Transform Your Life in Williamsburg!

Get a new perspective. Push your limits. Be inspired. You’re guaranteed to see with new eyes, overcome obstacles, and leave renewed and refreshed.

Young adult author Terry Pratchett once wrote: “Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors.”

Pratchett could have been talking about the latest buzz: transformational travel, experiences that empower you to make meaningful changes in your life by getting away and seeing with new eyes, by pushing your limits, or by taking an internal journey. No better place to do that than the greater Williamsburg area. Looking for something more than just another escape? It's all here.

Get a New Perspective  

Colonial Williamsburg is celebrating 40 years of African-American interpretation and that offers a chance to examine the complicated founding of the United States. One story highlighted during the celebration is of Aggy of Turkey Island, an enslaved woman who became a lover of her master and successfully sued for her freedom after his death, a remarkable tale. You can find her in the Peyton Randolph House and the Raleigh Tavern.

Another is the story of the 5th Virginia Convention, which created the foundation for the Declaration of Independence written weeks later. Audience members become part of the troupe, which features characters playing their parts without regard for historical gender and race. Talk about seeing with new eyes.

Outside at the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown at Yorktown, get a new perspective on Colonial life by mustering in an Army encampment and helping to fire the cannons or examine a simpler way of cooking at the bakehouse.

At the other end of the Colonial Parkway at Jamestown Settlement, you can climb aboard replicas of the three ships that made the voyage from England in 1607, visit the re-creation of a Powhatan Village, and walk through a re-creation of the original fort, interacting with interpreters while you ponder life without your smartphone. 

Over at Historic Jamestowne, an ongoing excavation at the Pierce house is looking for clues and context to the life of an enslaved woman named Angela among the colonists and the Native Americans. It's another chance to go back and explore the lives of those often glossed over in history lessons and gain a new perspective. 

Challenge Yourself

Challenge your fears and thrill to the bumps and jumps over 20 miles of mountain biking on the Freedom Park Trail, which winds through historical sites, forests, and along creeks and open meadows in a park dating back to the 1650s.

Indulge your inner Tarzan or Jane at the Go Ape Treetop Adventure by racing down zip lines from heights sure to push your limits. Soar above the forest canopy and tackle dangling obstacles along the way. Fear of heights? Conquered.

Be Inspired by an Internal Journey

Transformation can be internal as well. Go solo in nature and engage in a bit of welcome serenity. The York, Jamestown and Chickahominy Rivers course through the area providing the backdrop for reflective hikes and waters to paddle, whether you're looking for some leisurely wildlife watching or a sweaty workout. Canoe or kayak at York River State Park or Powhatan Creek Park and return refreshed and renewed. 

Take a hike. Go on. The Historic Jamestowne Bike Trail is for the well-shod as well as the well-wheeled. Travel to a simpler time by walking the five-mile loop on Island Drive, which features 11 interpretive stops including a panoramic view of the James River, archaeological excavation sites, and the roosting nests of bald eagles.

Finally, embrace the pastoral. Saunter onto the campus of the College of William and Mary and into the Sunken Garden, a place for relaxation based on 18th-century English landscape gardens that feature sweeping lawns intended to uplift the spirit by leading the eye toward a distant, natural setting. Take a notebook or journal, pick up a watercolor set and splash some colors on a page, or just lie back and meditate. 

After kick-starting the transformation to a better you, check out the secrets places of Greater Williamsburg and spots to grab a cold brew. Then plan your visit today.

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