09/03/2009 | PHILLIP BRADSHAW
Virginia’s Historic Triangle, composed of Williamsburg, Jamestown and Yorktown, represents not only the first permanent settlement of our nation, but also where the seeds of government were planted and our independence sealed. Over the past 30 to 40 years, our views on the life the settlers and colonists lived have changed and grown with our understanding of the hardships they faced. With this greater understanding of their life and their culture, localities within the Historic Triangle have made their respective offerings more compete, more educational and more fun.
Colonial Williamsburg has long been a premier attraction for the area. Their attention to detail and historical interpretations have long set the standards for the industry. Today, this standard of excellence continues. In addition to recent restorations and expansions of many of their attractions, Colonial Williamsburg offers a variety of programs aimed at the continued education and entertainment of students and adults alike. Student groups can now experience every aspect of colonial life from a muster to arms, to a trial at the Capital or observe their ‘Rev City’presentation where a specific day in history is reenacted on the streets of Williamsburg. Adult groups will enjoy the festivities of the holiday season during the Grand Illumination, complete with period fireworks. With the variety of day ticket offerings, evening program options, and annual festivals — including An Occasion of the Arts, Colonial Williamsburg continues to be a premier destination for all groups visiting the area.
Jamestown Festival Park
With the recent 400th anniversary celebration of the settling of the New World, Jamestown has truly moved from a supporting role to a destination attraction. Jamestowne Settlement was practically rebuilt for the 400th anniversary in 2007. This would include restorations of the ships, interpretive areas and especially a brand new museum. The new and expanded museum offers visitors a unique glimpse into the lives of our nation’s first settlers with an array of artifacts from the original site of the settlement. Jamestowne Settlement offers groups the option of guided or self guided tours of the facility and is open year round and is complete with a café offering a convenient place to dine while visiting.
While most visitors are familiar with Jamestown Settlement, relatively few realize that the area features another Jamestown. This would be Jamestown Festival Park, which is the original site of the settlement located on Jamestown Island. This is a national park, established in recognition of the 350th anniversary of the settlement in 1957. It has only been within the past 15 years (current archeological digs began in 1994) that the Jamestown Rediscovery Project actually found the original location of James Fort on Jamestown Island. With this discovery came a new and unique opportunity to study the earliest colonization of America. Groups of all ages can look on as archeologists continue to discover new insight into the lives and culture of the original settlers. Student groups are eligible for free admission to the park with a letter from their school system.
Yorktown Victory Center
No trip to the Historic Triangle is complete without a visit to the site where the nation’s independence was sealed, Yorktown, VA. The Yorktown Victory Center offers visitors a complete overview of all the factors which led to the Continental Army’s victory at Yorktown. Through film, displays and recreations, student and adult groups will learn of America’s alliance with the French and of the encampment from where George Washington conducted the Siege of Yorktown. Other activities available for groups to enjoy include historic tours of Yorktown, annual visits of tall sailing ships and numerous festivals held each year on the waterfront. Nearby, visitors may visit Yorktown Battlefield, the actual site of Washington’s and Cornwallis’ s encampment, which is now a National Park.
Busch Gardens Williamsburg
Since 1975, Busch Gardens Williamsburg has offered entertaining shows and thrilling rides for visitors of all ages. State of the art roller coasters sit alongside a variety of attractions ranging from music and dance shows to concerts featuring some of the top national entertainers. The park is themed as The Old Country and features attractions and shows themed to old Europe. New this year, Sesame Street’s Elmo and Friends brings the popular character to life. Starting this November, the park will be open on weekends through the holiday season featuring a variety of seasonal shows and lights. This promises to become another tradition for guests visiting Williamsburg during the holiday season.
Another local Anheuser Busch InBev theme park is WaterCountry USA. This water park’s numerous water slides, wave pool and lazy river make this the ideal place for families and groups to spend a warm summer afternoon.
The localities of Williamsburg, Jamestown and Yorktown, offer a variety of experiences to educate and entertain visitors. More recent additions to the area include President’s Park; featuring 18 foot busts of all of our Presidents; Ripley’s Believe It or Not, a museum of the world’s oddest and strangest; and the new Riverwalk Landing in Yorktown, featuring boutique shops; and world class dining where the York River meets the Chesapeake Bay. A New Yankee Candle factory store and an expanded Prime Outlets featuring factory outlet shops of all of the top national brands adds to the list of shopping options.
The Williamsburg area features a variety of national chain restaurants as well as a multitude of local favorites sure to satisfy anyone’s taste. For specialized touring options, the localities boast numerous private guide services ranging from full service step on guides to specialty tours.
These new and updated attractions and venues combined with the old world charm and hospitality the area has long been know for, makes Virginia’s Historic Triangle the perfect location for student and adult groups to come and enjoy all year round.