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Best plantations near Williamsburg?

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We (4 adults) are planning a trip to Wlliamsburg next month, and will be staying 3 1/2 days. We would like to visit one or two of the plantations in the area -- any comments or suggestions as to which are the "best"?

Many thanks, John

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    Hi, John - Hopefully, your trip is still in the works. I live over Richmond, and the big plantations are Berkeley (home of the first "official" Thanksgiving celebration in 1619), Evelynton, Shirley, Westover, and Sherwood Forest - there's a website (jamesriverplantations.org) that profiles those rather well. Note that Evelynton is still family occupied and closed to the public, so not a candidate for touring. (another is family occupied, but they do allow tours.) They're all surprisingly different from each other, and are fascinating to go through. Hopefully, that site will help you make your choices. if I were picking two, I'd go with Westover and Berkeley, but cases can be made differently.
    I'd also suggest you make sure to tour Jamestown on your trip - we stayed for a full week with friends this spring, with lots of golf involved, but spent a full day and an extra half day seeing the two newly revampted sites (one Federal, one State - both have separate admissions.) Ranking one over the other is hard - truly GREAT re-creations and info at the State site, while the Federal is more "walk around where we now know it really was". Jamestown celebrated its 400th anniversary in 2007, hence the wonderful projects for us history lovers.
    Hope this helps - sorry it wasn't found sooner, we've been traveling!
    Jo Ann

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