Living history, modern fun in Williamsburg, Jamestown and Yorktown

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Deer antlers make great German Christmas cookies. That’s just the first of many quirky facts you’ll learn in Colonial Williamsburg. That, and those whale-bone corsets were an all-too-real fact of life for women of the era.

Williamsburg, Virginia, is of course known for its history, as part of “America’s Historic Triangle,” which also includes Jamestown and Yorktown. This is where the first English colonists settled in the New World, after bravely crossing the Atlantic in the early 17th century. You’ll want to explore the historic sites and the museums and immerse yourself in the history, but there are plenty of modern draws in the greater Williamsburg area, too – including one particular brewhouse that produces “The Thing With the Stuff.”

Colonial Williamsburg

So, start with Colonial Williamsburg, where you will be immersed in the life of 18th-century American colonists. Billed as the world’s largest open-air museum, you can stroll down Duke of Gloucester Street and pop in and out of colonial-era shops filled with costumed interpreters who really know their stuff. A few standouts are the Millinery, where you can see what it took to create just one dress; the Barber and Peruke Maker (“peruke” is a wig); and the Apothecary, where you’ll learn that opium was dispensed for everything from toothache to knee pain, and yes, deer antler was used for smelling salts and German Christmas cookies.

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