May 30, 2013

Yorktown, Jamestown, and Williamsburg, Virginia

Spent the week at the Williamsburg Pottery RV Resort. Again, this place is huge with hundreds of RV sites, but hardly anyone is here. Guess that, because the park is not located on the water, people are not interested in staying here. Right now there are only two of us in the park, and over Memorial Day weekend, there were only six of us. Hopefully, for the owners, the park fills up as the summer comes along. The park is within easy driving distance to all the historical sites in the area, and we visited as many as we could. The following is a short review of our American history.


The first place we visited was Yorktown. 

To refresh your memory, Yorktown is the place where the British surrendered to General George Washington in the last major battle of the Revolutionary War. 

 Yorktown is located right on the York River 
which drains into the Chesapeake Bay. 

You can take a sale on the Schooner Alliance.

The day we were in Yorktown, there was
a Farmer's Market along the River Front.

We walked some of the streets that were
closed to traffic to see the historic houses.

Custom House, circa 1720

One historic house operates as a restaurant,
called The Carrot Tree Restaurant. We ate on the
patio in the back and had an excellent lunch,
and had some of their carrot cake for which
they are famous. I'm still dreaming of it!

General George Washington and French Military Commander de Grasse.
Between them they had the British General Cornwallis's
troops surrounded in Yorktown, with General
Cornwallis eventually surrendering with his 7,000
troops on October 19, 1781.

Yorktown Victory Monument

Sign at the Yorktown Victory Monument

One Country - One Constitution - One Destiny


Jamestown was the site of the first permanent English settlement in 1607, thirteen years before the pilgrims landed at Plymouth in Massachusetts. Jamestown is located on the James River which also feeds into the Chesapeake Bay. 

Map of their voyage with three ships, 
the Susan Constant (116 feet), the Godspeed
(88 feet) and the Discovery (66 feet)

104 brave men and boys made the four and one-half month journey (one died on the way) to establish a colony in the new land. What's wrong with this picture? Where were the women? Only when women eventually showed up were they able to grow the colony.

All the men and boys were traders, none were farmers. At first, they got along well with the native Indians, trading their items for food supplied by the Indians. But when a three-year drought hit soon after their arrival, the Indians needed the food for themselves and the close relationship between the two groups quickly disintegrated. Neither side trusted the other. They couldn't fish either because the drought caused the river to recede and the fish were loaded with salt. They starved, died and buried their dead inside the fort so that the Indians wouldn't know how few of them were left. Before additional ships could bring them supplies, their numbers dwindled to 34 men. 

In addition, the men and boys were fearful of the Spanish who they thought were going to show up any minute. Thus, they built a Fort right next to the water to keep a constant lookout for the Spanish. 

We visited both the Jamestown Fort and Settlement, and the replicas of the three ships.

Replicas of the three ships.

Jamestown Fort and one of the cannons used
to defend the Fort.

Burial grounds inside the Fort.

Houses inside the Settlement.

Looking out of the door of the Settlement
towards the water where the ships were docked.

Statute of John Smith, first Governor of Virginia 1608

Excavation of the site continues to this day,
with artifacts still being discovered.

The  discovered artifacts and bones are 
housed in this Archaearium.
The building is raised on blocks because it is 
built over a cemetery containing 7,000 bodies.

Bones of a leg with the bullet still in the knee,
on display in the Archaearium.

Can  you guess what this is? It was a very useful
device used to remove wax from one's ear with
the cup end, and also function as a toothpick
(with the other end), and other various uses, such
as fingernail and toe nail cleaner. And, they shared
this with others in the group. 
No wonder so many of them died!


In Colonial Williamsburg, the streets are blocked off for quite a distance while the city maintains the look and feel of Williamsburg in the 1700s. At one point, it was the capitol of Virginia, and George Washington, as a member of the House of Burgess, spent quite a bit of time in Williamsburg.

The guides are dressed in period costumes.

The Courthouse

The Governor's Quarters

Front lawn of the Governor's Quarters

The backside of the Capitol Building

Not where you want to be!

My, how far we have come in 250 years!

Side street in Colonial Williamsburg.

The weather has been in the high 80s and low 90s this week. Had the air conditioner on at all times in the coach.

Heading up towards Washington D.C. tomorrow, 
only 130 miles north of here. 

Enjoy the life you live.

May 23, 2013

Virginia Beach, Virginia (Chesapeake)

Once again, our prayers go out to all the people in Oklahoma suffering as a result of the tornado that hit Moore earlier this week. So sad!

Here is an update on this past week in Virginia. Spent three days at the Indian Cove Resort. It is a Coast-to-Coast resort and we would have loved to stay longer, but the Park was having an event for its members.

Had a nice spot that backed against one
of the many canals in the area.

One of Jerry's meals: blackened fresh scallops
and shrimp on pasta with corn 
and caramelized onions.

Another canal in the middle of the
Indian Cove Resort.

So we moved over to the First Landing State Park also in Virginia Beach. We will have been here five days tomorrow. The park is beautiful and right on the Chesapeake Bay. Unfortunately, it has rained every day except one since we have been here.

