Planning a vacation is exciting, but it can also be nerve-racking especially when you’re traveling somewhere you’ve never been before. We want your trip to the Revolutionary City to be as unforgettable and as stress-free as possible. So, we’re going to give you a special list of tips and tricks that you can use as your guide.
Do Your Homework
A little research can go a long way, but the question is where to begin. In this age of technology, any information you are looking for is right at your fingertips. The worldwide web is an excellent place to start. Begin your research at colonialwilliamsburg.com. I recommend you go straight to our events calendar and enter the dates of your stay. That way you can get an idea of which events will take place during your visit. You can also book your hotel reservations, purchase tickets, and make dining reservations online. The map located on our website will give you a chance to familiarize yourself with the area.
And of course, be sure to follow all of our social media channels: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for the latest updates. We’ll show you what’s new, give you previews of upcoming programs, and will pass along any special offers or promotions. Looking to save money on your trip? We can help.
Get Your Tickets!
Once you arrive and settle into your hotel, you’ll want to head straight to the Visitor Center. Just plug this address into your GPS: 101 Visitor Center Drive Williamsburg, VA 23185. Once there, you can pick up a copy of “Colonial Williamsburg’s Map & Program Guide” which includes a breakdown of events and a printed map. Check the back for suggestions specific to first-time guests!
You can also print your tickets you ordered online and add any last-minute purchases to your vacation. From there, you can take the scenic route to the Historic Area. The walking path is a little more than half a mile and it should take you between 10-15 minutes to get to the Governor’s Palace.
If you take the designated path located outside the Visitor Center’s doors, you will also get a little history lesson along the way. Look for the interesting facts posted along the footpath of the bridge. However, if you prefer not to walk, there are shuttles (complimentary with admission) that run on regular intervals from the Visitor Center and make many stops within the Historic Area.
Another way to orient yourself with the Revolutionary City is to take advantage of one of our 30-minute guided tours which take place daily from 9 a.m-1 p.m. They begin at the Lumber House which is located at the opposite end of the Palace Green from the Governor’s Palace. And if you want the real 18th-century experience, consider booking a ride in one of our horse-drawn carriages.
With so much to do, I put together a suggested itinerary which includes some of my favorite places and events! In my opinion, these are all “must-sees.”
- Eat, Drink, and Be Merry at the newly reopened authentic 18th-century alehouse Chowning’s. No reservations necessary and they’re open from 11:30 a.m. – 11 p.m.
- Take a tour of the iconic Governor’s Palace. The beautiful gardens are in full bloom this time of year!
- Demand Order in the Court as a juror for one of our trials!
- Before you leave, repent for your own crimes outside the Courthouse with a picture in our pillory.
- Visit the hottest trade in town at the Anderson’s Blacksmith Shop and Public Armoury.
- Sip coffee, tea or chocolate while engaging in lively conversation at the Charlton Coffeehouse.
- Explore the place where true change happened at The Capitol.
- Time travel to the 1930s and step into the home of the Rockefellers at Bassett Hall.
- Explore our world-class Art Museums. In addition to our amazing folk art, you can peek into 19th-century dollhouses, view artifacts from Bruton Parish Church (which is celebrating its 300th anniversary this year), and in June—be sure to check out our newest exhibition—Thunderbirds: Jewelry of the Santo Domingo Pueblo.
- Learn about 18th-century hauntings during one of our evening Ghost Tours! We have both kid-friendly and adult options available.
The Surrounding Area
The Historic Area is anchored by the Capitol and the Wren Building (up past Merchants Square). Duke of Gloucester Street, also known as DoG Street, stretches for about a mile. The majority of the Historic Area is located closer to Capitol and you’ll find the College of William & Mary behind the Wren Building. Merchants Square is an 18th-century style retail village with more than 40 specialized shops and restaurants.
It’s a bittersweet week for the Making History bloggers. This will be Ali’s final post for Colonial Williamsburg. Ali has been a valuable part of our social media team for more than a year and always brings a fresh perspective and positive outlook to her assignments. She has been our DIY go-to gal, resident kitty tamer, and stellar researcher. Good luck, Ali! We will miss you but we’re also so excited to hear all about this new chapter in your life!