At Traditions, Executive Chef Anthony Frank serves Southern and Chesapeake food with a modern flare.For breakfast, opt for the buffet or dine á la carte. Who wouldn’t go for Fruited Flap Jacks or Virginian Poached Organic Eggs? Lunch is full or original twists. The Roasted Vidalia Onion Soup has croutons made from goat cheese, the Southern Caesar Salad is topped with fried okra and the BLT Burger features fried green tomatoes. Dinner makes it apparent that Traditions is all about new customs. Try the Grilled South Hampton Country Eggplant Burger, Nelson County Roasted Gala Apple Bisque or Surryano Ham Crusted Wild Caught Salmon. If you like what you taste, finish the night with the pecan tart, goat cheese cheesecake or chocolate peanut torte. a(children) 's menu offers many of the same delicious items in kid-size portions. If you enjoy a drink on your vacation, look into Wine Wit & Wisdom or Pints & Pairings for the adults in your party.
At Duck Donuts, your donuts are made to order. Watch as they are cooked and topped and handed to you warm. Add a gourmet coffee and you’ll be ready to start your day! Order one or an entire bucket. Coating options include cinnamon sugar, glaze, vanilla icing, chocolate icing, peanut butter icing, strawberry icing and maple icing. Top them with shredded coconut, chocolate or rainbow sprinkles, or chopped peanuts. Yum!
Commemorate your visit with a stop at WILLIAMSBURG Revolutions. Pick out a t-shirt, drum, colonial figurine and hat, or rent an 18th-century costume so your kids can pretend to be a colonist during your stay. If you’re not sure what to buy your friends back home, traditional American goodies are a tasty decision!
R. Charleston's Coffeehouse
Buy a ticket to sample coffee the 18th-century way at R. Charlton’s Coffeehouse. Sip on a steamy brew of coffee, tea or chocolate and imagine the Williamsburg elite doing the same as they talked politics. Pause on the front porch. It was here that George Mercer, a stamp agent from England, took refuge as an angry mob chased him in protest of England’s Stamp Act. Governor Fauquier kept the mob from overrunning the coffeehouse.
Huzza! BBQ Grill
Take the family to Huzzah! BBQ Grille, where Southern comfort and all-American food are printed on the same menu. Squeeze into a booth and order a regional favorite – slow-cooked barbecue – and add a side of southern-style collard greens or homemade macaroni and cheese. Kids love selecting their own toppings for a personal junior pizza, baked until crispy in the oven. With hot dogs, chicken tenders and cheeseburgers, too, it’s hard not to make your children smile here. Order a sampler of local beers and the adults will be chipper as well.
Christiana Campbell's Tavern
Christiana Campbell’s Tavern is the ultimate colonial experience. George Washington himself once praised its seafood. Maintaining an 18th-century vibe with pewter candlesticks, reproduction wooden chairs and framed prints, it’s easy to imagine the political discussions that once floated over the aroma of homemade cornbread. Many of the dishes came straight out of colonial cookbooks. Scallops, crab, shrimp and fish are paired with strange but traditional vegetable medleys that make the white and blue china pop with color.
Jamestown Pie Co.
The Jamestown Pie Co. specializes in all types of pies: pizza pies, pot pies, nutty pies, fruity pies and special pies. Its long list of pizza pies includes such creations as The River Crab Pie with white sauce and jumbo lump crabmeat and The Sicilian with marinara, pepperoni, Italian rope sausage and salami. Other savory options include the Turkey and Veggie Pot Pie and the Creole Pot Pie. In a sweet mood? Order a Virginia Peanut, raspberry peach, bumbleberry, strawberry, apple crumb, pumpkin, key lime or frozen peanut butter pie to go.
Florimonte's Fine Foods and Deli
A budget-friendly option for families is Florimonte’s Fine Foods & Deli. It brings home the flavor of NYC with New York Style pizza, but it doesn’t stop there. Order a stuffed pizza, calzone, Sicilian style, Hawaiian pizza, veggie pizza or margherita pizza. Not in a pizza mood? Try baked ziti, pepperoni bread, chicken cordon bleu or eggplant parmesan. A host of salads and deli sandwiches are a lighter option. The Portobello Burger, Grandma’s Meatball Hero and Applewood Bacon BLT jump off the menu. The kids menu includes grilled cheese, pizza and spaghetti. Don’t forget a round of cannolis before you leave!
