Jamestown Settlement and Colonial Williamsburg

One of 88 original buildings in Colonial Williamsburg

Last week, B’s class went on a field trip to Jamestown and Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia and I was lucky enough to be a chaperone and It. Was. AWESOME.

This is coming from the perspective of someone who is a huge history-loving nerd, so of course I am biased.  But this was a really cool, really informative, really amazing day.  I loved it.  B loved it.  We’re totally going back and bringing all our boys.

Jamestown and Williamsburg are not really close to where we live–it was about a 3-hour bus trip each way.  The school rented charter buses though, so it was pretty comfortable and I really did not mind the drive AT ALL.  The kids were pretty good, I sat with B’s friend’s Mother and we chatted the whole way down and back, and B had fun with her friends across the aisle.  We did have to get up at an ungodly hour and be AT the school at 5:40AM, but it was worth it in the end.

At this point, I was really hoping the field trip would be worth the early, cold start.

We spent the morning at the Jamestown Settlement (where Disney Pocahontas songs played non-stop in my head the whole time.  Luckily for B I was able to keep it in my head and not bust out with a full-on “Colors of the Wind” serenade.).  We saw the Native American village, which I thought was amazing and really informative and pretty hands-on.  We saw the three ships the English settlers sailed across the Atlantic for 144 days, where I decided that I would not get on one of those ships to cross the entire ocean for any amount of money.  Brave souls, they were.  We saw the English settlement and learned about life for the early English colonists.  We had a great, really enthusiastic tour guide and I learned a lot.

B is curling the “bar shot” we learned about in Jamestown

Growing up in New England, my history classes focused on the Pilgrims and the Massachusetts Bay Colony and then on the American Revolution, and I realized this week that I know very little about the Virginia colonies.  I will definitely be reading more about that time period and this area–I feel like a Disney movie should not be my only frame of reference. 

Then we got back on the bus and drove less than a half hour to Colonial Williamsburg and I was absolutely in my element.  The old colonial town is just smack dab in the middle of a modern day city, but it was absolutely like stepping back in time.  I could have spent a week there happily learning about every building, every person, every event.  It was just amazing.

The kids were engaged and the tour guide tried to relate things to the perspective of a 9 or 10-year old kid–she really did describe what life would have been like for a child back then and I thought it was fascinating.

In the Stocks–not a punishment used on children in Colonial times, but too tempting not to try it out.

Again, not a historically accurate depiction–children were not pilloried in Colonial times, but B thought it was fun.

In the Capitol Building (which is a reconstruction of the original building), we sat in the room where the Virginia delegation declared independence from England and set the wheels in motion for the Continental Congress to follow suit and eventually sign the Declaration of Independence.  I literally got chills as the guide described the whole scenario.  (Told you I was a history dork.  I’m sure I was the only person in the room who was quite that moved by it, but how freaking cool to sit where they sat.  How freaking cool!)

When we got home, B and I told the boys all about it and they were equally fascinated.  I can’t wait to take them all and see how they love it too. It’s a place that would appeal to children and adults and there was so much to see and learn–I can definitely see going again and again. 

Aaaaand B in prison.  Apparently we spent a lot of time punishing children on this field trip.

If anyone has any tips or advice on places to stay and other non-historically based, child-friendly things to do in the area, I’d love to hear about it! 

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2 thoughts on “Jamestown Settlement and Colonial Williamsburg

  1. Kristen Roberts

    You have now made me want to take the kids! It’s been years since I’ve been on a field trip to Jamestown! Hmmmm…long weekend trip to Jamestown and Busch Gardens in the spring? Now to convince Daniel.

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