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Local Area

Originally Middle Plantation, a 1632 fortified settlement located on high ground on the Peninsula between the James and York rivers, it was renamed Williamsburg after the capital of the Virginia Colony was moved there from Jamestown in 1698. The town received a royal charter as a city in 1722, and was the center of political events in Virginia leading to the American Revolution.


Williamsburg is well-known for Williamsburg's Historic Area, the restored Historic Area of the city, and for the adjacent College of William and Mary, established in 1693, the second-oldest university in the United States. Nearby, established in 1770, the predecessor of the current Eastern State Hospital was the first known mental hospital in the United States.


The Historic Triangle of Virginia, which also includes Jamestown and Yorktown, is among the most popular tourist destinations in the world, with Williamsburg located in the center. The three are linked by the National Park Service's bucolic Colonial Parkway, a 23 mile-long (37 km) National Scenic Byway which is carefully shielded from views of commercial development.


The toll-free Jamestown Ferry is located at the southern end of the Colonial Parkway. State Route 5, another scenic byway, links Williamsburg and Richmond.


Most highway travelers reach Williamsburg via nearby Interstate 64, U.S. Route 60, and State Route 143, each major east-west highways. Commercial airline service is available at Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport (20 miles), and at Richmond and Norfolk airports (55 miles each). All are located along I-64 and offer limousine service to Williamsburg, as well as rental cars.


Williamsburg also offers non-automobile driving alternatives for visitors and citizens. The intermodal Williamsburg Transportation Center is located in a restored Chesapeake and Ohio Railway station near the Historic Area, downtown, and the College. It offers Amtrak and Greyhound services, taxicabs, and rental cars. There, many visitors transfer to the community's local transit bus system, Williamsburg Area Transport, which operates accessible equipment for the mobility-impaired with bicycle racks on buses as well.