Just Around the River Bend

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Well – Monday was wild y’all. I just felt like my head was spinning by the time the day was over and this week as a whole is going to be eventful in and of itself – I’m headed into DC tonight with a friend for Game of Thrones in concert, I’m having dinner with some of my favorite ladies after work on Wednesday and then it’s home to pack (again) and after work on Thursday, I’ll be Asheville bound for a long weekend to celebrate my upcoming birthday. Whew!

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We spent last weekend in Williamsburg – we’d originally planned to be there for an air show but my Dad decided about a week out that he’d rather do other things in the area and my Mom and I happily agreed. We arrived around 9:30 on Friday night; Williamsburg is only about 2.5 hours from our house but between stopping for dinner and tons of North Carolina folks trying to get back to their homes, the traffic was a little more hectic than usual.

After a delicious breakfast at the Colonial Pancake House (things have to be on theme y’all) we headed over to Jamestown Settlement – a first for me. Over ten years ago we vacationed to the Northern Virginia area and visited Jamestown but the portion we toured was the area set up as a recreation of the settlement, while this time we went to the actual site of the Jamestown settlement and fort. I thought it was absolutely fascinating and was taking it all in from moment one – I love history so much!

The settlement was chartered in 1606 and established in 1607 and was the first colony in North America to be sustained – which was kind of a big deal. The original fort and settlement was right at the edge of the James’ River and saying that the colony was the first to be sustained is a tenuous use of the word sustained – the colonists struggled to make a good life and while the Powhatan Indians were initially welcoming, that relationship quickly became quarrelsome and wouldn’t be repaired until Pocahontas married John Rolfe in 1614.

We listened to a historian talking at length about the “starving time” that took place in the winter of 1609 – a third boatload of colonists had arrived but the colonists already living at Jamestown still had not yet found a way to provide for themselves to sustain through the winter – and now they had more mouths to feed. Archaeologists discovered a trash pit near the church and inside they found human skeletal remains of a 14 year old girl that give clear evidence that the settlers turned to cannibalism in the winter of 1609. The young girl was most likely an indentured servant and so not as “valuable” as other members of the colony – but I cannot remember if she was killed for food or if she died from natural causes… either way – not a great look.

I snapped several pictures around the colonies and even grabbed a couple shots inside the museum – until my Dad whispered to me “there are cameras watching you and you aren’t supposed to take pictures…” I thought I was being sneaky and no one ever came to throw me out, so maybe it’s fine? The very first set of remains that was excavated at Jamestown were of a man and the cause of death was quite apparent – because a lead bullet was lodged in his skeleton – he was shot in the leg and bled out due to the injury. After perusing the museum, we walked back through the settlement and I couldn’t resist snapping a picture standing in the exact spot where Pocahontas married John Rolfe in 1614.

I loved every minute of exploring Jamestown – I usually make fun of my younger sister because she reads so many things but I probably could have poked around investigating things a bit longer. I stopped to listen to the Native American gentleman speaking about the Powhatan tribe and after a few minutes, I looked up to see I’d been left. My parents just kept walking and had moved on to other things, ha-ha! We made a stop on our way out at the glassworks – the settlers tried to create glass to send back to the UK to sell for profit but the venture(s) weren’t ever very successful because the timber they used for fuel never quite achieved the temperature needed to perfect the glass making process.

I got a wee glass ghost to commemorate our little visit to Jamestown and then we made our way across town to Yorktown Landing and Yorktown Battlefield to have a bit of lunch and look around. We had lunch at a restaurant located at Yorktown Landing (delicious black bean and sausage soup) and walked along the York River for just a bit before visiting the Yorktown Battlefield museum and watching the educational video (wherein my Mom quips “so I guess we won the battle at Yorktown?” *facepalm*). We also discovered a book with George Washington’s Rules for Decorous Living and precisely broke one of them: “do not laugh loudly in public”…because we were absolutely wailing at some of them.

After driving around the battlefield a bit, we drove over to Langley AFB and my Dad took in all the static aircraft displays while my Mom and I hit up the Starbucks. Once he was done snapping pictures, we drove back to Williamsburg to peruse the the Merchant Square shops and snap some pictures of Colonial Willamsburg at dusk – which I did. I’m going to share those photos in a later post but I did want to share a picture of the dessert I had with dinner on Saturday night – a Limoncello Tartufo – it was amazing! We had dinner at Sal’s Italian and the food was divine; something of a preview for Italy in LESS than two months!

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Oh – and one more thing I love. Remember I said we vacationed to Northern Virginia, DC and the Williamsburg area almost ten years ago? Well when I spotted a fountain at Yorktown Landing, I couldn’t resist plopping down for a photo – even if it was missing something. There’s something…interesting…about seeing a place unchanged in some ways even though ten years have passed. That’s all I’ve got for today guys!

 

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