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Williamsburg Area Features

What's New 2019

Photo Credit: Wilson Futrell

A lot is going on in the Historic Triangle! Let Colonial Guide keep you up-to-date on What’s New in 2019.

Archaeology

Archaeologists believe they recently discovered the remains of Sir George Yeardley at Historic Jamestowne. One of the most prominent graves in the 1617 church (the second church) was unearthed, and forensics reveal that the skeleton’s age and date of interment match what we know of Yeardley’s life and death. Yeardley captained one of the ships that came to aid the starving colony of Jamestown in 1609. Because conditions were so dire, he and Sir Thomas Gates imposed martial law to keep the peace. Yeardley briefly returned to England only to sail back to Virginia in 1619 as Captain General and Lord Governor of Virginia. It was at this time and under his leadership that Jamestown departed from its military background and became a civil society. Yeardley created the settlement’s first Grand Assembly. The Knight’s Tombstone, which is believed to be Yeardley’s, is currently on display at Historic Jamestowne.

American Evolution: 1619-2019

2019 marks the 400th anniversary of several key historical events in Virginia which continue to define America. These events have shaped the democratic process, cultural diversity, historical traditions, and the entrepreneurial spirit of the United States.

In August, exactly 400 years ago, the first Africans to arrive upon the shores of Virginia began a new life in Jamestown. Two English ships, the White Lion and the Treasurer, overpowered the Spanish vessel San Juan Bautista in the Gulf of Mexico and stole 50-60 individuals of African descent. The White Lion took its human cargo to present-day Hampton, selling approximately 20 persons and marking the unfortunate beginnings of slavery in the New World. And though history records the Africans’ injustices and struggles, they, in their daily routines and customs, began to positively shape our nation into the diverse landscape we see today.

In addition to the arrival of the first Africans in Virginia, three other significant moments in American history took place exactly 400 years ago in Jamestown. Democracy was first established here in 1619, as Sir George Yeardley called to meeting Virginia’s first General Assembly. It was a huge step in the creation of the democracy we enjoy today. In addition, women came to Jamestown in significant numbers to establish families and help grow Jamestown’s population. Lastly, the nation’s truly first Thanksgiving took place on December 4, 1619, at the Berkeley Plantation site on the James River—two years before the Pilgrims’ 1621 feast in Plymouth, Massachusetts.

To commemorate these pivotal events, the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation was selected by Virginia’s General Assembly to head The 2019 Commemoration Steering Committee to develop and coordinate special programs related to these achievements throughout the state. To see which events are taking place in the Historic Triangle during your visit, see our Events Guide for full listings and detailed information.

New Theme Park Attractions

Prepare to take a wild ride! At Busch Gardens Williamsburg, Finnegan’s Flyer is coming to the park’s Irish village. This extreme swing will soar to heights of 80 feet and move riders around its core at 45 mph. Meanwhile, Busch Gardens’ sister park, Water Country USA, is opening Cutback in 2019. Riders board a raft to maneuver through hairpin turns on this hybrid water coaster—the first ride of its kind in Virginia.

Textiles from the Past

The Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg are debuting a new exhibit that began in September 2018 and will continue through 2020. Rare hooked rugs from early America will be on display—many for the first time. Visit the museum to see the exquisite artistry that was involved in the making of this collection.

New Breweries

The beginning of 2019 marked the opening of two new breweries in the region. Traffic Brewing Co. in the Phoebus area of Hampton offers a variety of beers on tap, coffee and espresso drinks, and wood-fired pizza. It’s a good place to eat, drink, and mingle. Meanwhile, Newport News welcomed Twisted Knot Brewing Co. near City Center at Oyster Point. Their small-batch beer is served from 10 taps in a family-friendly tasting room.

100 Years of Service

Please join us as we congratulate the Wallace family on their centennial anniversary of operating businesses in Williamsburg! What began as one small shop has multiplied into several stores throughout the area, bringing gifts, clothing, confections, and so much more to the local community. Read more about the history and legacy of the Wallace family stores.

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