Winter Getaway: Colonial Williamsburg

Missives from E. Woodruff for girls and Richard Dawson for boys offer a bit of direction to parents looking for kid-friendly activities under the guise of tasks the children can complete during their stay. Although shuttles run throughout the 301-acre Historic Area, most families prefer to see the sights on foot.

Venture forth from the Visitor Center across a bridge, where the 18th century suddenly erupts. At the Great Hopes Plantation, a pit fire in a fi eld ringed by split-rail fencing lures those looking to warm their hands. Little ones will be drawn to the oxen and sheep that linger in the area, which are more than happy to pose for photos. At the entrance to the town, you’ll spot the Governor’s Palace standing majestically at the top of the square.

Fashioned after the original structure built in 1722, the mansion served as a residence to seven of Virginia’s royal governors and two state governors. Farther down the green is the Wythe House. Children will be fascinated by the outhouses, which give new value to the concept of fl ushing. Fancy chickens with feathery feet strut and peck the ground in front of the house.

In the front parlor, flutists play tunes from the era at scheduled times during the day, and kids are welcome to accompany the music with their latest dance moves. Horses and carriages hitched at the end of the square mark the Greenhow Store, next to which is the Greenhow Lumber House, where families can book a carriage ride. Adjacent is the Colonial Nursery, one of the stops requested by the letters the children receive with their costumes.