Wednesday morning of spring break 2018, we parked at the visitor center and walked across a long bridge that’s supposed to take you back in time a few hundred years, into colonial Williamsburg. I needed coffee, so our first stop was the Liberty Lounge, which offered free coffee and snacks to veterans (or current members of the armed forces). One of the volunteers inside was a retired F-4 pilot, so the two of us (plus my son) enjoyed discussing the evolution of military aircraft in the 20th century, which is not how I expected to spend my time in colonial Williamsburg, but we enjoyed it nonetheless.
We then wandered into the courthouse, where my youngest played “clerk of court” and made the guide/lawyer laugh a bunch.
We saw a mock trial involving a defendant accused of gambling too much, but he was acquitted, thank goodness.
My son enjoyed discussing various weapons used in colonial times with a Native American.
We explored other buildings, like the Magazine & Guardhouse, the Governor’s Palace, the Mckenzie Apothecary, the theatre, the George Wythe House, Bruton Parish church (including Jefferson’s pew!), the Capitol building, and some stores and taverns.
We loved talking to the knowledgeable costumed guides in each building, learning about life in Virginia when it was a still a colony, and experiencing history lessons instead of reading them.
Then we browsed some of the stores in Merchants Square, pausing for a few minutes with Thomas Jefferson on a bench.
While not a national park, colonial Williamsburg was a great addition to our educational family roadtrip–lots to see and do, and well worth a full day (or more…there was lots we didn’t have time to experience)!
My advice to anyone planning such a trip is to book the extra activities in advance (ox cart rides, ax throwing, ghost tours, etc.) online. Since we could not get a military discount online for some reason, we bought our tickets in person the morning of our visit, and by then, all the “extras” were fully booked (as Fulton County, Georgia was not the only school district having spring break at that time). I hope we can go back sometime when we can see and do even more!