13 years before the Pilgrims set foot on Plymouth Rock 104 brave men and boys established the first permanent English Colony on the banks of the James River in Virginia.
In 1607 under the sponsorship of the Virginia Company the group traveled from England in hopes of profiting from the resources of the New World. They founded the Jamestown Settlement named for their king.
Today their story is preserved and retold in a living history.
Your visit begins with the film “1607: A Nation Takes Root.” This dramatic documentary details the beginnings of the Virginia Company and examines the relationship the settlers had with the Powhatan Indians. The true story of Pocahontas and John Smith (she’s not just a Disney character) is told as well as the story of the arrival of the first Africans in 1619.
After the film, you’ll move through the expansive gallery of exhibits. The gallery is designed as a time line replete with artifacts and displays cataloging the story of this historic location.
Once outside follow the pathway to the Indian Village. It’s here guests learn first-hand about the Powhatan tribe that inhabited the area and greeted the colonists when they arrived. Historical interpreters are on hand performing day-to-day tasks such as tanning hide and grinding corn.
Move along the trail to the docks and board one of the ships. Replicas of the Susan Constant, Godspeed and Discovery which carried these travelers from England are moored on the James and open for guests to board.
Finish your journey at the fort. The fort door is guarded by a soldier wearing armor as it was in 1607. The smell of smoke wafts through the air and the sound of chickens clucking nearby can be heard.
Walking through the fort is like taking a step back in time. Interpreters in period costume are busy going about their duties. The blacksmith is a popular stop on the tour this day as he answers questions while heating an ax handle he’s repairing.
Jamestown Settlement is close to Colonial Williamsburg and Yorktown in Virginia. This first settlement in the New World is a great destination for exploring and learning. It’s easy to spend several hours taking in all the information and examining the grounds.
If you plan to visit Colonial Williamsburg it’s worth scheduling some time to visit the Jamestown Settlement. This interactive living history museum takes visitors hundreds of years away in one afternoon.
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