Saturday, September 20, 2008

Williamsburg Virginia - Day Seven

Jamestown Virginia, Copyright OtisAir 2008

Well, it's Saturday and very hard to believe that we'd been in Williamsburg  for a week already.  Today we had to head back towards Phoenixville Pennsylvania, but didn't do so until later in the day after we used up the day having fun.  We started the day off by getting the bikes out that we'd drug all the way down there with us and hadn't yet rode.  It wasn't a super long trip but still 8 miles wasn't a bad way to start the day out. We completed the bike ride, got ready, packed, and loaded the car all before 9:00 am so we were definitely not wasting time this morning.


During our bike ride, we rode up a dirt road to some ranch and bed and breakfast.  The property was really nice and although we were just off a main road, it felt as if we were a hundred miles out in the middle of nowhere. We also stopped at a garage sale, but not having any money with us, and not having any way to carry back anything we bought, we only took a quick peek at what was being offered.  I think it was a 2 wheeled Big Wheel (missing one wheel), a 500 year old weber grill, and 3 worn out tires.  Again, it was a tough call but we elected to not buy anything.   

P9200018We had been wanting to take a look at the model homes in Ford Colony since we'd been there and each time we jogged by them, we didn't want to stop because Beth was afraid I'd lay down to rest and not get up till the rented police fella came and had me removed.  Since we were leaving, via car, we stopped in to tour the place before heading out for good.  The two Southern homes that were being modeled were gorgeous! 


We started to write a check for one of the homes until they told us that the monthly mortgage would be just a dollar or two over $10,000.  I decided I better put my elastic checkbook back in my pocket and walk quietly out the door.  I can't believe they wouldn't take an I O U.   The two houses were definitely purty.

We hung out at the model homes for about 30 minutes walking around and taking a bunch of photo's and then departed for Jamestown.  If you remember from an earlier blog, we'd been to Jamestown a couple of days prior, but arrived 3 minutes after they closed all the attractions.  This time we'd be there in time and have fresh batteries in the camera.  It really surprising how small the original Jamestown is, but then again, thinking about it, there wasn't a lot of folks on the ship that landed.  The James River has really widened it's edges since the original landing and some of it is now underwater out in the river.  The story of how researchers found Jamestown is pretty interesting. Archeologists searched and searched further out in the river until one day a professor said "why don't you try digging closer to the church?  Back in those days, the church was the center of everything." The first shovel full dug at the new location proved successful in find Jamestown.  Today, there is much digging going on.  Many things have been found and reburied as the earth provides the best protector of artifacts.

origHere is an artists rendition of what the original Jamestown looked like.  Notice that the left front corner is shaded, indicating that it's now part of the river and underwater.  Some of the front right corner is also underwater.  The whole size of the original Jamestown was just over an acre in size.  Eventually, there were over 60,000 folks all over the immediate area and part of Jamestown. 

You can see some of the digging that is still going on.  Things continued to be found even today.  Just this past summer a gold ring was found, along with a couple of dishes.  That's amazing! 
The whole area just outside of Jamestown itself is very swampy and filled with 22 bazillion skeeters.  We read signs stating that the water was quite stagnant and its dirtiness and disease infested state was the reason that many many Jamestownians (I made that word up) died.  The water, along with starving to death caused the death of over 2/3 of the Jamestown population.  Scientists determined that the Jamestown landing took place right in the middle of a 3 year drought.  It was so bad, the people were eating their own horses and leather from their shoes.  Today, we couldn't imagine such a thing. 

We walked about the area for a couple of hours and really found it very interesting stopping to look at all the structures still standing.  We learned the reasons for the ditches and mounds that marked the owners property. The trenches also served as sewage and a place to dump their trash.  Another place we learned to dump trash was the wells scattered throughout the area.  Water wells had to be dug to an exact depth.  Too shallow would be disease infested, too deep would be terribly nasty tasting.  I'd have hated to be the taste tester!  The structure to the left is actually not the original structure, it's buried.  This is a replica of what was there before 350 years of soil turning over and burying the original foundations.  At the time, tobacco was so popular that all the trees you see in the area were cut down and tobacco planted in every square inch of useable soil. 

After an enjoyable visit to Jamestown, we jumped in the car and headed up the road towards Richmond.  Our destination was the Berkely Plantation which is world famous.  Unlike we were taught in school, the first Thanksgiving actually occurred here at Berkely Plantation a whole year prior to what's written in the history books.  Am I sure?  You bet! President George W Bush presented the official documentation acknowledging that the first Thanksgiving actually did occur here.  The first 10 presidents also spent much time at the Berkely Plantation and President Lincoln dismissed one of his general's during the Civil War because the general had a sit and wait approach and Lincoln wanted a seek and destroy leader.  President Bush did last years State Of The Union Addresses from the grounds of Berkely Plantation. 

P9200101Right:  There You have it, officially!
Below: Here you can also see a cannonball lodged into the side of the kitchen and laundry building.  I guess the didn't like what was being served.  Actually, this occurred in 1862 during an attack by General J B Stuart.
We stayed at the Berkely Plantation for a couple of hours and took a tour of the inside of the main house.  It's still occupied (top floor) by the owner but the lower level is completely used for tours. The funds received from the tours are used to pay for the annual taxes as this property is privately owned and not state or nationally subsidized. 
There was a replica of the ship that brought the settles in but during the hurricane a couple of years ago, the ship got busticated and hasn't been rebuilt. 
The stop here was worth it!

  Long about 4 o'clock pm, we decided we should start heading back towards home and get rested up as we're flying up to Alfred New York tomorrow to see Nicole there at the university. 

The weather is forecasted to be real nice so it should be a fun day.

Thanks for reading along about our vacation.  We hope you enjoyed the recount of what we've been doing for the last 7 days, with one more day to go before heading back in to work. 

Ya'll be particular and we'll see you again soon.  We'll post some pictures of tomorrow's flight here on the blog as well.


Beth and Shane

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons license.


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