The King's Arms Tavern in Colonial Williamsburg has been a favorite of patrons since Mrs. Jane Vobe established it in 1772 on Duke of Gloucester Street. The historic tavern still serves food much as it did when Williamsburg served as the bustling capital of the colony of Virginia.
|The King's Arms Tavern in Colonial Williamsburg|
A widow with a shrewd sense for business, Mrs. Vobe catered to the gentry class in Williamsburg—that is, people of financial means and importance—just down the street from the capitol building. Her conveniently located establishment, one of the capital's finest, offered excellent food, comfortable lodging, and a gracious ambiance. General George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were among the tavern's regular patrons.
|Dried flower arrangements in a dining room|
An advertisement that Mrs. Vobe placed in a newspaper encouraged people seeking food and lodging to look for the sign of the King's Arms in Williamsburg.
|Sign on the sidewalk outside The King's Arms Tavern|
In 1780, Virginia's capital moved from Williamsburg to Richmond—a more central location for the large colony. As a result, the population and fortunes of Williamsburg declined and Mrs. Vobe's tavern saw a decrease in business. She sold The King's Arms Tavern in 1785 and relocated closer to the new capital.
Today, waiters dressed in eighteenth century clothing attend to the needs of diners while musicians and friendly colonists stroll through the dining rooms.
|Strolling violinists play lively colonial tunes in The King's Arms dining rooms|
If you've wondered what it's like to eat colonial-style food in an eighteenth century dining room while being serenaded by accomplished musicians, plan to visit The King's Arms Tavern in the heart of Colonial Williamsburg. And while you wait for your food to be served, close your eyes for a moment and imagine that George Washington and Thomas Jefferson are sitting at the table next to yours discussing Patrick Henry's latest fiery speech.
Photographs ©2017 Cynthia Howerter
Award-winning author Cynthia Howerter grew up playing in Fort Rice, a Revolutionary War fort owned by family members, and lived on land in Pennsylvania once called home by 18th century Oneida Chief Shikellamy. Hunting arrowheads and riding horses at break-neck speed across farm fields while pretending to flee from British-allied Indians provided exciting childhood experiences for Cynthia and set the stage for a life-long love of all things historical. A descendant of a Revolutionary War officer and a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), history flows through Cynthia's veins.
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