4759
Williamsburg (Virginia)
Travel Back in Time to Virginia: The Birthplace of a Nation
Discover Colonial Virginia as you examine early American artifacts, learn traditional parlor games, participate in spirited debates and build lasting memories with your grandchild.
Rating (5)
Program No. 4759RJ
Length
6 days
Starts at
849
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6 days
5 nights
15 meals
5 B 5 L 5 D
Getting There
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DAY
1
Registration, Life in Old VA, Welcome Dinner, Orientation
Williamsburg
D
Williamsburg Hotel Historic District

Activity note: Hotel check-in from 4:00 p.m.

Afternoon: Program Registration. After you have your room assignment, come to the Road Scholar table to register with the program staff and get your welcome packet containing your name-tag, up-to-date schedule that reflects any last-minute changes, other important information, and to confirm when and where the Orientation session will take place. If you arrive late, please ask for your packet when you check in. We’ll begin our virtual time travel into colonial days as we watch the classic movie “Story of a Patriot” that was shot in and around Williamsburg. We’ll learn about events that were taking place in the years leading up to the American Revolution and see how colonists had different attitudes about their relationship with the mother country, England. We’ll have a group discussion at the end.

Dinner: In our private dining area at the hotel, we’ll enjoy a buffet meal with multiple main dish choices, side dishes including seasonal vegetables, dessert, and beverage choices including coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: Orientation. The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. This is an active program with some strenuous physical demands. Grandkids must be accompanied by grandparents during all activities; children may not be left to be supervised by faculty and staff. Unless indicated otherwise, transportation will be primarily by motorcoach involving stepping up and down a few steps. On several evenings, we’ll have special meal selections for kids. Periods in the daily schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. While grandparents get to know each other and become familiar with the week's schedule, the kids will join in some introductory games with their activity leader and learn about roles that will be assigned as Loyalists or Patriots, along with a trade to represent. During the program, we’ll learn everything we can about what Loyalists and Patriots believed and how independence would impact their assigned trades. Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead.

DAY
2
Jamestown Settlement & Island, Colonial Instruments
Williamsburg
B,L,D
Williamsburg Hotel Historic District

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach. Walking up to 1 mile roundtrip at each site; gently sloping terrain; gravel, shell, grassy paths; quite a bit of standing; few places to rest; steep, narrow gangplanks to board ships.

Breakfast: In our private dining area, start the day with a Southern style breakfast buffet offering choices including eggs, breakfast meats, grits, hot and cold cereals with toppings, biscuits and gravy, potatoes, seasonal fruit, and a variety of breads with milk, juice, coffee, tea, water.

Morning: We’ll board the motorcoach for our field trip to Jamestown Settlement. This was the first permanent English settlement in North America, founded in 1607, and the capital of the Virginia colony for more than 80 years. Walking with knowledgeable docents (well-trained volunteers), we’ll see reconstructions of an Indian village, a fort, and sailing ships. Imagine what it was like back then when there was no electricity, no running water, and none of the comforts and conveniences we take for granted. Especially for kids: We’ll explore interactive museum exhibits — designed for kids — that show why Jamestown was founded, the impact the settlers had on local Powhatans (Native American Indians), and how the first Africans were brought here. We’ll also take part in classroom activities where we’ll be able to handle reproduction artifacts and dress up in colonial clothing. We’ll then have some time to explore independently.

Lunch: At the Jamestown Settlement Café, we’ll have boxed lunches with sandwiches that appeal to both adults and kids plus a sweet and beverage.

Afternoon: Next, we’ll transfer to Jamestown Island and explore the site of the first permanent English colony in North America. Led by a local expert, the field trip includes an exploration of the Visitor Center galleries, a marvelous introductory film, and the Archaearium (Archaeology Museum) where artifacts from the unearthed original fort are displayed. Depending on the site schedule, we may have the opportunity to observe ongoing archaeological work at the original fort site. Especially for kids: We’ll be able to look through the floor in the Archaearium museum to see the excavated State House and the artifacts that came out of the ground we just visited. And then, of course, there are the skeletons! We’ll then ride back to the hotel.

Dinner: Hotel buffet.

Evening: To cap off our busy day, an amazingly talented musician, dressed in period clothing, will demonstrate musical instruments of the colonial era, some of them familiar and others surprising.

DAY
3
Colonial Williamsburg, Gaol, Brickyard, Games & Crafts
Williamsburg
B,L,D
Williamsburg Hotel Historic District

Activity note: Walking up to 2.5 miles from the hotel through the Historical Area and back. Lots of standing; fairly level, pebble streets, brick & shell paths; occasional benches along the way; brief rests in some buildings; on our feet about 4 hours.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: From the hotel, we’ll walk over to Colonial Williamsburg where local experts will lead us on a walking field trip to historical buildings including the Capitol, where Jefferson and Patrick Henry spoke, and the Gaol (jail) that held imprisoned paupers and pirates. We’ll stroll by gardens full of flowers and vegetables and fields where animal breeds from the colonial era graze. Poking our heads into some of the shops, we’ll get to watch and talk to artisans making 18th century goods in the traditional manner. Especially for kids: We’ll finish our morning adventure by helping to make bricks in the Brickyard. Shoes will come off! The brick makers will explain the process and show us what to do. At the end of the field trip, we’ll walk back to the hotel, visiting a few more colonial shops on the way.

Lunch: At the hotel, adult and kid-friendly choices.

