Yes, Colonial Williamsburg is gorgeous. And the tours
available in the historic homes and buildings there are not to
be missed. As are tours of the America's first settlements,
Jamestown, and Yorktown, two nearby cities of great
historical importance for the U.S.
But these tours and visits can cost money. Sometimes not a
little bit of money either.
Yet Williamsburg is full of free things to do. Keep your
credit or debit card in your wallet or billfold -- the following
activities won't cost you one penny.
One of the first things on your to do list of free activities is
a ride on the Jamestown Ferry. Are you surprised when we
say free and ferry in the same breath? Most people are.
the 15-minute ride across the James River definitely is free.
It's also priceless, for you'll get a terrific view of the
shoreline. In fact, you'll be getting a good idea of what the
first European settlers saw when they first arrived in the area
more than 400 years ago.
The ferry leaves from Glass House Point and crosses over
to the Scotland Wharf. It's a bus/auto ferry and runs 24-hours a
day, so if you've a hankering at 2 in the morning for a star-lit
ride across the river, your whim may be easily indulged.
To see the area as the founders of Jamestown did in 1607,
travel the northbound ferry -- the view in that direction is
more natural. If you're heading for the area's "Historic
Triangle" (Historic Williamsburg,
the southbound ferry is your best bet.
One minor caveat -- commuters use the ferry to travel to and
from work, so depending on the time of day, you may find
yourself waiting in line for a long while.
If you ride the ferry on a summer Saturday, before or after your
trip, check out the Williamsburg Farmer's Market located
in Merchant's Square. Open from early May through late
October (it's also open a few days around Thanksgiving and the
the market provides visitors the chance to leisurely shop for
some of the freshest fruits and vegetables, the finest meats and
cheeses, and the tastiest baked goods and sweets. From peanuts,
to jams and jellies, to seafood and wines, to Greek pastries, the farmer's market has it all. Even if you
purchase nothing -- and, frankly, we'd find it hard to believe
that anyone could resist buying something -- experiencing the
sights, sounds and smells of the market will make for a lovely
way to pass a few hours. Traveling with your beloved dog? Feel
free to bring your furry friends to this Farmer's Market!
Let's say you did purchase some things at the farmer's market --
such as a loaf of bread, some wonderful cheese and a bottle of
wine. Why not grab a lawn chair or spread a blanket on the lawn
in Merchant's Square for the free Summer Breeze Concert
Series? Held in July and August in Merchant's Square on
Duke of Gloucester Street, the series features all types of
music, from jazz ensembles to the USAF concert band.
Finally, just walking around outside Colonial Williamsburg's
historic buildings is a great experience --and it's free. In
fact, walk through the homes' backyards -- you can go through
any gate so long as it doesn't say "closed to the public."
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