Colonial Williamsburg and Austen novels have quite a few things in common. Both interpret overlapping time periods, namely the late 18th-century. And while Austen’s books examined British gentry, much of what we know about customs, trades, materials, and architecture in Colonial America comes from Britain, of course. Residents of Williamsburg took their fashion cues from England and surely the young ladies of Williamsburg fawned over Colonial officers in uniform just as young Kitty and Lydia Bennet do with the British militia Pride and Prejudice. So here’s how to build your Colonial Williamsburg visit to satisfy your craving to live inside an Austen novel.
Explore Regency Style and Artifacts
Examine regency Art Museums objects through the lens of six Jane Austen quotes in the tour, Finding Jane Austen.
Dress the Part
Let’s face it, picturing Henry Tilney confess his love to Catherine Moreland in modern clothing wouldn’t quite the same. The period clothes add a level of romance you must long for no more. Don a frock through our costume rentals or treat yourself to a shopping trip at Tarpley, Thompson & Co. to dress the part.
Get as silly as Mrs. Bennet with Jug Broke Theatre Company. This theatre group embraces the spirit of the 18th-century theater with whimsical Performances on the Play House Stage, on the site of the first purpose-built theater opened in America.
Experience Great Houses
Okay, they may not be Pemberley or Northanger Abbey, but Colonial Williamsburg has some fantastic homes worth exploring. Tour the Governor’s Palace, the home of the royal governor, and explore the George Wythe House for a start.
A Tavern Set for a Ball
Instead of begging the local gentry to host a ball (we see you, Lydia), Williamsburg residents could simply pay a small fee to colonial tavern keepers hosting subscription balls. Join curators to see Wetherburn’s Tavern ready for the food and dancing this event entailed, and learn about this popular entertainment pastime.
Men in Uniform
Our military interpreters are much more honorable than Wickham, we promise. Learn about life in 18th-century military from drill practice to recruiting.
Dance the Night Away
Some of the best Austen moments happen on the dance floor. Set to live music played on 18th-century instruments, watch our costumed dancers float across the floor, then learn a few steps for yourself on Friday evenings at the Governor’s Palace.
Enjoy a leisurely ride through the Historic Area by horse-drawn carriage and surround yourself with the sights and sounds of our unique city.
Enjoy Colonial Williamsburg to the fullest with a stay at one of our six unique hotel properties. They are conveniently located within and surrounding the Historic Area, just minutes from all the action.