The Frenchman’s Map Project at The Cannon Tap Room

Images and editorial by Brass Cannon Brewing

With permission from The College of William and Mary Special Collections Research Center, Swem Library, who has the original Frenchman’s Map, the project team at The Cannon Tap Room of Brass Cannon Brewing, headed by Phil Norfolk, is replicating the Frenchman’s Map to cover the entire ceiling of the main tap room.

A Brief History of The Frenchman’s Map

The Frenchman’s Map of 1782 Williamsburg is a to-scale map probably drawn by one or more French Military Officer(s). It is also known as The Bible of the Restoration of Colonial Williamsburg, having served as one of the guides, and some say perhaps the most important guide, to the archaeological restoration of Colonial Williamsburg as we experience it today.

Lost after the American Revolution, the map turned up between the pages of an old book bought by John D. Crimmins, a New York contractor and map collector, about 1909 when he bought a small library in Norfolk, Virginia. The map was then donated to The College of William and Mary who upon receiving it, framed it, and hung it in the Library, where it stayed until Pastor Goodwin of Bruton Parish embarked upon his quest to restore Williamsburg. Goodwin realized how important the map could be and the story goes that in 1927 Goodwin and a merry band started trying to layout and rediscover Colonial Williamsburg using The Frenchman’s Map along with a surveyors tap and a sword to stake it down! Such is the lore surrounding both the map and the restoration of one of America’s favorite guideposts in the History of the Nation.

Widely held to now be a billeting map to house French soldiers through the winter (approximately to scale except for the actual buildings not being to scale) done by one or more people probably in the French Quartermaster’s troop, the map is being reproduced as accurately as possible on the ceiling of The Cannon Tap Room by the careful routing of approximately 189 2×2-foot ceiling tiles using a computer numerical controlled routing table. Each tile is then carefully hand painted and then assembled back into the ceiling.

The staff at The Cannon see this important map, that has been used as an important tool guiding the restoration of Colonial Williamsburg, as a critical document that few locals, let alone visitors to Colonial Williamsburg, are aware of or able to actually see. Brass Cannon Brewing Inc., is changing that and visitors to The Cannon Tap Room at Brass Cannon Brewing, can now view the Frenchman’s Map simply by looking up, using a one-page guide available as a handout to help make features of the map understandable and relatable to the actual restored town.

Also available at The Cannon Tap Room is the definitive book by Alan Simpson called, “The Mysteries of the Frenchman’s Map of Williamsburg Virginia.” The book has been out of print, but Brass Cannon Brewing is making it available through a limited reprint. All the profits are being donated back The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, who is the publisher.

A Historic Makeover for the Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg

By Betsy DiJulio

This article was originally published in the September-October issue of Coastal Virginia Magazine.

Living history, taverns and binderies, oh my! The Colonial Williamsburg that Virginians know and love has always been all that and much more. In fact, it is the world’s largest living history museum. But as of June 14, 2020, it became a whole lot more: 65,000 thousand square feet and nearly $41.7 million more raised entirely through philanthropic support.

Since 1985, two world-class Colonial Williamsburg museums had enjoyed a far lower profile—as in underground—than they deserved. Still, from their subterranean quarters, accessed through the historic Public Hospital Museum, they had become the second most visited museums in Virginia, just after the Virginia Museum of Fine Art in Richmond.

The Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum is home to the nation’s premier collection of American folk art, boasting some 7,000 pieces from the 18th through 20th centuries, including the largest collection of paintings by Edward Hicks of The Peaceable Kingdom fame. Aldrich, known widely for her essential role in founding New York’s Museum of Modern Art, loaned and then gifted her collection to Colonial Williamsburg. Her husband, John D. Rockefeller, established the museum in 1957 as a memorial to his wife who died in 1948.

The collection has continued to grow since that time, and the Museum is recognized as the world’s oldest continually operating institution dedicated solely to the collection, exhibition and preservation of American folk art. With objects that hail from Maine to Texas and the Southwest, it is the only folk art museum in the country that is not strictly regional.

