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If you’ve ever wondered what life would have been like for the first English colonists who made America their permanent home, then you simply must stop at the Jamestown Settlement in Virginia.  We made the Jamestown Settlement part of our road trip to historic sites in the eastern part of the United States. Jamestown is one-third of what is known as Virginia’s Historic Triangle.  Just to be clear–this is not the actual site of what is now called Historic Jamestowne.  If you want to visit the actual site of the colony and see archeologists in action, then you’ll want to go to the site that is run by the National Park Service.  If we’d had more time, we probably would’ve checked that area out, too.

In the end, we decided to visit the reenactment attraction, the Jamestown Settlement, because we thought that Kristin would learn more there. If you are not traveling with children, you may find that Historic Jamestowne will better meet your expectations, but we had a wonderful visit at the Jamestown Settlement.  We really enjoyed the hands-on experiences in the Living History portion of the museum.  It was a great way to learn what it would’ve been like trying to settle in America.  We also experienced what life was like for the Powhatan people who were already living there.

On the day of our visit, we had already been to the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown that morning.  We purchased a combo ticket for both attractions. We found it easy to do both of these museums in one day.  In fact, we also spent the evening in Williamsburg.  We did spend our next day in Williamsburg, so I do believe you would be missing out if you tried to do all three in only one day.  Also, as noted above, we skipped the actual site of Historic Jamestown, so if you don’t want to miss that, you may have to adjust your schedule to fit everything in. If you’d like to read more about our visit to the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown, click here.  If you’d like to learn more about our experience at Williamsburg, click here.

Arriving at the Jamestown Settlement

When we arrived, we walked past this fountain with the ships’ masts.  How pretty!

Jamestown Settlement Fountain Virginia

We strolled up to the main building and went inside.

Jamestown Settlement Virginia

The main building houses the huge gift shop, the ticket counters, and the museum gallery.  We had our combo ticket, so we showed them our tickets, and then we were on our way.  Since it was cloudy, and we weren’t certain about whether it would rain or not, we decided to do the outdoor living history sections first. Also, like at Yorktown, there were several school groups that we were trying to avoid, if possible.  We walked straight to the Fort James area.

Fort James

Fort James at the Jamestown Settlement Virginia

It was really fun to explore the buildings that the colonists would’ve built and try out the tools they would’ve used in the 1600s.  Kristin tried on armor.

Armor at Jamestown Settlement Virginia

And Jeff did, too.  I think Jeff enjoyed it more.

Armor at Jamestown Settlement Virginia

We visited the blacksmith of the fort.

Blacksmith at Jamestown Settlement Virginia

We played a game of quoits.

Quoits or ring toss at Jamestown Settlement Virginia

We saw these hens wandering around.

Jamestown Settlement Virginia

We also tried our hand at manual labor.

Jamestown Settlement Virginia

We would be pretty tired if we had to use these tools all of the time.

Wheelbarrow at the Jamestown Settlement Virginia

We watched a musket demonstration. We also learned how the colonists prepared food.

Preparing food at the Jamestown Settlement Virginia

We explored all of the buildings. There were little homes where the soldiers would sleep.

Fort James home at Jamestown Settlement Virginia

There was even a little Anglican church at the fort.  Here we are going inside.

Anglican church at the Jamestown Settlement Virginia

Fort James was a great place to explore!

Fort James Jamestown Settlement Virginia

The Pier

After we thoroughly examined the fort, we decided to check out the ships at the pier. These are re-creations of the ships that the colonists would’ve used to sail to Jamestown in 1607.  At the time of our visit, only two of the three ships were at the pier.  Normally you can see the Godspeed, the Susan Constant, and the Discovery.  I believe it was the Godspeed that was away.  We were able to board the Susan Constant and see what it would be like to sail on a ship like this.  The ships were much smaller than I had envisioned.  I would’ve been terrified to set out across the ocean in one of these. Those colonists were pretty brave!

Here is the mast of the Susan Constant.  You can see the exterior of the ship above in the featured picture.

Mast of the Susan Constant at the Jamestown Settlement Virginia

We checked out all the nooks and crannies on the ship.

Susan Constant at the Jamestown Settlement Virginia

Here you can see where the ship would’ve sailed into the pier.

Pier at Jamestown Settlement Virginia

You can see a sailor interpreter in the picture below.  The interpreters helped make history come to life.

Susan Constant at Jamestown Virginia

We really liked going inside to see where the supplies were kept and where the cannons were.

Canon on the Susan Constant

Here Kristin is posing with the cannon.

Canon on the Susan Constant

We had such a great time checking out the details!

Bell on Susan Constant at Jamestown Settlement Virginia

One of my favorite details is pictured here.  The captain’s quarters had a little private door that led outside.

Captain's door Susan Constant Jamestown Settlement Virginia

The Powhatan Village

After we had thoroughly explored the ships at the pier, we set out to find the Powhatan village.

Powhatan Village Jamestown Settlement Virginia

Kristin tried her hand at corncob darts.

Corncob darts at Jamestown Settlement Virginia

We saw this canoe that had been dug out. I love the rooster in the background!

