Williamsburg Off The Beaten Path

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Best Rated Off The Beaten Path in Williamsburg

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    Jamestown Settlement & Yorktown Victory Center.

    by deecat Updated May 28, 2005

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    Allan on Ship at Jamestown Settlement

    While visiting Colonial Williamsburg, you cannot forget to also visit Jamestown Settlement. Like Williamsburg, it is a reenactment of history.

    Here, the story of the people who founded Jamestown and of the Virginia Indians that they encountered is told through living history, gallery exhibits, and film. They trace Jamestown's beginnings in England and the first century of the Virginia colony, describing the cultures of the Powhatan Indians, Europeans, and Africans who converged in the 1600s in Virginia.

    The most fun for us was the outdoor activities where visitors can board replicas of the three ships that sailed from England to Virginia in 1607 (see Allan on one of the ships). You can also explore life-size re-creations of the colonists' fort & a Powhatan Village. We also toured a riverfront discovery area and learned about economic activities that are associated with water. What was fun was to see the costumed historical interpreters describe & demonstrate daily life in the early 17th century.

    Several times daily there are guided tours of the museum's living-history areas.
    This live museum is located adjacent to the entrance of the original site, HISTORIC JAMESTOWNE.

    Yorktown Victory Center is a blend of timeline, film, and exhibits as well as outdoor living history concerning American colonies independence from Britain. We liked the re-created Continental Army encampment, the 1780s farm, tobacco barn, gardens, and house. There is also a Gift shop. Both of these live museums are great places to be immersed in American History.

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    A Must See: Carter's Grove

    by deecat Updated May 28, 2005

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    Door at Carter's Grove

    Carter's Grove is eight miles from Colonial Williamsburg. It is a beautiful colonial plantation along the James River. The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation has created authentic displays and "living" exhibits here showing four centuries of history. I tell you, after you have been here, you have a deeper appreciation of history!

    Robert "King" Carter purchased this land, and his grandson, Carter Burwell, built a Georgian mansion here. Carter lived here for only six months before his death. His son Nathaniel Burwell then lived here and raised corn and wheat. The Burwell family remained here until 1838.
    The most interesting part of visiting this plantation is to learn about the slaves who lived in cramped dwellings with bare domestic necessities. They formed their own unique community and blended their African and Virginian heritages, creating a new African-American culture.

    Mr. and Mrs. Archibald McCrea purchased Carter's Grove in 1928, and they deeded it to Colonial Williamsburg in 1969.

    Be sure to see the RECEPTION CENTER as you enter Carter's Grove. Watch the orientation film and see the exhibits such as the reconstructed slave quarter where you see the backbone of support for this busy plantation. Then, cross the grounds and see an orientation film in the stable area before visiting the MANSION. Take a self-guided tour (1/2 hour).

    If you are interested in archaeological research, then go to underground Winthrop Rockefeller Archaeology Museum west of the mansion.

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    Windmill, Cooper, & Rural Trade Site

    by deecat Updated May 28, 2005

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    Robertson's Windmill

    This is a photograph of the Robertson's Windmill which is located on North England Street, but it is a copy of the 1723 original windmill. It was reconstructed on its orginal site. this is a lattice-vaned, linen-sailed machine. It stands on the Colonial Williamsburg's Windmill, Cooper, and Rural Trades site.

    Closeby, barrel makers, sawyers, and farmers do authentic work. Thus, we visitors are able to see how a colonial barrel was made, how tobacco was packed, how a shingle was split, how wheat was ground, how a board was sawed, and how corn rows were tended.

    William Robertson ran the windmill, but he was also appointed clerk of the colony's Council, and a city alderman. Robertson's windmill was a post mill which was a design from Europe in the Middle Ages. Its structure balanced on a large, single timber (post) to be turned into the wind by a man at the tailpole. When a breeze spun the windmill's blades, a shaft * gear turned a millstone to grind corn into meal or wheat into flour.

    Colonial coopers made wooden containers for everything. The best were made of white oak.

    You can also see shingles made from logs, and the production of tobacco can also be seen.
    It's lots of fun to see these actual activities just as they were done in the 18th Century.

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    Rare Breeds at Colonial Williamsburg

    by Yaqui Updated Jan 23, 2005

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    Williamsburg has a very extensive rare breeding program on going to preserve the livestock of its past. They believe that the American Cream is the only draft breed to originate in the United States that would have been well suited for this area. The breed descended from a draft type mare with an outstanding cream color. ‘Old Granny’ (the first registered American Cream) appeared at a farm auction in Story County, Iowa in 1911. Her foaling date has been placed between 1900 and 1905. She was purchased by a well-known stock dealer, Harry Lakin, and began to foal several cream colored colts on the Lakin farm, all of which sold for above average prices.

