Known as the "historic triangle," Jamestown, Williamsburg, and Yorktown contain treasures found nowhere else. Although all three celebrate and educate about the history of the United States, each has a unique story and way of exploring the past.
Site of the first permanent English settlement in North America, Jamestown today is a historical site located within Colonial National Historical Park and provides numerous ways to learn about the past. There are no permanent residents in Jamestown, although during the day it is bustling with colorful colonial characters and tourists from all over the world. The two main Jamestown attractions are both centered around the town's rich history.
Made up of the old and the new, the city of Williamsburg is divided into four main parts: colonial diversions,
Williamsburg is best known for its colonial charm.
A large part of Williamsburg belongs to the
Beyond colonial happenings and suburban offerings, Williamsburg also has a plethora of unique attractions drawing both locals and tourists just outside the city center. Amusement park
A tiny town with less than 300 inhabitants, Yorktown is primarily known for the part it played in the Revolutionary and Civil Wars.
Where to Stay
Williamsburg, which encompasses Colonial Williamsburg, is thick with American history, and most of the accommodation options here revolve around that theme. Whether large hotel chain or bed and breakfast, most places to stay here decorate according to colonial style, or at least attach a colonial concept to their name. Most hotels are within one mile of the city center, and Yorktown and Jamestown have very few options. Williamsburg prides itself on hospitality and relaxation so you'll feel comfortable whether your near a shopping center or one of the many parks.
The Williamsburg Inn is an excellent option in central Williamsburg, but not the only high-end choice. It features luxurious surroundings, but the Magnolia Manor Bed and Breakfast Inn has a whirlpool in every room and is widely known as a great getaway for a luxurious, romantic weekend. The Boxwood Inn is also a perfect place to spend a romantic vacation as it does not allow children. If you are looking for a small bed and breakfast, you might consider Williamsburg Hospitality House, with its quaint interior, warm feeling, and close proximity to the College of William and Mary.
The northern area of Williamsburg has a large concentration of family-friendly and chain hotels. If you are traveling with a brood or if you like the reliability of a national chain, you might prefer to stay in this area. Hampton Inn & Suites has two hotels here, The Hampton Inn & Suites Williamsburg Historic District and the Hampton Inn & Suites Williamsburg-Richmond Road. Fairfield Inn & Suites Williamsburg is especially good for large families because the rooms are large, and for a standard price you get everything you expect from the Marriott brand. Or for a world class family resort, try Marriott's Manor Club at Ford's Colony. The best value for your money can be found at SpringHill Suites Williamsburg as the hotel offers suites at the price of a smaller room, including all the conveniences you need. By far the most exciting choice for a family with young children is Great Wolf Lodge. The hotel and grounds are huge, there are plenty of activities designed to keep children entertained while parents enjoy the on-site spa, and there is an indoor water park.
The eastern side of Williamsburg offers a charming mix of large chains and small bed and breakfast hotels. Country Inn & Suites Williamsburg East has family facilities, such as a game room and a pool, and is close to Busch Gardens. Likewise the Williamsburg Marriott is great for children because of its entirely smoke-free environment. The Marriott's ballroom and conference rooms make it suitable for business travelers or large events. At the other end of the spectrum, the Fox and Grape Bed and Breakfast has a small, rustic atmosphere. The little touches will make you feel comfortable here, such as a porch swing, uniquely decorated rooms, and antiques adorning every corner. Fife and Drum Inn is also small and romantic and to help keep the mood here quiet and relaxed, they do not allow children under 6. Shopping at Merchants Square
West of Williamsburg is strongly distinctive as a center for luxurious accommodations. Most of the hotels in this area are richly decorated and most have historical significance. The Legacy of Williamsburg Bed and Breakfast is strictly a luxury location. The proprietors do not allow children under 12, but they do offer a library, several fireplaces, and an antique bar. Williamsburg White House is aptly named as all of its rooms are named after a different U.S. president, and each are decorated differently. Like many romantic and quiet locations in Williamsburg, this bed and breakfast has restrictions on underage guests: children under 14 are not allowed. Located on an estate with more than a full acre of gardens, Colonial Gardens Bed and Breakfast offers romantic surroundings, inside and out. After you stroll in the gardens, you can arrange for a romance package including chocolate covered strawberries. Also offering gardens, along with several fountains, is the Liberty Rose. The ultimate in lavish appointments, the Liberty Rose features fine fabrics and antiques in every room.
Dining and Drinking
Much as one would expect from a place where so many important American events have taken place, much of the food found in Williamsburg and its environs can be classified as American. Yet just as the town has welcomed all kinds of immigrants to its shores, there is also a wealth of international cuisine. Its proximity to Chesapeake Bay ensures plenty of fresh seafood, and most restaurants take advantage of this luxury.
As the most populous town in the historic triangle, Williamsburg also has the greatest number and variety of restaurants and bars. Colonial Williamsburg offers the chance to dine like the colonists with a variety of restaurants with an olden day theme. For an authentic experience, try Shield's Tavern where visits from costumed Williamsburg citizens are the norm. Christiana Campbell's Tavern is also located in the historic district, but Christiana's specializes in seafood with the air of an authentic 18th century tavern. Meanwhile Josiah Chowning's Tavern is known for its entertainment including games and songs from days gone by.
