Colonial Williamsburg's 300 acres of taverns, tradeshops, homes, and community buildings stand preserved as if it were the 1770s, at the turbulent moment when Virginia colonists were debating independence from Britain. As visitors stroll the sun-dappled streets, they immerse themselves in the daily life of the town's citizens—shopkeepers, artisans, politicians, and enslaved servants who dream of freedom, but fear the chaos of war. Political discussions and protest demonstrations give guests the chance to leap into the revolutionary spirit themselves. Or, they can browse the town's 15 historic trade shops, where nearly 80 masters, journeymen, and apprentices practice pre-industrial trades from blacksmithing to leatherworking.
A duet of museums give historical context to the town's vibrant life. Housed under one roof, the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum and Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum let guests admire three centuries' worth of rustic ornamental woodwork or learn how a portrait of George Washington saved a family farm. Alternatively, for a taste of the 20th century, they can stroll across the landscaped grounds of Basset Hall, the former residence of John D. and Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Jr.
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