We left Harrisonburg just as many of the horse trailers were pulling in for the Labor Day horse auction at the fairgrounds. One hundred and sixty miles later (a long drive for us) we pulled into the Williamsburg Christian Retreat Center. It is another really nice Passport America park giving us half off camping for two nights. We might stay longer since this is quite an fantastic location to tour from.
First up on our agenda was to visit nearby Williamsburg Virginia to check out the old town settlement replica. Williamsburg was the original state capital of Virginia from 1699 to 1780 and was a hot spot during the American Revolution. This town is part of what is called the Historic Triangle together with Jamestown and Yorktown, VA. Our focus this day would be Colonial Williamsburg which is a living history museum where characters are dressed in period costume and can be seen throughout the streets, restored shops and houses.
We chose to park at the visitor center where we learned that to walk around on your own is free however, if you want to enter any of the buildings or watch some of the re-enactments the ticket price is $40.99 per person. Yikes!!! Well we opted to walk around the town and take in the sights on our own without seeing the insides of the reconstructed buildings which I didn’t necessarily fancy seeing anyhow. So with map in hand we walked the short 10 to 15 minute walkway behind the visitor center directly into Colonial Williamsburg.
This was a surprisingly big place which took several hours to simply walk around and take in what there is to see. It is nice that Colonial Williamsburg itself is closed to car traffic making it easier to immerse into the experience. We enjoyed seeing the many historic buildings and found ourselves reveling in the thought that we might be walking in the footsteps of Washington, Adams, Patrick Henry, Jefferson or Monroe. The living history characters enhanced our sense of being in the 1600’s in much simpler times. I mused that it would be fun to zap back in time to really experience the time frame but this would have to do.
Adjacent to the Colonial Williamsburg is Merchants Square (an 18th century shopping area) and across from it is The College of William & Mary. It was established in 1693 and it is the second oldest institution of higher education in the United States! It was privately founded by King William III and Queen Mary II (as this was an English colony). Its alumni include three U.S. presidents; Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe, and John Tyler. Even a young 17-year-old George Washington received his surveyor's license through the College. Lastly, my favorite Former U.S. Secretary of Defense and former President of Texas A&M University Robert M. Gates is a more recent alumni of the college…
By the time we made our way all throughout Colonial Williamsburg, Merchants Square, part of the College of William and Mary, then back to our car at the Visitor's Center we had logged over 4 miles of walking. So awesome were the sights that the time flew by and we didn't notice being tired until we sat down in the car. On the way home we reflected on the fun we had and discussed that Jamestown and Yorktown are next on the agenda as well as a day trip to Richmond!