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.