Early American Settlements – Jamestown and Williamsburg, VA

A ferry sunset on the James River

A ferry sunset on the James River

We found a state park called Chippokes Plantation just across the James River from Williamsburg and Jamestown, and posted up there for a few days. The campground was lovely. It was very serene and quiet, except the bald eagles calling as they flew forty feet above our head. No joke! I was hoping we’d see some bald eagles in the wild on this trip at some point and I can check that one off the list now! It was incredible. These animals are truly majestic. And huge. And loud. We loved it. Of course I didn’t get any pictures, they were gone before I could get my camera. The campground had electric and water hook-ups, which is always a nice bonus, as well as clean private room shower stalls (as opposed to a bunch of stalls lined up in the mens or womens bathroom facilities). The campground was only about one third full so we were able to procure a large site tucked away into a quiet corner of the campground surrounded by tall thin trees. I’d say this was maybe one of our top five favorite campgrounds yet!

Our giant spacious campsite at Chippokes State Park in Virginia

Our giant spacious campsite at Chippokes State Park in Virginia

The drive to the James River ferry from our campground was about twenty minutes through extremely rural farms growing winter wheat and corn. The ferry was a twenty minute ride and is free. Once you get off the ferry you are pretty much in Jamestown, which was the first permanent English settlement in the US.

This is our Virginia dream house

This is our Virginia dream house

Jamestown was a cool place to visit. They’ve built a wonderful museum with a million artifacts and outside there’s a mockup of a Native American village and a rebuilt version of the European settlement of Jamestown. There are also three boats down at the dock on the water, each one represents one of the three boat the Jamestown settlers came on from England. These boats were TINY. There were eighty people that came over on the largest boat, which looked like it could comfortably sleep about fifteen. What a way to get across an ocean! The oppression back in England must have been seriously horrible to want to get on such a small boat with so many others to make that treacherous journey to an unknown and dangerous life in a strange land. Oh, and before I forget: we had  a special guest with us on this trip! My Nana (Dad’s mom) turned 96 in April. My dad and stepmom had the cute idea of sending out a picture of Nana on a stick to all of her family members so we could take pics doing fun stuff with “Flat Nana” (inspired by the kids’ book “Flat Stanley”). So Flat Nana came to Jamestown with us!

"Flat Nana" and I pose with the Native American actors at Jamestown

“Flat Nana” and I pose with the Native American actors at Jamestown

We also visited Colonial Williamsburg. This is a reconstructed version of the city of Williamsburg around the time when the Declaration of Independence was written, just around the time of America’s official birth. This place was so impressive. There are about 200 buildings that are either original or rebuilt to that time period. You can go inside houses and storefronts and see people dressed as if they are living back in the late 1700s. They also talk as if they are living in the 1700s. It’s amazing, and done quite well. There are reenactments of reading the Declaration of Independence, the marching of an army for General George Washington to approve, a fife and drum band (mostly of young children who must volunteer from local schools), a governor’s mansion and gardens, and so much more. We saw women making baskets by hand and women weaving rugs on a huge loom. We saw men trying to find volunteers to join the local militia (Chris volunteered of course), and a man courting and proposing to a woman. There were even people playing the part of servants and slaves. It really was intense to get a feel for that time period.

Colonial Williamsburg characters in their 1700s clothing

Colonial Williamsburg characters in their 1700s clothing

The way we are experiencing American history on our cross-country adventure is so exciting and makes it all seem so much more real and fascinating. Our next stop on the trip north is going to be the pinnacle of American History for me: here we go, to our country’s capitol city – Washington, DC!

Chris and Flat Nana at the Jamestown ships dock

Chris and Flat Nana at the Jamestown ships dock

 

 

  • Kathy Adams

    I love this. I wish I had thought of sending flat Granny/Papa!! so fun. great pictures.

  • Ron

    As usual another aaaaaaaaaahhhhhhsome! Blog. All the places I’ve wanted to see.
    Miss you guys ,ya soon.
    Pops