The Time Machine

John Smith statue and the James River.

Although it’s a hassle and always requires more energy than you expect, vacations are worth it. I’m not talking about a trip to Six Flags or Cedar Point. That is nothing but a road trip to a headache. I’m also not talking about going to Disney World to experience “Europe” or an all-inclusive cruise where you spend most of your time in the buffet line with Frank from Poughkeepsie who has abandoned personal hygiene for four days and three nights. Real travel is going to a place you have never been before and experiencing something you cannot online. It’s risky, unpredictable, and ultimately one of the most enriching activities imaginable.

I’ve taken several vacations to Virginia’s historic sites. Being a historian interested in the colonial period of American history, Virginia offers a host of incredible destinations. I wrote the Threefold Law song “Old Dominion” while sitting on the banks of the James River next to the remains of the Jamestown fort. I got inspired to write my historical fantasy “Gold Within” after spending portions of the last ten summers in Colonial Williamsburg. You cannot visit these places without feeling awestruck by the history.

Colonial Williamsburg is one of the few places in the entire United States that has not been paved over or razed for a corporate-sponsored sports stadium. Strolling down Duke of Gloucester street is a trip in a time machine to the 18th century. From the foundation’s website,

“The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation operates the world’s largest living history museum in Williamsburg, Virginia—the restored 18th-century capital of Britain’s largest, wealthiest, and most populous outpost of empire in the New World…In Colonial Williamsburg’s 301-acre Historic Area stand hundreds of restored, reconstructed, and historically furnished buildings. Costumed interpreters tell the stories of the men and women of the 18th-century city—black, white, and native American, slave, indentured, and free—and the challenges they faced. In this historic place, we help the future learn from the past.”

Colonial cannon with the magazine in the background.

A trip to Colonial Williamsburg is different, engaging, exciting, and unlike an overcrowded amusement park visit (although Busch Gardens is nearby should the urge for water-park diarrhea strike you). If you can escape the gravitational pull of your window unit, I’d recommend you head for the Old Dominion before Disney gets to it.

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