Foods & Feasts of Colonial Virginia
Explore Centuries-Old Cooking Techniques at Jamestown Settlement and the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown.
Long before microwaves, electric stoves and refrigerators, early Virginians prepared meals in clay pots and iron kettles, and preserved food by smoking and salt curing. This Thanksgiving holiday, dig into the foodways of 17th- and 18th-century America during “Foods & Feasts of Colonial Virginia.” Enjoy this two-day event on Friday and Saturday, November 26 and 27, at both Jamestown Settlement and the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown.
Food preparation in the museums’ outdoor living-history areas is for demonstration purposes only. A special Thanksgiving Day dinner will be offered November 25 in the Jamestown Settlement Café.
Discover how food was gathered, preserved and prepared on land and at sea by Virginia’s English colonists and Powhatan Indians. Enjoy cooking demonstrations throughout the day in re-creations of a Paspahegh town and Colonial fort and along the ships’ pier – food preparation in the museums’ outdoor living-history areas is for demonstration purposes only.
See venison, turkey and other game roast over an open fire, while stews of corn, beans and squash cook in clay pots. Learn the importance of corn to the Powhatan Indians and the variety of dishes in which it was used, including corncakes and corn dumplings. Throughout the day, discover how Powhatan Indians made stone and bone tools used to obtain and prepare food.
See the culinary skills English colonists brought to Virginia as historical interpreters bake bread in a cloame oven and demonstrate open-hearth cooking of pudding, pies and pottage, based on historical recipes of the late 16th and early 17th centuries. Also learn about European military tactics during artillery drills near the fort each day at 4:15 p.m.
Along the ships’ pier, explore how the colony was provisioned. Throughout the day, see typical sailors’ fare of salted fish and meat, biscuit and dried foods, and discover the kinds of fresh provisions that sailors picked up along their island stops on the way to Jamestown.
American Revolution Museum at Yorktown
Explore how Continental Army soldiers earned their rations and witness the bounty of produce and proteins fresh from the fields transformed into stews, pies and breads. Enjoy cooking demonstrations throughout the day in re-creations of a Continental Army encampment and Revolution-era farm – food preparation in the museums’ outdoor living-history areas is for demonstration purposes only.
Continental Army Encampment
Discover how soldiers tried to turn meager rations of dried beans, salted meat and hard bread into nourishing soups and stews. Daily artillery drills will show visitors how soldiers earned their rations.
A variety of dishes for the farm’s owners and enslaved people will be prepared daily using 18th-century open-hearth cooking techniques and recipes. See how their traditional fares were similar in some ways and different in others. Explore the methods used by farming families to preserve and store goods through the lean winter months.
Tickets, Tours & Packages
Explore the heart of our nation’s beginnings and discover the stories of America’s earliest adventures from the first permanent English settlement to the last decisive Revolutionary War victory with a variety of ticket and package options.
A Combination Ticket – available online only – is $28.90 for adults and $14.45 for ages 6 through 12, offering seven days of unlimited admission to both Jamestown Settlement and the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown.
America’s Historic Triangle Ticket offers unlimited admission for up to seven days to Jamestown Settlement, Historic Jamestowne, Colonial Williamsburg, Yorktown Battlefield and the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown.
One-day, Single-Site Tickets offer admission to Jamestown Settlement at $18.00 for adults and $9.00 for ages 6-12, and admission to the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown admission at $16.00 for adults and $8.00 for ages 6-12.
Children under 6 receive free admission to both museums. Residents of York County, James City County and the City of Williamsburg, including William & Mary students, receive complimentary admission with proof of residency.
Holiday Shopping in Museum Stores
Just in time for holiday shopping, museum gift shops offer an inspirational and educational selection of books, prints, museum reproductions, educational toys, games and souvenirs relating to the 17th and 18th centuries.
Shop online or visit us in-person – admission is not required to visit the museum gift shops, open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.
Don’t miss Museum Store Sunday on November 28, offering a special one-day discount of 20% off your entire in-store purchase. All purchases support the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation and its educational mission and programs.
About the Museums
Jamestown Settlement and the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown are open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily; closed Christmas and New Year’s days. Jamestown Settlement is located on State Route 31 near the Colonial Parkway in James City County, just southwest of Williamsburg and adjacent to Historic Jamestowne. The American Revolution Museum at Yorktown is located on Route 1020 in Yorktown, near Yorktown Battlefield and Historic Yorktown. Access to “Foods & Feasts of Colonial Virginia” is included with museum admission.
Food preparation in the museums’ outdoor living-history areas is for demonstration purposes only. A special Thanksgiving Day Dinner will be offered November 25 in the Jamestown Settlement Café. Event activities incorporate new safety and social-distancing protocols at both Jamestown Settlement and the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown allow visitors of all ages to enjoy extensive indoor gallery exhibits and outdoor living-history areas to connect with the stories of our shared history. For more information, click here or call (757) 253-4838.