Living History in Williamsburg/Yorktown/Jamestown

Trip Start Apr 02, 2008
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Trip End Jun 28, 2008


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Flag of United States  , Virginia
Tuesday, May 6, 2008

 Following the theme of going back in time from the Civil War era, we hit the core of the colonial era at Williamsburg Virginia www.history.org visiting historical Williamsburg, Yorktown and Jamestown.  Historic Williamsburg is a complete interactive museum the size of a city.  Yorktown marked the last battle of the revolutionary war.  Jamestown, founded in 1607 was the first English settlement in North America.
 
We arrived at Yorktown late in the day so we made our tour quick.  After a time line of the events that led up to the Revolutionary War, we headed out to see a living history farm from the time period.  Here we saw our first real smoke house with real meat hanging.  There were also herbs, vegetables and fruits drying.  We talked with the lady and learned how they salted the meat down and dried it to keep without refrigeration.  They also had an army camp to visit with some soldiers to explain some of the specifics.  The kids were able to see the difference between the muskets they saw from the Civil War and the ones they saw fired here from the Revolutionary War.
 
We check into a hotel at Williamsburg.  It was cheaper to stay at the hotel which included our entrance to Williamsburg than to stay at an RV park and pay separately.  We chose the "economical choice" in hotels at Williamsburg.  That was code for the one needing updating the most.  We were very thankful for the pool, the breakfast every morning, unlimited water and being in walking distance from historic Williamsburg. 
 
Each day we walked into Williamsburg and enjoyed being in a colonial city.  They really strive to keep everything authentic from the revolutionary time period.  All the employees are dressed in period costumes and they have gone to great lengths to hide anything in the buildings that does come from colonial times (like air conditioning, electricity etc...).  Even in the stores you need to ask for things like batteries and cameras which are behind the counter.  We learned to say "Good day" instead of hello when you meet someone in period dress.  Many of the people even act in their character and you are able to carry on conversations with them about the happenings of the day.  We had a conversation with a visiting burgess, who came to Williamsburg for a meeting at the capitol.  It was "quite enjoyable".  In the mornings we toured the various homes and shops around the town and in the afternoon the city came alive and they acted out events from the revolution.  It was good for the kids to see some of the events they had learned about being acted out.  Everything shuts down at five so we would go back to the hotel and the kids would swim with TJ while Susan fixed dinner in the motor home. 
 
The last day we were in Williamsburg we took part in a mock re-enactment trial at the court house.  TJ was brought before the judge as William Brown in the offense of not attending church.  The person before him was also charged with not attending church but he didn't show up for his court date so he was fined for missing church.  Fortunately for TJ, he had a letter signed by the Clergy from the Presbyterian meeting house indicating that he had attended the meetings there in the last month. The judge acknowledged that TJ was a dissenter from the Anglican Church but also noted that the Presbyterian meeting house was not a church and ruled that TJ should attend the Anglican Church to hear the new laws which were read from the pulpit.  There was no fine or jail time.  Whew!
 
A side note, one would wonder how the court knew that someone wasn't attending church....you could turn anyone in and receive half their fine if they were found guilty.  Also, the number one reason people gave that they couldn't attend church...they couldn't catch their horse!
 
Some of the highlights from Williamsburg were the wig shop, the foundry, the smoke house, the Governors palace, touring the Randolph house in character (Caden was Mr. Randolph and Madison Mrs. Randolph, TJ, Susan and Will were their servants), the foundry, the shoe maker and attending the ball at the capitol the last night where TJ, Susan and Caden participated in a dance.  We walked over 5 miles every day, the kids did great. 
 
The last day we finished up a few things at Williamsburg and then went to Jamestown.  After a brief movie at the visitor's center, we enjoyed strolling through the outdoor exhibits.  At the Powhatan Village we were able to walk through some Native American homes.  Will really liked the furs on the beds and Caden had fun scrapping the hides.  We toured a replica of the three ships that landed at Jamestown and visited the fort.  The boys tried on some armor and saw how a matchlock musket fired.  Madison enjoyed scraping out a canoe with a guide at the village. 
 
We aren't sure how other people do the colonial triangle in a few days but we felt that we could spend longer than a week visiting Yorktown, Williamsburg and Jamestown.
 
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Comments

shekhar on

It is very wonderfull center

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