Virginia Historical Sites And Landmarks

Information on various historical sites and landmarks for tourists in the state of Virginia. Colonial Williamsburg, Jamestown, Virginia Beach, and other cities are featured.

In the 18th century, England's oldest and largest colony of settlers was none other than Williamsburg, Virginia. This beautiful city was considered by Thomas Jefferson to have, "the finest school of manners and morals that ever existed in America."

Unbelievably, Thomas Jefferson would surely feel the same as he did a few hundred years later in this well preserved city, frozen in time. Williamsburg looks nearly identical today as it did in 1770 thanks to the efforts of historians, craftsmen and archeologists working hard for more than seventy-five years to capture the era by recreating and reenacting the lives of our ancestors in Colonial Williamsburg.

More than 500 Queen Anne and Georgian period buildings on over 170 acres with approximately 100 breathtaking gardens, make up this city where time stands still. There are more than forty exhibition buildings open to visitors to view hundreds of authentically furnished period rooms. There are also numerous shops, yards and fields, where tourist can relive this period in time, as actors reenact the times using the skills, tools and crafts of our forefathers.

From the Blacksmiths chiming anvil to the sounds of the fife and drum of the Militia marching drills at Market Square, Colonial Williamsburg greets its visitors with the sights and sounds of the 18th century.

Upon entering this colonial community, daily and annual admission tickets to this Historic City can be purchased at the Visitor Center in Williamsburg. This admission fee includes unlimited use of the town's bus service since private vehicles are prohibited throughout most of the Historic Area.

The Governor's Palace stands majestically as it did so long ago. Once the residence of Virginia's royal governors, this building was once considered to be the most elegant in British America. Near by the Capital building of Williamsburg was rebuilt on its original foundation. This building served as the judicial and political center of Colonial Virginia.



The George Wythe House is yet another famous building attracting visitors. A spacious brick home typical of the larger homes in its day. This building was once the home of George Wythe, whose signature can be found on the Declaration of Independence.

The Peyton Randolph House in Colonial Williamsburg is furnished with exquisite American and English antiques. The Randolphs, who were the most prominent family in the colonial time period, once occupied this home open to visitors.

Tourists also delight in visiting the general businesses of the city hosted by interpreters dressed in authentic looking costumes and reenacting the positions of the workers. Visitors among the many recreated roles observe taverns, shops, jewelers, gunsmiths, silversmiths and shoemakers.

Not far from Colonial Williamsburg, travelers will discover a number of other historical sites and attractions. Just south of the city lies Historic Jamestown. Under the leadership of Captain John Smith, the early settlers founded the first permanent English settlement in America. Visitors can take a walking tour of the site, visiting the foundations of many original structures. The Old Church Tower is believed to be one of the first brick churches in the United States. The New Town area has several homesites still standing on the original streets of Jamestown, including the ruins of the Amber House originally built in the mid-18th century. The Jamestown Visitor Center houses the country's largest collection of artifacts from this time period.

Both the Yorktown and Richmond National Battlefields are located near Colonial Williamsburg. The Yorktown Battlefield, where General Cornwallis surrendered to the American and French forces in 1781, is southeast of the city. Inside the visitor center at Yorktown, tourists are welcome to inspect Washington's field tents and other exhibits containing artifacts and information about the famous battle. The entire field can be seen from the outdoor observation deck.

Northwest of Colonial Williamsburg visitors can tour the ten sites at Richmond National Battlefield Park. This 765-acre park commemorates two of the major campaigns by Union troops to seize Richmond from 1861 through 1865. The visitor center offers interpretive exhibits, audiovisual programs and maps to tour the battlefields.

Museum enthusiasts will want to tour the Chrysler Museum at nearby Norfolk. This beautiful building contains Greek and Roman sculptures and celebrated works by Baroque and Renaissance artists and American artists of the past two centuries. Also, works by European, Egyptian, Oriental and pre-Columbian artists are featured. The museum contains one of the finest glassware collections in the world from Roman to present day.

The Mariners' Museum in neighboring Newport News is a 550 acre park and museum located on the James River. This site devoted to the sea contains one of the most complete maritime collections in the world. The tour of the museum includes roaming twelve large galleries containing authentic hand-carved figureheads, paintings, miniature ship models and various navigational instruments. Inside the Small Craft Building, collections of small boats from around the world reside. Included are dugouts, fishing boats, yachts, a gondola and a sampan.

Last but not least, tourists seeking historical homes and exhibits will want to visit Virginia Beach. This historic town offers tours of homes built in the 17th and 18th centuries of early America. Vacationers also enjoy the miles of sandy beaches, sightseeing cruises, charter boats for fishing bass, tuna and marlin and camping by the sea.

Virginia's historical sites and attractions delight both young and old in search of the America of the past, which shaped the America of today.

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