If you are planning to visit the state of Virginia, you must know about certain special places like Colonial Williamsburg, Jamestown, Virginia Beach etc. Williamsburg, Virginia is an eighteenth century settlement, England’s oldest and largest colony of settlers. This magnificent city earned a remark from none other than Thomas Jefferson to have, “the finest school of manners and morals that ever existed in America.”
What is even more wonderful is that about a century after, the comment about this beautiful city still holds good. The goodness of the city is as if frozen into time. After a lot of efforts from historians, craftsmen and archaeologists, the city of Williamsburg appears nearly identical today as it did in 1770. This area has been recreated in the same manner as before thanks to the tireless work of these workers.
The city has over 500 Queen Anne and Georgian era buildings spread over an area of 170 acres. You can also see about 100 beautiful gardens adorning the city. Also located in the city are about forty exhibition buildings which tourists can visit and these have been furnished similar to the olden times. The city also has many shops, yards and fields which will take you back into time. Actors, dressed in period costumes re enact the times using the skills, tools and crafts of our forefathers.
The market square of the Colonial Williamsburg is filled with the Blacksmiths chiming anvil, the sounds of the fife and drum of the Militia marching drills.
Once you enter this colonial community, you can purchase daily and annual admission tickets from the Visitor Center in Williamsburg. With the help of this ticket, you can make unlimited use of the town’s bus service. Private automobiles are banned throughout most of the Historic Area.
Also see the Governor’s Palace standing majestically. This palace used to be the home of Virginia’s royal governors, and was known far and wide to be the most elegant building in British America. Also located close by is the Capital building of Williamsburg which served as the judicial and political centre of Colonial Virginia.
Another famous building is the George Wythe House. This building looks like a huge brick home of the current times. The building served as the home of George Wythe, one of the signees of the Declaration of Independence. Another popular house is the Peyton Randolph House in Colonial Williamsburg which has been done up with beautiful American and English antiques. The Randolphs were an important family in the colonial time period.
You will also be delighted to see interpreters dressed in authentic period costumes and enacting workers going about their business like in olden days. Some of the actors enacting roles include taverns, shops, jewellers, gunsmiths, silversmiths and shoemakers.
Many historical sites are located close to Colonial Williamsburg. Towards the south of the city lies Historic Jamestown, where, headed by Captain John Smith, the first permanent English settlement in America was formed. You can take a walking tour of the site and see many original structures. The first brick church in the country was the Old Church Tower. The New Town area has many houses standing from the olden days on the streets of Jamestown, including the ruins of the Amber House originally built in the mid-18th century. Visit the Jamestown Visitor Centre to see the country’s largest collection of artefacts from this time period.
A couple of battle fields known by the name of the Yorktown and Richmond National Battlefields lie close to Colonial Williamsburg. The Yorktown Battlefield is the battle ground where General Cornwallis surrendered to the American and French forces in 1781. It lies in south east of the city. You can see Washington’s field tents and numerous other exhibits, artefacts and information about the famous battle inside the visitors centre. You can see the entire field from the outdoor observation deck.
On the north west of Colonial Williamsburg lie the ten sites at Richmond National Battlefield Park. This park is spread over an area of 765-acrea and is dedicated to the couple of major campaigns by Union troops to capture Richmond from 1861 through 1865. At the visitor centre you can see interpretive displays, audiovisual programs and maps to tour the battlefields.
If you would like to visit some museums, visit the Chrysler Museum at nearby Norfolk. The beautiful building contains Greek and Roman art works and also world famous works by Baroque and Renaissance artists and American artists dating to about a couple of centuries back. You will also find European, Egyptian, Oriental and pre-Columbian works here. The museum contains a wonderful collection of finest glassware collections in the world from Roman to present day.
Also visit the Mariners’ Museum located in Newport News. The park and museum is spread over and area of 550 acres and is situated on the James River. The museum is dedicated to the sea and has a comprehensive collection of maritime artefacts in the world. While touring the museum, you can see twelve large galleries consisting of bona fide hand-carved figureheads, paintings, tiny ship models and many navigational instruments. Also see the Small Craft Building where collections of tiny boats from all over the world reside. These boats include dugouts, fishing boats, yachts, a gondola and a sampan.
Last must visit place in the list of Virginia historical sites includes a visit to Virginia Beach. This is a historic town and has many homes built in the 17th and 18th centuries of early America. In Virginia Beach, you can see miles of sand filled beaches, sightseeing cruises, fishing on charter boats and camping by the sea.
Virginia’s historical sites are a huge draw for the tourists and delight both young and old in search of the history of America.