15 Best Things to Do in Jamestown, VA

Jamestown, VA
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A historic and archeological site, Jamestown in east Virginia is an amazing place to go and learn various never-known things.

Founded in 1607, Jamestown is the first settlement in Virginia Colony.

More than 400 years have passed, and a visit here is still an adventure.

Amusingly, there are a lot of beautiful stories engraved in each place. You must discover the story and leave the place in a state of awe.

If you want to discover this wonderful place, here are the 15 best things to do in Jamestown, VA:

Stroll Across the Footbridge

Footbridge in Jamestown
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If you're a first-timer here in Jamestown, make sure to stroll across the footbridge.

This is a symbol that will help you walk back through history. From there, you will cross the Pitch and Tar Swamp.

Well, I'm sure you won't miss out on the wildlife.

There are many turtles, birds, and other beautiful island creatures you can see across the place.

Aside from that, the footbridge is made of wood. It is surrounded by green trees and mountains, where underneath is a river.

Approximately, this is a 5-10 minute walk to the Tercentennial Monument. This is where your Jamestown tours begin.

Stand by Pocahontas Statue

Pocahontas Statue
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The Pocahontas Statue is another favorite attraction that you must see.

For the record, there is a replica display of it at the St. George's Church in Gravesend, England, but the original is placed here in Jamestown.

Sculpted by William Ordway Partridge, this statue has been standing since 1922 and measures 18 ft. tall.

Pocahontas Statue
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Located south of the Memorial Church, this famous statue depicts the story of the favorite daughter of Powhatan, leader of the Powhatan Confederacy.

According to history, she was the one who saved the life of the English Captain John Smith and promoted peace between her father and the English colonists.

A lot of people have taken pictures with the Pocahontas Statue, and you should too.

Capture the Tercentennial Monument

Tercentennial Monument
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Here in the historic Jamestown also lies the Tercentennial Monument.

This is a tall obelisk that looks like the Washington Monument.

Among the several monuments found in Jamestown, this is the tallest, which stands about 104 ft. tall, and the most eye-catching.

Made of New Hampshire granite, it costs around $50,000.

According to the sources, the United States government placed it in Jamestown Island in 1907 to celebrate the 300th anniversary of the colony.

If you look closely, you can see the multiple engravings of the monument which was said to highlight the roles of the English people in founding the colony.

However, it overlooks the contributions of other European people such as Virginia Indians and captive Africans to secure the colony's permanency.

Learn About the Angela Site

One of the excavation sites in Jamestown, Angela Site, reveals the first enslaved African woman in America to learn some history.

"Angela" was a servant of Captain William Pierce.

During the early summer of 1619, she was taken from Angola and forced aboard the Sao Ja Bautista, a Portuguese slave ship.

The Site was said to be the parcel of land where Pierce and his family lived.

According to a 28-year veteran of the National Park Service, this site is a hallowed land.

And this is not just a half-acre archaeological site; this is where Angela stood, and experienced slavery, which people pretend is not a big deal. She was a symbol of hope.

Angela Site is located inside the New Towne nearby Ambler Mansion Ruins.

Wander Around the New Towne

New Towne in Jamestown
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New Towne - Colonial National Historical Park Service is more than just a fort.

From its archaeological excavation sites, Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), James River, Ambler House, and other historical attractions situated in the area, you can see the diversity of the economy, industry, and the people who settled in New Towne during the 1600s.

Civilian Conservation Corps
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To present the beautiful past of the place, Archaeologists discovered several of the town's brick foundations and formed new perspectives.

Its grandiosity attracts every single person learning and wandering around the place. There's too much history and remains to exhibit the settlement.

Above all, you should see this place.

Appreciate the Other Monuments

Aside from the Tercentennial Monument and Pocahontas Statue, there are other monuments around Jamestown that you're going to love.

Surrounding the place are APVA Gate, John Smith Statue, General Assembly Monument, Wooden Cross, and Horse Trough.

 John Smith Statue
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The APVA Gate, made of brick and iron, is located northeast of the Memorial Church.

Also, outside the entrance of the Archaearium, you can see the sizeable Wooden Cross, honoring the dead settlers in the first years of the colony.

Then, standing within the borders of the original fort is the James Smith Statue.

Of course, you should not miss the General Assembly Monument that commemorates English North America's first representative democracy.

Lastly, the bronze Horse Trough is situated outside the Yeardley House offices of the Jamestown Rediscovery Project.

Discover the Story of the 17th-Century Church Tower

17th Century Church Tower
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Built in 1680, the 17th Century Church Tower also tells a beautiful story about its survival of fires, created reinforcement against attacks during the American Civil War, and decades of decay amid the dense forests that rose in 1699 after the colony's capital moved to Williamsburg.

After all that it went through, this is now the considered last surviving above-ground structure of Jamestown since the days when it was the capital of Virginia.

17th Century Church Tower
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Indeed, this old building would draw you deep into the past. The impressive piles of bricks are incredibly durable and antique.

Consequently, in partnership with Preservation Virginia, Colonial Williamsburg has created measures and discussed the first phase of preserving the Church Tower.

Pray in the Memorial Church

Memorial Church
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One of the American treasures, Jamestown Memorial Church, is a century-year old brick church.

Built in 1907, this Memorial Church was designed by Edmund Wheelwright and Ralph Adams Cram as a gift from the National Society of Colonial Dames of America.

Located near the entrance of the James Fort, the Church may seem to appear like you're in the Jamestown era.

Interior of Jamestown Memorial Church
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Intriguingly, it was built on the foundation of an earlier Jamestown church.

