Continuing southward after that mind-numbing stop at the nation’s capital, we drove less than 200 miles and parked Betsy in Williamsburg, VA. One of our rules is to try not to drive more than 200 miles to our next destination (the only exception was when we were in Alaska). Following that rule, we will have a sloooow southward migration to Florida, making several stops before we finally vegetate for the winter (haven’t done that yet!).
As you may know, my posts can be tinged with a bit of history from time to time. As we’ve traveled through the eastern states this year, we’ve really gotten hooked on the history spanning from before the American Revolution through the Civil War years. I’ll try not to bore…
After getting Betsy parked and set up, our first visit was to Colonial Williamsburg. From the visitor center, we followed the path across a footbridge back into 1774, walking under thick double brick bridges and following the trail taking us to the historic town.
Colonial Williamsburg is billed as the largest living history museum in Virginia, a restored 18th-century capital of Britain’s largest, wealthiest and most populous outpost of empire in the New World. When you enter the historic town you are brought back into the time when life was simple, yet still under control of the monarchs in Great Britain.
The historic area is 301 acres of restored, reconstructed and refurnished historic buildings. We tried not to compare this with our stop at Louisbourg in Canada, which was also a reconstruction. But Colonial Williamsburg is older by 100 years, and Louisbourg was a fortress, not a colony.
To complete Virginia’s historic triangle, we went from Williamsburg – via the scenic Colonial Parkway – to Yorktown Battlefield, and then on to Jamestown. Once again the documentary we saw several months ago – “America: The Story of Us,” – was coming to life in front of us. The documentary began the story from the successful English settlement of Jamestown, beginning in 1607. And here we were, walking through and experiencing the actual location of America’s first permanent English colony – established by a group of 104 men and boys on May 13, 1607. They actually landed on the shores of the James River 13 years before the Pilgrims landed in Massachusetts
We found the Voorhees Archaearium very interesting, as we perused the many archaeological remains of the old James Fort. Too bad photography was not allowed inside the museum, for there were centuries-old “skeletal remains” that told a fascinating story and have been featured on the History Channel.
At the Yorktown Battlefield, we learned about the defeat of the British by the joint American and French forces led by Gen. George Washington. After viewing the 16-minute film, we walked behind the British defensive earthworks, then drove the self-guided seven mile battlefield tour. We stopped at the “surrender field”, where some of the spoils of war captured by Allied forces were displayed.
The inscription on each of the mounted trophies of British brass guns, howitzers and mortars read “SURRENDERED BY THE CAPITULATION OF YORKTOWN OCT 19, 1781”.
On that date, British troops lay down their weapons following the surrender. Yorktown is remembered as the place where the British surrendered to General Washington, ending the last major battle of the American Revolutionary War. It also remained in Union control during most of the Civil War.
I haven’t even mentioned just how significant the state of Virginia is, for I’m skipping many details learned during our historical exploration. But if you like history or are a history buff, I’d say visiting here is definitely worth your time. Virginia is where it all began in 1607!
About an hour’s drive from Williamsburg is Norfolk, where my childhood friends Kathy and Janice live. Good food and lots of laughter ensued as we reminisced our childhood days. As the girls were yacking away in our dialect, the boys, Edwin and Steve enjoyed their own exploration.
Since Edwin had access to Norfolk Navy Base, Steve was excited to get a personal tour of the docks and other areas.
Finally, they made a stop at the excellent Douglas MacArthur Memorial Museum.
After this final stop in Virginia, we are finally done with our history lessons! Since I did not learn much American history in school, our escapades have been very enlightening and I think it’s sticking in my brain much better than if I had to read about it in books.
So, beginning with our next stop, our slow trek to Florida will be along the Atlantic coast – which means lot of beautiful beaches! If the weather holds, that is.
I have vivid memories of visiting Williamsburg when I was 6 years old, many years ago.I hope to get in a visit on our trip home next spring.
Ruth from At Home on the Road
I loved Williamsburg! A trip back in time and so much fun! Our son was in the Navy and his ship returned home via Norfolk. We met him when he returned so it’s a special place for us!
Now on to the Outer Banks….my all time favorite beach! We managed a 19 day stay there a few years back at the KOA. Since then it was all destroyed by a hurricane, but has all been rebuilt! Can’t wait for pictures! Enjoy! And I hope the weather cooperates!
You are definitely traveling through the history belt. It is just amazing how many battle sites there are for both the Revolutionary War and the Civil War from PA to GA. It would be a trip in itself to just spend months covering only the historical locations. We use to take weekend motorcycle trips to hit all these various locations. Your brain must be on overload now.
See you tomorrow, hopefully, as long as all checks out at Freightliner!
Very interesting. I last was in Williamsburg when I was 12 – that was um, a few years ago. When does your history book come out?
The history lessons are never boring. Thanks for the review, that area is definately on our list. I have heard about Williamsburg around the holidays, supposed to be really special. Do you plan to see Monticello?
We’re back, sorry we missed you. I don’t have your email address so I can’t speak to you privately…..will you be around tomorrow? we will, so we’ll stop by?
Oh yes, laundry is done, fridge defrosted, we are free. #163, lilac st.
see you tomorrow then!
Surprised to see USS Comfort in Norfolk; normally it’s docked in Baltimore.
Oh so thats how its called. Thanks Erin, are you back from your vacay?
Yes! My comments are going through!
Give me death or give me freedom! I so can relate to that. 😀 A true blast from the past location.
I want to see McArthur in Cebu, Philippines. 😀
We both have loved the history lessons you have given us along the way. Another beautiful stop you have made and so many friends you are visiting along the way. 🙂
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