A tour of Williamburg’s historic taverns
When you’re ready to take a load off after a day of walking in the footsteps of Williamsburg history, a fun place to grab some grub and wash down the trail dust is at one of Williamsburg’s historic taverns at Colonial Williamsburg, now home to some of the most popular restaurants in Williamsburg.
• Christiana Campbell’s Tavern: This tavern is as popular today as it was in the 1700s – which means reservations are essential. The tavern boasts that it was George Washington’s favorite for seafood, which is still the signature here.
You can also sample favorite dishes taken right out of the Williamsburg history books – cookbooks that is. Some of the more unusual recipes on the menu taken right out of colonial cookbooks.
• King’s Arm Tavern: The King’s Arm Tavern is known for fine seafood, beef and wild game, with a bit of Williamsburg history in every bite. Originally opened in 1772 as an upscale establishment, today you can still find some of the city’s best fare. Be sure to check the special events calendar at the Tavern before you come, and as with other historic taverns, reservations are highly recommended.
• Chowning’s Tavern: Josiah Chowing opened his tavern in 1766, wanting to cater to the “ordinary” folks in town, usually offering simple things like stews made from local seafood. This casual atmosphere and pub-like feel have kept that same appeal.
Today you can still sample your way back through Williamsburg history, with popular dishes like Brunswick stew, Welsh rarebit or the fish of the day, a fresh catch that would have been common in the 18th century. Fiddlers will fill in the ambiance.
• Shields Tavern: Visitors to Shields know the spirits in these taverns aren’t just on the menu. Shields is actually a reconstructed tavern, though locals will tell you a few of the patrons never left! In fact, guided ghost tours start right in front of the tavern. Be sure to fuel up on hearty stew or BBQ, two of the tavern’s specialties, before taking a walk through Williamsburg history on this hair-raising, family-friendly tour.