Tuesday 20 February, 2018
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Welcome to EighteenthCenturyWorld, the only town run by a not-for-profit educational institution. If you haven't been and you're tempted to dismiss Colonial Williamsburg as hokey and inauthentic, think again. This is one of the most amazing museums in America—and one of the country's most fascinating experiences.

True, the dining options sound terribly twee, but even those are extraordinarily well executed. What makes this town unique is its 88 original 18th-century buildings, augmented by hundreds more reproduced so faithfully it's hard to tell which ones they are. The main road is Duke of Gloucester Street, which, like all roads in the 301-acre Historic Area, is dirt—and emphatically car-free, except overnight. Instead of traffic, scores of 18th-century people roam the streets, many industriously engaged in their crafts (merchants, milliners, blacksmiths, innkeepers, printers, bakers) and all wanting to engage you in conversation, always staying strictly in character.

Thomas Jefferson himself is around somewhere, too, plus a large number of slaves. Events are constantly erupting. Depending on which of the four most crucial years (1773–1776) of the early history of America is being reenacted that day, there may be battles, witch trials, or fife and drum parades.


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