Williamsburg, Virginia: Neighborhoods to Know

Explore top neighborhoods in Williamsburg, Virginia.

You want it, it’s in the Williamsburg area.

History? Got that -- the downtown area is a restored 18th century village. America’s first permanent English colony of Jamestown is nearby. So are the battlefields at Yorktown, where the British army surrendered and ended the Revolutionary War.

Water? Got that -- boat on the James, York and Chickahominy rivers, sail on the Chesapeake Bay. Drive an hour to swim in the Atlantic Ocean.

Entertainment? Got that, too -- Busch Gardens, Water Country, shopping, restaurants, dinner-movie theaters, miniature golf, even ghost tours.

Education? The College of William & Mary is among the best. Public schools are good, too.

“You have the college, you have access to transportation, you have four seasons, winters aren’t usually harsh,” says Nan Piland, president of the Williamsburg Area Association of Realtors. “You have access to major metropolitan areas such as Richmond and Norfolk. If you’re a history buff, this is the place to be.”

Williamsburg's Current Real Estate Market

Compared to Northern Virginia, the cost of living and home prices are much lower -- the average home price in 2010 was $333,500. But if you want a million-dollar, waterfront home with some land, it can be found. In James City County last year, 20 homes sold for $900,000 and above.

But affordable homes are here, too, so it’s no wonder that the area is desired by young families and retirees alike. With the Hampton Roads area home to every branch of the military, it’s inevitable for military families to live here, too.

Saying “I live in Williamsburg” doesn’t just mean you live in the city of Williamsburg, however. Under Virginia’s independent city and county system, a “Williamsburg address” might mean James City County or York County. So while about 80 homes sold in the 9-square-mile city of Williamsburg in 2010, about 750 sold in 144-square-mile James City County.

Because of the first-time homebuyers program, the housing market went in “fits and starts” in 2010, Piland says. Home prices were lower than in 2009 and spent more time on the market. Buyers generally spent under $300,000, Piland says, and a $75,000 fixer upper could be found in Williamsburg city.

The area really has tripled in size since the 1990s, Piland says. Then, there was one high school; now there are three in the Williamsburg-James City County public school system. But the area still holds a small town feel.

“It still has the quaint hometown with the colonial feel of downtown, and urban living of New Town and High Street (both newer mixed-use retail and residential developments), and also the 1940s homes,” Piland says.

Popular neighborhoods range from homes in exclusive, gated resort communities to stately brick or columned homes with a most definite Southern flair. Homes on streets leading into the city of Williamsburg are often decorated with fruit wreaths and other decorations -- the pineapple, after all, is a symbol of hospitality dating back to colonial America.

The average price of a home in the Williamsburg area in 2010 was $333,500. 


About a mile up Jamestown Road from Colonial Williamsburg is Holly Hills, a neighborhood of about 150 single-family homes set among gently rolling tree-lined hills. The neighborhood is located on part of what once was the Rich Neck Plantation, which dates to 1635.

Homes here start in the $300,000-range for a three-bedroom carriage townhome, while a four-bedroom, 3,100-square-foot home can run upwards of $700,000. There are million dollar homes here as well. Stately brick homes with wrought-iron detailing are common, along with elegant, cream-colored houses with columns and oversized windows.

“This,” reads the homeowner association’s website, “is a community which cares for one another but also respects the privacy of our neighbors.”

Home prices in Holly Hills range from $300,000 to $700,000.

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