Afternoon: Especially for kids, with the active participation of Grands: A talented historical interpreter will join us at the hotel to lead in colonial crafts and activities. You might learn to write with a quill pen using colonial style penmanship, put together your own hand-bound book for taking notes, or dress up in colonial clothes. Have your camera ready for pictures! Next, we’ll all join in lawn and tavern diversions from lively dice games to lawn bowling. Our instructor will teach us the rules and provide directions while entertaining us with background stories of the amusements. Finally, grandparents will be treated to a special presentation by a delightful character interpreter who will elucidate various aspects of colonial life. In a separate room, grandkids will prepare a sweet confection with the help of a domestic historian who will also provide background on the ingredients. Everyone will be able to sample the delicious results after class.

Dinner: Hotel buffet.

Evening: At leisure. Our Group Leader will talk about different kinds of activities you might like to enjoy on your own. Or, just relax and have some family time together.

DAY
4
Governor's Palace, W&M, Tavern, Afro-Am Songs & Stories
Williamsburg
B,L,D
Williamsburg Hotel Historic District

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach. Walking up to 1 mile through Historic Area; good deal of standing; fairly level, pebble streets, brick & shell paths; occasional benches along the way; brief rests in some buildings; on our feet about 3.5 hours.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We’ll board the motorcoach, ride back to Colonial Williamsburg, and continue to explore buildings, gardens, and other sites in the Restored Area. At the Governor's Palace, we’ll learn from knowledgeable docents how the royal representative in Virginia lived and how the palace was built to impress the colonists with British authority and wealth. Especially for kids: We’ll get lost (and found) in the garden maze, created from living boxwood hedges. Next, we’ll walk to the campus of the College of William and Mary to explore the historic Wren Building — America’s oldest college building in continuous use. On our way, we’ll check out some of the trade shops such as the blacksmith’s, the wig maker’s and the cooper’s (barrel maker) to understand more about how people lived in the colonial period. We’ll then take the motorcoach to historic Shields Tavern.

Lunch: At Shields Tavern (1745), we’ll have kid-friendly and adult choices. In the colonial era, “public houses” were gathering places for residents and travelers. The building has been reconstructed, but the atmosphere is like what patrons such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Patrick Henry would have known. Strolling musicians and personalities from the past enhance the experience.

Afternoon: Free Time. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. You are welcome to remain in Colonial Williamsburg and explore more. Especially for kids: This would be a great time to visit the shop keeper you are representing to find out about your trade and how the debate on independence would affect their business. You can also walk back to the hotel for a dip in the pool, write in your journal, or just sit back and relax.

Dinner: Hotel buffet.

Evening: Especially for kids: We’ll be joined at the hotel by a talented singer-storyteller who will take us through three centuries of African-American culture from its roots in Africa to freedom with the end of slavery. You can join her in singing along!

DAY
5
Yorktown Battlefield & Museum, Encampment, Farm, Debate
Williamsburg
B,L,D
Williamsburg Hotel Historic District

Activity note: Walking up to 1/2 mile at a time, including several hundred yards from parking area to Surrender Pavilion; standing at sites; pebble and grass paths, some hilly ground. Battlefield earthworks are fairly steep to climb.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We’ll hop on the motorcoach and ride to the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown (ARMY). Yorktown is where George Washington’s army defeated the British, effectively ending the Revolutionary War. We’ll see a film in the museum theater and interpretive sites including a re-created Continental army encampment and a farm. Museum staff and docents will lead us in a variety of lessons and hands-on activities including watching flax being turned into linen thread, practicing military drills, learning about Revolutionary War medicine and cooking, and looking into a tobacco barn. Especially for kids: This is a very kid-oriented place with lots of interactive exhibits and plenty of hands-on activities.

Lunch: At the Yorktown Victory Center, we’ll have boxed lunches from a popular local eatery with a choice of sandwich or wrap, a sweet, and soft drink.

Afternoon: Next, we’ll drive over with a local expert to explore the actual site of the 1781 Siege of Yorktown. Here American and French forces defeated the British and won the Revolutionary War. We’ll visit the galleries at the Visitor Center, climb up the earthworks, and end with a walk across Surrender Field where the British army laid down their arms before George Washington's forces. We’ll then return to the hotel via motorcoach.

Dinner: Hotel buffet. Share favorite experiences with new Road Scholar friends during our farewell dinner.

Evening: Especially for kids: We’ve been learning about the struggles and accomplishments of the Virginia colonists since the founding at Jamestown. Now, war with England looms on the horizon and we must decide whether to stand with the Patriots or the Loyalists. We’ll divide into opposing groups as our moderator — a character from colonial America — asks questions to encourage debate. Grands will be the audience and observe the spirited discussion based on the information we’ve gathered during our field trips. At the end of the debate, we’ll vote for American independence or loyalty to the King of England, and you can change sides if you want! Enjoy the remainder of the evening at leisure and prepare for departure after our final session in the morning.

DAY
6
Colonial Food Preparation, Dance Lesson, Program Concludes
Williamsburg
B,L

Activity note: Hotel check-out by 11:00 a.m.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: At the hotel, we’ll participate in the preparation of authentic and tasty colonial foods as we learn from a domestic historian. Then, just like the people of colonial times, we’ll follow our dessert by trying out some colonial dance steps to music from the period. Grandchildren and grandparents can both learn the steps of the minuet and other colonial dances with the lively assistance of a talented dance mistress at the hotel. To mark the end of our colonial adventure, we’ll all take part in a graduation ceremony and receive tokens of our accomplishments.

Lunch: Pick up a boxed lunch with a sandwich, fruit, chips, a sweet and a beverage before heading home. This concludes our program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures. Best wishes for all your journeys!