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Did You Know?

Tidbits, oddities and fun facts about this luxury resort on the James River

Kingsmill Resort,

Kingsmill Resort rose out of the desire of August Busch II, president and CEO of Anheuser-Busch, to find a new location for a brewery nearly 50 years ago. He named the resort after a plantation that sat on 300 acres of land granted in 1617 to Richard Kingsmill, a member of The Virginia Company, the organization that funded the 1607 voyage of British colonists.

So the resort's secrets and history are deep and wide and sure to surprise. Here are a few things you don't know about Williamsburg’s only AAA Four Diamond condominium resort.

Jamestown Was a Second Choice: When about 100 settlers from Great Britain aboard three ships completed their 144-day trip to America, they stopped first at the spot on the James River that is now Kingsmill. Gabriel Archer, one of the leaders, proposed they make it their home. Sadly, his counsel went unheeded. They continued west the next day to Jamestown Island, where they could anchor the ships closer to shore and better defend themselves.

Where the Streets Have Historic Names: Not surprisingly, Kingsmill nods to its rich history with street names. Bransby is named after Thomas Bransby, a settler in Jamestown who served as commander of the guard and a sheriff in 1625. Abigail Lane's beginnings start with Abigail Smith, the wife of Lewis Burwell II. Her son built the grand plantation and manor house called Kingsmill. Colonel’s Way commemorates the many colonels who owned plantations in the area during the 17th and 18th centuries.

A Greener Way: The original plan called for 40 percent to be green space. That's still in effect today. Miles and miles of trails for walking, running, biking or hopping on a Segway snake throughout the resort. No wonder the golf courses are certified Audubon sanctuaries and the grounds are home to bald eagles, hawks and other endangered birds.

Ghosts in the Machine: Saddle up on one of Kingsmill's jet skis or hop into a pontoon boat or a kayak and journey up the James River to one of the three remaining Ghost Fleets in the country, officially known as the James River Reserve Fleet. There, you'll find rusting hulks, each with a story to imagine.

The Oval Office South: With its secure location, gated community, and first-class accommodations, Kingsmill has been a Beltway favorite. Bill Clinton, George Bush, and Barack Obama held meetings here. So have the Democratic Caucus and the Republican House Conference. During one recent meeting, a police checkpoint diverted cars, telling drivers only members and their guests could get past the checkpoint.
Members of Kingsmill? one asked.
“No, members of Congress,” an officer replied.

A Tavern on the (17th) Green: After Lewis Burwell built his plantation, he established Burwell's Landing, a major port for Williamsburg during the 18th century and an important resource during the Revolution. As the landing grew, an ordinary (or tavern) there became a popular social hub. You can see the remnants along the 17th hole of the River Course.

From Seashell to Shining Seashell: Oyster fans at Kingsmill Resort, including those at the only area restaurant on the water, James Landing Grille, devour more than 35,000 oysters a year. To help keep those oysters coming, Kingsmill works with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation to restore native oysters to local waters. Instead of throwing away the used shells or composting them for fertilizer, the resort donates them to rehabilitate and build new oyster reefs in the watershed.

Digging into History: In 1971, Williams Kelso, the archaeologist who would go on to find the location of the fort at Jamestown, noticed that erosion in a cliff on the James River revealed a brick well shaft. Above it was an earthen fort and a bit downriver, the remains of a plantation manor. The properties at Kingsmill dated back to 1619 and the digs of 15 sites over three years revealed important insights into colonial Virginia and plantation life.

Here Comes the Sun: Depending upon the time of year, you may have the rare opportunity to watch the sun rise and the sun set over water on the same day, thanks to the resort's unique location on the James River.

Come see for yourself...maybe you'll find your own interesting tid-bit about the resort!

Written By: Veronica Stoddard

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