August 20 2010 by Karla Henriquez
My parents, Jeff and Silvia, love to travel. When I'm looking for a new place to visit I sometimes call them to get ideas. While staying with them this week we ended up talking about one of their favorite places in the U.S., an area they've been to three times in the last ten years: Williamsburg, Virginia. They tend to favor sites that are either historic or naturally beautiful and consider Williamsburg, in Tidewater Virginia to be both.
The number one attraction there is Colonial Williamsburg. Williamsburg was the original capital of the Virginia Colony and when the capital was moved to Richmond, it became a backwater that did not grow. Lots of original buildings remain such as the House of the Burgesses, taverns, old homes, stables, stores, and inns. Fortunately for us today, the lack of economic progress in the area left it unchanged, which in turn made preservation and restoration of historical sites easier.
Today, you get the Colonial period feeling with reenactments of life during that time. Each day is acted out as if it were an actual day in history. As you walk around, you see stockades, slaves discussing "current events", colonial law enforcement, colonial courts, and various other parts of daily life. The historical consistency really puts visitors back in time and helps them connect with that period's people and events.
In the area, there are various plantations you can visit. At most of these, you can take a tour that includes a visit to the traditional manor or plantation house, the slave quarters, the barns and other out buildings plus a bit of tobacco under cultivation.
After Colonial Williamsburg the next most interesting thing to see is the Jamestown & Yorktown area. A parkway connects the two places and both are part of the National Park Service. Jamestown is on the James River and here you can visit the dig site of the Jamestown Settlement and visit a museum where the history of this 1607 community is told through film, gallery exhibits, and reenactments. There is also a glass blowing exhibition there that is fascinating.
Yorktown is a Revolutionary War battle ground site and has the old redoubts, cannons, bunkers, and other artifacts along with interpretations of how the battle of Yorktown played out. Remember it was here that the Brits effectively lost the war although it took a few more years for them to hammer out the final peace agreement. The park is known as the National Historical Park.
For those who want to get some modern-day thrills along with the history lessons, visit Busch Gardens, a world-class theme park that will get your adrenaline going! Those who need to reconnect with modern life in a more different way may want to visit the Prime Outlets for a little shopping.
Whatever you end up doing in the area, you'll definitely want to stay at the Best Western Historic Area Inn, an elegant and affordable hotel located just one mile from Colonial Williamsburg. It offers all the usual Best Western amenities, served up with southern hospitality and charm.