The restoration project that gave birth to Colonial Williamsburg began in 1926, inspired by a local pastor, W.A.R. Goodwin, and financed by John D. Rockefeller Jr. The work of the archaeologists and historians of the not-for-profit Colonial Williamsburg Foundation continues to this day. A total of 88 original 18th-century and early-19th-century structures have been meticulously restored, and another 500 have been reconstructed on their original sites.
Colonial Williamsburg: Escape to the 18th century in the world's largest living-history museum. Virginia's capital from 1699 to 1780 and Britain's largest, wealthiest New World outpost was restored so "That the future may learn from the past."
Celebrate early American history: Jamestown was the first permanent English settlement in the Americas. Washington's momentous 1781 Revolutionary War victory at Yorktown secured the country's independence.
You can't believe everything you read in travel brochures: "Free land lush with hardwood trees! Food and water abundant! Gold for the taking! Fast side-trip to the Orient! Friendly welcoming committee!"
The real trip: 73 passengers will die. There's no gold. Fresh water and food are difficult to obtain. There is no way to sail to the Orient across North America. The land belongs to the natives, who can be hostile, and disease-carrying mosquitoes are omnipresent.
You can find many outlet malls less than 10 minutes west of Colonial Williamsburg, in the tiny town of Lightfoot. If you're driving from Richmond to Williamsburg on I-64, take Exit 234 west to Lightfoot. When you reach U.S. 60 (Richmond Road), the outlets—both freestanding and in shopping centers—are on both sides of the road. Most outlet shops are open Monday-Saturday 10-9, Sunday 10-6. In January and February some stores close weekdays at 6.
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