Colonial Williamsburg historic area, the largest living history museum in the United States, portrays 18th-century Williamsburg. Colonial Williamsburg historic area offers a visit to the past in the thriving capital of England's oldest, largest, and wealthiest colony, and later, a power center in the new nation.

Encompassing 301 acres, the restored Historic Williamsburg Area includes 88 original buildings, 225 period rooms, 500 reconstructed buildings (many on the original foundations), a vast archaeological collection, thousands of American and English antiques, and more. The Colonial Williamsburg historic area Visitor Center, the best place to begin your visit, provides parking, information, admission and program tickets, bus service, on-site hotel and restaurant reservations.

Visitors are truly able to walk in the path of history on Colonial Williamsburg historic area's principal street, Duke of Gloucester Street. The well-trodden street stretches about a mile between the Capitol and the famous Wren Building of the College of William and Mary.

While meandering along Duke of Gloucester Street, it is fun to remember that you are literally walking in the footsteps of such great American figures as George and Martha Washington, Thomas and Martha Jefferson, Patrick Henry, and James Madison.

The Public Records Office:
When the Governor's Palace was completed in 1722, it was considered one of the finest buildings in British North America. The elegant and imposing residence housed seven royal governors and the commonwealth's first two state governors, Patrick Henry and Thomas Jefferson. It was reconstructed on the original foundation and opened to the public in April 1934.

The furnishings are based on an inventory taken in October 1770 upon the death of Gov. Norborne Berkeley, Baron de Botetourt. The Palace complex includes a stable, kitchen, and elaborate gardens.

Along Duke of Gloucester Street, visitors are able to explore:
The Harnessmaker-Saddler
Bruton Parish Church
Palace Green
The John Greenhow Store
The James Geddy House
the Mary Dickinson Store
The Shoemaker's Shop
Market Square
The Courthouse
The Magazine and Guardhouse
Chowning's Tavern
The Ludwell-Paradise House
The Printing Office
The Prentis Store
Post Office and Bookbindery
M. Dubois Grocer's Store
The Mary Stith Shop
Tarpley's Store
Wetherburn's Tavern
The Milliner
The Silversmith
Raleigh Tavern with its Bake Shop
King's Arms Tavern
Pasteur & Galt Apothecary Shop
Source: Colonial Williamsburg Foundation