Colonial Williamsburg: focus on the main thing

Colonial Williamsburg is a precious gem historically speaking, and one of the earliest building blocks in the formation and destination of this great country of ours. Thank you, Mr. Rockefeller, for the foresight to have this keystone of our national history recreated in such original detail.

Now, more than 300 years after early settlers built, lived in, established a college and commerce, and built the second capitol in in this relatively new land, there seems to be a movement to destroy this historic ambiance. For instance, on Duke of Gloucester Street, the entrance for many people who visit the colonial area, there is the ice-skating rink with loudspeakers and continuous music.

Such a wonderful location to have an introduction to the restored area in the form of interpreters and weather-resistant signs explaining how and when we got here from Jamestown. As a former volunteer at Jamestown Settlement, I can assure you visitors have distinct differences in their familiarity with this area. In addition to scholars, two of my favorite examples were the man with his family who asked “Hey, where’s the rock at?” and the cute little girl who peeped around her father’s legs and asked “Mister, do your chickens have teeth?”

There is a place for sight and sounds of gargantuan video screens, but downtown Williamsburg is not one of them. Large, bright and carnival-type signage, such as what is displayed by a new eatery in the downtown area, do absolutely nothing to enhance the charm of the area.

Are there thoughts of a place a young family with children can get an affordable meal on the planners’ drawing board? Perhaps a fast food franchise appropriately designed and presenting an appearance suitable for the area?

My wife and I, both locals and in our 80s, appreciate and take frequent advantage of parking in the area surrounded by shops, where now a park of some sort is being proposed. Please, take a deep breath, back off and keep the main thing the main thing.

Robert J. Whitley

Williamsburg

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