Stroll back in time with a visit to Jamestown.

It was off to a rocky start, the Jamestown settlement.

Picture it: A place nestled up against the brackish waters of the James River, the settlers at odds with the native Powhatan tribe, families out of their depths with the regular influx of blood-sucking mosquitos, and a civilization short on men willing to get their hands dirty with manual, soil-packed labor.

Sound like a recipe for greatness? Nope.  

But the settlement did, in fact, survive -- and, in time, thrive.  

Jamestown Colony

Courtesy of History.com

And this year marks the 400-year anniversary of the establishment of the first representative government on the shores of the New World in Jamestown, Virginia. Today, a living history museum sits within shouting distance of the original location chosen by a bedraggled group of men arriving in three ships, commissioned by James I of England.  

What can you expect to see there?  Well, the museum contains three distinct sections.  

On the water, three replicas of the original ships used to sail to Jamestown can be found bobbing along the coastline.  

Visitors are allowed to board and explore one of these ship repicas, getting a first-hand, up-close, and personal taste of life aboard ship.  

Jamestown Settlement

Courtesy of Jamestown Settlement's Facebook page

A recreated fort stands guard in its defensive position just offshore. There, a person can wander through the structure, surrounded by picketed, wooden walls and ringing with the sound of the blacksmith's tools striking cast iron. The fort also encloses a series of structures: an Anglican church, the governor's house, and a merchant office.  

Remember Pocahontas? She was a member of the Powhatan Indian people, a group indigenous to the area surrounding Jamestown. She married one of the Englishmen who lived and worked at Jamestown settlement, John Rolfe.

 Powhatan Indian village

Courtesy of Facebook

Outside the fort, a recreated Powhatan Indian village gives a glimpse of Pocahontas's world, revealing a rich culture and exhibiting the traditional rounded reed homes, authentic food preparation techniques, farming methods, and other traditions of the Powhatan people.

Step back in time and get wrapped up in Jamestown Settlement, a place of dreams, struggle, conflict, and new beginnings. It's located at 2110 Jamestown Road, in Williamsburg, Virginia.

For details on cost and special exhibits, visit the Jamestown Settlement website.