Colonial Williamsburg preserves a 173-acre district of historic houses, workshops and public buildings in what was once the 18th-century capital of Virginia, making it one of the most expansive and authentic historic destinations in America. While visitors will find Williamsburg contains a diverse selection of hotels and inns, most have 20th-century, rather than 18th-century, origins. For truly colonial lodgings in Colonial Williamsburg, visitors must proceed directly to the Colonial Houses.
Colonial Williamsburg is run by a private foundation, and that foundation operates a series of lodgings in addition to its living history and restoration work. Among the hotels and inns are two taverns and two dozen assorted homes, workshops and kitchen out-buildings collectively known as the Colonial Houses. Five of the homes and both of the taverns are original, colonial-era buildings. The remainder are painstaking recreations erected on 18th-century foundations.
The Brick House Tavern and the Market Square Tavern present guests with a genuine 18th-century hostelry experience, since both were in business back in the 1770s. The Market Square Tavern even served as the home of Thomas Jefferson during his law studies with George Wythe. Both have great rooms with fireplaces, with the great room of the Brick House Tavern located in the building's cellar. The costumed staff -- part of the foundation's living history presentation -- combined with the period furnishings and the antique nature of the buildings create what Fodor's describes as a "total Colonial experience." The Chiswell-Bruckout House is not a historic tavern but offers similar lodgings.
Houses, Kitchens and Shops
Most of the remaining colonial lodgings at Williamsburg are found in one- and two-bedrooms rental cottage-like units set in a range of historic buildings. The Lightfoot Tenement is a two-story, two-bedroom unit set in what was an old guesthouse, while the Ewing Shop offers one bedroom. Some of the larger buildings, such as the two-bedroom Lewis House, have sitting rooms. Fireplaces are an almost universal feature among the rental shops, houses and kitchens of Colonial Williamsburg, but none have working kitchens. Like the guest rooms at the taverns, Colonial Williamsburg's rental units come with a mixture of antique and reproduction 18th-century furnishings.
Guests of the Colonial Houses enjoy access to the amenities of the Williamsburg Inn and the Williamsburg Lodge, both operated by the Colonial Williamsburg foundation. Collectively, these include outdoor swimming pools, a business center, a health club and spa, and bike rentals. The Williamsburg Inn also boasts a pair of restaurants, including the Regency Dining Room with floor-to-ceiling windows offering commanding views of the famed Golden Horseshoe golf course. Champagne Sunday brunch at the Regency Dining Room is something of a Williamsburg ritual.
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