Williamsburg, VA

A memorable day in Colonial Williamsburg

B.R. Shenoy

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Holiday wreath on door in Colonial WilliamsburgB.R. Shenoy

We spent a day in Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia, with our extended family during this past Christmas season. It was a magical time of year to visit when decorations abound.

I had visited Colonial Williamsburg decades earlier, but never with my children.

This outdoor museum is the world’s largest living history museum and, as part of American history, is a must-see if you’re in the region.

Over a decade ago, my family and I also visited Plimoth Plantation and Old Sturbridge Village in Massachusetts. Similar to Colonial Williamsburg, both of these living history museums are instructive as well as entertaining.

Historic Area and Historic Trades

Colonial Williamsburg has been meticulously restored and reconstructed precisely as it was a century ago. Incredibly, it is still a functional town with every trade imaginable, from blacksmiths to bookbinders to gunsmiths to the apothecary shop.

The historic area was tranquil during our visit due to the low tourist volume caused by the pandemic. We enjoyed strolling through the historic sites, stopping in at sites open (with flags), and benefiting from the many opportunities to interact with the shoemaker, apothecary, wigmaker, and other tradespeople.

The costumed, in-character employees who portray these historical characters are highly knowledgeable about colonial history and their particular role in American history. They taught us a great deal about the colonial period.

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Dining table in the Governor’s Mansion in Colonial WilliamsburgB.R. Shenoy

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Room in Governor’s Mansion in Colonial WilliamsburgB.R. Shenoy

We enjoyed the brief tours of the Capitol and Governor’s Palace/Gardens.The highlight was exploring the hedge maze behind the Governor’s Palace, a beautiful boxwood path with twists and turns.

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Colonial WilliamsburgB.R. Shenoy

We also visited the foundry, printing office, carpenter’s yard, cabinetmaker, and blacksmith. We would have also taken the carriage rides if they hadn't all been booked.

While strolling around Merchants Square, an 18th-century marketplace lined with historic businesses, we sipped on mulled apple cider and hot cocoa.

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DeWitt Wallace MuseumB.R. Shenoy

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DeWitt Wallace MuseumB.R. Shenoy

The Art Museums

We whiled away a lovely couple of hours at Colonial Williamsburg’s art museums while it poured outside.

The DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum features an extensive collection of American and British antiques, including furniture, metals, pottery, glass, paintings, prints, guns, and textiles from the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries.

The art museums are well worth a visit and nicely complement Colonial Williamsburg’s living history.

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Holiday wreath on door in CWB.R. Shenoy

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Holiday wreath on door in CWB.R. Shenoy

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Holiday wreath on door in CWB.R. Shenoy

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Holiday wreath on door in CWB.R. Shenoy

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Holiday wreath on doorB.R. Shenoy

Holiday Wreaths

A skilled crew of designers in Colonial Williamsburg decorates the doors and windows with a wide array of wreaths created with natural fruits and plants.

I could not help but appreciate these one-of-a-kind holiday wreaths. I clicked these pictures as these stunning wreaths were my personal favorites.

The decorations were created entirely of natural materials. Magnolia trees, with their rich green foliage and enormous, fragrant blossoms, can be found throughout the Historic District and are a popular decoration in Colonial Williamsburg.

The designers change the greens out every week to keep the greens fresh. The attention to detail distinguishes this historical site from the others.

History Buffs

This living history museum is an absolute treasure for history buffs. My son, who is a history enthusiast, greatly appreciated it. He wouldn’t let us leave until we’d explored every historic site and trade in the town.

Unfortunately, the park closes at 5 pm. I believe we were the final visitors that evening. We certainly got our 10,000 steps in for the day!

Final Thoughts

Walking around Colonial Williamsburg is a unique opportunity to experience life during the American Revolution.

If you have the chance, I highly recommend you visit Colonial Williamsburg. Plan on staying for the entire day to soak in all of the rich history.

A version of this article originally appeared on Medium.

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