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Discovering The Historic Triangle In Williamsburg

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The Historic Triangle: Williamsburg

Where The Famous Historic Triangle Can Be Found And Where History Comes Alive Once Again With Reenactments And Tours Of The Past

Entrance To The Historic Triangle Museum [Courtesy/NPS]

Had Hurricane Matthew pummeled the eastern seaboard 235 years ago, like it did last month, the United States of America might have never been born.  Perfect weather was required for French West Indies ships to make their way through notorious hurricane territory in the very season of storms to the Chesapeake Bay where they engaged the British Navy, preventing supplies and reinforcements from reaching their troops who had taken Yorktown, Virg.  October 19, 1781, is the date indelibly written in history of the Siege of Yorktown, won by American General George Washington and allied French troops under the command of General Rochambeau.  This battle cinched the Treaty of Paris which ended the Revolutionary War and secured American independence.   

You can appreciate this “perfect storm” of events that culminated in the birth of a nation by touring the Historic Triangle made up of Colonial Williamsburg, Yorktown and Jamestown.  The Colonial National Historical Park is comprised of the Colonial Parkway which links the first permanent English settlement, Jamestown, with the last battle of the Revolutionary War in Yorktown, just 23 miles apart, and which represent the beginning and the end of the Colonial Era.  Jamestown and Yorktown (Colonial Nat’l Hist. Park) are the arms of this triad with Colonial Williamsburg being the middle point. 

In the triangle’s center, actors dressed in period-costume escort visitors back in time to when Williamsburg was the capital of the Virginia Colony, the years 1699-1780. “Hello!  I am Christiana Campbell,” says a smiling, elderly woman in red and white colonial dress and bonnet, first curtseying and then stepping forward to shake a young girl’s hand.  “Won’t you dine with me tonight? George Washington loves to come to my tavern for seafood.   I’ll be home and waiting for you,” she invites.  Then she points the family in the direction of the dinner reservation desk.  You, too, can dine with historic characters while in Colonial Williamsburg at any of the seven historic restaurants.

Playing Around On The Historic Triangle Grounds [Courtesy/NPS]
Learning The Story Behind The Historic Triangle [Courtesy/NPS]
Inside The Museum [Courtesy/NPS]

Visitors gain understanding for the complexity of the Revolutionary War.  Not only were Americans and British involved, but French, German, African and Native American people played pivotal roles. Program offerings change daily, along with evening performances and dining options.  Start at the visitors center where you’ll receive a printed daily schedule and the opportunity to make reservations for popular events, including a witch trial or ghost walk. 

To the west of Williamsburg lies Yorktown.  October 2016 found Yorktown celebrating the anniversary of the Battle of York on the 19th as well as the opening of a new educational center, previously known as the Victory Center, debuting as “The American Revolution Museum at Yorktown”.  The Museum announces that “The American Revolution Museum at Yorktown tells anew the story of the nation’s founding, from the twilight of the colonial period to the dawn of the Constitution and beyond. Comprehensive indoor galleries feature period artifacts, immersive environments, interactive exhibits and films, including ‘The Siege of Yorktown,’ with a 180-degree surround screen and dramatic special effects.” 

During a battlefield tour led by Park Ranger Jennifer Bolton, she relates the historic drama of critical Redoubt #10.  A redoubt is a man-made earthen defense mound.  Redoubt #10 was constructed and defended by the British and taken by the Allied American force on October 14, 1781, under the command of American officer, Alexander Hamilton.  Ranger Bolton noted during her tour how the mortar and howitzer artillery her guests touched would be more vivid the next time they sang the lines from our nation’s anthem, “the bombs bursting in air!” 

Jamestown, to the east of Williamsburg, is a partnership between state and national park services where a living museum brings to life the first lasting English colony.  One can see what life was like for Powhatan Indian, English and west central African peoples who converged here.  This portion of the park is all about education as is evidenced by the many school children visiting the park with their teachers and classmates on fieldtrips.  “If only every child could be a student of history, the future would be brighter,” remarked one fieldtrip chaperone. 


Nanette Hilton

Nanette Hilton is an avid cyclist and nature-lover with artwork and writing published worldwide.  She holds a degree in Writing from Brigham Young University and currently lives in the splendorous Mojave Desert.

Ed Allen's Campground & Cottages

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