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January 21, 2011

During the Winter Months Colonial Williamsburg Is Alive with Music, Dance and Walking Tours

Colonial Williamsburg’s Historic Area offers guests more than 25 trade shops and exhibition buildings open daily. Winter operating hours for Colonial Williamsburg’s Historic Area are 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. through March 13.

Guests can get the most out of their Historic Area visit with an “Orientation Walk.” Guides share the latest information on programming, dining and shopping.

During “Dialogues in Revolution,” guests discover the challenges that confront Virginia’s representatives as they explore the ideas of freedom and liberty in the face of British tyranny.

Performing Arts programs provide a glimpse into life on the 18th-century stage. Performing Arts staff talk about the craft of theater and performance in Colonial America during “The Actor’s Trunk.” The program, “Encore!” presents a mix of music, dance and theater in the Apollo Room at the Raleigh Tavern. Guests learn 18th-century card games, listen to music of the period and participate in a country dance during “Drive the Cold Winter Away.”

The Governor’s Musick, Colonial Williamsburg’s resident ensemble, can be heard in several programs. “Meet the Musician” provides an opportunity to enjoy a performance and chat with musicians. The Governor’s Musick plays music by 18th-century composers during “Handel, Bach and Who?” During “Music Then and Now,” guests learn how 21st-century musicians bring 18th-century music to life using period and reproduction instruments, facsimile scores, journals, letters and colonial newspapers.

These programs are included in all Historic Area admission passes.

Evening Programs

Families can learn more during Colonial Williamsburg’s evening programs. Soldiers of the Virginia regiment take guests back to the American War of Independence where they will experience the lot of the common soldier during “In Defense of Our Liberty.” Three people of the past share the common public opinion on the issue of independence and debate our nation’s history during “Revolutionary Points of View.” Guests meet enslaved people who have learned cultural morals and values from the stories of the past as told by their elders. “Papa Said, Mama Said” is a delightful, interactive program that demonstrates the significance of passing stories down from generation to generation.

In 1771, a concert was held at the Raleigh Tavern featuring that new sensation, the pianoforte. The Governor’s Musick performs at “A Concert at the Raleigh Tavern.” “Virginians will dance or die” wrote an 18th-century diarist. What better time than the 21st century to learn a few “new” dance steps in the participatory program, “Dance, Our Dearest Diversion.”

The one-hour walking tour, “Ghosts Amongst Us,” discusses Williamsburg’s haunted history. Guests are invited to question the witnesses, weigh the evidence and determine the guilt or innocence of “the Virginia witch” during the program, “Cry Witch.” Not appropriate for young guests.

These programs require a separate ticket. For more information on programming, visit

Lunch, Dinner and Rollicking Fun at Chowning’s Tavern

Chowning’s Tavern is open daily for lunch, dinner and nightly Gambols with an expanded menu of favorites from all the taverns.

Peanut soup, Brunswick stew, Welsh rarebit, salmagundi and hearty sandwiches are served for lunch daily; while pork, prime rib, crab cakes and a daily fish favorite join the menu for dinner. After 9 p.m., it’s time for the 18th-century tavern experience featuring Gambols and lighter fare of barbecued rib bites, sandwiches, soup, salad, pulled pork and desserts. Balladeers lead tavern guests in rousing period sing-alongs, a colonial conjurer astounds with sleight-of-hand, and costumed servers provide instructions for playing popular games of the day.

The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is the not-for-profit educational and cultural organization dedicated to the preservation, interpretation and presentation of the restored 18th-century Revolutionary capital of Virginia. This town-sized living history museum tells the inspirational stories of our journey to become Americans through programs in the Historic Area and through the award-winning Revolutionary City program.

Williamsburg is located in Virginia’s Tidewater region, 20 minutes from Newport News, within an hour’s drive of Richmond and Norfolk, and 150 miles south of Washington, D.C. For more information about Colonial Williamsburg, call 1-800-HISTORY or visit Colonial Williamsburg’s website at

Media Contact:
Penna Rogers
(757) 220-7121