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The Peyton Randolph House is noteworthy because it is both a prime example of colonial architecture, and a reminder of the history of slavery in Williamsburg. The house, which is located inside the Colonial Williamsburg living museum, was built in 1715 and has undergone several restorations. Visitors today will be able to see what the house looked like when in was owned by Peyton Randolph in the early 1700s. Randolph acted as the first President of the Continental Congress in Philadelphia, the event that eventually led the forming of the Unites States. Visitors to the house can wander through its beautiful halls while also learning about the slaves that lived in the outer houses, and what their lives were like. The house is sometimes opened up at night for special night tours, during which visitors search for the many ghosts that are said to haunt this big red estate.
The Governor's Palace was the home of Colony of Virginia's Royal Governors and later post-colonial governors Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry. Built in the early 1700s, the main building was burned down in 1781 and was reconstructed in 1930. The reconstructed building was based upon the original architectural design as well as influenced by Jefferson's suggested renovations while he was a governor. Visitors can tour this elegant residence which was built to showcase the Crown's influence. After seeing the Palace, make sure you explore the gardens outside and see if you can navigate your way around the boxwood maze.
This home, which was built in the mid-1750s, belonged to George Wythe, who helped to lead the patriotic movement against England's rule and became Virginia's first signer of the Declaration of Independence. His home, which stands today as part of the Colonial Williamsburg living museum, has been restored to how it would have looked when George Wythe and his wife lived there. Aside from being the home of a famous patriot, the house also served as George Washington's headquarters when the British seized Yorktown. Thomas Jefferson also made a visit to the home in 1776, adding to the house's list of famous guests. Today, visitors can explore the beautiful brick building and perhaps even imagine that they are standing where George Washington once stood.
Established in 2000, The Williamsburg Botanical Garden is a gorgeous botanical garden that is home to over 2000 trees and other flora. The property consists of more than 15 species of daffodils in the bulb garden, lilac and wildflowers like rattlesnake master and blanket flower. However, the most popular area in this green cover is the butterfly garden where visitors can marvel at hundreds of butterflies. Besides the scenic beauty of the landscape, Williamsburg Botanical Garden is also known for its sustainable gardening practices like its green roof pavilion. Visitors can not only enjoy the natural scenery, but they can also participate in educational tours.
Inspired by the 18th Century architectural history of Williamsburg, Merchants Square is a lovely blend of old charm and new flair. Beautiful colonial buildings house a variety of boutiques, shops and restaurants. If it's souvenirs you're looking for, head over to Everything Williamsburg, or if it's a new outfit you're after, try clothing boutiques located in the square. There are plenty of fabulous restaurants in the area too, with menus that range from seafood, to comfort food. The square also offers a variety of practical amenities and services, such as banks and ATMS, information centers and ticketing booths.
Built in 1726 as the home of Benjamin Harrison IV and his wife, this Georgian mansion features beautifully-landscaped grounds filled with magnificent gardens and terraces. A knowledgeable guide dressed in a period costume will lead you through the plantation itself, which is filled with valuable antiques and furniture. The tour also includes a visit to a museum of Civil War artifacts. Special group rates are available.
The Bassett Hall is an 18th Century farmhouse that is known for its prominent owners, lovely architectural details, and Colonial Revival gardens. The house was named in 1800 after its owner Burwell Bassett, who was Martha Washington's nephew. In the the 1920s, John D. Rockefeller Jr. moved in with his wife Abby Aldrich Rockefeller and they renovated the already historic home. Today, you can see how the Rockefellers lived since the building and its furniture has been beautifully preserved. After taking a tour make sure you take a stroll around the gorgeous gardens.
This beautifully laid out museum hosts an extensive range of antiques and artifacts from colonial USA and the United Kingdom. Permanent exhibits include American Furniture: From Virginia to Vermont, which showcases local furniture dating from the late seventeenth century. There are also some beautiful examples of silverware and ceramics; one notable feature is a sterling silver chandelier, made for King William III.
The Colonial National Historical Park is made up of some of the most important battlefields in the nation's history and memorials to famous war heroes and figures. This park includes Historic Jamestown, Yorktown Battlefield, Colonial Parkway and the Cape Henry Memorial. This vast park lets you travel back to 17th Century colonization and the American Revolutionary War. There is a bevy of family and kid activities including guided tours by extremely knowledgeable historians that will even dress the part of a 17th-century pilgrim, or you can travel by car through the beautiful Colonial Parkway and stop along the way to check out all the sites. Visitor centers and museum shops are located throughout the park so you will never get lost trekking back through history.
The Capitol was built in 1705 and housed colonial Virginia's House of Burgesses. The brick building was destroyed in a fire in 1748 and the rebuilt Capital was the sight of several important events, including where Patrick Henry delivered his famous speech against the Stamp Act and where Thomas Jefferson debated the importance of religious freedom. In December 1779 the Virgina government moved to Richmond and the building was used for various businesses, including as a law school and as a military hospital, until it was destroyed in 1881. In 1934 the Capital was rebuilt once again, this time to look like the original Capital, and it was furnished with period decor. It is now it open for tours where you can learn about the Colony of Virgina and the American Revolution.