the center of it all!