    I found these horses crazing ever so happily in a field and I was drawn to them, of course. You could tell they were being taken care of, because their coats just shined.

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    Williamsburg Gardens

    by Yaqui Updated Jul 25, 2012

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    While strolling around, I did notice the lovely manicured grounds and gardens that are nestled everywhere. One that I enjoyed was right outside the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum on South England Street. It had this very lovely hallway of vines to walk through, and a gorgeous fountain in the front and in the back, another very inviting garden in the back.

    ........when I heard that there were artists, I wished I could some time be one. If I could only make a rose bloom on paper, I thought I should be happy! or if I could at last succeed in drawing the outline of winter-stripped boughs as I saw them against the sky, it seemed to me that I should be willing to spend years in trying.
    ~Lucy Larcom, A New England Girlhood, 1889~

    101 Visitor Center Drive, Williamsburg, VA 23185

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    Note: Carter's Grove to Close Temporarily

    by deecat Written Dec 23, 2004

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    I just read that Carter's Gove is to close for comprehensive facility, site and program assessment! The article said that the Colonial Williamsburg foundation will close its Carter's Grove property for two years beginning January 2, 2003 to conduct a comprehensive assisment of all facilities, grounds, and programs located on the 750-acre complex. So, that means that in 2005 (pretty close now), it should reopen.

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    Get on a boat without ever leaving your car...

    by upesnlwc Written Jan 12, 2006

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    Take a ferry ride over to Surry. While there isn't much to see on the other side of the river, other than undeveloped farmland, the ride is very nice. While on the ship you can feed the seagulls, take pictures of the James River Coast, or keep your eyes peeled for the Bald Eagle that has been perching on the turn bouy.

    In fact, you can take the Colonial Parkway right to the entrance of the Ferry. Don't you like how my off the beaten path tips flow together. :)

    The Ferry runs every 30 mintues from the Jamestown and Surry side of the James River.

    Located at the end of Jamestown Road.

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    Charles City: Plantation Country

    by b1bob Updated Sep 27, 2008

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    James River Plantations: Charles City, VA

    Charles City's Plantation Row is often overlooked by tourists who flock to Williamsburg. All the plantations predate the War for Southern Independence. One is the site of the first Thanksgiving and where the first 10 U.S. presidents had ties. One (William Henry Harrison) was born at Berkely Plantation. Other plantations include Westover and Shirley. Since I originally wrote this tip, the owners of Evelynton Plantation closed it to tourists and Indian Field Tavern has changed name and ownership to the Charles City Tavern. From what I understand, they offer the same type of food on their menu. From Colonial Williamsburg, simply go southwest on VA-31/VA-5/JAMESTOWN RD toward CHANDLER CT. Turn RIGHT onto VA-5 W/VA-199 W. 0.5 miles (0.3 km.) Turn LEFT onto VA-5 W/JOHN TYLER MEMORIAL HWY to the plantation of your choice 20-30 miles (32-48 km.).

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    Yorktown

    by JudyinPA Updated Jan 17, 2004

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    The Battlefield

    George Washington and the French General, Rochambeau arrived at Yorktown in late September 1781to fight the British and win to end the Revolutionary War in October 1781. The Battlefield is now a National Park. Tickets to Jamestown and Yorktown can be purchased together or separate.

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    Presidents (Heads) Park

    by Karnubawax Written Oct 12, 2005

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    Looming like a patriotic Easter Island, Presidents Park contains the larger-than-life likenesses of all 43 presidents, most measuring 16-18 feet high! Signs give you lots of info on their accomplishments, nicknames, and just about everything else. Renowned sculptor David Adickes created these giant heads a few at a time, and they were on display in various places throughout Virginia before being assembled in this park.

    This is by no means some weird artist's idea of a joke; the folks here take it all very seriously, and market the park as an educational tool, which it certainly is. Even the most ardent history buffs will learn something new about our nation's leaders.

    President's Park is located on I-64, Exit 242B, on the way to Busch Gardens and Water Country USA, just a few miles east of Colonial Williamsburg. Tickets are $9.75 for adults, $6.50 for kids, under 5 free (AAA discount - 10%). It is open 10-8 daily from April thru August, 10-4 the rest of the year.

    You can easily see this place in an hour or two, so just make it a side trip - don't plan to spend all day here.

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    Only 1 1/2 hours from the mountains

    by upesnlwc Written Jan 19, 2006

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    Williamsburg is situated very conveniently about 90 minutes away from the Blue Ridge Mountains.