Its sister institution, The DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum, named for its premier benefactor and the founder of Reader’s Digest, houses some 67,000 pieces of period antiques and works of art representing the best in British and American fine and decorative arts from 1670-1840. Colonial Williamsburg itself boasts among its supporting ranks quite a few recognizable names including U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, who serves as the chair of its Board of Trustees Architectural Design and Review Committee.

To read the full story, visit

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Yorktown Battlefield

Visit Yorktown Battlefield and take yourself back in time to where history was made.

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The Mariners’ Museum and Park

America’s National Maritime Museum

Come explore America’s National Maritime Museum for only $1 per person. The Mariners’ Museum and Park connects people to the world’s waters, because through the waters we are connected to one another. We believe everyone is a mariner and we invite you to discover your maritime connection with us.

About The Mariners’ Museum

Discover the USS Monitor Center, home of the iconic Civil War ironclad’s gun turret. Explore the International Small Craft Center. View maritime art and handcrafted ship models. Learn about the Age of Exploration and the history of the U.S. Navy. See Oracle Team USA’s 72-foot catamaran, winner of the 2013 America’s Cup. Experience a 3D movie, enjoy the Museum Café and Shop, and so much more!

The Museum is located within a 550-acre park where guests can hike the award-winning five-mile Noland Trail or picnic at Lions Bridge overlooking the tranquil James River.

For information on exhibition, events and programs, visit or call 757-596-2222.

Getting to The Mariners’ Museum

Located off Exit 258A on I-64, The Mariners’ Museum and Park is just 20 minutes from Williamsburg. The Museum is open Monday–Saturday, 9 a.m.–5 p.m., and Sunday, 11 a.m.–5 p.m. Memorial Day to Labor Day, 9 a.m.–5 p.m. daily.

Jamestown Settlement: Chronicles America’s 17th-Century Beginnings

Images and editorial supplied by the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation

At Jamestown Settlement, a living-history museum of 17th-century Virginia history and culture, discover the story of America’s first permanent English colony, founded in 1607, and the ensuing convergence of the Powhatan Indian, English and Angolan cultures, vividly recounted from its beginnings in the Old World through the first century of its existence through film, expansive indoor gallery exhibits and outdoor living history.

Explore the story of Jamestown’s founders and immigrants, and Virginia’s original inhabitants, through immersive film and gallery exhibits, historical interpretation and hands-on interactive outdoor activities. Visitors are encouraged to try on armor and play ninepins at the re-created colonial fort, shape a dugout canoe at the Powhatan Indian village, steer with a tiller aboard a re-creation of one of the three ships that brought English colonists to Virginia, or experience a variety of other activities that make the 17th century come alive.

Don’t Just Visit the Past, Get Into It with Immersive Films and Gallery Exhibits 

A visit to Jamestown Settlement starts in the Robins Foundation Theater with a docudrama film, 1607: A Nation Takes Root, that presents an overview of the first two decades of the Virginia colony. A “great hall” spanning the length of the museum’s exhibition galleries provides, with illustrations and text, a chronological journey from 1600 to 1699, when the capital of Virginia moved from Jamestown to Williamsburg.

The galleries – featuring period artifacts, dioramas, short films and interactive exhibits – chronicle the nation’s 17th-century beginnings in Virginia in the context of its Powhatan Indian, English and west central African cultures. More than 500 artifacts from 17th-century Europe and Africa, including portraits, documents, furnishings, toys, ceremonial and decorative objects, tools and weapons, and Virginia archaeological items are exhibited. Interactive experiences allow visitors to compare and contrast each of the three cultures’ language, religion, government, economy, family structure, recreation and art, while visitors encounter personal stories on monitors and life-size screens throughout the gallery exhibits.

