AAA Editor Notes
Historic Jamestowne, on the western end of the Colonial Pkwy., preserves the location of America’s first permanent English colony, established here in 1607. Today the 22.5-acre site is part of Colonial National Historical Park. Archeologists have exposed ruins and original foundations, revealing the footprint of the original fort palisades and structures. Nearby, the ruins of Jamestown’s first glass furnace are all that remain of the colony’s dream of a livelihood from glassmaking.
The site’s only surviving 17th-century structure is the 1690s tower of Jamestown’s brick church. Previous buildings on the site include the church where the first legislative assembly met in 1619. Earlier foundations are visible through the glass floor of the 1907 Jamestown Memorial Church.
Foundations of homes, taverns and shops built after 1620 can be seen in the New Towne section, which includes the 18th-century Ambler Mansion. Costumed interpreters lead living-history tours in the summer, and ranger-led walking tours are available all year (weather permitting). A 5-mile driving tour features interpretive waysides and views of the island’s natural environment.
The site is administered jointly by the National Park Service and Preservation Virginia.
Guided tours are available. Time: Allow 2 hours minimum.