This post is from contributing writer, Kim Sorgius from Not Consumed
I’ve had the pleasure of visiting Williamsburg several times. I knew the very first time we that Williamsburg would make an excellent filed trip someday. To walk among living history like they do it in Williamsburg is a priceless experience for a young mind. We had that opportunity to go back this past year when we studied American history in our Classical education studies.
Why you should consider this field trip…
- Williamsburg is a living history experience, allowing visitors to touch, see, and ask questions about life in colonial times. There is something so wonderful about being able to experience something that is typically just in books.
- Williamsburg is a reasonably priced vacation. You can bring your whole family and camp nearby, or stay in one of many inexpensive hotels. You won’t find hidden parking fees or difficult commutes. They also offer Homeschool days with a deep discount (see below).
- The area offers several other significant historical attractions such as Jamestown, it’s reconstructed settlement and Yorktown.
- Williamsburg is very family friendly. There are daily activities for kids, opportunities to rent costumes, and so much more. The employees have always been eager to interact with the kids.
What you should know about planning…
- Pay attention to the weather. There is a lot of walking. It is hot and unshaded in the summer. It is very cold and windy in the winter. Their most popular season is Christmas because of the beautiful decorations and I have to agree, as we have been twice during this time. However, it is very crowded and cold. If you plan to brave it, wear lots of layers and plan to spend a little money on hot chocolate. If you have a choice, consider spring or fall.
- Homeschool days: twice a year homeschool discounts are offered through a week long homeschool program. Tickets are deeply discounted and special programs are offered for homeschoolers. Last year, we went during the February session. Honestly, I would not recommend this. Because it is off season, many things were closed, including most of the taverns. Although I haven’t gone myself, the employees said that if you come during September homeschool days that everything is still open. We will be sure to do that next time!
- Make sure you visit on a Saturday, especially if you are visiting during the off season. Many programs are offered on on Saturday. I had never noticed this before until we went in February and didn’t get down to the town until Sunday. Because it was off-season, many of the activities were scheduled on Saturday only and we had missed them.
- Plan to walk…A LOT. If you have small children, consider a carrier or stroller. (Note: strollers are not allowed in any of the buildings. They must be parked outside.) Leave lots of time for those little legs to get from one place to the other. Not all of the buildings are open each day, so you will want to plan your walking path each morning before venturing out. It’s really best not to try it haphazardly with little guys. You’ll walk them to death without seeing what you had hoped to see!
Make sure you don’t miss…
- The art museum has spectacular classes for FREE, even for kids. Be sure you experience those.
- The streets are lined with taverns with their own flair. They aren’t cheap, but they are a fun way to experience typical colonial food and atmosphere. One year, we did a Christmas tea that was simply delightful. Entertainers sang songs and played authentic instruments. It was great.
- Bruton Parish is the church in Colonial Williamsburg and it is still an active congregation. Your family can go there and worship together while sitting where George Washington once sat. It’s a beautiful experience.
- Great Hopes Plantation is on the outskirts of the town, but is a wonderful recreation of what slave life was like in the 18th century. Your kids will really enjoy this.
- The bakery is a must-see part of town. If you can’t get to a tavern, this is a great way to sample colonial fare. Gingerbread cookies are a family favorite!