Haunted Dinner Theater
The only thing that makes a 71-item, all-you-can-eat buffet dinner better is a mystery. Bring the family to Captain George’s Seafood Restaurant for the Haunted Dinner Theater presenting "Ding-Dong! The Witch is Dead." As you chow down on snow crab legs and BBQ ribs, Master Chase, Butler Chives and other suspicious characters will comically interact with you. Be the first to find the $1,000,000 stamp using your clues and bribe money. Be warned – ghostly special effects make for a terrifying evening!
Want to see a movie but haven’t eaten dinner yet? No worries! The Movie Tavern allows you to watch the latest movies at a reasonable price and order food and drinks – which are delivered to you! The menu features classic American dishes, beer and wine. Comfortable, movable chairs add to the experience. On weekends, the theater also offers Breakfast & A Flick, perfect for lazy Sunday mornings!
Alewerks Brewery Tour
Enough of American history, let’s talk beer history! Head to the AleWerks and have a casual discussion about beer, tour the brewhouse and learn what it takes to produce a tasty brew. In the store, you’ll get a full tasting of the brewery’s American hand-crafted ales. As a token of your experience, you’ll receive an imprinted AleWorks glass.
Williamsburg Pottery has three crafty marketplaces: Home Essentials, Outdoor Living and Gourmet Kitchen, as well as an Au Bon Pain for anyone shopping up an appetite. The collection of shops was inspired by Jimmy Maloney, who made 18th-century-type salt glazes using clay from the James River. Visit for custom framing, salt-glazed pottery and silk floral arrangements. As you browse the isles, you’ll be able to add china, glasses, cookware, gourmet foods, wines, lamps, home decorations, candles and bridal accessories to your cart. Take the kids by the sweetshop for a carefully frosted cupcake before you check out!
The William Pitt Shop
The William Pitt Shop is a children’s boutique full of kid-friendly souvenirs and gifts. Educational in nature, your family can purchase 18th-century games, toys and books. Picture books and historic publications interest some, while modern stuffed animals depicting creatures from the local rare breeds program might get the other kids excited.
The WILLIAMSBURG Marketplace is easy to access with 19 stores in Williamsburg and a retail website. Its products are designed for modern lifestyles but inspired by the 1700s. A home could almost entirely be furnished by its offerings.
Voted the “World’s Most Beautiful Park” every year since 1990, Busch Gardens® is an action-packed, European-themed adventure park with 17th-century charm and 21st-century technology, boasting more than 100 acres of fun-filled exploration. The park is a mix of rides, shows, tours, animal exhibits, dining and shopping. Griffon® was the first floorless dive coaster and remains one of the world’s tallest roller coasters. London Rocks™ is a 25-minute live show that explores the roots of rock ‘n’ roll, and Clydesdales & Collies Up-Close is a tour that makes you fall in love with furry animals. Keep an eye out for American Bald Eagles, lorikeets and wolves as you hop from ride to ride. Annual events include Howl-O-Scream, Christmas Town: A Busch Gardens Celebration, IllumiNights: A Busch Gardens Encore, and Busch Gardens Food & Wine Festival.
Water Country USA
Virginia’s largest waterpark is the perfect place to cool off May through August. At Water Country USA, you and your family get access to 30 water rides and attractions, all meant to get you soaked! Big Daddy Falls is a whitewater rafting adventure with tunnels, drops, water cannons and spinning curves. Surfer’s Bay is a huge wave pool, and Rock ‘n’ Roll Island is an impressive pool surrounded by a lazy river. With multiple water slides and a few attractions for kids such as the H20 UFO, any age can stay entertained. Don’t worry about packing lunch. A splattering of cafes is filled with all-American entrees, fresh fruits and salads, and snacks and candies.
Dewitt Wallace Decorative Museum
The Dewitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum is a collection of the furnishings, tools and decorations found in business and homes in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. Its 15 galleries include paintings, firearms, textiles, ceramics, metals, furniture and prints. Browse the largest collection of southern furniture in the world, paintings of George Washington, an impressive collection of British ceramics and English silver table settings. Children enjoy a hands-on activity in the Education Studio.
The philanthropist John D. Rockefeller and his wife Abby Aldrich Rockefeller resided in Basset Hall for periods during the 1930s and 1940s. It was Mrs. Rockefeller’s “Dream of Dreams,” the couple’s place of retreat. Two of Williamsburg’s most revered residents, their home has been preserved for public viewing. Each room has its own personality. Note the diverse furniture, detailed rugs, elegant chandeliers, folk art and figurines. Outside the white sided house with black trim, walk the Colonial Revival gardens. It’s a peaceful setting full of space.
