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Learn about the Historic Triangle of Virginia by reading Historic Triangle of Williamsburg/Jamestown/Yorktownby Charlie Spence, WTA Member and Travel Writer. It features a mini, but thorough tour of the destination, plus all you'll need to know to plan your trip including getting there, objective information on places to stay and eat, and things to do. At the end of the article, we've provided a summary of the contact information for your easy reference. Enjoy!

Historic Triangle of Williamsburg/Jamestown/Yorktown

by Charlie Spence, Travel Writer and WTA Member

Photo: Copyright Jamestown/Yorktown Foundation
At Jamestown, where America began, visit the three ships
that brought the first settlers to the new world

You travel in a time machine when you come to the Williamsburg / Jamestown / Yorktown triangle in Virginia, but instead of whisking you into the future, you’re transported back to Colonial days. So much history fills this area that it is difficult to decide where to start, so take it in chronological order, going first to where it all began—Jamestown. In 1607, Captain John Smith and 103 other English persons stepped ashore and began to build the first permanent English colony in America. As you enter this area you step back in time to the 17th century. Suddenly you are experiencing the culture of Pocahontas in the Powhatan Indian village. In this re-created village explore Powhatan life before arrival of the English, climb into a dugout canoe, and try your hand at grinding corn or weaving plant fibers into rope.

Take a carriage ride on Duke of Gloucester Street in old Colonial Williamsburg
Photos Courtesy Virginia Tourist Corporation

Go aboard replicas of Susan Constant, Godspeed, or Discovery that the settlers sailed on the four-month journey. Enter James Fort to try on armor and watch a musket-firing demonstration. See the remains of a glass-blowing factory, the reason why the English came to America.  Glass was just developed and the English feared there was not enough sand locally to produce enough glass to fill the demands, so they sent a group to the New World to make the product.

Just eight miles away you leap in time to the eve of the American Revolution when you enter Colonial Williamsburg and mingle with hundreds of people representing citizens of the town as it was in the 18th Century. In this 173-acre community you will see more than 500 reconstructed buildings and meet the people of the town, dressed, working, and living just as the original residents did. Step into their taverns. See them stoke the fire outside a tenant house or judge the accused in the courts. Join in as they discuss British taxes, religious freedom and the alarming notion of separation from Britain. As you enter the Capitol, listen attentively and you might believe you hear the voices of Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, or maybe Patrick Henry issuing his challenge of “Give me liberty or give me death.”

Fife and drum corps march toward the reconstructed building where
Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry debated.
Photos Courtesy Virginia Tourist Corporation

The third point of the triangle reveals the drama of the birth of a nation where the American Revolution ended with the surrender of General Cornwallis to General George Washington at Yorktown. Tour the battlefield—just a short walk from the museum—and immerse yourself in the life of a Continental soldier - the encampment, the medical techniques, the camp cooking, and musket firing. In the Yorktown Victory Center, galleries, films, and personal presentations make the Revolution live again for you—and you’re a part of it.

If all this immersion in history gets too much for the children, or adults, just three miles away from Williamsburg is Busch Gardens, the Old Country. For nine consecutive years this park has been voted “America’s most beautiful theme park.” Old Country sections feature places of Europe like the French Village, Rhinefield, Germany and the Rhine River Cruise. There are dozens of rides.  If you have the nerve, go on the “Alpengeist,” the world’s tallest most twisted roller coaster. WTA members can obtain special discount coupons to Busch Gardens to make your visit even more enjoyable (


Getting there

By air, fly into either Richmond or Norfolk, Virginia. Williamsburg is about half way between the two on Interstate 64.

Where to stay

Accommodations abound in the area. Rates vary with the seasons. A few typical places include:

  • Ramada Inn - $41 to $129
  • Radisson Fort Magruder  - $59 to $835
  • Embassy Suites - $79 to $209
  • Williamsburg Inn - $200 to $999.99
  • Quality Inn - $41 to $139.95

For a wide choice of locations, prices, and for reservations, use WTA’s Travel Booking Service where you can compare rates and make reservations or you may contact the Williamsburg Hotel and Motel Association, which represents more than 70 places, toll free at 1-800-999-4485.

Where to eat

Meals can be anything from today’s fast food to colonial dining. Four historic taverns welcome you in the historic area of Williamsburg with names like King’s Arms, and Shields where the wait staffs, in 18th century dress, serve traditional menus. If you prefer a modern bill of fare, there are 11 other restaurants in or near the historic area where you can get Chesapeake Bay favorites or a choice of cuisines from around the world.

When to go

Williamsburg’s weather makes it possible to go any time of year. However, peak season is the summer which is also the hottest and most humid. Around the Christmas holidays is a special time to go as Williamsburg is decorated beautifully for the season. Spring and fall are also popular times because the weather is the most comfortable and the crowds tend to be a bit less. If you want to combine with a side trip to Busch Gardens, time your trip with when the park is open.

More Info

Williamsburg Area Convention and Visitors Bureau,
Williamsburg Online,

Notice: This information is current as of April 2002. It is recommended that you contact the numbers, and/or visit the websites above to determine any changes to the information.