Williamsburg, Virginia, about a two-and-a-half-hour drive from the heart of Northern Virginia, offers more than just a dose of Colonial history, especially during the fall season. This month and beyond, here’s how to spend a daytrip or a weekend vacation in Virginia’s first capital.
Taste of Busch Gardens
Running now through Sunday, Sept. 27, Taste of Bush Gardens offers samples of 15 specialty foods and over 30 wines, beers and specialty beverages for guests. Experience it all at the amusement park’s villages of Oktoberfest, Rhinefeld, England, Ireland, Scotland, France and New France. Select coasters, rides and the famous Clydesdales are also featured attractions of the event. Reserve tickets and find out more here.
Fun Halloween celebrations for families and all ages are heading to Williamsburg this October, including Family Frights at Jamestown Settlement on Friday, Oct. 23 and Saturday, Oct. 24 from 6:30 to 9 p.m. both nights. The event lets families explore the outdoor areas of Jamestown Settlement in a one-way, socially distanced direction, and children will be given prepackaged candy from the various outdoor interpretive areas. Staff will be in costumes and there will be lighted crescents, bonfires, storytelling and creatively themed areas.
Haunted Williamsburg will also return this year, with authentic 18th-century Colonial ghost stories and creepy tales of modern-day encounters with the supernatural. Costumed storytellers, candlelit walking ghost tours, haunted sites and more are all a part of the experience.
Thinking of Thanksgiving
Greater Williamsburg is where the first English Thanksgiving took place in America, and although celebrations for this year’s specific events and activities are to be announced, guests of Williamsburg can plan on visiting Berkeley Plantation, where the first Thanksgiving took place, as well as the Jamestown Settlement and Historic Jamestowne to learn more about the holiday’s roots. This year, from Thursday, Nov. 26 to Saturday, Nov. 28, the Jamestown Settlement will host Foods & Feasts of Colonial Virginia, which explores centuries-old cooking techniques and what the settlers gathered, preserved and prepared on land and at sea.
The museums at Colonial Williamsburg recently completed a $41.7 million expansion project, and now, new exhibition spaces are ready for guests to peek at, including Early American Faces, The Art of Edward Hicks and American Folk Pottery: Art and Tradition. Find out more about the project here.
Colonial Williamsburg is digging up its past: It recently announced a new community archaeology project underway in the Historic Area. The project will explore the site of America’s oldest church founded by enslaved people and free Blacks. Find more details here.
Not yet ready to head to a festival or be near any crowds (even if they are reduced due to COVID-19 restrictions)? We get it. Luckily, there’s still plenty to do in Williamsburg with social distancing in mind. Outdoors activities abound in the area dubbed America’s first outdoor vacation destination, including kayaking, boating, sailing (including pirate cruises and tall ship schooners), fishing, ziplining, Segway tours, golfing, biking and more, including bird-watching and nature walks in Colonial National Historic Park.
For people who want to experience Colonial Williamsburg without the trip, there are virtual options as well. Virtual tours of Colonial Williamsburg’s Capitol, Art Museums and the Governor’s Palace, as well as a virtual scavenger hunt of the Art Museums, can be found here.
And, Jamestown Settlement and the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown are offering virtual museum experiences, online educational resources, lesson plans, living-history broadcasts for at-home audiences and more here.
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