ABOVE PHOTO: Governors Palace, Williamsburg VA (Photo: Stacie Stauff Smith / Shutterstock)
By Renée S. Gordon
Virginia’s Greater Williamsburg, also known as the Historic Triangle, is comprised of the City of Williamsburg and the James City and York counties. This is one of the most historic regions in the nation.
It boasts such singular sites as Colonial Williamsburg, Jamestown Settlement, Historic Yorktown, Yorktown’s American Revolution Museum and nearby Busch Gardens, consistently voted “The World’s Most Beautiful Theme Park.”
While you may arrive with these attractions at the top of your list, in order to make your trip as spectacular as possible, I invite you to dig a little deeper and delve into the extraordinary variety of experiences that Greater Williamsburg has to offer. (www.visitwilliamsburg.org)
Colonial Williamsburg — situated on 301 acres — is the world’s largest living history museum. The historic complex, home to more than 40 locations and colonial trades, four historic taverns and two art museums, is showcased through guided and self-guided tours featuring authentically clad interpreters.
Immerse yourself in the culture and lifestyle of 18th-century individuals from all walks of life. (www.colonialwilliamsburg.com)
Amber Ox Public House presents handcrafted quality beer with 18 drafts rotating daily and seasonally. Menu selections include the freshest ingredients in Southern dishes with a contemporary twist. (www.theamberox.com)
Jamestown Settlement is a complex that consists of a museum, a recreated Powhatan Indian village on the footprint of the original, and the recreations of the three ships, Susan Constant, Godspeed and Discovery — used to bring the early colonists to Virginia in 1607 — and a 1610-14, fully staffed and stocked colonial fort.
An outstanding introductory film, “A Nation Takes Root,” is regularly scheduled. This year, in commemoration of the introduction of women into the colony, “TENACITY: Women in Jamestown and Early Virginia,” will be on exhibit through January 5, 2020. It focuses on women from the three cultures — European, Native American and African — present in Jamestown during the years of first contact. (www.historyisfun.org)
Yorktown, because of its location as the deepest natural port in the colonies, was settled in 1682. The first enslaved people in the colonial Transatlantic Slave Trade were brought into this port. Visitors can rent bikes at Segways at Patriot Tours & Provisions or take a free shuttle tour to explore this charming town.
Waterman’s Museum traces the history of Chesapeake Bay watermen from the pre-colonial era onwards with galleries filled with dioramas, artifacts, antiques and models. There is even an onsite workshop where you can watch as models are made. (www.watermens.org)
Mobjack Bay Coffee Roasters & Petite Café is a Yorktown gem. Originally the 1730 Diggs House, rumored to be haunted, it now houses an award-winning working coffee roastery and a wonderful selection of pastries. Directly across the street is the original Customs House. A stop here will make your day. (www.mobjackbaycoffee.com)
The Water Street Grille sits along the York River and offers 20 micro-brews on tap. The menu consists of pub food and fresh seafood selections that can be enjoyed inside or on the patio. (www.waterstreetgrille.net)
American Revolution Museum at Yorktown tells the story of the origins of our country from first contact to early post-Revolutionary War America. The story is related through an indoor museum with interactive exhibits, videos, artifacts and a surround screen film, “The Siege of Yorktown.”
Outdoor exhibitions include a recreated Continental Army encampment and a Revolutionary-era farm complete with garden, main house, tobacco barn and slave cabin. The “Forgotten Soldier” special exhibition will run from June 29, 2019 until March 22, 2020., The exhibition highlights the contributions of enslaved and free African American soldiers who fought for the British and the Continental armies,, and features artwork by Titus Kaphar. (www.historyisfun.org/yorktown-victory-center)
Grab a girlfriend, live the history and then wind down, or up, with some unique shopping opportunities at Weekend Retail Therapy. (www.visitwilliamsburg.com/trip-idea/shopping-williamsburg-weekend-retail-therapy)
Merchants Square consists of more than 40 shops and dining venues clustered in an 18th-century designed village adjacent to Colonial Williamsburg. (www.merchantssquare.org)
There are more than 120 stores in the Williamsburg Premium Outlets, Virginia’s largest outlet mall, including name brand designers, and there are 10 eateries to keep your strength up. Visitors can join the VIP Club online and access special discounts prior to arrival and check out special sale events. (www.premiumoutlets.com/outlet/williamsburg)
The Three Sister Boutique is a great “girlfriend” stop. The focus is on customer service, cutting edge fashion and finding the perfect style for each individual. Clients can be styled online or over the telephone, as well as in the boutique. (www.shopthreesisters.com)
Two of the most fun stops in town are The Sideshow and Quirks. They offer whimsically curated handcrafts that are totally unique. Visits to these shops are a must! (www.kinksandquirks.com) and (www.shopthesideshow.com)
Yankee Candle Village is more than a candle emporium. The complex consists of a gift boutique, general store and Christmas-themed holiday park, complete with Santa and daily indoor snowfalls. Visitors can make their own candle or wax mold of their hand. It appeals to adults and children. (www.yankeecandle.com/williamsburg-village)
The Williamsburg Winery at Wessex offers tours and tastings as well as a boutique hotel and two restaurants. It is listed on the Williamsburg Tasting Trail. (www.williamsburgwinery.com)
Taste Studio, a demonstration kitchen, treats guests to amazing culinary experiences demonstrated by the city’s premier chefs. Demonstrations can feature spirits, gourmet or historic recipes or even an evening of chocolate tastings. (www.colonialwilliamsburghotels.com/dining/taste-studio)
Williamsburg Lodge, a five-star Marriott Autograph Collection property, features perfect accommodations for any visit to Williamsburg. It is a superlative wedding venue and offers superior accommodations with deluxe amenities, three restaurants, golf and the Colonial Williamsburg Spa.
The lodge is located a short distance from Colonial Williamsburg and numerous other attractions. Special packages are available online, including the Fun Girlfriend Getaway. (www.visitwilliamsburg.com/fun-girlfriend-getaway-weekend-in-va)
Remember to dig more deeply into Williamsburg to fully experience it on all levels. Make it the vacation of a lifetime. (www.visitwilliamsburg.com)