Colonial Williamsburg is living museum, and you will meet various characters from American history here.
Williamsburg is a living museum which brings to life the look, smell, and
taste of American life in 1774. The city was founded in 1699 as the
new colonial capitol of Virginia, replacing Jamestown. It was
carved out of an area known as Middle Plantation, and geographically, is
situated on the high ground midway between the York river to the north and
James River to the south. As the colonial capitol of Virginia, it
was visited by such greats as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and
Patrick Henry, all of whom served in the Virginia House of Burgesses,
which met twice a year in Capitol. The town was laid out in a symmetric
pattern, with Duke of Gloucester running down its middle. The Wren
Building of the College of William & Mary bordered the south end of
the street, while the Capitol was built on the northern
extremity. The land was divided into 1/2 acre city lots, and
the town prospered until the capitol was removed to Richmond by Thomas Jefferson
In the 1930's, John D. Rockefeller, was convinced to fund the restoration of the town, and work began. Archeology was still a new science, and the original restoration was more in tune with what the restorers perceived life was like in 1774, than what it actually was like. This is especially true of the gardens, many of which were much to fancy for the original occupants to have planted. Over the years, as new additions to the town have been added, an emphasis on reality has replaced the idealized vision of the original restorers.
The site now sits on over 100 acres, and includes 88 original buildings. Strolling down the streets of Williamsburg, one cannot help but feel the history that was made here. In the Bruton Parish Church, you can sit in pews once occupied by many of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. Performances are held daily in various building so you can sample the music, dance, and theater of the period. Walking through the town is free, but in order to visit many of the buildings and enjoy the artists and craftsmen at work, you will need to purchase a pass. The fee's (circa 2002) are $39.00 / adult for a one year Freedom Pass. Daily passes are also sold for $33.00, but there is much to much to see for one day.
The Royal Governors Palace. This recreated building was built to the original specification of the Palace occupied by Francis Nicholson, the Royal Governor who moved the capitol from Jamestown to Williamsburg.
One of the many gardens of Williamsburg