Nathalie P. and Alan M. Vorhees Archaearium
Overlooking the James Fort archeological site and James River, the Nathalie P. and Alan M. Voorhees Archaearium displays the objects that have been unearthed from the area. The exhibits tell the stories of the English colonists of the Virginia Company and the Virginia Indians who interacted with them. This all dates back 400 years as the first permanent English settlement in the New World. Artifacts offer insight into the first surgery in English America, cannibalism, trade between colonists and Indians and life during a record-breaking drought. View recovered musical instruments, armor, tools, coins, food remains, games and more.
Eco Discovery Park
Eco Discovery Park is located near Jamestown Settlement and Jamestowne Island on Powhatan Creek. With a series of trails, a marina and a children’s play area, the park offers a number of natural activities to explore. Bikes, kayaks, paddle boards and canoes are available for rent seven days a week. A number of educational exhibits and tours are also available to visitors. Bird watchers enjoy spotting eagles, ospreys and herons, and the marina store refreshes exercisers with cold drinks and snacks.
Go Ape Treetop Adventure Course
Active adults and families have a blast at Go Ape, located near downtown Williamsburg in Freedom Park. To prepare for this treetop adventure, guests are equipped with pulleys, harnesses and carabiners and given a short lesson on navigating the tree tops. Then they are let loose to complete the course within 2-3 hours as they are suspended 40-50 feet in the air. This intense course has 38 obstacles and crossings, including five zip lines, rope ladders, net bridges, Tarzan swings and trapezes. A new course for children recently opened. It features a log balance, stepping stones and a magic carpet! Call ahead or make reservations on www.goape.com> to guarantee your spot.
Yorktown Victory Center
The Yorktown Victory Center documents the Revolutionary period, from disgruntled colonists to their eventual freedom from Great Britain. Next to the Yorktown Battlefield where Americans won their independence, this museum explains the repercussions of the Declaration of Independence in detail. Discover the stories of regular men and women who were impacted by the Revolution and how a diverse people came together to create a new government. Outside, a re-created Continental Army encampment vividly depicts what life was like for American soldiers. Imagine being a soldier yourself as you tour the farm, house, kitchen, tobacco barn, gardens and crop fields. Check the center’s schedule for daily demonstrations.
LEGO® bricks bring children’s imaginations alive. Kids can build castles, pirate ships, space ships, homes and semi-trucks. From pink bricks to Millennium Falcon sets, boys and girls have been entertained by these and LEGO® DUPLO® for years. At Beyond Bricks, your kids can dive into an unlimited supply! Two of Beyond Bricks options are ideal for out-of-town visitors: Open Play and Parents’ Night Out. During Open Play, you can pay by the hour or opt for the unlimited option. Either way, adults and infants play for free and kids have a blast! If you’re trying to figure out how to slip out to that fancy restaurant without the kids, then Parents’ Night Out is the answer. The kids might just have more fun than you will, and they certainly won’t complain about the fun-loving staff!
Colonial Hauntings Tour
When the sun sets, the Colonial Hauntings Tour brings the mystery of Williamsburg’s darkness to life. Walk gingerly through the streets led by candlelight and intriguing stories that might make you shiver eerily. Hear the tales of the town’s only witch trial, Black Beard and his crew, parties at Raleigh Tavern and Lucy of Ludwell. If anything will get you to sense the rumored colonial ghosts, it’s this tour!
Miss Hampton II Harbor Cruises
Virginia’s waterways are full of history. Enjoy the sea breeze aboard Miss Hampton II as you depart from Historic Downtown Hampton and head into Hampton Roads Harbor. The 3-hour Harbor Tour allows you to sail the same waters that Captain John Smith and the first settlers encountered. You’ll pass Blackbeard’s Point where the pirates head was affixed to a pike and Fort Monroe, the site of America’s oldest continuously operating lighthouse. Take in the gorgeous Chesapeake Bay and disembark for a guided walking tour of the Civil War Island Fortress of Fort Wool. Back on board, learn about the role of Norfolk Naval Base and snap photographs of nuclear-powered submarines and aircraft carriers. On your return to port, you’ll witness the older but innovative Monitor and Merrimac, the focus of the Battle of the Ironclads. Reduced rates apply for members of the military, children and seniors. Tours do not sail on Mondays.
There’s a lot of walking to do in Williamsburg, so many enjoy touring the sites aboard a horse-drawn carriage. A friendly gentleman donning a three-cornered hat will help you – and your partner or entire family – step into a comfy seat. Once the clop of horse hooves begins, he will point out all the notable details to this Revolutionary City.
