Anytime I get a chance to stop at one of my most favorite places in the United States, even if it is only for one afternoon, I am going to do it. While travelling recently with LouisianaMan, we were near Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia, so of course, I voted for an afternoon of walking through the rustic streets and enjoying the recreated 1770 village permeated with colonial American history.
If you are a patriotic person, you will enjoy Colonial Williamsburg beyond belief, but if you are an apathetic patriot, you MUST find a way to visit this place. When I walked out to Duke of Gloucester Street from behind the taverns (see Must-See below) and heard the words of the Declaration of Independence being read aloud in the street, my heart soared, my eyes teared-up, and I was reminded of the principles of LIBERTY on which this nation was founded in a most poignant way.
Use this link to a Colonial Williamsburg map for reference. Map references are shown as purple text.
Tavern Garden Borders
Enter the area directly across the street from Tavern Parking off of Frances Street. The flower borders around the outdoor seating behind Weatherburn’s, King’s Arms, and Shield’s taverns are truly show-stoppers, and during the day, these areas might be completely free of crowds. You can pass through the area and exit onto Duke of Gloucester Street.
ALL the gardens are actually MUST-SEEs!
The Colonial Garden and Nursery are always a particular favorite and extremely educational. Find it on the south side of Duke of Gloucester Street across from the Palace Green.
Bruton Parish Church
Celebrating 300 years of worship in 2015! Located at the southwest corner of the Palace Green on Duke of Gloucester Street. We did not get the chance to go into the church on this visit, but it is always a truly peaceful and greatly spiritual experience to make the effort to enter and sit quietly in the same building where the founding fathers of our country offered prayers for wisdom and guidance and thanksgiving. Be sure to check the posted events outside the church building if you are going to be in town for a couple of days.
Comfort Suites, 220 Bypass Road
This hotel is a GREAT value for what one gets when staying here. We got a really great price by picking up a Hotels Coupon booklet at the Virginia welcome center. These booklets are often helpful in finding the best hotel prices, so make it a habit of grabbing one when you enter a new state while traveling across country.
This might be the best smelling hotel in which we have ever stayed. Everything was immaculately clean in both the public spaces and the private room. Even the bathroom did not have any of those “gunky” corners one often finds in hotel rooms. The hot water was instant and HOT – always – with a more-than-decent shower head (for a hotel anyway). Beds were adequately comfortable even for someone like me who likes a soft mattress. Great pillows! The staff was friendly, helpful, and efficient. The decor is very modern, but pleasing. A FREE HOT BREAKFAST is included with your room, and it was quite good except for the coffee. The coffee was the worst I have ever tasted in my life. Sorry.
Walking distance to a couple restaurants and short driving distance to many. The hotel is not within walking distance of the historical section of town, but it is a very short drive to the Visitor Center from which you can take a bus ride for about $2 per person. You can also park for short periods of time in several parking lots very close to Merchant’s Square (1-2 hours). We were informed by one of the shop workers it is allowable to park in the Tavern Parking off Frances Street during the day (until midnight) and it’s free. We parked there for several hours without issue.
Golden Corral (within walking distance of Comfort Suites hotel)
There’s nothing terribly unique about this Golden Corral restaurant over any other except it was VERY clean and well managed. This staff was extremely friendly and helpful. For an easy-in/easy-out dining experience on a budget when you want to eat and get full, the buffet at this place is a true value.
Bakery (for a snack), behind Raleigh’s Tavern on Duke of Gloucester Street
Enter the bakery area between buildings from Gloucester Street (north side of street). Get a cookie and a root beer to eat in the shady courtyard behind the tavern. Benches and lovely crape myrtle trees are free of charge. This is a great place to take a small rest and recharge your batteries. Other snack places in the historic area: Dubois Grocery and McKenzie Apothecary
Evening meals at the historic taverns can be a lot of fun! Each establishment offers a different kind of experience, so do a little research on your options. Link to list of Historic Dining Experiences in Williamsburg. Click individual taverns for their specific websites. Note whether you will need a reservation.
Buy Admission Tickets if you will be in town for an entire day or more
Purchasing tickets is well worth it, especially if you plan to spend at least 2 days in the historic area. Tickets give you admission to all the buildings and allow you to personally participate in the daily events. Although walking through the streets and gardens is free at any time, you will not be allowed to enter historic buildings or participate in revolutionary reenactments without a ticket.
Purchase tickets on site at one of the ticket booths or online. Options for daily, multi-day, and annual passes are available.
Your ticket purchases also help to support the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, a private non-profit charity which works very hard to preserve our Colonial Heritage.
Talk to the reenactors
Interacting with the costumed professionals in Colonial Williamsburg improves your overall experience. This is especially true for children, and the people in costume really go out of their way for kids.
Take your time
The sunlight was beautiful, slanting slightly through the trees, not yet truly boasting their fall color, onto the white buildings and across gardens still proudly boasting their color at season’s end.
Some of our favorites from over 260 photos snapped in one afternoon
OTHER ATTRACTIONS NEARBY:
Jamestowne & Yorktown – together with Williamsburg, called the historic triangle.
There is both a Jamestowne settlement recreation and visitor center PLUS the national park containing the actual archaeological dig and museum. Yorktown has a museum and military emcampment.
Busch Gardens Themepark