Historic Jamestowne

Overview

Historic Jamestowne is the site of the first permanent English colony in North America. An island situated on the banks of the James River, Jamestown is a place of many beginnings representing the very foundations of whom and what we are as a people and a nation. Visit Historic Jamestowne and step back into history by walking the same grounds as John Smith and Pocahontas. There were other European settlements in America before Jamestown, but our language, the majority of our customs and our laws come from our English ancestry. Jamestown is the beginning of America. Visit the Memorial Church, which sits on the very site of the 1617 church. It is from here that the first permanent English settlement laid its roots in 1607. It is from here that the first representative legislative assembly in North America met in 1619. It is from here that three continents came together as Europeans encountered American Indians, and later brought enslaved Africans to this land. As the seat of Virginia government Jamestown became the focal point of Bacon's rebellion in 1676.

The "Olde Towne" section consists of 22.5 acres on the western end of Jamestown Island, which includes the original site of the 1607 fort and statehouse site of the late 17th century. Only the Church tower remains of the original Jamestown, but visitors can still walk the site of James Fort and James City proper. Additionally, the Jamestown Rediscovery Project, begun994 by Dr. William Kelso, has located over ninety percent of the 1607 fort on land. The Rediscovery team has excavated and studied structures, wells and burials, and has collected over a million and a half artifacts from the site. In 1893 the owners of the Island, Mr. and Mrs. Edward E. Barney, donated this plot of land to the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities (now called Preservation Virginia). Visit Preservation Virginia's website to learn more about the rediscovery of the fort of 1607 at their website: preservationvirginia.org.

In the "New Towne" section, visitor can walk the streets of James City and see the foundations of homes, taverns and industrial complexes.

Map

Seasonality / Weather

The best times to visit the Southeastern United States are fall and spring. Summer days are usually hot and humid.

During the summer season visitors should dress in light, comfortable clothing, wear comfortable shoes and use sunscreen. Carry a bottle of water with you. High temperatures and high humidity create higher risk of heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heatstroke. Most of the Historic site is out-of-doors and although not a great distance from an air-conditioned building, staying properly hydrated will help prevent these illnesses. During the fall visitors should have a light jacket available as temperatures can drop suddenly. Winter temperatures can be unpredictable, ranging from mild to extremely cold. Use this link for a five day forecast of local conditions. The settlers wrote that at Jamestown "the air is alive with a buzz." The same can be said today. Visitors should be prepared for this onslaught by wearing appropriate clothing and/or insect repellant.

Directions

Driving: 

Situated on the banks of the James River, Jamestown is a short distance from many major roadways and highways. For a google map search or GPS, use the following address: 1368 Colonial Parkway, Jamestown, Virginia 23081.

FROM INTERSTATE 64 (I-64)

When traveling east or west on I-64 take exit 242A (Route 199 West). At the third stoplight, Jamestown Road, turn left. Follow Jamestown Road until you see the signs for Jamestown Settlement, a Virginia Living History Park and turn left. Follow the road around the Living History parking lot to the stop sign. Turn right onto the Colonial Parkway. About 100 yards down the road you will come to the entrance gate for Historic Jamestowne. Follow the road about a mile to the parking lot and Visitors Center. Welcome to Historic Jamestowne.

FROM WILLIAMSBURG

Take Jamestown Road, Route 31, south towards the James River. Turn left at the Jamestown Settlement sign (Rt 359) and follow the road around the parking lot until you come to the stop sign. Turn right onto the Colonial Parkway. Follow the parkway to the Historic Jamestowne Visitor Center (about one mile). Again, welcome to Historic Jamestowne.

FROM THE YORKTOWN AREA

Take the Colonial Parkway to Route 199 West. Follow 199 West until you come to Jamestown Road. Turn left onto Jamestown Road. Follow Jamestown Road until you see the signs for Jamestown Settlement. Turn left at the Jamestown Settlement sign (Rt 359) and follow the road around the parking lot until you come to the stop sign. Turn right onto the Colonial Parkway. Follow the parkway to the Historic Jamestowne Visitor Center (about one mile). Again, welcome to Historic Jamestowne.

Flying: 

To Jamestown: Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport (30-45 minutes east of Jamestown), Norfolk International Airport (over one hour east) and Richmond International Airport (over one hour west) provide commercial air service.

Public Transport: 

AMTRAK has stations in Newport News and Williamsburg. Greyhound has commercial bus service to Newport News and Williamsburg. Rental cars and taxi service are available from all of these locations.