Start the day off right with a short stack at Capitol Pancake & Waffle House and choose any number of delicious toppings for both pancakes and waffles. For a local flavor, try Second Street Restaurant opened by two brothers from the Williamsburg area serving up creative American fare. The New York Times considers Fat Canary to be the Williamsburg's best restaurant and it has a porch for warm days. For good Chinese food, get the buffet at Grand Shanghai which also features a Mongolian grill. Or try something more European and get some pizza from Giuseppe's Italian Cafe.
Art Café 26 provides timeless art to gaze at while eating, and A Chef's Kitchen gives you the chance to create your own gourmet meal, and then eat it!
For a good drink, head over to Green Leafe Cafe. Voted one of the ten best bars in the United States by USA Today, the wide selection of beers and spirits caters to both students from the nearby College of William and Mary. Corner Pocket often has good blues and always has a great atmosphere for drinking. Open late, the Library Tavern is popular with college students and anyone else looking to relax on a night out.
A small and quaint town, Yorktown nevertheless still has some excellent cuisine. A local favorite is Yorktown Pub with a great location and delicious food. If you are in the mood for some great carrot cake, check out the Carrot Tree, located in the historic Cole Diggs House. Also serving up fresh and homemade meals, the Carrot Tree has quality food and atmosphere. Taking fresh to a whole new level, Sakura Yorktown offers a wide variety of sushi and cooked seafood. Right next to Colonial Yorktown and overlooking the York River is the Riverwalk Dining Room, a great place to relax and enjoy fine cuisine.
The Williamsburg area is filled with family friendly interesting things to see and do.
Jamestown The Colonial Parkway takes you to Historic Jamestown. Here, you can see ruins of the original English settlement and watch as glassblowers create beautiful pieces using the same techniques that were available during the colonial era. Nearby is Jamestown Settlement which recreates the ruins of Historic Jamestown. If you are itching to get out on the water, take the Jamestown Ferry. This free service runs from Jamestown to Scotland, Virginia, and makes it easy to explore some of rural Virgina. Take your car for a scenic drive, or leave your wheels in Jamestown and simply enjoy the fresh breezes as your cross the James River.
Williamsburg Colonial Williamsburg is one of the largest living history museums in the world, and there you will find a wealth of activity. The Revolutionary City is a dynamic, two hour spectacle which follows the collapse of the royal government, the writing of the Declaration of Independence and march with General George Washington and his troops during the fight for independence. Stop in at Shield's Tavern or any number of other venues for a bite to eat. A little more out of the way in Newport News is the Virginia Living Museum. This museum, featuring marine life, wildlife, plants and a planetarium, is an enjoyable outing for the whole family. When back in Williamsburg, relax with a bit of shopping and food at Merchants Square, which blends Colonial Williamsburg with modern convenience.
William and Mary The College of William and Mary is a great place to stroll lush grounds where hundreds of thousands of college students have gained an education. On the northeast part of the campus lies New Town, a great place to enjoy a variety of cuisines. Dine in an art gallery at Art Café 26 or relax in the comfort of air-conditioning at Regal New Town Cinemas 12 with the latest Hollywood blockbuster.
Yorktown The Yorktown Victory Monument serving as a reminder of the fight put up by the American and French forces at the Battle of Yorktown during the American Revolution. Spend some time shopping and exploring Historic Yorktown. Main Street has most of the most historic homes, including the Cole Diggs House where you can stop in to grab a bite at the Carrot Tree for some carefully prepared and delicious food. The Watermen's Museum is just past the bridge, and celebrates those who made a living on the water near the Chesapeake Bay area, especially their contribution to the Revolutionary War. Or skip straight to the Yorktown Victory Center. Here, you can see a recreation of the battlefield and see soldiers go about their daily tasks. For the war-weary, spend some time on the 18th century farm and do a little bit of weeding. Also in the area is the Yorktown National Cemetery filled with thousands of graves for those who fought in the Civil War.
Or for those who prefer to take guided tours, there are a range of touring companies in the Williamsburg area happy to provide this service:
Walking Private Walking Tours (http://www.williamsburgprivatetours.com/index.htm/ +1 757 897 9600) Williamsburg Tours (http://www.williamsburgtours.net/tours/ +1 888 478 1480) Axwild Tours (http://axwild.people.wm.edu/ +1 757 209 3059)
Ghost The Hauntings (http://www.colonialconnections.com/ +1 757 258 3122) Historic Ghost Walk (http://www.visitwilliamsburg.com/williamsburg-attractions/historic-ghost-walk1/index.aspx/ +1 757 729 2000) Original Ghosts of Williamsburg Tours (http://www.wmbggrouptourservices.com/index.html/ +1 877 624 4678) Private Walking Tours (http://www.williamsburgprivatetours.com/index.htm/ +1 757 897 9600) Axwild Tours (http://axwild.people.wm.edu/ +1 757 209 3059)
Cruises Williamsburg Tours (http://www.williamsburgtours.net/tours/ +1 888 478 1480)