First, let me explain, it wasn’t that I had no interest in seeing Yorktown, Virginia. On the contrary. I’d been wanting to visit the historic location on the banks of the York River for years. But for whatever reason, each time I’d depart the region, it was always Yorktown which had me saying, I really need to get there on my next visit.
Well, I am pleased to say, I finally made Yorktown my priority and am glad I did.
Historic Yorktown, Virginia
Located in the Tidewater region of Virginia, Yorktown is part of a colonial triangle of tourism. The low-lying locality is situated at the end of the Colonial Parkway and is a short drive from Williamsburg and Jamestown – two other important colonial settlements. The city was the site of the siege and ultimate defeat of British General Cornwallis which brought about the end of the Revolutionary War.
Yorktown also played a prominent role in the American Civil War. Its strategic location on the York River served as a port utilized by both sides for moving supplies to northern and southern towns. Naturally, which direction supplies were moving was dependent upon whom controlled the port at the time.
With so much history combining with natural beauty, wildlife, and nautical appeal, this rural peninsula provides a pleasant diversion for a variety of travelers.
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We begin our visit at the Yorktown Battlefield. It’s a wonderful starting point and one place I recommend you visit if your time is limited.
The battlefield is part of Colonial National Historic Park Virginia and highlights the Revolutionary War with a special focus on the events of the autumn of 1781. Begin at the visitors center and choose from a multitude of tours, programs, and exhibits. Walk the siege line with a park ranger or historic interpreter and step back in time to the 18th Century. It’s possible to spend hours here immersed learning about the consequential events leading to the final days of the American Revolution.
If you’ve got more time, the Yorktown Battlefield is also a great first stop. When your visit here is complete, catch the free Yorktown Trolley outside to travel a short distance into town. The trolley provides a comfortably air-conditioned tour of the city and visitors have the option of riding the entire circuit or hopping on and off at stops along the route. Park the car and enjoy the trolley!
Anna Marie Says…
If you want a sportier way to tour the town, head over to Patriot Tours and Provisions to explore the town on a Segway.
We hop off the bus at the stop by Yorktown Beach. The sandy beach is small yet beautiful. There are fishing boats, a fishing pier, and public docks adding to the picturesque beauty of the riverfront. We even note a few beachgoers enjoying a relaxing sunny early fall day at the beach.
We venture further to Riverwalk Landing. Riverwalk Landing is a delightful walkway along the York featuring charming shops, galleries, and restaurants. Even if history isn’t your thing, the open air markets and live music give the waterfront that something special making a visit all the more enjoyable.
The Siege of Yorktown
Historic Main Street is ideal for walking and learning on any given day but we have the good fortune of experiencing the British takeover of Yorktown. The Red Coats and Loyalists are out in force this balmy afternoon and we’re thrilled. Live demonstrations and historic interpreters bring history to life.
It isn’t uncommon at all to come across 18th-century residents in Yorktown and I highly recommend consulting their calendar when planning your stay. There’s a long list of events and festivals certain to enhance a journey to Yorktown.
There are multiple choices for dining along the waterfront in Yorktown. From pub grub to sushi and oysters, the culinary choices are abundant. There’s also craft brews, wine, and sweet dessert choices as well.
We enjoy a relaxed seafood linner (late lunch early dinner) at Water Street Grille. The delicious food and scenic view make this a memorable meal. I capture mental pictures while savoring the salmon.
The one thing I absolutely recommend you do while visiting Yorktown is to simply take a stroll. It’s an extremely foot-friendly town imbued with historic sites. There are plenty of historic markers to let you in on what you’re seeing too. Moreover, it’s a great way to get an up close view of the 18th-century architecture.
Anna Marie Says…
The Hornsby House Inn on Main Street caught my eye! This is a beautiful B&B perched on a hill in the heart of Yorktown. If a romantic getaway is your plan, this could be for you!
After multiple trips to Colonial Williamsburg, Busch Gardens, and Jamestown, I’m delighted to finally say I’ve visited Yorktown, Virginia as well. The historic town, beach, and riverfront are absolutely charming.
What’s most appealing is Yorktown’s small-town allure. Having spent the previous day at a busy amusement park, the laid back less-crowded colonial village is the perfect cap off to our trip. Yorktown is a marvelous spot for a day trip, field trip, or a weekend getaway. It’s also one of Virginia’s best-kept secrets.
Have you visited Yorktown, Virginia? Tell me what you enjoyed most.
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