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Historic Jamestowne

Historic Jamestowne - BEST Placess to Picnic

Colonial National Historical Park
P.O. Box 210
Yorktown, Virginia 23690

(757) 898-3400
Visitor Information
(757) 898-2410

WELCOME to Historic Jamestowne

Come, walk in the steps of Captain John Smith and Pocahontas as we explore America's beginnings. Here is where the successful English colonization of North America began. 

Here is where the first English representative government met and where the first arrival of Africans to English North American was recorded in 1619. Jamestown, the Beginning of America.

Old Towne

Over a century ago, the Barney family presented the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities with 22 1/2 acres of Jamestown Island, which included the Old Towne site.

"Old Towne" refers to the area of the triangular fort constructed by English settlers in the spring of 1607. The Jamestown Rediscovery Project, begun in 1994 by Dr. William Kelso, has located over ninety percent of the 1607 fort on land. 

The Rediscovery team has excavated and studied structures, wells and burials, and has collected over a million and a half artifacts from the site.

New Towne

In the 1620s, William Claiborne began surveying the area to the east of the old 1607 fort. Governors, planters and merchants soon purchased lots in what was called "New Towne" and constructed dwellings there. 

Taverns, warehouses and wharves served those visiting the capital to attend the courts, to serve on the House of Burgesses or to have their tobacco graded, weighed and taxed at this official government port city.

When the capital moved from Jamestown to Williamsburg in 1699, Jamestown was largely abandoned. Two farming families, the Amblers and the Travises, owned the majority of the 1500-acre island by 1750. (The illustration to the left is a photograph of the ruins of the circa. 1750 Ambler mansion, located in New Towne.)

In 1934, the National Park Service acquired the New Towne site and began excavations with the help of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). J.C. Harrington, the project leader, has been called the father of modern historical archeology.

The Glasshouse

The Glasshouse is a modern version of what we believe the original Glasshouse of 1608 might have been like. Today modern glassblowers create glass objects like wine bottles, candle sticks, pitchers and paper weights. 

We are uncertain as to what the 1608 glassblowers produced. Watch as artisans produce fabulous glass items which you can purchase at the Glasshouse gift shop. No two pieces are exactly alike as each is hand-blown from molten glass.

Jamestown Island Drive

Walk, run, bike or drive the Jamestown Island Drive. This three and five mile one-way road through the forest and around the swamps of Jamestown is awe-inspiring in its wilderness view and majestic wildlife. 

Eagles and other numerous birds, wild flowers, turtles, deer and various other mammals make one believe this is a place teaming with life. Pull-offs and waysides along this roadway explain about the industries attempted by the early settlers to make a profit out of this wilderness.


The Park Service at Historic Jamestowne has no eating facilities. However the Visitor Center has three vending machines on the back patio with drinks, water and snacks and there are two small picnic areas in the parking lot with benches and tables. 

These picnic areas are "leave no trace" areas so please take your trash with you when you are finished. These picnic areas are the only areas where you may picnic at Historic Jamestowne.

Did You Know?
Captain John Smith produced a dictionary of over 500 Powhatan Indian words. Opossum, raccoon, persimmon and Chesapeake are all Powhatan Indian words.

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