Yorktown, Virginia. A place known for both its waterfront charm and its famous battles. Stroll through the boutique shops and grab a delicious bite to eat at one of the restaurants at Historic Yorktown’s Riverwalk Landing, then wander along the York River’s sandy beach. As you walk up the hill toward Main Street’s art galleries and antiques shops — pausing to admire the town’s 18th-century architecture — it may be hard to imagine that fierce fighting ever took place nearby.
But Yorktown was critical in both the Revolutionary War and the Civil War. At Yorktown Battlefield, part of the National Park Service’s Colonial National Historical Park, you can see where George Washington secured America’s independence in 1781. The Yorktown Victory Monument is here, as well as a Civil War-era National Cemetery. Nearby at the Yorktown Victory Center living history museum, you can experience the American Revolution firsthand through film, galleries, and re-creations of a Revolution-era farm and a Continental Army encampment. Costumed historical interpreters may even recruit you to join a cannon crew or help tend the crops.