7 Ways History Comes Alive in Coastal Virginia

Perhaps nowhere else does the exciting story of America come to life more vividly than in Coastal Virginia. From the first landing of English settlers, to the first permanent English settlement, to the home of the world’s largest naval base and so much more, the story of this region is closely connected to the history of our nation.

Here are 7 ways history comes alive in COVA.

Hands-on history in Williamsburg, Jamestown, and Yorktown
From the first English-speaking settlement in America, through the formation of government and the struggle for liberty, our area can provide years of learning and entertainment. Our region offers so many fun ways to bring history to life! Become a Revolutionary spy in Colonial Williamsburg, visit one of our world-class living history museums including the beautiful new Yorktown Victory Center or join an archeological dig in Historic Jamestowne. And don’t forget a trip to America’s second-oldest college, The College of William and Mary.  LEARN MORE

The Story of Service on Land and Sea in Norfolk
History enthusiasts can tour the Douglas MacArthur Memorial, the final resting place for General Douglas MacArthur and his wife and Naval Station Norfolk, the world’s largest naval base.  Norfolk is also home to the Battleship Wisconsin, one of the largest battleships ever built, which is docked in the city’s picturesque harbor and has served in both WWII and the Gulf War. LEARN MORE COVAHistory-Smithfield2
Genuine History, Genuine Characters in Smithfield & Isle of Wight
Nothing adds to local color more than a guide who is as colorful as the stories they tell. In Smithfield & Isle of Wight County, tours led by home-grown treasures Kathy Mountjoy or Albert Burkhart of the Isle of Wight Museum will take you strolling along South Church Street’s stately mansions, visiting one of our Civil War forts, reliving the infamous Battle of Smithfield on the very streets where it took place, or even a visit to our historic cemetery Ivy Hill.  You will hear legends, facts and maybe even a bit of centuries-old gossip.  LEARN MORE COVAHistory-Southampton2
Experience Native American History in Southampton County
Come tour a 17th Century replica Native American Palisade Village. Walk the interpretative trails guided by signage in Iroquoian and English languages to help identify native flora and fauna indigenous to the area, and meet Cheroenhaka Indian Tribe members.  Gain an in-depth education and experience of the Nottoway Indian culture and history through a variety of exhibits and activities. Gather with tribal members for workshops to pass down cultural traditions such as how to make corn husk dolls, quilts, flutes, beaded earrings, and how to record oral histories. LEARN MORE iptc headline
Shining a Light History in Virginia Beach
Begin your visit to Coastal Virginia in the same place the settlers began theirs and discover the original landing site of Captain John Smith and America’s first settlers. The site is home to the historic Cape Henry Lighthouse, built in 1792, which served as a beacon of safe passage for ships bound for northern ports. It was operated until 1881 when a replacement lighthouse, which is still in use by the U.S. Coast Guard today, was built right beside the original. Though it is no longer in operation, the “old” lighthouse is open for tours for those willing to make the climb. LEARN MORE COVAHistpry-Hampton
From the Sea to the Stars in Hampton
Trace 400 years of our nation’s history at the Hampton History Museum in downtown Hampton. Ten galleries share the personal stories of explorers, pirates, and men and women working along the Chesapeake Bay. The museum also hosts several weekly educational opportunities and a wealth of annual special events. And don’t miss the Virginia Air and Space LEARN MORE COVAHistory-Portsmouth
Historic Olde Towne Portsmouth
From its antique and specialty stores to its tree-lined streets, Historic Olde Towne Portsmouth is much more than one of the region’s most pleasant places to take a stroll. It’s a history lover’s dream come true. In a single square mile, the Olde Towne Historic District contains one of America’s largest collections of architecturally noteworthy 18th and 19th century homes and churches, along with a delightful selection of restaurants and specialty shops. LEARN MORE

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