Before we went to Williamsburg I couldn’t quite understand what Colonial Williamsburg was supposed to be. I always thought of it like a theme park but when I started researching it seemed like that wasn’t quite right.

It turns out that it is actually a few streets. Just public roads in Williamsburg VA. In the 1930s a group decided to commemorate the history that happened there and they started preserving and rebuilding some of the buildings on those roads.


We started our visit at the official visitor center to get a day pass. They do have discount passes for veterans. The visitor’s center is not close to the area with the buildings. There is a shuttle or you can walk. They said it was 1/3 of a mile. Maybe it is in a straight line but the path was not a straight line. It was closer to a mile by the time we got there.

If you have a pass you can go into any of the buildings that are open and talk to the people in period costumes who are there. There are tours of places like the Governor’s Mansion and the Capitol and a tavern where the lawmakers went when they got fired by the Governor for supporting Boston after the Tea Party. You know what buildings are open if there is a flag out front. We were there on a Friday in June. According to the guide, that was the day when most of the building should have been open, and it didn’t seem like they were. Most of the buildings you walked by were closed.


I liked the tours that we were able to do in the big buildings. Bonus – they have been retrofitted with air conditioning which in nice in the Southern summer.

There are several artisan shops. We stopped at the tin smiths and the weavers. They were very knowledgeable. They do stay mostly in character unless they can’t like when the weaver was talking about how they weave mostly with linen because cotton wouldn’t become practical until the cotton gin was invented later than the time period that they were portraying. The husband will talk to anyone so he’d ask them what they thought of those rebels’ chances against the British and they’d discuss politics. He said a bonus of that was seeing how fast I could disappear when he would start talking. We went into the apothecary and some lady was in there trying to act smart. She was annoying and was obviously trying to trip up the woman manning the shop. So at one point I hear the husband’s voice yell from the from the back of the store, “Hogwash! We all know their humors are just off.”

The person working in the store slapped her hands on the counter and said, “Oh! I see we have an intellectual in the back! Now we’re going to have a philosophical discussion.” Then she used that to move to a different topic from whatever that annoying lady was nattering on about. So I guess he was useful.

There are restaurants and snack shops there but at the end of the road there is a modern shopping center. It sits between the historical area and William and Mary College. You can easily walk over there for lunch. We went to Mellow Mushroom for pizza. It was way easier to be a vegan there than at historically accurate taverns.

There is an area just for veterans too.


We went just to see what it was. There was a little building where you could sit down. There was a bathroom and they had some water and hot drinks. There were some books for kids to read. I read one about a horse who ran down the street in Williamsburg because he was looking for a friend.

We spent most of one day walking around and going to the museum. But since our hotel was fairly nearby we went back on two more evenings too. The pedestrian only area is a mile long. So we would park in the shopping area and go for a walk down the historical area and back to get a 2 mile walk in once it cooled down in the evening. We weren’t the only ones doing this. There were dog walkers out and other people.

Obviously we were supposed to be doing this or why would there be a street labeled this nearby?


This baby and mom were hanging out in a small pasture on the edge of the historical area. I’d wave when we walked by but they ignore tourists.