Step into United States colonial history while visiting Williamsburg, Virginia which is situated between the historic James and York rivers. The city of Williamsburg once served as the capital of the Colony of Virginia from 1699 to 1780 and was the center of political events in Virginia leading to the American Revolution. The College of William & Mary is the second oldest university in the United States and its alumni include three United States presidents. Williamsburg’s tourism is primarily driven by the tourism of Colonial Williamsburg as well as the neighboring colonial towns of Jamestown and Yorktown.
The centerpiece of what to do in Williamsburg lies in Colonial Williamsburg. Colonial Williamsburg is essentially a living history museum illustrating the lifestyles and culture of the 18th century colonial period in the United States. The most popular points for visitors include Virginia’s first capitol building, the Governor’s Palace, Bruton Parish Church (oldest operation church in the U.S.), the Peyton Randolph House, and of course The College of William & Mary. Other points of interest include: The Williamsburg Winery, Williamsburg Botanical Garden, Virginia’s Musical Museum, Water Country USA, Busch Gardens Williamsburg, and the Williamsburg Pottery Park.
Williamsburg has a great deal of interesting places that visitors can explore for a day. Visitors can take a 20-minute scenic ferry ride across the James River and a short country drive through Surry County to reach the town of Smithfield. Smithfield is an authentic colonial seaport, which was established in 1752. Located approximately 90 minutes away from Williamsburg is the beautiful city of Charlottesville which was the home of Thomas Jefferson and the current home of the University of Virginia as well as some of the state’s best wineries. Jamestown and Yorktown are reenactments of colonial living in the United States. Both colonial towns are no more than 30 minutes away by car.
For those visiting Williamsburg, the best place to stay is downtown Colonial Williamsburg which is where most of the tourist attractions are located and it’s also cool to be able to stay in a colonial styled hotel. Staying in Colonial Williamsburg affords visitors the opportunity to walk around the town. Williamsburg is used to tourists so there is a great variety of accommodation including hotels, inns, bed & breakfast establishments, as well as vacation rentals.
Williamsburg is a highly walkable colonial town and with few exceptions motorized traffic is not allowed on Duke of Gloucester Street, which is a major street that passes through Colonial Williamsburg. In addition, the city is bike friendly, having built 48 miles of bicycle facilities in the area since 1992. Visitors can also use the community’s public bus system, Williamsburg Area Transit Authority (WATA) which serves neighboring towns, Jamestown and Yorktown.
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