Book Review A Colonial Williamsburg Love Affair

A Colonial Williamsburg Love Affair: Tales, Takes and Tips From a Lifetime of Visits

Having traveled to Colonial Williamsburg with kids before, I wished I had been armed with more information.

After reading Debra Bailey’s A Colonial Williamsburg Love Affair, I am 100% convinced that this is the only Colonial Williamsburg travel guide anyone would ever need.

Even if you’re don’t have a trip to Colonial Williamsburg planned, the book offers educational information and historical background.

A Colonial Williamsburg Love Affair 

Bailey’s book covers Colonial Williamsburg in two parts. 

The first 21 chapters are a journal of her visits from age 10 in 1965 through the years including 2011 – 2016. 

Through witty and detailed storytelling we learn about her family, her parents and children and feel as though we’re growing, learning and aging right along with her family. 

Colonial Williamsburg Guide

The last 14 chapters are devoted to actual travel tips when visiting Colonial Williamsburg with your family; where to go, what shops to visit, what you can expect when you get there, what you’ll find in the restaurants and so much more.

Her depictions make you feel as though you’re right there in the rustic woodshop listening to the ‘ting, ting’ of the blacksmith forging iron against an anvil in Anderson Blacksmith Shop.  

My favorite part of A Colonial Williamsburg Love Affair are the small, often missed details Bailey offers, like where to find tucked away spots to relax; detailed instructions on what little side streets to turn down, landmarks you’ll pass to get to them and what time of day to best stop for a break from the elements.

Living History Colonial Williamsburg

These are the types of invaluable tips often left out of travel guides that mean so much to nursing mothers or parents of children with sensory issues. 

Debra Baily offers insider tips for grandparents on the best time to go to Colonial Williamsburg with grandkids, recommends programs and offers suggestions on budgeting for a trip.

After reading the book you’ll see how Colonial Williamsburg has something for everyone and any age; even those not interested in history!  

Homeschooling While on a Family Vacation

Whenever we prep for a family trip, I always try to incorporate several educational elements. 

When we visited Colonial Williamsburg and Yorktown Visitor Center I brought along some books for our road trip and purchased Powhatan Indian Safari Ltd Toobs as well as the Jamestown Settlers Toobs.

Multigenerational Travel – Family Travel

By bringing the hands-on aspect of the history to life for my youngest son, he was more engaged during the trip because he was already familiar with many of the sights that we came across.

This is especially important on multi-generational trips because the more interested the youngest members of the family are, the better time Mom, Dad, Grandma and Grandpa can have.

Benefits of Living History Attractions

Living-history for most is a welcomed, hands-on sensory experience; a way to learn about the past through full immersion and it’s one that we love using to incorporate homeschooling into our family travel trips as a supplement to our American History curriculum.

Visiting Colonial Williamsburg offers a concrete connection to our roots and the foundation of our country.   

Taking a family trip to Colonial Williamsburg or a similar living history attraction is something I believe every family should try do at least one time in their lives.  

Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia, Conner Prairie Pioneer Settlement near Indianapolis, and Old Sturbridge Village in Massaschusetts were among the first to adopt living-history as a way to bridge the historical gap.

A Reason to Return to Colonial Williamsburg

One difficult thing about visiting a new-to-you travel destination is finding the right activities for your extended family. This was my challenge when we took our first multi generational family trip to Colonial Williamsburg! I hadn’t been before and really knew nothing about the experience.

Even with all of my research, I still somehow managed to miss the fact that this is a National Historic Site where children can earn Junior Ranger Badges by completing a booklet of activities.  I’ve got that marked down as a ‘must do’ for our next trip to Colonial Williamsburg!

Have you visited Colonial Williamsburg or a similar living-history attraction?  If so, comment below and let me know which one!


  • Lisa

    These are great resources! I will be saving this post, as someday I would love to visit Colonial Williamsburg with my family. Thank you for sharing this book, will have to add it to my Wish List!

  • Susan Evans

    I love taking my kids to historical places where they can “feel” the time period. Sounds like there are a lot of good tips in the book.

    • Marie Shaurette

      Exactly! It really makes such a difference and helps cement the learning with something tangible!

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