What’s New in Greater Williamsburg

A Look Ahead at 2019 Brings 400 Years of History to Light Along with Exciting Revivals and New Developments

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. – January 2, 2019 – 2019 is a year filled with deep appreciation for all things old and new in Greater Williamsburg. Marking the birth of democracy and other historical triumphs, Greater Williamsburg has created a slew of new programs to commemorate the evolution of our nation while keeping things action-packed and entertaining as always.

Read on for some highlights and then visit www.visitwilliamsburg.com to see more of what Greater Williamsburg has to offer and plan your stay in 2019.

For the Daredevil

In 2019 Busch Gardens Williamsburg will reveal two new attractions that will exceed all thrill-seeker expectations. The first, Finnegan’s Flyerä, is a Screamin’ Swing ride located in Busch Gardens Ireland Village just adjacent to the Loch Ness Monster roller coaster. Featuring two pendulum-like arms that fly progressively higher with each swing, riders will soar more than 80 feet high at a speed of 45 mph while they swing out over the captivating cliffs of the Celtic Coast. The second ride, Virginia’s first hybrid water coaster, is the only RocketBlastÒcoaster on the East Coast. The Cutback Water Coaster will be found in Water Country USAÒ and will combine two unique technologies – water jet propulsion and an exhilarating saucer feature – to drive bigger boats at higher speeds and longer, steeper inclines.  Upon boarding a four-person raft, adrenaline junkies will take heart-stopping turns and lightning–fast drops as they are catapulted along an 865-foot slide, through spine-chilling tunnels and onto the wide-open space of massive saucer-shaped features at lightning speeds.

For the Food and Drink Connoisseur

The Williamsburg Area Restaurant Association will be celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2019 and will be paying special tribute to many long-standing, multi-generational restaurants, while the ever-popular restaurant week will run from January 20th-31st, with many popular venues participating in the event.  

If visiting Historic Yorktown, coffee aficionados should stop by the recently opened Mobjack Bay Coffee Roasters on Main Street in the historic Cole Digges House. Family-owned, this charitable establishment is giving back to the community by donating a portion of every coffee bag sold to the Chesapeake Bay Restoration efforts and offering free coffee to customers who take a bucket to the beach, fill it with litter and bring it back to the café.  For those with an exotic palette, the Chef K Café opened in the new event pavilion behind the Hornsby House Inn B&B.  A seasonal dining experience, Chef K is only open on Friday, Saturday and Sunday and will serve a cuisine from a different country each weekend.  

The Brass Canon Brewing Company is under new management and will see complete redecoration and expansion into a beer lounge and event space with a focus on small batches and rotating taps with up to 12 taps active at any given time. Now a Veteran owned establishment, discounts will be provided every day for first responders, active duty military and vets.

The Virginia Beer Company will be unveiling a number of new small batch beers as part of their new Alpha Brew Ops canning line, allowing them to mix old favorite recipes with brand new flavors and release them in limited availability in their tap room.  Novel brews like the Double Dry-Hopped India Pale Ale and Fruited Sours will be available for the first time in 16 ounce cans.  Focusing on their popular mantra, “Beer, People, Purpose” Virginia Brewing Company will also be working with local non-profits to help give back to the communities.  In particular, they will partner with Keep Virginia Beautiful to help promote environmental education, releasing a special pale ale where a portion of the proceeds will be donated to the organization to help sustain and promote their mission. 

Silver Hand Meadery produces and distributes a historic drink, rediscovered and re-imagined.  It offers a range of meads with new recipes being introduced regularly.  In early 2019 the team behind Silver Hand Meadery will be expanding and taking over the remainder of its current building.  In addition to the expansion, look out for limited edition Fireball mead in February and brand new limited mead aged in Copper Fox Whiskey barrels called “Shining Avostar” in March.   Looking to get out and meet fellow mead fans, then be sure to mark your calendar for the Meadup event May 24-26.  

For the History Buff

To commemorate the 400th Anniversary of the First Legislative and the First Africans to arrive in Jamestown, Historic Jamestowne will offer special programs throughout 2019 but most importantly, they will open two exciting new exhibits, the first of which will mark the exact spot where democracy began. Within the 1907 Memorial Church, visitors will get to stand in the very spot where representative government began, as a recreation of the historic event is performed. The second exhibit will take place at the Voorhees Archaearium Archaeology Museum and will explore how Jamestown evolved from a small triangular fort into a major port within the Atlantic Seaboard in 12 years.  

The Jamestown Settlement Exhibition Galleries will be getting a phased $10.6 million makeover which will include new interactive gallery exhibits exploring the Powhatan Indian, English and Angolan cultures that converged in Virginia in the 1600s. The Jamestown Settlement will stand as a year-round stage for the 2019 Commemoration, American Evolution highlighting historical milestones surrounding the 400-year anniversary of the first African Americans to arrive. Some exhibits will include Women in Jamestown and Early Virginia, Military through the Ages and Origins of American Democracy.

