Saturday, December 31, 2011

Out of N.C., on to Williamsburg

Williamsburg is not in North Carolina, and this is a North Carolina travel blog. But this North Carolinian has traveled to Colonial Williamsburg this New Year’s weekend. So I’ll write a few posts about it.

It’s a familiar place for my family. We’ve visited in the area several times where our daughter was younger, and one year even enjoyed an annual pass. We drove to Virginia’s colonial capital four times that year. Another year, we took my mother and mother-in-law for several days. This year, we’ll travel with our daughter, her husband and our three grandsons.

What’s the draw?

Plenty. Williamsburg is one of the more unique historic attractions in the nation. It consists of several blocks of restored colonial-era buildings. Historic interpreters in period costumes inform the hundreds of thousands of visitors who make the trek each year. Cars are banned from the restored area, so it is nearly always family-friendly. Thomas Jefferson earned his law degree in this town, at adjacent William and Mary College. A 20-something George Washington took a seat in the House of Burgesses in Williamsburg, worshipped at Bruton Parish Church in town and spent his honeymoon in Williamsburg after marrying the widow Martha Custis. There was Peyton Randolph. Lady Dunmore. The traitor Benedict Arnold, who seized Williamsburg for two days in spring 1781.

Virginia was one of England’s first New World settlements, and it became one of this nation’s most prominent colonies, both financially and politically. The Royal Governor resided in Williamsburg.

What is there to see? The Governor’s Palace. The courthouse and the armory. Greenhowe’s general store. A period bakery. Several taverns that still serve meals. A renown Fife and Drum corps that performs regularly.

It would take years to see everything. I’m a witness.

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