2022 US Trip – Day 8 (Visiting Williamsburg Instead of Jamestown)

My initial intention for the weekend was to visit Jamestown, the site of the first permanent settlement of the Americas by English colonists. However, talking to the lady at the Capitol the day before, she suggested some other things to do that she thought were at least equally as interesting. Some of those required a car, but she mentioned that there were more things to see in Williamsburg itself than I had realised.

The situation at Jamestown is something of an expensive mess for visitors as there are two different sites of which one is a recreation of the initial settlement with performers in the clothing of the time, whilst the other is effectively the archaeological investigation of the actual site. The former didn’t much interest me, I’m interested in structures, buildings and not some form of period open air museum. The other would have been interesting, but it was expensive and also lengthy to get to by public transport (one bus an hour and the journey is over an hour each way), so I was tempted by that, but decided to stick to Williamsburg. I think if I had a car then that might have tipped the balance, as it would have been quite thought provoking to be in the same place as the early settlers.

However, I’m very pleased that I made the decision that I did to spend the time in Williamsburg itself, as I didn’t realise just how much there was to see there. I also got a real impression of what life was like for early colonists, as they moved there relatively early on from Jamestown, indeed in a way that was more authentic as many buildings had survived from that period. Also, for practical reasons, there was a very heavy period of rain, which was enough for a severe weather warning (and more later on the damage done by that) and so I would have got very wet.

I left Williamsburg feeling much more informed about how the early colonists lived, how their settlement developed and also how it started to decline. Maybe at some point in the future I’ll return to visit Jamestown, but I was pleased to have had the experience of understanding how this colony developed.