Friday, August 2, 2013

Jamestown and Norfolk, Virginia

We traveled on Tuesday to our park in Williamsburg VA.  Eileen and Tom are parked in the site in front of us.  The parks in the east are simply not made for big rigs and the ones you can actually camp in are very, very tight.  But we are all settled in and ready to explore the area.

Yesterday we went to Historic Jamestown.  There is a Jamestown Settlement too but the people we met from Virginia told us that is Jamestown Disney style and if we are interested in the correct history of the place we should skip it and go to the Virginia Preservation site and the National Park Service park.

Our Senior Passes got us a $5 entrance fee versus $14.  This is the best deal the government has ever given Seniors.  If you are 62 or older, stop at any National Park and buy your pass for $10 for life. Most of the time it gives free entry but on occasion it is just discounted. 

We watched the video presentation and the first three freedoms they mention in what was accomplished in the first English Settlement in America are rights that are under attack right now by the folks north of here in Washington.  I am curious to see what other irony I will encounter in Colonial Williamsburg.

From there we went to the Memorial commemorating the founding of Jamestown.  It was erected to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the founding in 1607.

The First Permanent
Colony of the
English People
The Birthplace of
and of
The United States
May 13, 1607

To the left was the Virginia Preservation site where right now archaeological excavations are going on.

The church is being reconstructed again using the historical tower that still stands.  I lost count but this may be the reconstruction of the fifth church to sit on this site, the last time in 1907.  

A model of what the triangular fort looked like back in the 1600s was displayed also.  Much has been learned using new technologies in recent years.


A statue of John Smith, first governor of Jamestown, sits on the banks of the James River.

The National Park was to the left.

The problem with Jamestown was there is no fresh water source and the English came in the middle of the worst drought in centuries.  It is why the Indians did not inhabit the area and the English were able to take a foothold.  I did not know the James River is brackish water.

Next we joined a guided tour.  The guide was a frustrated thespian I think.  He was very knowledgeable, extremely enthusiastic and loud.  He constantly asked questions, I guess to get people thinking, but I felt like I was taking a history test ... and failing! 

Only recreated foundations outline excavated structures.  One exception is the Ambler Mansion ruins.

Brick making areas were found nearby indicating the bricks in this ruin were made at Jamestown.  The original foundation bricks on other buildings were reburied to preserve them and duplicates were used so you could see the outline of where the buildings stood.  It was very interesting and the guide did a good job of teaching and I guess that is what his job really is.

We stopped for a cold drink and then visited the Archearium that contained many archaeological finds from the area.  It was all very interesting but we could not take pictures.

We came home and had another combined dinner.  We are doing well with our shared food and planning.  Despite some rain sprinkles we headed to see a fife and drum performance.  And that is what it was - one fife and one drum!  Afterwards we decided to find a Burger King to get a 50 cent ice cream cone.

Using the GPS we ended up at the closed entrance to Colonial Williamsburg.  There must be one inside the park.  Then we spent a lot of time winding our way around to find another one.  We were next to a Friendly's at the performance and could have purchased their largest ice cream, saved the fuel, and been way ahead!

Today we drove to Norfolk to tour the Naval Base.

When we arrived, a full bus was just loading and another was not going for two hours.  We went inside and were advised we would see more and be able to take pictures if we chose the boat tour out of Waterside Place instead.  One would leave at 2:00, giving us time to get there, buy tickets and have a bite beforehand.  This turned out to be a good choice.

We passed the cruise ship terminal, welcoming you to Norfolk.

The Comfort is a hospital ship that would be used in wars and disasters.

We saw many, many ships docked at the naval base but two stood out for me - #67 the USS Cole that was attacked by terrorists which is now repaired and berthed here.

Also, #21 the USS New York is made with steel from the World Trade Center.

It was an interesting and relaxing afternoon.  Afterwards we took these photos at the USS Wisconsin that is berthed here.  We did not have time to tour it because it was closing.

Good thing I had the Virginia map because signs were flashing that exit 261 was closed ahead.  Between the map and the GPS we got off and made our way home but it took 2.5 hours because of all the diverted traffic!  We learned on the news a whole tanker of asphalt had turned over and needed to be cleaned up.  The interstate was closed for 7 hours.  At least no one was hurt but lots were inconvenienced.  After another shared dinner we talked until about 9:30 before calling it a day.

"A good Navy is not a provocation to war. It is the surest guaranty of peace."
President Theodore Roosevelt, 2 December 1902, second annual message to Congress.

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