If you’re enjoying this site it’s fair to assume that you also enjoy learning about history. And though this is a real estate site devoted to Charlottesville Virginia historic homes, this page is devoted solely to our profound respect for the work that is done at nearby Colonial Williamsburg VA. Because the architecture and sensibilities of colonial Virginia are very much still alive, especially in our Charlottesville area of Central VA, you will find many elements of colonial design in our homes.
Next to the town center of Williamsburg VA is a village where Colonial Life in America is very much alive. You will find colonial Williamsburg bustling with an entire town of “residents” who each enact a particular person from colonial times. Yes they wear colonial clothing but that’s just the surface. These colonists immerse themselves in giving visitors an authentic sample of life and history like you’ve never before experienced it. This is not your boring old history teacher droning on and making you memorize dates. In fact, one of the primary goals of Colonial Williamsburg is actually teaching the history teachers how they can make their own classes more meaningful and exciting for their own students, so they have created their Teacher Institute where teachers from across the country come together to learn techniques and trade ideas of how to teach American history more effectively.
Here is your link to go directly to the Colonial Williamsburg site for many more details.
Colonial Williamsburg still has original homes, inns, town halls, stables, and shops from earlier times. As you wander the town you will pass blacksmiths hammering out various tools, women churn butter and make soap, horse-drawn wagons conduct tours, and taverns serve recipes from colonial times, If this sounds like Disney World to you, it is definitely not. Under the veneer of make-believe life is a very serious endeavor. Education is the prize and Living History is the method, so that visitors can learn from historical mistakes and profit from the wise and daring actions of the founding founders.
When you visit Colonial Williamsburg you will be stepping back into a particular day in American history. The employees of Colonial Williamsburg are each assigned an early colonist’s role. Alexander Hamilton roams the town espousing one set of ideas, you can hear slaves discussing the struggles of their lives, lively historical political arguments are conducted in the town square and visitors are called to the center of town by fifes and drums and are shown how to shoulder their own muskets to defend against the British. The nuances of religious principle are discussed just as they were from colonial writings. The dilemma of whether to revolt against British rule is discussed from many vantage points….all by the folks who pass you on the Colonial Williamsburg streets looking like American colonists among the crowd. Living history. It’s all around you.
I have a favorite moment from one visit to Colonial Williamsburg that illustrates how seriously the employee/colonists remain in character. I went to a public restroom and entered a booth and closed the door. Another person (employee/colonist) entered the booth next to mine. I could see her colonial-style shoes and petticoat. Women seldom exchange dialogue between restroom booths and we were the only people in the restroom so I was somewhat surprised when she asked me: “Have you heard the news?” On that particular day I’d heard that a celebrity had been arrested in Hollywood for some offense, and thinking that she was referring to the celebrity I answered: “Oh dear, what’s he done now?” Without skipping a beat she replied: “Lord Baltimore will be arriving by coach soon at the courthouse”. Living history. Suspend modern life and learn in the most fascinating ways, even in the restroom.
There’s more to enjoy at Colonial Williamsburg than you can absorb in just one day. There are tours of colonial homes where you can see original musical instruments, learn about creating colonial paint colors and building materials, gardening, and much more. Young girls are invited to dress like their favorite American Girl dolls… and bring their dolls to a tea party gathering with other American Girl doll owners. The girls are taught about daily life in colonial America and are challenged to perform some of the daily colonial tasks (like making butter) that today are activities from a bygone era. Yes, the little girls are living history but they just think they’re having fun.
Before you leave be sure to visit the modern town of Williamsburg as well (walking distance from Colonial Williamsburg). There are wonderful specialty shops and restaurants where you can indulge in a chocolate decadence cake while you’re digesting all of the day’s Living History.