Four centuries ago, a boat full of people landed on a spit of land in a world far away from where they set sail and named it after their king.
Jamestown was the first successful English settlement in the U.S.; it's still being celebrated 410 years later. Festivities at Jamestown Settlement and Historic Jamestowne on May 13 will commemorate the anniversary.
Visitors can learn about the 1607 first permanent English Settlement, the lives of the English colonists and the Powhatan Indians, see exhibition galleries, our outdoor recreation of a Powhatan Indian Village 1610-14 fort and recreations of the ship during the event.
The Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, which runs Jamestown Settlement, organizes the annual event with Historic Jamestowne — the original settlement site on the island run by the National Park Service and Preservation Virginia. The settlement is a living-history museum with 17th-century interpreters interacting with guests, while Historic Jamestowne is still an active archeological site.
Jamestown Day activities are spread across the two locations on the James River. Jamestown Settlement will mark the occasion with a bang — a gun salute at 10 a.m. to send off a full-scale replica of one of the original colonists' ships.
"The highlight for us is sailing the Godspeed out from the pier and then the ship will sail up and down and right in front of Historic Jamestowne too," said Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation spokesman Robert Jeffrey in March. "A ship that would have looked just like that came up and docked at Jamestown, it's sort of recreating that historic moment."
The settlement pairs the Godspeed's sail with a lesson on shore about how to be a 17th century mariner, including navigating by the stars and constellations. Military drills and displays of colonist-Native American trade will take place throughout the day.
Visitors can explore the recreated colonial fort, Powhatan village and 1600s ships or explore galleries of artifacts from the settlement. Demonstrations include how to survive as a settler, examinations of English and Native American weapons and starting a fire (sans lighter).
There will also be 17th century games to play: hoop rolling, bowling and quoits, a game where you try to toss a circle of rope or iron onto a stake in the ground.
With a heavier focus on archeology, at Historic Jamestowne visitors can discuss findings with archeologists still working at the site. The work of blacksmiths at the fort and of craftsmen at the Glasshouse, one of the settlement's first industries, will be on display.
There will be ranger and archeologist walking tours and an oversized sand box where kids can hone their archeological talent, digging up carefully placed artifacts and using screens to sift through dirt.
Demonstrations include a look into what went into building the 1607 fort and how the Algonquian Native American tribe lived in the area, including interactions with colonists.
Activities at both places run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. There is separate admission to both sites, and combination tickets available. Parking is free.
Williams can be reached by phone at 757-345-2341.
Want to go?
A seven-day combination ticket for both sites, plus the Yorktown Battlefield and American Revolution Museum at Yorktown, costs $37 for adults, $25 for ages 13-15 and $14 ages 6-12. Anyone younger is free.
Admission to Jamestown Settlement is $17 for adults and $8 for ages 6-12. Residents of James City County, York County and Williamsburg can go for free, including College of William and Mary students.
For Historic Jamestowne, adult tickets are $14 and anyone under 16 is free and it accepts National Parks passes and Preservation Virginia memberships.
For more information and a detailed schedule, visit bit.ly/1RcBXZ9. For Jamestown Settlement, call 888-593-4682. For Historic Jamestowne, call 229-4997.
Schedule of events:
Historic Jamestowne, open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.:
10 a.m. to noon: children's archeology dig
10 a.m. to 4 p.m.: Demonstrations and discussions about the 1607 fort excavations, Native American life and culture, blacksmithing, building the fort, settler life and artifacts at the Archaearium.
Tours: 9:30 a.m. and noon National Park Service ranger tours and 11 a.m. , 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. archeologist tours.
Jamestown Settlement, open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.:
10 a.m. Godspeed sets sail
10 a.m. to noon and 1-3 p.m.: 17th-century games
10:30-11:30 a.m. and 2:30-3:30 p.m.: Learn about trade between colonists and Native Americans
11 a.m.: How to survive as a settler
Noon: Learn about English and Native American weapons
1 p.m.: Navigating by the stars
2 p.m.: Military training of an early settler at the fort
3 p.m.: How to be a mariner in the 1600s
4 p.m.: Starting a fire with flint or friction