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CHARMING, HISTORIC YORKTOWN - American Roads Travel Magazine

Just a 15-minute drive along the scenic Colonial Parkway takes you from Williamsburg to neighboring Yorktown. Today a quaint historical village and county seat, Yorktown was a flourishing colonial tobacco port in the 18th century where Americans won their independence during the last major battle of the American Revolutionary War.

A must see for visitors to the Historic Triangle, Yorktown includes the battlefields and Visitor Center operated by the National Park Service with galleries and exhibits depicting the siege of Yorktown. Touring the battlefields marked by the Yorktown Victory Monument invokes patriotic emotions, as does seeing the Moore House where the surrender terms were negotiated ending this battle in the war for independence. The Yorktown Victory Center, operated by the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, chronicles the American Revolutionary period with gallery exhibits and living history in re-creations of a military encampment and 1780s farm. Costumed interpreters interact with visitors to bring our nation’s history to life.

Established in 1691, historic Yorktown consists of picturesque streets lined with colonial-style homes. A combination of private homes and historic houses preserved by the National Park Service delight visitors with the crisp lines of 18th-century American architecture and manicured landscaping. The stately Georgian mansion of Thomas Nelson, Jr., signer of the Declaration of Independence and governor of Virginia, graces Main Street, as does the Dudley Digges house, the Customs House and other historic buildings.

In the center of town York Hall serves as headquarters for the York County Board of Supervisors. Since 1697, five different buildings on this site have served as the York County Courthouse. On the first floor enjoy art exhibits displaying the works of local artists in The Gallery at York Hall.

A trolley takes visitors on a tour of the town, to the historic attractions and then down to the water, where visitors can stroll along the brick and granite Riverwalk to enjoy soothing vistas of the mighty York River. The waterfront boasts an attractive beach area for sunbathing and swimming and a pier where cruise ships dock throughout the year.

The Watermen’s Museum and Gift Shop, filled with maritime treasures, tells the story of Virginia’s working watermen and their families who for generations have harvested the rivers and tributaries of the Chesapeake Bay for its abundant seafood year round. See boat building and a dugout canoe at the outdoor exhibit. A steel replica of the Betsy, the British supply ship reclaimed from the York River by archaeologists in the 1980s, stands proudly in front of the museum. River cruises depart daily from the Watermen’s Museum dock. Board the Miss Yorktown for a fishing trip and the Yorktown Lady for a wonderful dining experience on the York River.

Throughout the year events celebrate York County’s heritage, beginning in the spring with walking tours of the various historic sites. A sampling of the special programs include:

    Tactical demonstrations, encampments and a Confederate field hospital interpret Yorktown’s part in the Peninsula Campaign during Civil War Weekend, May 25-27. Sponsored by the National Park Service.

    Sundays and Thursdays in June, July and August the Fifes and Drums of York Town perform at the National Park Service Visitor Center. Independence Day naturally brings much celebration of the freedom for which our American ancestors fought. Sponsored by the Yorktown Fourth of July Celebration Committee, the day features a foot race, parade, arts and crafts, food, musical entertainment and fireworks to venerate our nation’s birthday.

    The Virginia Symphony thrills guests and residents alike by performing an outdoor concert each August in the historic village. Yorktown Day, October 19, marks the 221st anniversary of America’s Revolutionary War victory at Yorktown. All turn out for a parade, patriotic ceremonies and tactical demonstrations, sponsored by the National Park Service and the Yorktown Day Association. The observance continues on October 19-20 with re-enactments and education programs held at Yorktown Battlefield and Yorktown Victory Center.

    November and December bring the holidays and Yorktown offers several activities such as Foods & Feasts of Colonial Virginia and A Colonial Christmas at the Yorktown Victory Center, and the Yorktown Tree Lighting, Lighted Boat Parade and Christmas Homes Tour.

A number of unique shops featuring antique furniture and decorative arts are sprinkled among the streets of this romantic village. The Yorktown Arts Foundation presents special exhibits during the warm seasons displaying various traditional and eclectic media such as miniatures, photography, paintings, and glass. Modern and folk art objects at the nationally known Nancy Thomas Gallery delight local and visiting patrons.

This combination of historical and modern charms makes Yorktown a must-see visit on your Historic Triangle itinerary. Located only 11 miles from Williamsburg on the Virginia Peninsula, Yorktown and surrounding York County offer an enchanting experience rich in history and continuing prosperity.

Contact the Williamsburg Area Convention and Visitors Bureau for more information:


(800) 368-6511 or (757) 253-0192

Post Office Box 3585, Williamsburg, VA 23187-3585


More than 10,000 rooms are available in the area, and for convenient, complimentary vacation reservations service, call the Williamsburg Hotel & Motel Association toll-free at 1-800-899-9462.

Provided by American Roads Travel Magazine - Visit American Roads Travel Magazine website.

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