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Historic Triangle

Explore a trio of delightful Colonial destinations

Like the tricorner hats worn by 18th-century colonists, Virginia’s Historic Triangle exudes the history of America before, during and after the American Revolution. Colonial Williamsburg, Yorktown and Jamestown played pivotal roles in the formation of America, and these three places honor their histories with must-visit museums, lovingly preserved artifacts and accurate reenactments.  This trifecta of American history is connected by the Colonial Parkway, a 23-mile scenic roadway that combines history with beautiful scenery.


Colonial Williamsburg

For a truly immersive historic experience, Colonial Williamsburg can’t be beat. The 301-acre living history museum is a recreation of the city as it was during the 1700s. Buildings dating from the era sit beside authentic reconstructions, while costumed reenactors play out everyday events and activities common to the era. Visitors can watch a blacksmith ply his trade or gather around a town crier as he announces upcoming events and major news developments. Reenactors stay in character, and before you know it, you’ll think you’ve traveled back in time.

During your visit, you can see famous figures such as George Washington walk the streets as the Revolutionary War gains steam. Hear fiery orators exhort the crowd and watch the local militia march out to face the British. Colonial Williamsburg offers evening programs that focus on witch trials and ghosts.

But Williamsburg isn’t all patriots and powdered wigs. The Golden Horseshoe Golf Club is a premier course that is almost as challenging as it is beautiful. Freedom Park is a 600-acre forested area with trails and historic sites. For kids, the property’s highlight is the Go Ape Treetop Adventure Course and Treetop Junior course, which features zip-lines, rope bridges and other challenges for youngsters who love climbing trees.

The thrills continue in Busch Gardens Williamsburg. Ride a speeding roller coaster as it careens across the track, or attend a family-friendly show. Take your choice from high-kicking Celtic dancing, alpine follies and live-animal demonstrations. Visitors can get a close look at the park’s feathered and furry animal ambassadors.

Yorktown Battlefield

The 1781 Battle of Yorktown was a pivotal victory for the Colonial forces, which defeated besieged British forces with the help of the French Army. Visitors to the site can walk the earthworks that protected the British until a final assault at the command of Gen. Washington led to the Red Coats’ collapse.

Visitors can tour the site of Washington’s headquarters, the marvel at the Yorktown Victory Monument—an 84-foot-tall shaft decorated with symbols of victory—and see the Moore House, where terms of the British surrender were negotiated.

The Yorktown Victory Center conveys this key chapter through galleries and exhibits that detail the military and civilian life during wartime. The grounds feature a re-created military encampment and a simulated farm site that teaches visitors about agriculture and cloth-making in Colonial times.


A Jamestown Jaunt

Turn the clock back even further by visiting Historic Jamestowne, site of England’s first permanent North American colony. Located on the James River near the Atlantic, this is the site on which English explorer John Smith made landfall in 1607. Archeologists continue to make discoveries that shed more light on the lives and customers of the settlers.

Discover enlightening exhibits at the visitor center, then stroll the boardwalk that connects the different parts of the site. The reconstruction of the barracks at James Fort will show how early soldiers lived, while the graves of settlers who died in the first months of colonization are sobering reminders of the struggles faced by this community.

Jamestown Settlement, adjacent to Historic Jamestowne, is a living history museum that simulates life in the colonies. Visitors can tour replicas of the three vessels that transported the colonists to the New World. The Susan Constant, Godspeed and Discovery are moored on the Jamestown Settlement’s pier. A re-created Powhatan Indian village will give you an opportunity to grind corn and play a game of corncob darts, just as Pocahontas might have done. Historical interpreters help visitors take part in 17th-century games and try on period garb. Seasonal exhibits demonstrate cloth-making and the building of canoes.

For More Information

Virginia Tourism Corporation