Also held in conjunction of the 400th anniversary, the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown will host the special exhibit “Forgotten Soldier” beginning on June 29 and running through March 2020. Recounting personal stories of enslaved and free African Americans who fought on both sides of the American Revolution and helped contribute to establishing the nation, the exhibit will include a series of workshops and interpretive reenactments.

Meanwhile Colonial Williamsburg has prepared a slate of new programs for 2019 that will run at the same time on a weekly basis.  The Arts Museums of Colonial Williamsburg will feature programs like Busting Myths which teaches visitors to discern historical truth, myth and reality while Finding Diversity explores stories and art created by African Americans, Native Americans, women and other individuals considered minorities.  For Women’s History Month, the Courthouse will debut Revolutionary Women: Business and Trades, examining how women were employed in some unusual occupations like blacksmithing and textile manufacturing; and Revolutionary Women: Function of Fashion, taking a look at how fashion helped shape the identity of women.

The 71st Colonial Williamsburg Antiques Forum will be held from February 22-26.  This year’s topic focuses on Hidden Treasures: New Findings and Rediscoveries.  Material culture enthusiasts are invited to join curators, conservators and scholars to reassess forgotten objects and long-know items in keynote presentations including “Jewelry for America,” Classical Principles of Modern Design” and “The Rise of the West End: London, the Season and Shopping.”  Additionally, four optional pre-conference bus trips offer guests an opportunity for expert-guided private tours of historic homes throughout the region while four optional post-conference workshops examine methods of furniture assessment and 18th- and early 19th-century fashion, glass and silver plate.  An overnight trip including accommodations begins Feb. 21 and visits Maryland’s Anne Arundel County and Eastern Shore; three single-day trips offered Feb. 22 visit Virginia’s Middle Peninsula, Monticello and other period homes in Albemarle County, Virginia, and Caroline County, Virginia.

For the Art Aficionado and Music Enthusiast

In 2019, Yorktown will extend its Sounds of Summer series with even bigger headliners. Running on Thursday nights between June and August, there will be a total of 12 waterfront concerts with spectacular musical line-ups.

Those looking to tap into their artistic side can join Kick Start Art at the Dewitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum of Colonial Williamsburg. Budding artists can spend time in the galleries reviewing the basics of drawing while sketching a variety of objects. Materials are even provided and the program is included with the price of an admission ticket.

For the Adventurer

The Mariners’ Museum and Park, located in Newport News and only 20 minutes from Colonial Williamsburg, is one of the largest maritime museums in the country. Sea lovers and history fanatics alike can discover captivating stories through maritime art, priceless artifacts and handcrafted ship models. General admission price has dropped to the bargain price of $1 per person indefinitely, but docent-guided tours and supplemental programs are also offered for those wanting to plan an entire day.  Current add-ons include Handling History, a special presentation that allows visitors to learn about artifacts of a particular interest that aren’t on display; USS Monitor Center Lab Tour which lets guest explore the Batten Conservation Complex (BCC) and its laboratories, as well as get up close and personal with cannons and iconic turret.  Museum patrons can also choose from a selection of unique packages, like the Mariners’ Museum Highlights which gives a taste of the entire museum, the Shady Ladies of the Seven Seas, a look at women’s roles in maritime history, or the Battle of the Ironclads, recounting stories of the famous 1862 battle. Boxed lunches with a variety of menu choices are also available.

For the Sports Fan

The Ladies Professional Golf Association will hold the 15th Edition Pure Silk Championship at the Kingsmill Resort on May 20-26 for a $1.3 million purse. In recent years, the event has brought nail-biting results with players breaking tournament records and achieving consecutive career wins.

New and Revamped Accommodations

The Estate at Kingsmill is the newest luxury accommodation in Greater Williamsburg. A 7,000 square-foot private estate sitting on a magnificent bluff overlooking the James River, The Estate is located within the gated, manicured lawns of the AAA- Four Diamond Kingsmill Resort. Guests will enjoy world-class amenities including golf, tennis, spa treatments, yoga and Pilates classes, plus exclusive access to two luxury SUV’s, two customized golf carts, private jet skis, personal shoppers, laundry service, and personalized music and menu selections.

The Yorktown Cottages is now situated in half of the building that used to be the Nancy Thomas Gallery. In the heart of historic Yorktown on Ballard Street, the charming 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom property can accommodate up to five people.  It’s only a short walk to Yorktown Beach, Main Street and other waterfront and historic attractions but guests can also ride the complimentary trolley to explore museums, battlefields and other landmark sites.

The Historic Powhatan Resort offers rest and relaxation matched with fun and excitement for the whole family. While on property guests can enjoy both indoor and outdoor swimming pools, tennis courts, an outdoor pavilion, and even a playground for the kids. Each three-bedroom suite has a fully equipped kitchen, a private balcony and a loft for the ultimate in relaxing vacation. The resort will begin its next phase of renovations on 114 of its 2-bedroom units beginning December 2018 through April 2019.

Getting Here

Greater Williamsburg remains an easy escape. Now, Allegiant Air has added non-stop flights from two area airports.

For more ideas about adventures in Greater Williamsburg, explore the 10 most popular attractions, find some family fun and plan your next visit now.

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