Canoe at the Jamestown Settlement Virginia

We saw how the Powhatan people lived, including how they slept.

Powhatan home Jamestown Settlement Virginia

We saw the animal skins they used for warmth.

Powhatan home Jamestown Settlement Virginia

An interpreter had been working on making arrowheads.  The stones are so beautiful!

Arrowheads at Jamestown Settlement Virginia

Here is Kristin grinding corn.  One thing we learned in the Powhatan village is that they kept food ready at all times during the day so that when the men returned, there would be food prepared for them.

Grinding corn at the Powhatan Village Jamestown Settlement Virginia

After we had spent some time in the Powhatan village, we made our way through the beautiful woods back to the main building so we could see the gallery exhibits.  You aren’t allowed to take pictures in the gallery, so I don’t have pictures of this part of the museum. I thought the gallery was well done.  It told the story of the colonists and the Powhatan people.  We learned how Pocahontas played a role in the story.  The exhibits are immersive; you can walk into some of the displays and watch films.  You can also see statues of Pocahontas and her father, Powhatan.

Ending Our Visit at the Jamestown Settlement

After we finished with the gallery, we walked through the gift shop.  It was pretty large, and we were able to find a pewter magnet to add to our collection.  We had a wonderful time, and now we understand a little more how the earliest history of Virginia and the United States happened.  Although this isn’t the actual site, Historic Jamestowne is within two miles.  If you’re looking for that immersive, hands-on experience, then the Jamestown Settlement is the way to go.  We had a great time learning together as a family, and I know Kristin will remember her experience here.  If you are planning on going to Williamsburg, I highly recommend adding the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown and the Jamestown Settlement to your itinerary.  These three attractions do an excellent job explaining how the United States came to be.  We will always remember what we learned at the Jamestown Settlement!

Jamestown Settlement Virginia


 

 

 

 

 

79 Comments

    • Stacey Reply

      You know, Jamestown wasn’t initially on my radar either. When I started reading about Yorktown and Williamsburg, that’s when Jamestown became an idea for us. I’m so glad we went. It really rounded out our experience of the history of America!

    • Stacey Reply

      I hope you have a wonderful trip! We had a great time exploring Gettysburg and the Historic Triangle last summer!

  1. Wow I never knew about such history associated with Virginia. Looks like a fun place for children and adults too. Loved your pictures!!

  2. I loved how informative this post was and how much your families great day shone through with the descriptive writing and photos! Looks like such a fun day out and a great post! X

  3. we need to start doing more historical travel. very educational. my kids could stand to carry some buckets of water LOL! we have a restoration village near us, we should plan a trip there!

    I love the tile details on their fireplace, so beautiful!

    • Stacey Reply

      The restoration village sounds fun! I would like to read about that. The fireplace is beautiful, isn’t it?

  4. Virginia is one of the states I have not yet visited, so naturally it’s on my list! I will have to add the Jamestown Settlement as a potential attraction to visit 🙂 Looks fun!

  5. Laura Belle Reply

    I have never been there, but it looks like a fun place to visit.

  6. I was here when I was little! Definitely want to go back and take my daughter, she would have a blast. She lives learning about new things just as much as we do.

    • Stacey Reply

      I agree! It’s so fun to bring the family to places like this!

  7. Oh cool that looks like a fun and interactive experience for the whole family! Currently in the “need to learn more about America’s history” mood and ordered a couple of books, since I am in Germany at the moment. But this is definitely on my list of places I need to go! Thanks for the post and the tons of funny pictures!

    • Stacey Reply

      I agree you should go! We had a great time, and we learned a lot!

  8. My son just had to do a report on this settlement for school. I think he would absolutely love to visit Jamestown to reinforce what he is learning in school. I wonder if there is an RV park close by?

    • Stacey Reply

      Now that I don’t know. In fact, we didn’t really lodge right near there. We passed through on our way to Williamsburg.

  9. I feel like I just walked through the most fun history lesson. Can’t imagine ACTUALLY walking through it! Looks like you all had a great trip!

    • Stacey Reply

      We did have a great trip! We really do like going to these interactive places.

  10. This looks like a great, interactive place to visit and learn. I went to a similar open air museum in Finland this summer and also played the ring toss game and carried water pails with the wooden piece.

    • Stacey Reply

      That’s cool! I think it is so important for kids to experience history in a fun way.

    • Stacey Reply

      I agree! I love to learn about history in a hands-on way!

  11. This is so neat. Virginia is a state that I haven’t been yet, but am so longing to visit soon! This looks like a great place to take the family!

  12. Followingtherivera Reply

    I really felt as though I’d stepped back in time reading this! Jamestown Settlement is really an example of how colonial life was like, and while it’s great to see the past, I’m glad it’s in the past! Those ships are stunning, and the traditional village too.

    • Stacey Reply

      I agree! I don’t know if I would’ve been brave enough to sail here and start a new life!

  13. You always have the best pictures! What an awesome experience for your kids too. They can learn about history by experiencing it rather than just reading about it!

