Don’t Miss What’s New for 2019 in Greater Williamsburg!

Exciting new theme park rides, seminal history events, and hot new restaurants help make this year unforgettable.

“Tenacity: Women in Jamestown and Early Virginia”
Cutback Water Coaster at Water Country USA

Here's a 2019 resolution that requires not a hint of sacrifice: Check out what's new in Greater Williamsburg.

The rewards? A smarter you. An endorphin rush. Tingling taste buds. A fatter wallet.

Rides, Rides, and More Rides

For that rush, head to Busch Gardens and Water Country USA where new rides will leave your heart beating a whole lot faster.

Swing like never before on Finnegan's Flyer, a ride that takes your childhood playground experience to the extreme. Two-pendulum arms will soar at 45 mph to 80 feet over the cliffs of the Celtic coast at the park's Ireland village. If you can keep your eyes open while on the screaming ride, you'll get a stunning vista of the park, annually named one of America's most beautiful.

Over at Water Country USA, the thrills are wetter but just as wide-eyed. The Cutback Water Coaster will be the only RocketBlast coaster on the East Coast and Virginia’s first hybrid water coaster, combining a water jet propulsion system, tunnels, and open-air saucers at a speed of 35 feet per second over 865 feet, guaranteed to leave you with an adrenaline high. 

Landmark Historical Events

This year is the 400th anniversary of four seminal events in American history:

  • British colonists met on July 30, 1619, in the first representative assembly in the American colonies, in the church of Jamestown Settlement on the island where they'd landed a dozen years earlier. 
  • The first enslaved African-Americans were traded off an English ship, the White Lion, which landed at Point Comfort.
  • The first large group of British women, 90 strong, arrived at the struggling colony, proving indispensable in stabilizing the settlement.  
  • Colonists celebrated the first Thanksgiving at Berkeley Plantation on Dec. 4, 1619, following their landing from London and the mandate that they celebrate "a day of Thanksgiving to Almighty God" with prayers and a fast.

Events throughout the year will commemorate those landmark occurrences. Among the first is “Tenacity: Women in Jamestown and Early Virginia,” a special exhibition at Jamestown Settlement, a living-history museum of 17th-century Virginia. Along with the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation’s collection of 17th-century objects, the special exhibition will feature more than 60 artifacts on loan from 22 international and national institutions. “Tenacity” aims to examine the struggles women faced in the New World and highlight their contributions to society — from the arrival of the first English women in Virginia in 1608 and the Powhatan Indian women they encountered, to the arrival of the first documented African women and recruitment of English women in 1619.   

At Colonial Williamsburg, the year features a celebration of the 40th anniversary of African-American interpretation. The living history site was the first to tell the too-often untold story of enslaved and free African-Americans. In January Colonial Williamsburg and All Together Williamsburg will co-host a film screening and discussion series examining the ongoing impacts of slavery at the Lane Auditorium in Colonial Williamsburg’s Bruton Heights School. Programs begin at 2:30 p.m. and feature screenings of the documentaries “Traces of the Trade” on Jan. 6, “13th” on Jan. 13, and a panel discussion on Jan. 20.

Hot New Restaurants

Greater Williamsburg's restaurant scene, attracting national attention, grows with the addition of some new eateries, notably Casa Pearl in an old Texaco station and Yamachan on Richmond Road, both in Williamsburg. At Casa Pearl, you'll discover an unlikely menu of oysters and tacos earning raves. Check out the wide variety of East Coast oysters, craft cocktails, and tacos featuring everything from oyster Po' Boys (of course) to carnitas as well as the best crispy Brussel sprouts this side of Manhattan. At Yamachan, ramen made in house is the thing along with poke bowls, wings, and bubble tea. Go on, resolve to try something new and exotic after a wild ride on the new coaster at Busch Gardens.

If you're still hungry, there's Restaurant Week, Jan. 21-31. Dozens of restaurants are participating with lunch and dinner specials and three places — Blue Talon Bistro, Capital Pancake House, and Culture Cafe — are offering breakfast specials. Get your three squares and more at bargain prices.

Maritime Heritage

The Mariners' Museum and Park in nearby Newport News has a new and evermore entrance fee of $1. It's a deal that would make Warren Buffett smile. The USS Monitor Center features a full-scale model as well as the ironclad's preserved gun turret. Every Friday afternoon, there is a Civil War roundtable discussion. The Explorers Theater offers 3D movies. And the 550-acre park features a five-mile trail and dramatic views of the James River when you need to stretch your legs.

There's so much more to Greater Williamsburg.  Explore outdoor activitiescheap eats, and family fun things to do.  Then plan your visit today and see what else is new.


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