Sunday, September 14, 2008

Williamsburg Virginia - Day One


Howdy!  Beth and I arrived last night around 9:00 pm, so I guess, technically speaking, that today is day two, but for the sake of argument, this IS our first real day of vacation. We did, however, go down the road to get some dinner and listened to some live bands performing as part of  HRMUSIC.TV.  They were pretty good too! 

Today we had a great day and met some neat people and saw some really cool stuff!  The header image is driving down Colonial Parkway enroute to Yorktown where we toured the River Walk and snapped a bunch of photos.  The parkway wasn't foggy like the picture is suggesting; I think the camera's aperture or some other diddly-bop on it was open too wide and this is the result.  I took another one with the camera and my head out of the window, but ended up liking this picture better. 

Earlier in the year, when we were down at Hilton Head for our summer 2008 vacation, we were flipping through the Marriott Vacation Spot's book to see other locations available to go and have a looksie at.  Since we were at Hilton Head at that moment, we elected to look elsewhere for a quick trip that we could bring the bikes with us to do some riding, and also be close enough to Philly so that if we didn't have the vacation time to spend the entire week, it wouldn't have taken too long to get there to begin with.  Make sense?  I've confused myself already!  Anyway, long story short, neither of us had been to Williamsburg Virginia before so we chose this spot and are both really glad we did.

Map image

It's beautiful and just 5 hours from home.

Copyright Otisair 2008
We're in Yorktown now!  There are about 240 folks that still work and live here today. Victory Center is on the West end of town, while Yorktown Battlefield sits over yonder on the East end of town. Here in town, one of the cannonballs still lodged into the home of  Thomas Nelson, Jr.  He was one of the signer's of the Declaration of Independence, and not only that, but also a Governor of Virginia, and commander of the Virginia Militia during the siege of Yorktown.  Being down here has really given me a sense of value in knowing American History.  As we walked along the fields where historical battles took place, I could visualize in my minds eye the chaos of war and the fear in those men's eyes as they stood out in the open and courageously faced the enemy. I've been in war, but never standing in front of the exit-end of an enemy's cannon.  Such crude weapons by today's comparison. I'm getting ahead of myself, let's run down to the RiverWalk first where we ate a superb lunch and walked around the shops that were scattered throughout the area.

We'd started the day at the RiverWalk just close to lunchtime so our first mission was to find somewhere open to get a bite to eat.  We found a place called Nick's Riverwalk Restaurant  down near the water and sat on the back patio under the canopy. It was hot-n-humid already and the time was just barely reaching twelve noon.  Beth had a large salad with all sorts of bits and pieces on it while I had a flounder sandwich that was the size of a catchers mit folded over.  Hmm Hmm it was good!  Lunch was delish but Beth had shopping to do! 

The whole area has shops littered throughout the waterfront.  Beaches serve as book-ends to the shopping area and each "beach" has enough space to accompany smaller crowds. Certainly not Florida Beach size, but it's very quaint and cozy.  We watched this fella trying to launch a large kite and accidentally got it caught up in the lamp post. The village Sheriff rode up (on his bike) and provided assistance.  The other policeman, driving a "mule", continued to eyeball the shoppers to make sure no riots broke out. 

All the shops had enough cool stuff to have kept us in them all day long.  I didn't get nuthin!  I just asked for one little fish and after we looked at the price tag and damn-near had a stroke at the $500.00 asking fee, I decided that I didn't want no fish no more.  I'd settle for the fish sandwich that I'd just finished 30 minutes earlier!  There are so many cool things here to look at - you should do yourself the favor of visiting this area one day.  We continued to walk around the shops for the next couple of hours and I continued to not get nuthin.  I never get nuthin'.  I did take a picture of a boat though.

This big model of a boat sits just outside the Waterman's Museum.  Unfortunately, it wasn't open at the time that we were there so we didn't get to go in.  From what I could tell though, it was a fisherman's museum that I'm sure was very interesting inside. 

