OT: Tidewater Virginia

What a great trip this was.  Dummy here kept leaving the camera in the motel room or the vehicle whenever we ventured into Colonial Williamsburg, but I remembered to bring it to Yorktown and Historic Jamestowne (the archaeological digs, not the recreated village a little ways down the road).  No excuse for forgetting the camera in W’burg, because I didn’t even bring the big DSLR; the little point-and-shoot fits easily in a pocket, and takes perfectly good pictures in daylight, as long as I’m not trying for portraiture or macro shots of flowers or birds.  Oh, well.  I’d never been to Yorktown or Jamestown, and hadn’t been to Williamsburg in almost 50 years.

If you visit the area, and want to see both Yorktown and Historic Jamestowne, I’d recommend doing Yorktown first.  Both are national parks.  Visting one, and paying the admission fee gets you a receipt that entitles you to a 50% discount on the other, if used within a week.  However, the admission fee for Yorktown is only $7/adult, while the admission to Historic Jamestowne is $14/adult.  Getting 50% off of $14 beats getting 50% off of $7, right?  We didn’t know what the admission fees were ahead of time, so we lucked out by doing them in the order we did.  Sure, the overall difference in price for two adults for both places is a whopping $7, but it’s enough to pay for a deli sandwich to split for a light lunch.  Obviously, the more people in your party, the bigger the price differential will be.  We didn’t qualify for military or senior discounts, so we paid full freight.  Our dog was allowed free of charge, as long as he was on leash.  We couldn’t bring him into any of the buildings to see the short films or exhibits, of course, but he was allowed outside.

The one thing we missed out on was seeing any of the James River plantations.  I would have loved to at least see Westover.  Unfortunately, the day we left, it was rainy.  We got a break in the rain during our visit to Historic Jamestowne, but as soon as we were done there, it started up again, so we decided to just hit the road for home.  Supposedly, a combo pass for three of the plantations (Shirley, Berkeley, and Westover, iirc) is available for $35/adult, but if you add up the individual admission fees for the three, they total $27/adult.  Go figure.  Westover advertises itself as being $5/adult to roam the grounds, dogs allowed on leash, with an honor box in the parking lot.  The other two are currently $11/adult.  Evelynton is closed to the public at this time of year.  Sherwood Forest would have been fourth on my list of the five, anyway.  Maybe next time we’ll hit the plantations.

The niftiest thing about Historic Jamestowne was that while we were poking around the fort, a guy who worked for the Virginia Preservation Association approached us, and proceeded to talk to us for about half an hour about the previous and current excavations.  His name tag read volunteer, but he was an archaeologist working on the project.  He was armed with a portfolio of pictures that he showed us, and a wealth of information that we would never have gotten by wandering around by ourselves with the map/brochure we got from the ticket counter.  Turns out those grave marker placements in the original church and at one end of the fort are exact for the graves found, not approximations.

I must say, despite wearing the cushiest, most well-padded, comfortable pair of moccasins I own, by the end of each day, my feet were really achy and sore.  The national parks did have driving tour loops, but there’s still a lot of walking involved, and in Williamsburg, you park the car for the day, and walk everywhere — for miles and miles — much of it on cobblestone, brick, or a cement/pea gravel amalgam.

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10 Responses to OT: Tidewater Virginia

  1. Lepplady says:

    Those photos are lovely 🙂 I’m so glad you had a good time. And I hope your feet have recovered.
    🙂

  2. JupiterPluvius says:

    That sounds like my kind of vacation! I have been to some of those sites but not others, so I’m making a list.

    • Rusty says:

      Despite my brain farts about bringing the camera with me into Colonial Williamsburg, I managed to get 39 pictures, all but one of which were pretty good. The first four in the above gallery are from Yorktown; the last three are from Historical Jamestowne. I only picked out a few photos to upload.

      TBH, we enjoyed Yorktown and Historic Jamestowne a lot more than we did Colonial Williamsburg, anyway.

      This is our kind of vacation, too. The only problem with this sort of vacation is that no matter how many days I book, thinking it should be enough to see what I want, I always go home thinking I could have used one more day. *sigh*

  3. Stinkycat says:

    I’m so glad you made it to the REAL Jamestown, the dig 🙂 I love that place. I took an intro archaelogy class at UVA by Dr. Kelso in the early 90s and he made the Jamestown discovery shortly thereafter. It really is amazing we were all taught everything was underwater when no one had bothered to dig. I follow their FB, and they are constantly turning up new items. With the dog I guess you couldn’t go into the museum though- the one where you see the bones in the actual grave below you in glass. I haven’t been in maybe 4 years but remember they had a good exhibit up on the forensic anthropology work they had done on the bones and in determining how the people might have died and what they looked like.

    I’m always blown away there at how rough the colonists had it and how they survived. It is inspiring and really makes you appreciate how good we have it.

    I didn’t want to sour your W’burg trip by telling you how much of it is a recreation. The recreated gardens really annoy me. They used to be more wild then in the 1950s I think it went in fashion to make them more formal. I haven’t been there in a long time though. I last went there 15 years ago and ate at some Ye Ole Restaurant and had a very expensive ye olde ham and cheese and it tasted just like a normal ham and cheese and that’s when I gave it up 🙂

    • Rusty says:

      I was wondering about the gardens at the Governor’s Palace. The very first thing I noticed was that they were French style (formal and geometrically laid out), rather than the more “wild and wooly” English style, which seemed all wrong to me. Didn’t bother with the maze. It was in such lousy shape that you could walk right through hedges practically anywhere you wanted, which defeats the purpose. In fact, the center of it was visible from the outside.

    • Lepplady says:

      Native Americans survived just fine until those colonists came along and mucked things up. Just saying.
      🙂

      • Rusty says:

        I’d be kinda pissed off if my hunting and fishing grounds got invaded, too.

        • Lepplady says:

          I was half-joking. They say how hard it was for “pioneers” but people go camping and fishing all the time, and there are lots of people very well-versed with inhabiting the wilderness (including the people that already lived here). I mean, what were the settlers before they got off the boat? Mimes? LOL!

          • Rusty says:

            I know you were only half joking. I’m no survivalist, but I can find work arounds for week-long power outages that nobody had in the 1600s. It really is like camping out, but in your own home. Melt snow to gravity flush the toilets, fire up the charcoal grill or the Coleman stove with gasoline to cook dinner, and double-dose on the anti-perspirant. Oh, I’ve done that. Then, I bought a generator. Hey, you use the technology you have at the time!

            Really, I am kidding. Yeah, I could have sorta made it work with 1600s technology, but …

            Jamestown wasn’t the best place to try to live, for many reasons, but kudos to them for making it work for 50+ years

          • Stinkycat says:

            It’s not just that they say how hard it was for “pioneers” — it was.

            There is no comparison between native inhabitants of a land (who weren’t on the shore) and people dropped off on it who were completely ill prepared for the disease, the famine, etc. Perhaps a history read on the Jamestown settlement might help clarify that for you.

            So call me baffled at your snarky comment to the discussion, especially as you seem to know very little about the harsh conditions they endured or their background.

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