Jamestown Settlement exhibit

Undergoing enhancements with new technology and an immersive theater to be complete in 2019, the galleries are currently divided into three major sections. The first introduces visitors to pre-17th-century Virginia and provides overviews of the “parent” cultures, second explores the complexity of the relationship between Virginia’s colonists and the native Powhatan Indians, and third provides an overview of the political, social and economic development and expansion of the Virginia colony during the 17th century. Short films describe the evolution and impact of government in 17th-century Virginia and the legacies of Jamestown­ that were the seeds of the United States of America.

Visitors Take an Active Role in History with Historical Interpreters in Outdoor Settings

Leaving the indoor exhibits, visitors arrive at the Powhatan Indian village, where historical interpreters discuss and demonstrate the Powhatan way of life – illustrating how to grow and prepare food, process animal hides, build dugout canoes, make tools and pottery and weave plant fibers into cordage. The village, consisting of several dwellings, a garden and a circle of carved ceremonial posts, is based on archaeological findings at a site once inhabited by Paspahegh Indians, the Powhatan tribal group closest to Jamestown, and descriptions recorded by English colonists.

From the Powhatan village, a path leads to a pier where re-creations of the three ships that transported the original Jamestown colonists to Virginia in 1607 – the Susan Constant, Godspeed and Discovery – are docked. Visitors can board and explore to get a sense of the spirit of opportunity that motivated the colonists, talk with costumed interpreters about the difficult living conditions endured during the four-and-a-half-month voyage from England, as well as take part in periodic demonstrations of piloting and navigation, knot-tying and sail-handling.

Just a short walk away inside the wooden palisade of Jamestown Settlement’s re-created colonial fort – reflecting the primarily military and commercial character of the settlement during 1610–1614 – are wattle-and-daub structures with thatched roofs representing Jamestown’s earliest buildings. Interpreters demonstrate activities typical of daily life, from cultivating crops and meal preparation, to repairing metal objects in the blacksmith’s forge and daily demonstrations of matchlock musket firing outside the court of guard.

Jamestown Settlement Powhatan Village

Experience History Through Special Programs at Jamestown Settlement

Through January 5, 2020, visitors can discover little-known, personal stories of real women in the Virginia colony in the yearlong special exhibition, “TENACITY: Women in Jamestown and Early Virginia,” a legacy project of the 2019 Commemoration, American Evolution™. More than a dozen special events, performances and scholarly lectures accompany the special exhibition. Special events and programs include “Military Through the Ages” in March, “Jamestown Day” in May, “Origins of American Democracy” and “Democracy Weekend” in July, “American Indian Intertribal Powwow” in October, “Foods & Feasts of Colonial Virginia” in November and “Christmastide in Virginia” in December. 

The museum, operated by the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, is located about a mile from the original site and 10 minutes from Williamsburg.

Jamestown Settlement, located on Route 31 South, is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, and until 6 p.m. from June 15 through August 15. You should allow three to four hours for your visit. 2019 admission is $17.50 for adults and $8.25 for ages 6–12. Children under 6 are admitted free.

A value-priced combination ticket is available with the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown. Call 888-593-4682 toll free or 757-253-4838 for more information, or visit

Historic Yorktown

Yorktown is a must-see for anyone who wishes to fully understand the story of our nation’s birth.

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Berkeley Plantation

Image from Berkeley Plantation/Gary Smith Images

Celebrating 400th Anniversary

Route 5, Charles City • 12602 Harrison Landing Rd. Charles City, VA 23030
804-829-6018 • 

In 1619, after a stormy voyage across the Atlantic, the Good Ship Margaret landed at Berkeley Hundred with 36 men aboard. In accordance with the instructions given in the charter by the Virginia Company, these settlers observed the first official English Thanksgiving in the New World.  A Thanksgiving monument, film and exhibits tell the story of these brave men that settled at Berkeley Hundred 400 years ago. In 1691, the Harrisons purchased Berkeley and in 1726 they built the oldest three-story brick mansion in Virginia. The estate is the birthplace of Benjamin Harrison V, signer of the Declaration of Independence and governor of Virginia. Berkeley is also the birthplace of William Henry Harrison, ninth president of the United States, and ancestral home of his grandson, Benjamin Harrison, the 23rd president. During the Civil War, General George McClellan’s Union troops, over 100,000 soldiers, occupied the buildings and surrounding fields. General Daniel Butterfield, with the help of his bugler, O.W. Norton, created “Taps” while camped at Harrison’s Landing on Berkeley Plantation. A monument to “Taps” stands on a hilltop overlooking the historic James River. An audio recording tells the story and plays the haunting melody which echoes across the fields as it did over 150 years ago.

