Guide To Colonial Williamsburg: Walking Down Memory Lane

I’m going to paint a picture for you. It’s the mid-1700s and slightly humid outside. Red brick buildings and white paneled homes flank the streets. There is a perpetual silence, save the sound of snares and chimes of the old clock tower. The women are donned in gowns sprinkled with a generous dose of flowers. Men are clad in bright red coats and breeches with knee high boots. This is a charming world, where there is a sense of connection between the people. We would have to go to the shoemaker for our leather soles and the dress shop to get fitted, a forced dependent relationship with others that unfortunately doesn’t exist as much today. But there still remains a tension that fringes the town. Unsaid thoughts about independence and taxes are an invisible dark cloud that treads across each hamlet.

This is 18th century America and this world is brought to life through Colonial Williamsburg, where every step is a journey back in time. Colonial Williamsburg is a living history museum. You don’t stand behind glass displays and fathom the past, you feel as though you are part of the past.

We are going to start by walking towards the Capitol Building. This is a large stately building with a three-arched entrance and small circular windows. Inside is a dimly lit courtroom. Here, we have the opportunity to become part of a reenacted political drama. There are a variety of shows, rich with the tension of the revolutionary era, performed on several different dates each month.

ColonialWilliamsburgHorse

Next stop, Anderson’s Blacksmith Shop and Armory. The red-hot inferno of heat from the forge brushes against us. There are coals scattered across the tile. A man dressed in heavy cloth reaches out for an iron and starts to hammer out tools. This is also another wonderful aspect of Colonial Williamsburg. They don’t just recreate the large historic characters that are in every history textbook, like Benedict Arnold. Williamsburg also focus on the smaller characters, like Anderson and gives them equal importance. Every individual person makes up the past and plays a role, small or big.

Speaking of big, while some were preparing to fight, others were lounging in wealth and luxury. Just a short walk away is the Governor’s Palace. This is a large building with a massive, intricate, golden crest. Outside are rows of tulips and manicured hedges that box around into a maze. The decor is polished, from ornate chandeliers to elegantly furnished rooms. There is an obvious disparity in the wealth here and for the first time, we truly understand the reason for the revolutionary turmoil.

Governor's Palace in Colonial Williamsburg

Governor's Palace in Colonial Williamsburg

But we are just scratching the surface of history here, I’m going to have to let you explore on your own as well (a good tour guide doesn’t spill everything). There are live cooking demonstrations and a gorgeous church to be seen. Be sure to check out as many demonstrations as you can. Demonstrations in Colonial Williamsburg are the equivalent of placards in a traditional museum. And don’t be afraid to interact with all the colonials. Let me assure you that they adore answering questions.  You might even run into Martha Washington. Who wouldn’t want to casually meet with the first, First Lady?

Williamsburg is a darling historic Disneyland and great way to enjoy the day while learning a little history. Not convinced? Fine. We’ll walk together just a little bit more, but then you’re on your own. Okay?

18th Century Food Demonstration in Colonial Williamsburg

18th Century Food at Colonial Williamsburg

Plates, Plates, and Plates in Colonial Williamsburg

Did you enjoy our little trip to Colonial Williamsburg? Have you been there before? What was your favourite part of your visit? I have to apologize for my nerdgasm in this post, but I just really love museums and history.

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8 Comments

  • Reply
    The Traveling Gals
    February 13, 2016 at 2:07 AM

    I would love this!! I hope to travel to Williamsburg someday. Looks so nice. I love historical stuff too 🙂

    • Reply
      Anshula
      February 13, 2016 at 2:12 AM

      Yes! Williamsburg is an amazing place, especially if you love history! The whole time I was there, I felt like I was literally walking through the past!

  • Reply
    Roxanne
    February 13, 2016 at 2:37 AM

    Great post! I have never been but it is on my list to do with the kids one day.

    • Reply
      Anshula
      February 13, 2016 at 2:20 PM

      Thank you so much! Colonial Williamsburg is definitely a family bucket list item!

  • Reply
    Jenn @ HomebyJenn
    February 13, 2016 at 4:49 AM

    I loved Williamsburg. My grandparents took me there as a child (around 12) and I learned so much there. That place has a way of wanting you to learn about our country’s history. I like how you described this as the historic Disneyland! Having all of the people in character and them make the food the old way. They really bring you back! I am wanting to take my daughter there so she can have the same experience I did as a child. Thank you for this post, awesome!

    • Reply
      Anshula
      February 13, 2016 at 2:23 PM

      The one thing I love about Williamsburg is that it hasn’t changed since I was a little girl. I went every two years since I was 9 until I started high school. I recently went again, and it had the same charm as the first time I went!

  • Reply
    BannedBrooke
    February 13, 2016 at 9:42 PM

    My hubby studied at William and Mary. When we go back for weddings or vacation, I’m always struck by how easy it is to get caught up in the world they create in Colonial Williamsburg. It’s a refreshing change of pace!

    • Reply
      Anshula
      February 13, 2016 at 10:05 PM

      Oooh! I love William and Mary! I went to the campus when I was in Williamsburg and it was so beautiful. I definitely agree that it is very hard not to get caught up in the world Colonial Williamsburg has branded!

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