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For an authentic dining experience to match the historic setting, it's nearly a requirement to dine in one of the four reconstructed "taverns" in Colonial Williamsburg—essentially casual restaurants with beer and wine available. Colonial-style and modern American fare is served at lunch, dinner, and Sunday brunch. Although the food can be uneven (excellent one night and mediocre the next), a meal at any tavern is a good way to get into the spirit of the era.

Dining at the Colonial Taverns can be pricey for families. Consider having your big meal at lunch at one of the taverns. The menu is cheaper and you'll escape the heat of a Virginia day.

No reservations are taken for lunch (or anytime at Chowning's Tavern), but make dinner reservations up to two or three weeks in advance. Hours also change according to season, so check by calling the reservations number (800/447-8679). Smoking is not permitted in any of the taverns. To see tavern menus, go to www.history.org/visit/diningexperience.