The mansion is beautifully furnished with a rare collection of 18th-century antiques, and costumed guides tell stories of the first Thanksgiving, the Harrisons, Civil War and the present owners of Berkeley. Native American, colonial and Civil War artifacts, along with historical paintings and exhibits, can be explored in the 18th-century basement museum. The kitchen, located in one of the original dependencies, is newly restored and furnished with colonial kitchen décor. Grounds tours are self-guided and include five terraces of gardens leading to the banks of the James River.

Tours, gift shop, museums, films, exhibits, special events and children’s activities make visiting Berkeley an educational and fun experience for the entire family.   

Berkeley, a Virginia and National Landmark, is open daily, year-round.

Click here for a Berkeley Plantation coupon.

History Unfolds at the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown

Images and editorial supplied by Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation

American Revolution Museum at Yorktown Tells Anew the Story of the Nation’s Founding

The American Revolution Museum at Yorktown tells anew the story of the nation’s founding, from the twilight of the colonial period to the dawn of the Constitution and beyond. Stories of citizens and soldiers of the American Revolution unfold as comprehensive indoor exhibits and outdoor living history capture the transformational nature and epic scale of the Revolution and its relevance today.  

About the Museum

The 22,000-square-foot permanent exhibition galleries engage visitors in the tumult, drama and promise of the Revolution through nearly 500 period artifacts and immersive environments, interactive exhibits and short films, including an experiential theater that transports visitors to the Siege of Yorktown with the wind, smoke and the thunder of cannon fire. A vibrant outdoor living-history experience complements and enhances the storyline with a re-created Continental Army encampment and Revolution-era farm where costumed historical interpreters engage visitors in an array of hands-on activities, from military drills to processing plant fiber for cloth.

Don’t Just Visit the Past, Get into it with Immersive Films and Gallery Exhibits 

In the 170-seat museum theater, award-winning film “Liberty Fever” introduces visitors to the world of Revolutionary America. “The Siege of Yorktown” film transports visitors into the action of America’s 1781 victory shown on a 180-degree screen with dramatic special effects, including wind, smoke and the thunder of cannon fire.

From innovative computer-based interactives to intriguing touchable objects, “test your knowledge” question panels and fiber-optic displays, the new American Revolution Museum at Yorktown exhibition galleries offer an array of hands-on experiences that engage visitors in making a personal connection to the Revolutionary period.

A truly national perspective comes to life in exhibit settings featuring close to 500 artifacts, including a Declaration of Independence broadside dating to July 1776; a June 1776 Philadelphia printing of the Virginia Declaration of Rights, one of the inspirations for the U.S. Declaration of Independence; a coronation portrait of King George III from the studio of Allan Ramsay; one of the two earliest known portraits done from life of an African who had been enslaved in the 13 British colonies that became the United States; and an extremely rare early southern American long rifle.

Visitors Take an Active Role in History with Historical Interpreters in Outdoor Settings

In the outdoor re-created Continental Army encampment, visitors can witness artillery demonstrations and drill with wooden muskets as historical interpreters describe and depict the daily life of American soldiers. The encampment, which represents a portion of an American regiment and includes tents for soldiers and officers as well as surgeon’s and quartermaster’s quarters, allows visitors to join costumed historical interpreters on a drill field and in an artillery demonstration area where visitors can join an artillery crew and witness historical interpreters demonstrate its firing.