    The education never stops as you approach Charlottesville. Up on a mountaintop, you will see a large manicured yard. This is Monticello, home of Thomas Jefferson. While Jefferson oversaw the building of the University of Virginia, he could keep an eye on the project through a telescope on his mountaintop home site.

    Virginia wine country. The Charlottesville area has cornered the market on Virginia wine production. with over 25 vinyards within 20 miles of Charlottesville, you are never far from a wonderfully aged Cab Franc or Reisling. Go to: http://www.virginiawineguide.com/

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    Virginia Beach

    by bugalugs Updated Feb 22, 2004

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    If you fancy a bit of relaxation or a paddle in the sea, only about an hours drive away is Virginia Beach. Miles of sand, dolphins swimming just offshire and lots to do. The boardwalk is lovely having been recently undergone reconstruction. Its where you will see people cycling, roller blading, or just strolling along.

    Skates and bikes can be hired at a few places along the boardwalk.

    There is a fun fair, golf courses, sailing canoeing, and also lots of evening entertainment.

    Lots of cafes, restaurants to suit all pockets.

    To get there, take the I-64 south, crossing the James River/Chesapeake Bat at Hampton, across to Norfolk. Then east on 264 (Virginia Beach Expressway).

    The picture is of me sitting on the balcony of the hotel in Virginia Beach

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    Carter's Grove Plantation

    by upesnlwc Written Jan 19, 2006

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    Located eight miles southeast of the Historic Area on the James River, Carter's Grove was home to Virginia's earliest settlers in the 1600s, to proud plantation owners and enslaved field workers in the 1700s and 1800s, and to a 20th-century couple who preserved and embellished the property's historic appeal in the 1930s and 1940s. The stately Georgian mansion has been called "the most beautiful house in America." The grounds include the reconstructed 18th-century slave quarters, which represents life as it was lived by the vast majority of the inhabitants of the Chesapeake ? both black and white. Two double houses, a corncrib, a single-family dwelling, small garden plots, and chicken pens positioned around a courtyard represent a small slave community.

    Also located on the property is Wolstenholme Towne, a partially reconstructed settlement and fort, and The Winthrop Rockefeller Archaeology Museum

    CARTER'S GROVE IS CURRENTLY CLOSED FOR RENOVATION. I WILL UPDATE THIS PAGE WHEN THE SITE HAS BEEN REOPENED

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    Yorktown

    by bugalugs Updated Feb 2, 2004

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    Grace Church

    About 20 minutes drive away is Yorktown, situated on the York River and famous as it was here that American Independance was won. The British led by Lord Cornwallis surrendered to George Washington.

    As you drive down to Yorktown a lot of the roads you travel on are tree lined. We noticed this greyish stuff hanging from lots of the trees, we thought it was old spiders webs. Then thought to have made so many webs there would have to have been millions of spiders. Then reading a vt page by bdbrewer (Bob) he mentioned something called hanging moss and apparently this is what it is. I have never heard of it before or seen it. It is very unusual, but I am glad I found out exactly what it is. Thanks Bob.

    Thomas Nelson House

    Thomas Nelson was a prominent business man and also a signatory on the declaration for Independance.

    Tobacco Road

    Tobacco was a thriving business here at one time. See the dirt track that was used to ferry the tobacco which was in barrels down to the port.

    The Sessions House

    This house has been visited by 5 US Presidents.

    The Customs House

    Where the duty was paid for cargoes.

    Cornwallis Cave

    Where Lord Cornwallis hid from the americans and french.

    Grace Church

    A wonderful building, built in 1697 and still in use today.

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    Busch Gardens

    by bugalugs Updated Jan 26, 2004

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    Only 3 miles from Williamsburg is Busch Gardens. A must for kids especially. As we had our son and his friend with us, both 16 you can imagine that walking around Colonial Williamsburg didnt have the same appeal as riding white knuckle rides at Busch Gardens.

    This tip is purely on what my son and his friend said. We dropped them both of at 10am when the park opens. They bought a 3 day pass which enabled them to go into either Busch Gardens or Water Country. As we were there only 3 nights and 2 days, they obviously could not use them for 3 days. Quite a good buy if you could.

    Apparently the best ride was Apollo's Chariot and the queues for this ride were quite a long wait. The Big Bad Wolf was another ride they liked although my son said that the force of the ride did hurt his neck a bit. Escape from Pompeii was a water ride they liked but they did inform me that you do get very wet.

    Amenities in the park, such as food and drink outlets, restrooms and locker facilities apparently were very good.

    They really enjoyed their day there.

    The park closed at different times depending on the day. Check their website.

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