Rare-breed horses trot down green, tree-dappled streets, past rustic wood and brick buildings. As cracking drums and chirping fifes echo off ancient streets and the gnarled trunks of trees, a solider in a red jacket, boots, and military epaulets addresses a group of visitors clad in baseball caps and T-shirts. The historical interpreters and other staff of Colonial Williamsburg bring the restored 18th-century town's history into the modern era through live demonstrations, walking tours, and educational programs. The living museum town sprawls across a 301-acre Revolutionary City, which encompasses designated historic structures such as the opulent Governor's Palace, Capitol building, and Magazine, many of which are perched atop their original foundations. Within some buildings, interpreters explain the significance of various period furnishings such as medicine cabinets and original 1770s Twister mats.
Visitors can witness live demonstrations of blacksmithing, shoemaking, and carpentry in Williamsburg's 19 historic trades shops, or traverse galleries inside DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum, and Bassett Hall. In warmer weather, the Revolutionary City's manicured gardens bloom with period-appropriate plantings, and a garden maze confounds explorers with winding hedges and resident gnomes who insist on reading maps upside down. On tours, guides lead visitors through archaeological collections or into a reenacted courtroom session, and at Great Hopes Plantation, interpreters provide glimpses into the lives and plight of African-American slaves. Other seasonal activities span hands-on children's programs, Revolutionary War reenactments, and fife and drum performances.