We went a bit further and were, in fact, on our way back to the car to go somewhere else to tour, when we came upon a shop called Claire Murray.  I stuck my head in the door and almost turned around to leave when Beth suddenly changed my mind...  SLAP! Sorry Honey...... when I elected to continue into the store for a look around.  I had just made the comment (when I realized the store sold carpets and rugs and such) that, "Honey, you can't buy a rug on holiday".  Guess what? We bought a damn rug!  ok ok, I'm down playing it here and am honestly very happy that we went in.  The shop keeper, Sherry, is a wonderful lady and full of smiles.  Beth shopped around whilst I stood there and tried to keep from walking on any of the merchandise.  The rugs are hung, folded, draped, and also just laying on the floor.  Sherry noticed that I wasn't doing to well avoiding stepping on any of them and she said "that's fine to walk on them, they are durable and well made".  Sherry tended to a few of the customers and soon, Beth and I were the only one's left in the store.  We struck up a conversation with Sherry and learned about the origins of many of the design ideas for some of the rugs that Beth was most interested in.  Loving Sunflowers, Beth had my hands full of flowered rugs of all shapes and sizes.  I looked like a rug tree - if one such thing actually exists.  Soon I realized that I was now a tool as they both continued to drape rugs over me and besides getting tired from the weight of these wool works of wonder, I was getting hot.  Ok, so perhaps I'm stretching the truth, I wasn't actually a Rug Ho, I just didn't have a real role in this sun-flowered rug knowledge transfer session that was in full swing.  The two of them looked so cute with arms flailin' every which-a-way as they talked about favorite patterns, kids, building houses, college life-styles, and their five-fingered super secret for-official-use-only clandestine non-verbal communication method.  I can't say anymore about that, but if you're ever in Sherry's store and you get five fingers, RUN cause it's fixin' to hurt! 

After I had held just about every rug in the entire store and adjoining warehouses, Beth decided on one to "start" with.  This scares me and tends to make me think that driving or flying down to Claire Murray's is going to be a recurring event.  I still ain't got nuthin myself!  We continued to talk with Sherry and I must say that she is such an elegant lady and what an exciting history she has.  While in college, she was THE Chef for Rose Kennedy. She told us story's of her times and as she did, we could see the passion in her eyes as she spoke of them; she could see each event as if they had happened only yesterday.  If you go back and look at pictures of Jacqueline, you may want to take a second look to ensure that they aren't pictures of our new friend Sherry. Seems that photographers often mistook Sherry for Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis in their expeditious effort to meet each days deadline.  That was a real treat for us to meet her and I'm sure we'll cross paths again - especially since Beth loves Sun-flower rugs and Sherry has about 624,325 of them for sale.  I still ain't got nuthin!

Yorktown Victory Monument
Commissioned by the Continental Congress in 1781 to commemorate the great victory at Yorktown. 
Constructed between 1881 and 1884.

Top of Victory Monument (above)
Bottom of Victory Monument (left)


We walked about the village of Yorktown and was able to go into most of the buildings and houses that remained standing.  The majority of the structures are original and only a few reconstructed when absolutely necessary.  The entire town (village) is only 14 blocks.  Lots of interesting artifacts are on display in each of the dwellings. Remember up at the top of today's blog when I showed you a picture of a cannonball in Thomas Nelson Jr's home?  Well, it was he who shot it!  Really! See,  Thomas Nelson Jr targeted his own home when he suspected that General Charles Lord Cornwallis was using as his own HQ (after the English took control of Yorktown). The house (with it's 18 inch thick walls) held firm, quite unlike the majority of other structures that cannons shot at.  There is another cannonball still lodged into his house as well.  Later, on October 19, 1781, General Cornwallis was forced to surrender to General Washington’s combined American and French army. This victory in Yorktown secured independence for the United States and significantly changed the course of world history.

What a fun day we had in Yorktown.  While we're here on holiday, we'll be going to Williamsburg (proper) and Jamestown so I'll tell you about them sometime later this week.  There is a local TV channel down here that has documentaries on 24 hours a day.  Its really cool to hear again, all the things that took place here and us having the opportunity to walk along those same trails and inside those same buildings.  A really cool day indeed.

We're taken the trolly back though cause we've been walking for about 23 hours and up and down stairs and up hills and over yonder and back.  I still didn't get nuthin.

Beth has to go out of town tomorrow through Tuesday so I'm not gonna make the bed, not gonna bathe, not gonna shave, not gonna run, not gonna clean, and not gonna brush my tooth! Damnit!  SLAP! Yes Dear, I'll floss too.

We went back "home" to the room and showered and kinda hung out for a bit recuperating from all the rugs I had to hold and carry today, and perhaps all the walking we did too.  Tonight, we went and listened to the kettle-drum playing-dude over at Berret's Restaurant & Taphouse Grill while we had seafood and a beer or 4.  Dinner was delicious and we'd definitely go back. 
It's been a long day and it's time for bed so we wish ya'll happy dreams and we'll write more tomorrow.  Tomorrow night the Eagles take on the Cowboys and Beth will be in Austin.

Take care!  Beth & Shane  

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons license.


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