About Colonial National Park
Colonial National Park encompasses the areas in which the English established their first permanent American colony in 1607 and the battlefield on which they surrendered to George Washington’s army in 1781, thus ending their rule.
Incorporating Historic Jamestown and Yorktown Battlefield, together with the Cape Henry Memorial commemorating the location of the first British landings in Virginia, Colonial National Park offers a comprehensive insight into English Colonial America with, amongst other things, ranger guided tours and exhibitions.
History of Colonial National Park
Colonial National Historical Park is located in the Hampton Roads region of Virginia.
It protect and interprets several sites that relate to the Colony of Virginia and the history of the United States more broadly.
The site includes the Colonial Parkway, a scenic 23 mile parkway that links three points of Virginia’s Historic Triangle: Jamestown, Colonial Williamsburg, and Yorktown.
At the northern end of the Colonial Parkway is York County at Yorktown, which is home to both the Yorktown Battlefield and the Nelson House, which was built around 1724, and may have acted as Cornwallis’s headquarters during the final battle of the revolutionary war.
This battlefield was the site of British defeat, with the house and the historic siege earthworks being restored in 1976. Moore House, where surrender negotiations took place in 1781, is located in the eastern part of the park.
There is a preserved portion of Sir William Berkeley’s experimental ‘Green Plantation’, which was an experimental farm to attempt to develop sources of income for the colony outside of traded furs and tobacco alone. It has been left untouched since housing was destroyed there during the American Civil War (1861-1865), meaning that it is a rich archaeological site.
Finally, the Cape Henry Memorial is located off the US Route 60 on the Navy base Joint Expeditionary Base East. It marks the site of the first landing of the Captain Christopher Newport and the soon-to-be Jamestown colonists in 1607.
Colonial National Park Today
Today, visitors can count themselves amongst the over 3 million people who visit the park every year. Historic carriage rides are available, and it is also recommended that you hire a tour guide. There are displays that demonstrate hand carving and glass blowing techniques, as well as food that would have been eaten during the civil war.
Getting to Colonial National Park
The site is an hour or so from the city of Richmond, via the l-64 E road. There’s also a connecting bus service – mainly the Northeast Regional, then some in the locality of the site itself – which takes a little under three and a half hours.
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