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History and fun for families in Virginia’s Historic Triangle

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Kingsmill Resort in Williamsburg
Kingsmill Resort in Williamsburg

By Eileen Ogintz

WILLIAMSBURG, VA. (Day One) — It’s so nice on vacation to spread out. That’s why Kingsmill Resort in Virginia is so popular with families.

There are units with as many as three bedrooms (love the full kitchens and washer and drier!), new stand alone cottages with views of the James River, two golf courses, spa,15 tennis courts, three pools (kids love the lazy river!) and plenty of room to play—2900 acres! When it’s warm, you can jet ski on the James River. Go fishing, for a bike ride or out for a run—you can rent bikes for adults and kids—and head out on the miles of trails. Yes there are restaurants, but after a day sightseeing, you’ll be glad for the chance to relax and whip up some pasta or order pizza

Did I mention the resort is adjacent to Busch Gardens? There are free shuttles both to there and Water Country. Dare you send the teens to Howl O’ Scream on their own?

Pocahontas statue at Historic Jamestowne
Pocahontas statue at Historic Jamestowne

There are even resident ghosts—and a ghost tour. This was a plantation dating back to 1619 through the 1800s. The original Jamestown settlers were here. There was at some point a brother a tavern, and an old family cemetery.

Williamsburg has plenty to offer families—from Busch Gardens, famous for its coasters and Water Country USA, to plenty of American history. This is the heart of the Historic Triangle, of course, home to Colonial Williamsburg, the largest living history museum in the country which interprets Virginia’s 18th Century capital with more than 400 restored or reconstructed buildings. Step in to a shoe maker, a shop, a home. Here local colonial citizens debate politics—including slaves who question whether they should take Britain’s offer to follow the troops and gain freedom. Meet George Washington or Patrick Henry. The turncoat, Benedict Arnold, even made an appearance.

“This is more fun than learning history out of books,” said Noah Simmons, 11, here with his family from Virginia.

Kids scraping deer hide at Jamestown Settlement
Kids scraping deer hide at Jamestown Settlement

Historic Jamestowne is the site of America’s first permanent English settlement—and the place to see a live archeological dig and museum; The Jamestown Settlement nearby has outdoor re-creations of the three ships that sailed to Virginia in 1607, the colonial fort and a Powhatan Indian Village.

You can visit Yorktown Battlefield, site of the last major battle of the Revolution and Yorktown Victory Center which chronicles that era through a living-history Continental Army camp and farm.

“I learned that kids who lived on farms then had to do a lot of chores…there wasn’t a lot of time for playing,” Julianne Simmons, 10, who learned how young Pocahontas was when she saved John Smith—no older than 12. “My age!” she said. And contrary to the Disney Version: “she didn’t marry John Smith.” She actually married a settler named John Rolfe and sailed with him and their infant son to England, never to return.

Through the fort gates at Jamestown
Through the fort gates at Jamestown

“I like the people all dressed up and the stories,” said her younger sister Isabelle, 8.

“Even if it is a little over the kids’ head, said Casey Simmons, whose kids are 8,10 and 11. “I hope it will get them excited about learning history.

She doesn’t need to worry. “”Now I get to see what was in my books at school,” said Julianne. “I like it all!”

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