    • Stacey Reply

      Thank you! We love finding these kinds of places that are fun while learning.

  14. I love bringing the kids to places like this. So rich with history, and they are memories they stay with them for a lifetime. We’ll have to make a point of making a trip here next time we are back east!

    • Stacey Reply

      You certainly should! We had a wonderful time, and we learned so much!

  15. What a great time you guys had! We’ve never visited Virginia but hope to one day. This looks like an awesome place to learn about America’s history in a fun and exciting way.

    • Stacey Reply

      We had such a good time in Virginia. We hope to go back someday!

  16. Fascinating! This looks like a great trip, and so much history. I didn’t know the reenactment village was so extensive now. Thanks for sharing!

    • Stacey Reply

      There really is a lot to see and do. We still managed it in just a few hours, though. We did the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown that morning, and we were in Williamsburg by the evening.

  17. I don’t love learning about history, but this looks awesome! I reeeeeally wish my SO would get on board with homeschool and traveling. Sigh… I supposed I’ll keep dreaming.

    • Stacey Reply

      We had a great time! We don’t homeschool, though. We do all of this in the summer. In fact, I am a teacher, so we pretty much only travel in the summer except for small weekend trips here and there.

  18. What a neat experience! I love that these places exist so we can experience what it felt like to be a colonist. I can’t wait to take my family to the East coast!

    • Stacey Reply

      You will have a wonderful time! We had so much fun, and we have great memories of our time in Virginia!

  19. Ok, so I just instantly added this post for my USA trip folder (which incidentally has other posts from you in there too 😀 ) It would be incredible to step back into time and experience this (especially being an Englishman) It’s funny so many countries I’ve traveled to around the world countries the English landed in and even though there are reminders about it, or they are still apart of the commonwealth but I’ve not seen anything like this before.

    • Stacey Reply

      That’s awesome! I think you will have a great time exploring these areas. We learned so much, and we had so much fun!

  20. The Jamestown settlement is a really well-preserved attraction. So nice they have it open for the public and everyone can interact and try on some of the costume. it seems a great place to learn about your country’s history. really cool.

    • Stacey Reply

      It really is a great place to learn and have fun while learning. We had a great time!

  21. How I love such historic places! I heard already so much about Jamestown settlement but haven’t made it to there. It is truly impressive how everything is kept there as original as possible, looks great. It is also great to see also that the kids have so much fun there, so it is something for the whole family.

    • Stacey Reply

      I agree! We love historic places, too. It really is a great place for the whole family!

  22. Wow I have only seen such historic places in movies before. Looks so classic and ancient. I loved your armor from the blacksmith.

    • Stacey Reply

      Ha! We had a good time with the armor. It does kind of feel like you’re walking around in a movie.

  23. I’m super involved in genealogy, so I’m so envious you had this amazing opportunity! I need to plan an East Coast trip stat! My kids are really little now, so I’m thinking I will wait until they are a bit older so we can do this Jamestown Settlement as a family. Great post!

    • Stacey Reply

      I hope you get to go soon. I’ve dabbled in genealogy a little, and it is really fascinating! I really love history, and I love visiting these places as a family!

  24. This really brings us back in the past! Always wanted to go see this place and reading this makes us more excited for it! It is such a perfect place to go with your kids as well for their knowledge. Think the ship part would be our favorite spot!

    • Stacey Reply

      We really enjoyed exploring the ship. I hope you get a chance to go soon. I enjoy watching Kristin learn about our nation’s history.

  25. Oh my goodness, this post is incredible! I love the history but your cutie has stolen the show! I love, love, love the little armor photographs! Thank you for sharing all of this!

    • Stacey Reply

      Aww, thank you! We have a good time at our little destinations for sure!

  26. This is more than a glimpse because right now I feel I know a lot just through your post. I also love how you detailed it all down with them precious photos. Jamestown has so much to learn surrounding the history of America. Kristin must have been glad to undergo some history there!

    • Stacey Reply

      Well, I think Kristin has fun on our trips, and I know she picks up some facts here and there. Time will tell how much she really gets out of our experiences. I hope she looks back with fond memories!

  27. Wow, a roadtrip to historic sites in America sounds like such a cool idea, especially with kids! The Powhatan Village seems like a really cool place to experience the lives of those who lived here before us. It’s always amazing being reminded of how self-sustainable people once were! Loved reading this post!

    • Stacey Reply

      I know! It’s amazing how people could live with so little. I am always astounded by how much people were able to discover to figure out how to survive.

  28. Jamestown settlement is beautiful. I love to visit such ancient and rustic destinations. Your pictures tell a lot about the place. The ship seems huge and with all those ropes and wires hanging around it shows how old it must be.

    • Stacey Reply

      It really is a beautiful place to visit. We really enjoyed exploring those ships; it does feel like you’ve stepped back in time.

  29. Looks like you had a fantastic time! What a beautiful destination and such gorgeous pictures! Thanks for sharing!

    • Stacey Reply

      We had a great time exploring the Historic Triangle. I’d love to go back again.

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