Historic buildings. No cars. A wide, flat path. And even a few other runners.
Scampering through Wiliamsburg’s historic district early on a chilly Saturday morning was a refreshing run through the past. In some respects, it reminded me of early morning dashes through the National Mall in D.C., only not quite as much traffic and a shorter distance from end-to-end.
Although most of the buildings – some authentic and others rebuilt as close as possible to the original – were not open yet, I still got a chance to snap photos in the morning sun. As I worked my way down some of the side streets, I said hello to horses, sheep and cows bred to be similar to the animals of colonial times. Along the way, I waved hello to a couple dozen other runners, I’m guessing a combination of William & Mary students and members of the Colonial Road Runners.
I haven’t always been a fan of Williamsburg. In some respects, it reminds me of a fictional plastic world in a Disney-like sort of way. But I have warmed to the idea of recreating a slice of the past so people can get a better understanding of it.
Williamsburg, the state capital from 1699 to 1780, is home to William & Mary, the U.S.’s second oldest college. George Wythe is one of the town’s most celebrated residents. The first ever U.S. law professor shaped the concepts behind the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. He was a mentor to Thomas Jefferson, John Marshall, James Monroe, Edmund Randolph, Henry Clay and many other colonial leaders.
The restoration of the town began in the 1920s, largely financed by John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Today, there are 88 original buildings and hundreds of others recreated based on the best available information of what the structures looked like in the past. Reenactors play the role of historic figures, craftsmen, store owners and common townfolk.
After my run, Col and I spent about four hours listening in on a tour, roaming the streets and ducking into shops. At night, we went to a concert featuring Rosanne Cash.
38 runs down, 96 to go.
View Williamsburg in a larger map