American Revolution Museum at Yorktown encampment

At the Revolution-era farm, based on a real-life 18th-century family, visitors are invited to help tend crops, process plant fiber for cloth and play 18th-century games. Situated just beyond the encampment, the farm features a larger house, kitchen and tobacco barn and a new building representing quarters for enslaved people, along with crop fields, corncrib and kitchen garden.

Experience History Through Special Programs

The museum’s special exhibition, Forgotten Soldier, opening June 29, 2019, through March 22, 2020, explores the personal stories of enslaved and free African Americans who fought on both sides of the American Revolution and their contributions in establishing the nation. A series of lectures, genealogy workshops and interpretive demonstrations with re-enactors from African American military regiments accompany the special exhibition. Special events and programs include “Liberty Celebration” in July, “Yorktown Victory Celebration” in October, “The African-American Soldier” in November, “Foods & Feasts of Colonial Virginia” in November and “Christmastide in Virginia” in December. 

American Revolution Museum at Yorktown is located at 200 Water Street and is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, and until 6 p.m. from June 15 through August 15. You should allow three to four hours for your visit. 2019 admission is $15.00 for adults and $7.50 for ages 6-12. Children under 6 are admitted free.

 A value-priced combination ticket is available with Jamestown Settlement, a museum of 17th-century Virginia. Call 888-593-4682 toll free or 757-253-4838 for more information, or visit

Busch Gardens Williamsburg

The Fun Never Stops at Busch Gardens® Williamsburg

Take your family to a place where fun comes naturally, Busch Gardens® Williamsburg. Everyone will enjoy the park’s thrilling rides, stunning shows and animal encounters. The world’s most beautiful theme park has something for everyone as you venture across Europe.

Soar like an eagle and howl on great coasters like Apollo’s Chariot® and Griffon®. Discover shared family fun while playing with your little ones at the Sesame Street® Forest of Fun™. Experience a breathtaking, virtual reality ride as you fight in the Battle for Eire®.

Click here to read more about the rides at Busch Gardens.

Fun is always in season at Busch Gardens with thrilling roller coasters, world-class dining and shopping options, kid-friendly attractions and exciting events. Here’s what’s happening at the park this year-round.

Click here to read about the shows at Busch Gardens.

Busch Gardens rides

Sesame Street® Kids’ Weekends

Everyone’s favorite Sesame Street® friends are hosting a party just for kids on April weekends. Guests can join Elmo, Super Grover, Cookie Monster, Rosita and more for all the fun.

Food & Wine Festival

Park guests can unleash their inner foodie with over 60 specialty food items from around the world, 30 different wines, 25 craft beers and 20 unique cocktails not normally served at the park.

Summer Nights

Busch Gardens becomes a cooler place after dark during Summer Nights. Special entertainment, culinary experiences and a fun nighttime atmosphere will give guests a new reason to visit during summer evenings. The Royal Palace Theatre lights up with Spark, presented by Coca-Cola, a high-energy spectacle featuring party-starters, laser lights, pyrotechnics and a custom soundtrack created by award-winning musicians.

Click here to read more about summer events at Busch Gardens.

Bier Fest

Drink a toast to the end of summer during Busch Gardens® Bier Fest. Indulge in local brews, authentic German food and live music during this Bavarian celebration. Sample from your choice of over 100 brews paired with a beer-battered bratwurst or homemade pretzel during this three-weekend festival.

Click here to read more about Bier Fest.

Busch Gardens Bier Fest

The Count’s Spooktacular

For not-too-spooky daytime fun just for kids, visit The Count’s Halloween Spooktacular, a Sesame Street® Halloween event on weekends in October. Busch Gardens’ smallest guests are invited to dress up and join in a costume parade and safe trick-or-treating, among other family-friendly activities. Just remember that at the stroke of 6 p.m., Busch Gardens® becomes home to a host of creepy creatures waiting for unsuspecting victims.

Click here to read more about The Count’s Spooktacular.


