Join us and visit Virginia to Experience History on the Roads of Virginia’s Historic Triangle
The first permanent English settlement in the New World was established at Jamestown in 1607. There are two major heritage sites at Jamestown: Jamestown Settlement, a living history museum which includes a reconstructed native American village, colonial fort, and replica ships, operated by the Commonwealth of Virginia; and Historic Jamestown, the National Park Service site which includes Jamestown Island and the ongoing archaeological projects.
In 1699, the capital of Virginia was moved from Jamestown to a location on high ground at Middle Plantation at the suggestion of students from the College of William and Mary, which had been established there in 1693. Middle Plantation was soon renamed Williamsburg, in honor of King William III, and it was a busy place until the American Revolution.
In 1780 during the revolution, the capital and government were moved to a more secure location at Richmond. Williamsburg became a largely sleepy little town for almost 150 years, as many young people left the Tidewater area in search of new lands to the west and other frontiers. In the early 20th century, the town was revived due to the preservation efforts of Reverend Dr. W.A.R. Goodwin, rector of Bruton Parish Church, and the generosity of Standard Oil heir John D. Rockefeller Jr. and his family, who shared a dream of restoring the old colonial capital city to its 18th-century state. They worked for decades to develop that vision to honor the early colonial capital.
Today, the result of those efforts, Colonial Williamsburg, is a large living museum of early American life. It has 88 original buildings and dozens of restored and recreated buildings and re-enactors. It is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. The Visitor’s Center (right off the Colonial Parkway) features a short movie. It has a parking area, as automobiles are restricted from the restored area. A wheelchair-accessible shuttle bus service is provided.
The third point of the triangle is Yorktown, where General Cornwallis surrendered to George Washington in 1781 in the last land battle of the American Revolution. There are two large visitor centers, battlefield drives, and a waterfront area. The historic area of downtown has numerous buildings from the pre-Revolutionary era.
The three Historic Triangle areas (and the Colonial Parkway between them) have been restored to promote a sense of the past. Nearby are many modern hotels, motels, campgrounds, restaurants, shops and stores, gasoline stations, and amusements.
- Colonial Williamsburg Foundation’s official site
- Historic Jamestowne
- Williamsburg Area Convention and Visitors Bureau – The Official Website
Join us biking through history on our next tour. We would love to see you!
For more information, contact us with your questions.
This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.