As road trips continue to rise in popularity, Williamsburg, VA is an ideal mid-Atlantic summer getaway, especially with so many outdoor attractions. Historic Jamestown and Yorktown are also just a short drive away putting a lot of activities within easy reach in what is known as “the historic triangle.” In fact, the region is home to three national parks all within a half-hour of each other. That’s not to mention Busch Gardens Williamsburg, a theme park with lots of attractions for the whole family including adrenaline pumping rides, shows, animal encounters and more.
1 Colonial Williamsburg
Colonial Williamsburg is the prime attraction for visitors. It consists of Old World streets that crisscross around historic buildings and manicured gardens. Go back in time and watch costumed staff enact the way things were centuries ago. Horse-drawn carriage rides pass through the streets and there are intriguing tours of the world’s largest living history museum. colonialwilliamsburg.org
2 William & Mary
Not far away is the College of William and Mary’s campus (three former US presidents studied there), which helps to fuel the activity in nearby Merchant’s Square, bustling with shops, restaurants and cafes. Check out the Blue Talon Bistro, famous for its French café-style menu with indoor-outdoor seating. The French Onion soup is worth a visit alone. bluetalonbistro.com
3 Historic Jamestowne
Not far from Williamsburg, Historic Jamestowne is the historical (and live archeological) site that dates back to 1607 as the first permanent English colony. It’s a fascinating place to visit, but shouldn’t be confused with Jamestown Settlement, a recreation of what the settlement was like many centuries ago. There’s also a Powhatan Indian village that recreates the life of the region’s original settlers. historicjamestowne.org
As part of the Colonial National Historical Park, a visit to the Yorktown Battlefield Museum (on the site of where the British surrendered to American troops) or American Revolution Museum are major draws for history buffs. There’s also the Watermen’s Museum, which is a great place to learn about Chesapeake Bay’s original settlers. watermens.org
5 Williamsburg Tasting Trail
Williamsburg is home to the first commercial brew house in America, which is in Jamestown and dates back to 1619. The Williamsburg Tasting Trail covers craft beer, tasty Virginia wines and several spirits like the world’s only bourbon made from Indian corn. Among the popular breweries to visit are The Virginia Beer Company and Alewerks Brewing Company with 16 beers on tap. Williamsburg Winery is the state’s largest winery and produces some rather tasty vintages, and the cocktail scene includes everything from whisky and gin to old-fashioned mead. The defining characteristic of mead is that the majority of the beverage’s fermentable sugar is derived from honey. There’s a lot to see and explore around Williamsburg, and it’s worth raising your glass after a day well-spent.