In the 17th and 18th centuries, cargo ships sailing to Virginia from England stopped first in Hampton, site of the colony's Royal Customs House. Here the vessels unloaded tea, spices, dressmaking material, tools, furnishings and other items. Colonists from the surrounding areas flocked to Hampton to purchase the latest imports and to hear news of their homeland from the ships' crews. Today, nearly 300 years later, Hampton is still a great place to shop, dine and gather with friends. The city's renovated downtown waterfront district, which encompasses the site of the original 17th century seaport, is dotted with restaurants, pubs, art galleries, attractions, shops, marinas and a waterfront park. Lending a colonial flavor to much of this restored district are cobblestone streets lined with red brick sidewalks and crepe myrtle trees.