A History Lovers' Guide to Virginia's Famous Historic Triangle Travel Inspiration | Travel Zone by Best Western

A History Lovers’ Guide to Virginia’s Famous Historic Triangle

By Stuart Hughes

Historically speaking, the Virginia Peninsula played a pivotal role in establishing the independent United States we now know. So, if you’re fascinated to learn first-hand how the American Revolution unfolded and stand where General George Washington forced the British Army into surrender, then you need to join us as we explore this delightful corner of Virginia, one of America’s oldest states. 

Sandwiched between the James and York Rivers, the Virginia Peninsula contains three significant cities that form America’s Historic Triangle: Colonial Williamsburg, which was, for nearly 100 years, once the capital of Virginia, plus Yorktown and Jamestown, all equally rich for their parts in America’s history. 

To truly enjoy your trip, base yourselves at the Best Western Historic Area Inn in Williamsburg and the heart of The Historic Triangle. Pack your bags as we head down to Virginia to explore these key settlements and their parts in sparking America’s independence and the end of British rule.  

Historic Jamestown 

Just a short drive south of Williamsburg lies Jamestown. First established in 1607, it became the starting point of the English colonization of North America after the founding colonists first arrived from across the Atlantic in three 17th-century ships, named the Susan Constant, Discover, and Godspeed. As a result, Jamestown became the first ever permanent British settlement in the Americas, (or the “New World,” as it was known back then).  

Here in Jamestown, witness how the 104 original English colonists established this initial settlement and the struggles they faced. You can walk in the footsteps of Captain James Smith as he strived to help establish a colonist community and the construction of James Fort before his fateful encounter with the Native American and Powhatan legend, Pocahontas.  

Jamestown Settlement 

Our second site is the Jamestown Settlement, a living history museum that transports you back to 17th-century living of the Jamestown Colony. Here the locals dress in full-period clothing to enhance your experience and help demonstrate what life was like in Jamestown in the 1600s.  

Also featured in the Jamestown Settlement, you and the family can climb aboard a model of the three ships that first sailed from England and then stroll through the authentic outdoor re-creations of the Powhatan Indian village. 

As you tour the immersive galleries and exhibits incorporated into the museum, you’ll also discover that Jamestown became a diverse settlement. As integrated within this early community was a range of different cultures that began to mix, including the English, Virginian Indians, and many West Central African cultures. 

Yorktown Battlefield 

For our next stop of the Historic Triangle tour, we head east to Yorktown and the site of the last major battle in the American Revolutionary War. Situated on the banks of the York River, Yorktown is the site of the famous “Siege of Yorktown,” which took place in the fall of 1781, and the location where the British surrendered to the allied American and French armies.  

We start the tour from the prominent Yorktown Victory Monument commemorating this crucial victory in the revolutionary war before heading east to the city’s outskirts and the Yorktown battlefield. Here you can stand on the site where history unfolded over 240 years ago and where victory was secured against the British. 

American Revolution Museum at Yorktown 

After walking in the footsteps of the triumphant allied armies, we next head across town to the American Revolution Museum. With an excellent collection of films, interactive exhibits, and fully immersive living history demonstrations, this state-of-the-art museum details the history of the United States, from the colonial era to the enactment of the Constitution. 

Located just minutes from the battlefield, this fantastic living history museum reconstructs the life and times of Yorktown around the time of the battle that defeated the British. Reenactors dress in full military clothing from the time as you stroll around the Constitutional Army encampment and even observe the revolutionary-era cultivation of crops at the museum’s onsite farm. 

Colonial Williamsburg 

Returning to Williamsburg for the final stop of our Historic Triangle tour, we head to Colonial Williamsburg Historic Area and the largest living history museum in the world. Encompassed in its 301-acre historical area, the museum perfectly captures life in the colonial capital of the time, including many of the original 18th-century buildings in its town layout. 

Colonial Williamsburg provides a lifelike experience of the times as you stroll around the settlement. The entire town remains in characters from that age, including local shopkeepers, farmers, and townsfolk. So authentic is the experience; you and your family can even eat at the on-site restaurants while being served by locals in period dress. 

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