Once the seat of early American government, Williamsburg, Virginia is one of the most popular vacation destinations in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. Its proximity to the Chesapeake Bay and larger cities like Washington, DC and Virginia Beach also attracts many people seeking a new home for raising a family, or for retirement. In the summer months, however, the town provides ample opportunity for families to explore the roots of our nation's history and culture, as well as have some fun.
Situated on the tip of the booming Hampton Roads metropolitan area, Williamsburg forms one point of the historical triangle of sites (the others being Yorktown and the Jamestown colony) that attracts thousands of tourists annually. It is easy to find, being a short trip off I-64 and accessible through the local AmTrak station. At most, Williamsburg is an hour's drive from three airports: Richmond International, Williamsburg/Newport News, and Norfolk International.
In Williamsburg, visitors may experience the life of our forefathers with a stroll through the streets of the colonial district. Stepping into the cobblestone streets sends one back in time as costumed folk demonstrate traditions and vocations of the time period. Gardens are cultivated for the beautiful floral arrangements decorating each door, the town blacksmith toils to forge ironworks, and the many shopkeepers bustle to serve their customers with handmade soaps, candles and linens.
While many of the buildings situated along Duke of Gloucester street charge no admission, some sites in the preserved colonial area are part of a larger tour requiring passes which may be purchased from the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. Among the buildings people may explore at no charge are Bruton Parish, one of the oldest Anglican congregations in the country, and the Wren Building, the oldest academic structure in the United States. The Wren Building is part of the College of William and Mary, which abuts the colonial district.
History lovers will be interested in Williamsburg's latest attraction, President's Park. Located just on the outskirts of town, President's Park is a large outdoor museum featuring gigantic busts of every US President. From George Washington to George W. Bush, visitors may learn about each presidency as they gaze at larger than life replicas of our nation's leaders.
Visitors seeking a bit of excitement will want to stop at nearby Busch Gardens Europe, a seasonal amusement park sectioned to celebrate the different cultures that shape our nation. Spine-twisting roller coasters, three-dimensional rides and top entertainment delight thousands of visitors each year. When the sun is especially brutal, companion park Water Country USA offers a respite in the form of water slides and a giant wave pool.
For lovers of culinary delights, Williamsburg is home to some of the finest restaurants in the state. Virginia ham, Chesapeake crabs, and colonial classic cream of peanut soup are just a few of the items one might find in the taverns and eateries around town. Williamsburg is home to The Trellis, made famous by the decadent Death by Chocolate dessert that is so big, it has to be shared!
For visitors interested in less touristy things, Williamsburg offers opportunities for relaxation as well. Nestled the looming pines on the northern edge of town is Waller Mill Park, favored by locals and tourist for its many hiking and biking trails. Cyclists especially enjoy riding the Colonial Parkway for breathtaking views of the marsh and Chesapeake Bay. For golfers, there are three PGA-rated courses within the town borders.
Williamsburg is a haven for golfers, history buffs, and anyone desiring a reprieve from the bustle and traffic often found in DC and Northern Virginia. Because the attraction to Williamsburg is seasonal and spread out, the area also allows for a sense of isolation and peace without being inaccessible. So if you're thinking of Virginia for your next vacation, be sure to reserve a few days for Williamsburg. You won't be disappointed.
Kathryn Lively is The Write SEO , freelance website content for travel websites. She writes for CINIVA Systems, Virginia Beach website design , and the Stafford County Department of Economic Development .