Have a “passion for ancient edifices?” Then these tours are for you!

Activities on this page are offered as add-ons to AGM registration (Attendee or Companion) at additional cost. For programs included in AGM registration, see the pages for Plenary Speakers, Breakout Sessions, and Special Interest Sessions.

NOTE: All of our tours involve moderate to significant walking, and some areas may not be handicapped accessible.

Colonial Williamsburg 7-Day Pass


The 7-day pass will be good from Wednesday, Oct. 2, through Tuesday, Oct. 8.

This discounted pass is a pre-requisite for two of our tours, “Before & After” and “Historic Trades,” and is the “key to the city” for the independent explorer. The pass grants you access to the public buildings in Colonial Williamsburg’s historic area as well as the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum. Explore the Governor’s Palace with its tranquil gardens, the Courthouse of 1770, the Raleigh Tavern, the Wythe House, trade workshops, and many more! Explore to your heart’s content, and immerse yourself in the world into which Jane Austen was born—a world on the brink of revolution. (The same pass is available to Colonial Williamsburg hotel guests for $34. For comparison, a three- day pass is available to the general public for $51).

Jamestown Island

$50 with transportation; 55 people maximum
Thursday, Oct. 3, 8:30 am–12:00 pm

The British Empire began here. We will enjoy the rare opportunity to explore the site of the 1607 James Fort—the first permanent English settlement in North America—with noted archaeologists working on the latest excavations. Then, we will browse the award- winning museum, the Archaearium, which exhibits fascinating evidence of life and death in the Jamestown colony, including medical instruments, religious relics, and the skull of a young woman believed to have been cannibalized during the infamous “Starving Time.” A behind-the-scenes tour of the archaeology laboratory will round out the tour, as we learn how volunteers and specialists clean, conserve, and organize some 1.5 million artifacts dating to the 17th century and earlier.

NOTE: Please be ready to meet the bus at the front of the Williamsburg Lodge at 8:20 am.

American Revolution Museum at Yorktown

$40 with transportation; 55 people maximum
Thursday, Oct. 3, 1:30 pm–5:00 pm

We will embark upon a two-hour guided tour of the recently-renovated museum, which provides both a broad overview of the conflict with Great Britain from 1775-1783 and a detailed analysis of colonial and early Federal American society. Interactive exhibits present the many complexities of the war, including the roles of Native Americans, Loyalists, Lord Dunmore’s Ethiopian Regiment, and more. A compelling video presentation puts you in the middle of the Battle of the Capes, the crucial French naval victory without which the Americans’ success at Yorktown would have been impossible. Re-think what you thought you knew and expand your understanding of the international strife that plagued Britain during Jane Austen’s childhood.

NOTE: Please be ready to meet the bus at the front of the Williamsburg Lodge at 1:20 pm.

Colonial Williamsburg, Before & After

$18; 25 people maximum per group
Thursday, Oct. 3, 10:00 am–12:00 pm (2 groups)
Friday, Oct. 4, 8:30–10:30 am (1 group)

NOTE: Tour also requires purchase of the discounted Colonial Williamsburg pass available as an extra during AGM registration.

By the 1920s, Williamsburg was a sleepy small town—a far cry from its heyday as the colonial capital—and many of its original buildings had fallen into disrepair. On this walking tour, hear how the devotion of W.A.R. Goodwin, the local minister, and the financial support of John D. Rockefeller Jr. preserved 88 period structures and reconstructed others based on archaeology and documentary records. It’s a fascinating story of success, but also one of sacrifice, for in order to achieve their aims, the museum’s founders had to remove or destroy post-colonial additions. What was lost compared to what was gained?

Colonial Williamsburg’s Historic Trades

$18; 25 people maximum per group
Thursday, Oct. 3, 2:00–4:00 pm (2 groups)
Friday, Oct. 4, 8:30–10:30 am (1 group)

NOTE: Tour also requires purchase of the discounted Colonial Williamsburg pass available as an extra during AGM registration.

On this walking tour, investigate the trades shops such as the millinery, cabinet maker, and tinsmith. You will observe these trades in action, practiced by highly-skilled masters using the same techniques that Jane Austen’s contemporaries would have employed. Did you know that there were female craftsmen in almost every trade in the eighteenth-century, even carpentry? Or that the attempts of men to break into the millinery business in the 1780s were met with resounding mockery? There are women in this history after all, unlike in Catherine’s school books.

This special docent-led tour is available just to AGM attendees, but you may visit the trades shops on your own with the Colonial Williamsburg 7-Day Pass.

Historic Campus and Special Collections at William and Mary

$20; 45 people max
Friday, Oct. 4, 8:30 am–12:00 pm

Can you not entirely subdue the hope of unearthing some secret papers and memoirs during your stay? Then look no further than our tour of the nearby College of William and Mary, the only university in the United States that can boast a Royal Charter. Walk the halls of the oldest academic building still in use in America—the Wren Building, constructed between 1695 and 1699—and then proceed to the Swem Library Special Collections. The collection contains thousands of original manuscripts, diaries and personal papers from prominent Virginia families, sheet music, maps, and materials related to the history of the colony and the nation. Sarah Glosson will interpret the Austen-themed scrapbooks of George Holbert Tucker (d. 2005), an early member of JASNA and speaker at the Richmond AGM in 1996. As a special treat, Jay Gaidmore will then grant us access to some of the collection’s rarest documents.

Civil War Williamsburg

$20; 25 people maximum
Friday, Oct. 4, 10:00 am–12:00 pm

Walk through town with an expert who will relate Williamsburg’s experience of the American Civil War, an event that shaped the Williamsburg we see today perhaps even more than did its colonial heritage. What is the significance of the main road, the Duke of Gloucester Street, to Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation? What happened at the Battle of Williamsburg, and why is this bloody but pivotal moment largely overlooked today? Hear excerpts from the letters of soldiers and diaries of local residents and envision their daily lives through three and a half years of military occupation.

James River Plantations & Tea at Peace Hill Farm

$75 with transportation; 55 people maximum
Monday, Oct. 7, 8:00 am–5:00 pm

You’ve spent the weekend with the English gentry—now spend your Monday with their Virginia counterparts on this all-day excursion. The present manor at Shirley Plantation, our first destination, was begun in 1723 by newlyweds John and Elizabeth Carter, and features several architectural trademarks that are unique among houses in North America. The circa 1726 great house at Berkeley Plantation, our second stop, was the home of a signer of the Declaration of Independence, Benjamin Harrison, and of the ill-fated U.S. President, William Henry Harrison. These imposing properties contain unique heirlooms, signature architectural features, and best of all, incredible stories of the men and women who have lived there across the centuries. After working up an appetite traversing their extensive grounds, relax with afternoon tea in the rustic barn at nearby Peace Hill Farm.

NOTE: Please be ready to meet the bus at the front of the Williamsburg Lodge at 7:50 am. We recommend bringing a snack, as we will not arrive at Peace Hill for tea until 2:00 pm.