Thursday, April 26, 2012

Day 21: The Colonial Parkway! Yorktown, Jamestown, and Williamsburg, plus Monticello, sort of...

After Kill Devil Hills (Kitty Hawk), we camped for the night in a little state park called Merchants Millpond State Park.  However, we failed to get any photos, guess we were tired.

After a good night's sleep, Angie took the wheel and drove us into Virginia over...

...and under the James River, past Norflok, Newport News, and into...

Site of a huge Revolutionary War victory for Washington.  A group of soldiers and their families were taking a tour of the battlefield as we got there.

I had forgotten how involved the French were in our fight for independence.  If not for Lafayette, the French Army, and maybe more importantly their Navy, Yorktown would have been a different outcome or perhaps Washington wouldn't have attempted it at all.

The Museum has all kinds of artifacts such as General Washington's tent.

If you can zoom in on this, it's a synopsis of the battle and the events leading up to it.  To summarize, Washington originally wanted to attack New York but changed his focus to Cornwallis' position in Yorktown when he learned he could get French Naval support.  The French Navy not only shuttled in additional troops, but prevented the British Navy from bringing in reinforcements and maintained control of the Chesapeake Bay, making it possible for Washington to take Yorktown.

From Yorktown, we drove the Colonial Parkway scenic route over to Jamestown and Williamsburg.  This is a really nice leisurely drive, popular with cyclists, that passes a lot of beaches and other interesting sights.

Jamestown is the site of the first permanent English settlement.  Roanoke actually predated Jamestown but those colonists mysteriously disappeared...

The Jamestown colonists settled on an island because they wanted something defensible if the Spanish or native tribes attacked.  Life was difficult though because they were surrounded by a swamp on one side, a river on the other, and there was no source of clean drinking water.  Also, all the settlers did was look for gold and rely on the local tribes for necessities.  This is a model of the original fort compound.  Note the tower and outline of a foundation...

This "memorial" church is not original to the settlement.  It was built on the foundation of the original church in 1907.

This tower, behind the church, is part of the original structure as seen in the model.

A statue erected to honor Pocahontas, daughter of the local Chief.

Kidnapping!  They sure did things differently back then...

Captain John Smith, founder of Jamestown and Governor of Virginia.

Elmo, illustrating the defensive advantage the swamp provided.
After Bacon's Rebellion, in which most of the town was burned, and some other setbacks the capital was moved to Williamsburg in 1699 and Jamestown was mostly abandoned.

From Jamestown we took a quick look at Williamsburg and then continued on to Charlottesville, location of Thomas Jefferson's home, Monticello.  Jefferson was quite the architect and basically built the house twice.  This model is the original version...

After spending a few years in France, he came back inspired to make some changes. He removed and completely redesigned the second floor and made quite a few other major changes, including adding the dome, the first of its kind this side of the Atlantic.

Unfortunately it was late in the day, raining and cost $25/person to tour the house so we had to settle for just the museum but I'm glad we went.  The house has some really unusual features for the time such as the dome, a tin roof, and skylights.

We had intended to camp in Shenandoah National Park but we've learned the hard way that it's just not worth it to camp in the rain if it's already raining or guaranteed to start.  We headed for a motel in nearby Waynesboro, which is at the southern end of Shenandoah.

Hopefully the weather will improve and we can drive thru Shenandoah tomorrow...

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