We love being parked in woods.

We are not suppose to walk on the dunes,
but there are many wooden walkways 
leading down to the Chesapeake Bay.

Driftwood on the beach.

Road through the Park.

Trees like this are all over this Park.

Down town Virginia Beach hugs the water.

Virginia Beach Boardwalk
(dark clouds coming in)

Neptune statute on the boardwalk
in Virginia Beach

To give you a picture of how big this statute is, here are the statistics:

Plaque near the Neptune Statute.

Edgar Cayce's A. R. E. (Association for
Research and Enlightenment, Inc.)

We also visited the A. R. E. headquarters, watched a movie on Edgar Cayce, visited the bookstore and library, and took a tour of the building. Its library of metaphysical books is the second largest in the world next to the Vatican library. I know where I would be spending my time if I lived in this area!

Yesterday (Wednesday, May 22) was our best day weather-wise. 
Thus, we explored more of the historical sites.

Cape Henry Lighthouse
federally funded in 1792.
(George Washington reviewed the bids,
and Alexander Hamilton signed the contract.)

The Cape Henry Lighthouse was the first Public Works Project of the United States Government. It opened in the fall of 1792 and was in service for 100 years.

Steps inside the Cape Henry Lighthouse.
Jerry climbed the stairs to the top.

Taken by Jerry at the top of the Cape
Henry Lighthouse and showing the
new lighthouse sitting a short distance
from the old one.

Painter painting the new lighthouse.

In the afternoon, we drove out 19 miles on the Chesapeake Bay 
Bridge-Tunnel to Virginia's eastern shore. (It is a toll road, 
costing us $12 to go the 19 miles.)

 Driving the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel.
(This road goes through a couple of tunnels 
under the water so that large ships can pass overhead.) 

Picture taken at a stopping
area along the way. That barge in the
background was huge.

The Chesapeake Bay Estuary extends through six states and empties into the Atlantic Ocean.

It has been raining nearly all day today. That's okay. We enjoyed our chai tea lattes which were great on a day like today.

Leaving here tomorrow and heading over to Williamsburg, Virginia -- another place of extreme historical significance. Going to be there for a week.

Continue to live the life you love.

May 15, 2013

Huntington, West Virginia and Charlottesville, Virginia

It was never on our radar nor on our bucket list when we started out RVing seven years ago, but we have now traveled to all 49 states with our motorhome. West Virginia was our 49th state.

Sign at the Welcome Center in West Virginia

We knew that a storm was right behind us as we traveled from Kentucky to West Virginia on May 10th, and we wanted to beat the storm. We no sooner arrived at the KOA Park in Huntington, West Virginia, and got the RV set up, when we were hit with a very heavy downpour of rain.

 Taken from our RV front window right after we arrived at the KOA RV Park.

We were impressed with all of the trees and hills in West Virginia. Here are some of the pictures we took out of the RV window on our trip to Huntington.

  West Virginia

West Virginia

It rained each day that we were in West Virginia, with the exception of the last day. On Monday, we left and drove 280 miles to Charlottesville, Virginia. Charlottesville is near Monticello, home of Thomas Jefferson. We came here for the specific purpose of touring the homes of Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and James Monroe -- our third, fourth and fifth presidents. All three were friends and lived within 30 miles of each other. As one tour guide told us today, Thomas Jefferson was the "visionary," James Madison was the "intellectual designer," and James Monroe was the "implementer."  (We were not allowed to take pictures in any of the three homes.)

Since James Madison's place is 30 miles away, we took yesterday to check that place out first.

James Madison's house in Montpelier

View from the front porch of James Madison's house.

Bronze statute of James and Dolly Madison

Train depot at Montpelier build by Mr. DuPont who
needed to travel between Montpelier and Washington, D.C.
in the early 1800s.

Then, today we spent the time going 
through Jefferson and Monroe's homes.

Thomas Jefferson's mansion at Monticello

The back of Thomas Jefferson's house
(currently under renovation)
Check out the back of a nickel for 
a reproduction of the back side of 
his home. Note that it is identified
as Monticello on the back of the nickel.

Thomas Jefferson's grave site on the property

Large garden on the property

Bronze statute of Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson spent 40 years building and tearing down and rebuilding his house at Monticello. It is by far the most impressive of the three places we visited. You really have to experience it yourself as words do not do it justice.

In contrast, Mr. Monroe's house was quite simple. And, in reality, he really only stayed in it a total of six years out of the 26 years that he owned it. But the road leading up to the house, the grounds and the views are spectacular.

Road leading to President Monroe's house

President Monroe's house is the little white one on the
right side of the picture. The large yellow structure
was added on to the house later by a new owner.

Garden on President Monroe's property

Landscape on President Monroe's property

Bronze bust of President Monroe

We also checked out Michie's Tavern established in 1784.

 Michie"s Tavern established in 1784

We were allowed to take pictures in Michie's Tavern

Kitchen in Michie's Tavern

Leaving here tomorrow and traveling over to 
Virginia Beach where we will be for a week.

Enjoy the life you love!