If you’re looking for a way to entertain children or teenagers, Galaxy Tag is quite the hoot. Chase your friends and family though the space-themed Laser Tag arena. Dimly lit, you laser will shoot through the darkness and “stun” your opponent. Play with each other or join an open game. Adults and children give and up welcome.
Site of Pocahontas And Rolfe Wedding
In Jamestown, the remains of the mud-walled chapel where Pocahontas and John Rolfe said their vows were discovered in 2010. The tobacco farmer and daughter of Chief Powhatan were married in the spring of 1614, laying the groundwork for eight years of peace between the Powhatan Indians and the colonists. Built inside of James Fort in 1608, the chapel was the first major church building in North America, according to the director of archaeology for Historic Jamestowne.
Visit James Fort in Historic Jamestowne. A wooden fence outlines where the fort once stood, housing English settlers during harsh winters and record-breaking droughts. Archeologists continue to unearth portions of the 400-year-old settlement and discover objects used by the first colonists and the Indians they interacted with. As you walk around the unpretentious area, consider how America’s birthplace grew to spawn one of the most powerful nations of all time. Archeological walking tours are available during certain times of the year. Ask for details at the Colonial Williamsburg Regional Visitor Center.
Visit the critical Yorktown Battlefield in the Colonial National Historical Park to see where American independence was won. On October 19, 1781, British forces led by Lord Charles Cornwallis surrendered to American and French forces here under the leadership of General George Washington. This battle was the turning point in the American Revolution, although a peace treaty was not signed for two more years. The Visitor Center provides an informative introduction to the battle and has on display field tents that General Washington used. While touring the battlefield, look out for canons, the Moore House and Surrender Field.
Virginia’s first plantation, Shirley Plantation was built six years after the first permanent English settlement. Since its founding in 1613, it has survived Indian revolts, Bacon’s Rebellion, the American Revolution, the Civil War and the Great Depression. Despite this, it’s the most intact colonial estate in the state. The Great House, where the owners’ families lived, still has original portraits, furnishings, hand-carved woodwork and silver. Not only can the plantation boast 11 generations of family history but also the oldest family-owned business on the continent. No doubt the plantation used slaves and indentured servants to produce its tobacco crops as did most plantations of the time. Evidence of this is entwined with the property’s history.
Built in 1722, the Governor’s Palace was home to seven royal British governors, Patrick Henry and Thomas Jefferson. It was designed to protect British authority and wealth and impress with large sword displays, colorful but elegant décor and a grand ballroom. Today, you’ll discover that the grounds are still in pristine condition. Inside the kitchen, many guests get the opportunity to witness the “high cooking arts” of the times, beer brewing and chocolate making. Outside, elaborate tiered gardens overlook a stream and a boxwood maze is an entertaining exercise.
Visit the Capitol building of Virginia, which enacted Williamsburg’s role as Virginia’s capital for 80 years. Inside the brick façade, you’ll have to opportunity to learn about the founding principles of American government. Behind its wooden bench the judge decided criminals’ fate, and the same rooms housed the General Assembly, which created the legislation that initially formed Virginia.
Andersons Blacksmith Shop & Public Armoury
Stop by the small shop that blacksmith James Anderson transformed into a public armoury during the American Revolution. Its 40-person workforce manufactured tools, weapons and other equipment for the American soldiers. Now a few men recreate the scenes seen in the 1700s, hammering and heating metal into useful instruments.
Fort Monroe National Monument
A few different defenses have been built in the location of Fort Monroe since the 1600s, but all have offered safety. The monument has defended American Indians, colonists such as Captain John Smith, freedom seekers during the Civil War and residents of the Chesapeake Bay. Within Fort Monroe, you will find 170 historic buildings. Notable is the Old Point Comfort Light, the second oldest lighthouse in the bay and the oldest that is still operating. An interesting inclusion is a pet cemetery containing the graves of 400 million pets of military families and war dogs.
Bruton Parish Episcopal Church
Bruton Parish Episcopal Church is a pleasant find for visitors to Williamsburg. This historic brick church with white wooden box pews met the spiritual needs of many notable colonials, including George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. A couple parishioners are often available to explain the church’s role in colonial life. The organ continues to play a beautiful tune, and the cemetery outside is worth a peak.
William & Mary
William & Mary is the second oldest college in America and one of only eight “Public Ivy” institutions, offering an excellent education and still remaining accessible to everyone. It was chartered in 1693 by King William III and Queen Mary II of England, founded the nation’s first academic Greek society in 1776, gave birth to America’s first Honor Code and graduated four U.S. presidents. A number of historical attractions exist on its campus, including the oldest college building in America – the Sir Christopher Wren building.