Experience A New Era of Terror at Busch Gardens® Howl-O-Scream® XX, celebrating 20 years in 2018 with more scares than ever before. Fear abounds in this Virginia theme park’s collection of seven themed haunted houses, six terror-tories™ (scare zones) and darkly entertaining live shows, tucked between seven chilling world-class roller coasters. Intricate fall décor and shopping transform you to a place that encompasses Halloween. To vanquish your thirst from an evening of screaming, dare to visit any of the five spirit bars for some liquid libations.

Click here to read more about Howl-O-Scream.

Christmas Town™

Busch Gardens Christmas Town

Christmas shines brightest at Busch Gardens® Christmas Town™. Return during the holidays to see the park covered in over eight million twinkling lights, one of the largest light displays in North America. Santa and Mrs. Claus will be waiting with the elves to give you a tour of Santa’s North Pole workshop. Festive food and drink, holiday shopping and heart-warming shows make the season come alive at Busch Gardens. Have your photo taken with Rudolph and his friends, Clarice, Bumble and Yukon Cornelius at Rudolph’s Winter Wonderland in Holiday Hills. Keep warm with a mug of the park’s signature peppermint fudge hot chocolate, and watch in awe as figure skaters bring the spirit of Christmas to life on ice in ‘Twas the Night™.

Click here to read more about Busch Gardens Christmas Town.

For more information, visit or call 757-229-4386

Images from Busch Gardens

Yorktown’s Riverwalk Landing

Shops, Dining and Entertainment Await on Yorktown’s Waterfront

Riverwalk Landing is a quaint waterfront village, nestled along the peaceful banks of the York River. Within a one-mile radius, you will find specialty shops, museums, art galleries and a variety of restaurants for the pickiest to the most polished of palates.

Waterfront Dining and Shopping


Whether it’s oysters, tuna or softshell crabs you crave, fresh seafood is always on the menu at Yorktown Pub, Umi Sushi and Riverwalk Restaurant. Choose from brick oven pizzas, gourmet burgers and more than two dozen local craft beers when you dine at Water Street Grille. Carrot Tree Kitchens is known for its scratch-made cakes and southern favorites like Brunswick Stew and Ham Biscuits. Satisfy your sweet tooth with decadent frozen treats from Ben & Jerry’s or the Famous French Toast at Beach Bakery Café. Enjoy burgers, subs and fried pickles at Larry’s Alehouse & Deli. Sit on the sand or benches to enjoy your meal as you watch the boats and wildlife pass by.

In addition to the many restaurants, you’ll find several stores designed in the spirit of Colonial architecture—selling nautical-inspired home décor, custom-made jewelry, historical books, beach supplies and other unique items and services.

Riverwalk Landing is the Center of Activity

Walk in the footsteps of our nation’s founders and beloved patriots—men like George Washington, Alexander Hamilton and the Marquis de Lafayette—when you visit the Yorktown Battlefield and American Revolution Museum at Yorktown. Both attractions are a short walk, or free trolley ride, from the Riverwalk Landing Parking Terrace.

If you’re feeling adventurous, you can tour the area by Segway, bicycle or paddleboard with rental options from Patriot Tours & Provisions. The captains of the Schooners Alliance and Serenity are also waiting to take you on a kid-friendly pirate cruise or a more intimate and romantic sunset sail, depending on the time of year you visit.

Year-Round Events


Riverwalk Landing is the community hub for free outdoor concerts, Saturday farmers markets, festivals and special holiday events. Annual highlights include the Blues, Brews & BBQ in May, Fourth of July Parade, Art Stroll in September and Wine Festival in October.

Each Christmas brings the Tree Lighting, Lighted Boat Parade, Market on Main Street, and Toyland Parade. Those arriving by water can dock at either of the floating piers which are equipped to welcome cruise ships, visiting tall ships and smaller leisure vessels. The public beach is also a perfect spot for fishing, sunbathing and swimming!

As you can see, this diverse travel destination has a little bit of everything! History and hospitality are just a short, scenic drive along the Parkway, from Williamsburg. 

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