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The present day town of Williamsburg came into being because of the preservation and restoration efforts of one man, American millionaire John D. Rockefeller, Jr. In the 1920’s Rockefeller, a strong preservationist of American history, had entire tracts of the city center resurrected. Williamsburg makes up the middle section of what is known as Virginia’s Historic Triangle: Jamestown Settlement on the Jamestown River, Williamsburg, and Yorktown on the York River. Through costumed townsfolk and interpreters, Williamsburg gives off the appearance and lifestyle of what was Virginia’s capital from 1699 to 1780. Over 600 buildings — ...

The present day town of Williamsburg came into being because of the preservation and restoration efforts of one man, American millionaire John D. Rockefeller, Jr. In the 1920’s Rockefeller, a strong preservationist of American history, had entire tracts of the city center resurrected. Williamsburg makes up the middle section of what is known as Virginia’s Historic Triangle: Jamestown Settlement on the Jamestown River, Williamsburg, and Yorktown on the York River. Through costumed townsfolk and interpreters, Williamsburg gives off the appearance and lifestyle of what was Virginia’s capital from 1699 to 1780. Over 600 buildings — offices, shops, taverns, a church, a jail, an apothecary and residences — are either original to the town or recreations. There are three excellent museums. The Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Center houses a large collection of early American folk art. Bassett Hall which was the Rockefeller’s home in the 1930s is filled with Chippendale, Federal and Empire furnishings. The DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Gallery has the largest collection of English pottery outside the UK. Another must stop is the College of William and Mary. Established in 1693, this is America’s second oldest institute of higher education, Harvard College being the first. The beautiful campus includes a lake and a wildflower refuge. Of particular architectural interest is the Wren Building whose architecture was influenced by England’s Christopher Wren. Built in 1695, this is the oldest academic structure still in use in the United States.

Frances Folsom
About the Expert

Frances Folsom is the author of CitySpot Palermo, a contributor to the Reiskits guides to Milan and Italy's Lakes Region, and Thomas Cook's Independent Traveller USA.

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Williamsburg is located on the Virginia Peninsula in the Hampton Roads region in southeastern Virginia.
  • Research: Wikitravel | Wikipedia
  • Weather: Daylight | Rainfall
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    Any time of year is good.