5 Ways to Fall for Williamsburg Virginia in 2019

Howl-O-Scream at Busch Gardens Williamsburg
Virginia Thanksgiving Festival at Berkeley Plantation
Fife & Drum in Colonial Williamsburg
Local Thanksgiving Feasts
Yorktown Fall Festival & Market Days
Tenacity Exhibit at Jamestown Settlement Museum
Williamsburg Premium Outlets

Check out the brilliant foliage. Get spooked on a ghost tour. Take in an autumn festival. And enjoy delights as varied as the season’s colors!

Fall is the season when everything bursts with its beauty, in one grand finale. There's no better place to enjoy that celebration than Greater Williamsburg area. The cooler weather means its prime festival time, a chance to enjoy the bounty of the harvest. And, of course, the holdidays of Halloween and Thanksgiving offer the opportunity for many enjoyable Fall days.

Here are five ways to "Fall" for the Greater Williamsburg area during the season:

When Autumn Leaves Start to Fall

From the Colonial Parkway to Waller Mill Park to the Island Loop around Jamestown Island, there are plenty of places to see the colors of fall. From ash, poplar, and maple to wildflowers such as goldenrod, asters, tickseeds, and thoroughworts, the pageant of blazing reds and brilliant yellows is dazzling. Late October through early November is usually the best time, but it depends on the weather so check the state's handy website with fall foliage updates. 

A Season of Festivals

The Yorktown Fall Festival has become a local tradition. Yes, there are hayrides. Yes, there's a maze. Yes, there are pumpkins and gourds for sale. But there's so much more with chef cooking demonstrations, bluegrass music, and a bevy of local market vendors and artists. Plan to spend a good chunk of Oct. 12 on the riverwalk. 

The Haunting Is the Hardest Part

Colonial Williamsburg offers haunting options throughout September and October, including ghost tours, spooky carriage rides, and other special events during Haunting on DOG Street. Enjoy — if you can — ghost stories and tours of the historic buildings nightly. There's also a junior ghost walk. On Oct. 25, trick-or-treaters, ages 12 and under, can experience the season on Duke of Gloucester Street with the Haunting Horsemen, the return of Blackbeard and his merry band of buccaneers, and a pumpkin patch dance party.   

Veteran screamers know there's therapy in the shock at Busch Gardens Howl-O-Scream on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from Sept. 14 to Oct. 27 with scare zones, escape rooms, and elaborate haunted houses. Go ahead, start shaking in your boots now.

The First Thanksgiving (Not What You Think)

Celebrate the 400th anniversary of the first Thanksgiving at Berkeley Plantation on Nov. 3 with a living history program, tribal dancers, food vendors, and a reenactment of the landing of 38 British settlers on Dec. 4, 1619, two years before the more famous festivities in Plymouth, Mass. They celebrated "a day of thanksgiving to Almighty God," reading from the Book of Common Prayer. There was no grand meal. In fact, they likely fasted. But fasting isn't fun so this year's celebration features smoked turkey legs, Brunswick stew, BBQ, Virginia ham, biscuits, hot dogs, kettle corn, and funnel cakes throughout the day.

Several restaurants, especially those in Colonial Williamsburg, also serve special Thanksgiving dinners.

Get a Jump on Christmas Shopping

The day after Thanksgiving — Black Friday — don't forget to start your Christmas shopping at Williamsburg Premium Outlets. We’re talking impressive savings at more than 120 stores including Ann Taylor, Banana Republic, J. Crew, Michael Kors, Nautica, and more.

The Tenacity of Women

Jamestown Settlement is featuring the fascinating, little-known stories of women during the early days of the Virginia colony. They include Cockacoeske, a Virginia Indian woman who was recognized by the colonial government as the “Queen of the Pamunkey” and ruled until her death in 1686, and Mary Johnson, an African woman who arrived in 1623 and labored on a Southside Virginia plantation and later gained her freedom and became a landowner in Virginia. The yearlong "Tenacity: Women in Jamestown and Early Virginia" features exhibitions, a play, lectures, and interactive opportunities sure to make you rethink what you know about those days.


Looking for more to do this fall? Check out Greater Williamsburg's 10 most popular attractions, the locals’ favorites, and family fun things to do.  Then plan your visit today.


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