According to sources, this church is where Pocahontas and John Rolfe were most likely married.

Inside, you will be amazed at the church's interior, decorative memorial plaques of important people of Jamestown colony, and the tomb which was said to be the early governor of Virginia Colony—George Yeardley.

Outside, there are graves of Jamestown natives buried between the late 1600s to early 1800s.

See the Exhibition in the Archaearium

Archaearium
Ken Lund from Reno, Nevada, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Of course, your trip to Jamestown will not be complete without seeing the Archaearium, a historic award-winning archaeology museum.

The Archaearium, or "A Place of New Beginnings," which is the meaning of the word, symbolizes the role of Jamestown during the English Settlement of North America.

Archaearium
Ken Lund from Reno, Nevada, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

There, you can take a look at the exhibits, books, jewelry, reproductions, gifts, and other archaeology-related items.

It is located beyond the fort site, which is an approximately half-mile walk from the Visitor Center.

Bewilder in the Hunt Shrine

To honor Reverend Robert Hunt, the first Anglican minister of the colony, this Hunt Shrine was built in June 1922.

At the same time, it is for the commemoration of the first celebration of Holy Communion in the first permanent English settlement in America.

Designed by Ralph Adams Cram, it outlines a bas-relief delineating the 1607 service with two 16-foot-high brick columns supporting a sandstone curve.

It is situated on Jamestown Island on the James River.

Its operation is made possible because of the partnership between Preservation Virginia and the U.S. Public Park Service.

Visit Jamestown Island Drive

Jamestown Island Drive
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Setting your foot here in Jamestown Island Drive will provide you with compelling scenic views that loop around the island.

The marshes and thick forests are evocative of what colonists would have witnessed 400 years ago when they first arrived in America.

The center and eastern parts of Jamestown Island, a component of Colonial National Historical Park, are connected by a paved circle road extending for five miles.

Jamestown Island Drive
Ken Lund from Reno, Nevada, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The route is one-way and open to all modes of transportation, including cars, bicycles, and pedestrians.

There is no parking near the beginning of the route, so if you want to walk or ride your bike, you must start at the parking area of the Historic Jamestowne Visitor Center.

The route goes almost entirely through the forest, and apart from a pond at the beginning and a glimpse of the marsh, there is nothing incredibly picturesque about it.

Unless you choose to get out and walk the short Black Point Trail at the end of the circle.

Witness the Production in the Glass House

Vintage hand blown green glass in Jamestown
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To complete your Historic Jamestown tour, going to the Glasshouse is a must-do on your itinerary.

The "trial of glass" at this location marked the beginning of the first English industrial manufacturing in America.

Glassblowing was one of the earliest English efforts at industrialization and manufacturing in America, and it was also one of the most successful.

Optimistically, the Company believed that glass manufacturing would provide the profits that it desired.

The New World was abundant in raw resources, including wood for fire and ash, as well as sand (silica) for glass production.

To manufacture the glass, all that was required were craftsmen and a variety of workers.

The Jamestown Glasshouse is situated between Jamestown Island, the site of the first permanent English colony in North America, and Jamestown Settlement.


Step in the Statehouses

Just like the stories of other Jamestown places, the Statehouses also have a unique and fascinating story to tell.

Most of the State Houses were headquartered in the General Assembly of Virginia during the old times.

According to the historical documents, the building was initially constructed in 1663.

Then in 1698, there was evidence of destruction by fire.

Yet, it is still standing today.

Also, the tale of the Jamestown Statehouses shows the legacy of Jamestown.

It was the rise of the popular government.

There are 6 Statehouses in total. The First State House was built during 1632 - 1660; the Second State House - (1656 - 1660); Third State House - (1665 - 1676); Fourth State House -  (1685 - 1698); Fifth State House - (1704 - 1747); and lastly, Sixth State House - (1753 - 1780).

Explore the James Fort Archaeological Site

James Fort Archaeology site
Ken Lund from Reno, Nevada, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Known as "The Buried Truth of Jamestown," James Fort Archaeology reveals amazing wonders of history.

The Powhatan Indians invaded the English settlers shortly after they arrived on Jamestown Island in May 1607.

By then, it was necessary to build a fort.

In the efforts of Archaeologists, more than 80% of the fort's archaeological features and items like the jug and the skeletal remains of some of Jamestown's early men survived underground.

Amazingly, Archaeology at James Fort has uncovered the footprints of the fort and various structures within it during the last 25 years.

Enjoy the Beautiful Dale House Café

Dale House Café
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Hungry?

Be cozy here in the beautiful Dale House Café.

Approximately, it is a ⅓ mile walk away from the Visitor Center, and specifically, it is located between the fort site and the Archaearium Museum.

Simply put, the Dale House Café is open to visitors who have valid admission tickets, and all visitors should stop in the Visitor Center parking area.

Well, its menu features salads, sandwiches, soups, and yummy desserts, but it changes seasonally.

In addition, the Dale House building was known as the Relic House in the early 20th century.

There was a display of artifacts cultivated by the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities.

Later it became a pottery demonstration area, museum store, and other archaeological projects until it turned into a Café.

Final Thoughts

With this list of things you can do in Jamestown, VA, expect to be thrilled and amused by the places here.

From the monuments, archeological sites, structures, and churches, it's sure that you can bring some fun-filled knowledge at home.

Outstandingly, the stories of each place are some of the reasons that make Jamestown famous.

It's something to be talked about to your family and friends.

Come to Jamestown now and see for yourself!