Presidents Day, originally known as Washington’s Birthday, was put into commission through an Act of Congress in 1880. It has since evolved into a celebration and memorial of all American Presidents, featuring days off work, school closings and massive sales. As George Washington’s actual birthday is February 22, the holiday was originally celebrated strictly on this date. But as Congress realized that February 22 might not fall on a workday, the holiday was changed to the third Monday in February—a great thing for vacationers everywhere. And if you’re planning a trip over the three-day Presidents Day weekend, consider Williamsburg, Virginia, home of several Founding Fathers—including George Washington.
Williamsburg is part of Virginia’s Historic Triangle, which corners with Jamestown and Yorktown. Historic Williamsburg is home to 88 original colonial-era buildings and hundreds of reconstructed ones. It is a central location in early presidential history. Washington, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison all have ties to Williamsburg, having either attended college, served in government or owned property. If you’re planning a vacation to Williamsburg, you will be able to walk the streets these men walked, sit at a pub where they shared their ideas and visit the shops where they purchased their goods.
Hop on a horse drawn carriage and take it down Duke of Gloucester St. Then stop in at Harnessmaker-Saddler, a leather-goods store that still makes saddlebags, chests and aprons in the same fashion as was prevalent in the 1700s. Walk over to King’s Arms Tavern. Opened in 1772, this pub was an old haunt of George Washington’s. You can also stroll over to Bruton Parish, where Washington went to church.
Whether you’re a history buff well versed in colonial America or you’re interested to learning, this historic city has a lot to offer. Tours and museums are everywhere, and over the Presidents Day Weekend there will be activities galore including, of course, a parade.
So enjoy immersing yourself in American history in one of the original seedbeds of U.S. democracy over a weekend that celebrates the central figures of that history and our democracy.