Friday, October 7, 2011

Williamsburg, VA Area

As I said in the previous post, we arrived in Williamsburg last Thursday, September 29th. We spent 7 nights at American Heritage RV Park. Picture hint: Remember you can click on any picture to enlarge it.

American Heritage RV Park Park Entrance

This was our base to explore the “Historic Triangle,” ---Wiliamsburg, Jamestown & Yorktown. We spent the week in the area researching, touring the area, and of course, shopping. We discovered that the Historic Triangle gave birth to the United States, and our huge nation grew from this tiny place in Virginia. In that same tiny place, Europeans, American Indians, and Africans first lived together and became the seed of the American people. The first permanent English settlers sent by the Virginia Company of London, England were at Jamestown. The ideas of revolution were fanned at Williamsburg. Independence was won in the final victory at Yorktown.

The National Park Service's Colonial Parkway joins the three historic attractions of Colonial Virginia with a scenic  roadway carefully shielded from views of commercial development. Intended to help visitors mentally return to the past, there are often views of wildlife and waterfowl along the roadway (and crossing it). The only human development that can be seen from most of the parkway are the two loading piers of Cheatham Annex, part of the Naval Weapons Station Yorktown which borders the inland side of much of the parkway, a testament of how this area still plays an important role in the United States Military.

Near the James River and York River ends of the parkway, there are several pull-offs. The Colonial Parkway is free of tolls or user fees.

The Parkway starts in Yorktown, passes through Colonial Williamsburg and ends in Jamestown. No commercial vehicles are allowed to use the parkway for transportation, although commuter traffic has picked up drastically in the past decade.


The first permanent English settlement in the New World was established at Jamestown in 1607. Today, Jamestown Festival Park and Jamestown Island attractions is open to visitors. Included are re-creations of a native American village and colonial fort, and archaeological sites where current work is underway.

There are two major areas at Jamestown: the former Jamestown Festival Park, a living history museum which includes the replica ships and is operated by the Commonwealth of Virginia, and is now known as Jamestown Settlement; and the National Park Service site which includes Jamestown Island and the ongoing archaeological projects is known as Historic Jamestowne.

Jamestown 1  Jamestown 2

Jamestown 5  Jamestown Marsh


In 1699, the capital of Virginia was moved from Jamestown to a location on high ground at Middle Plantation at the suggestion of students from the College of William and Mary, which had been established there in 1693. Middle Plantation was soon renamed Williamsburg, in honor of King William III, and it was a busy place until the American Revolution.

William & Mary College William & Mary

William & Mary College 2 William & Mary

After the capital was moved to a more secure location at Richmond in 1780, Williamsburg became a largely forgotten and sleepy little town for almost 150 years. All that changed in the early 20th century was due to the preservation efforts of Reverend Dr. W.A.R. Goodwin, rector of Bruton Parish Church and the generosity of Standard Oil heir John D. Rockefeller Jr. and his family, who shared a dream of restoring the old colonial capital city to its 18th century splendor, and made it come true.

Today, the result of those efforts, Colonial Williamsburg, is a large living museum of early American life. It has dozens of restored and recreated buildings and reenactors. It is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. The Visitor's Center (right off the Colonial Parkway) features a short movie and provides a place to start and leave automobiles, which are restricted from the restored area. A wheelchair-accessible shuttle bus service is provided.

Pictures of Colonial Williamsburg follow.

Colonial Williamsburg  Colonial Williamsburg 2

Colonial Williamsburg 3  Colonial Williamsburg 4


The third point of the triangle is Yorktown where General Cornwallis surrendered to George Washington in 1781 the last land battle of the American Revolution. There are two large visitor centers, battlefield drives, and a waterfront area. Pictures of Yorktown follow.


Victory Monument Yorktown  Victory Monument

Yorktown Battlefield 2  Yorktown Battlefield

Yorktown Bridge 2 Bridge at Yorktown


Notwithstanding the amazingly successful efforts to provide a non-commercial atmosphere at the three Historic Triangle areas (and on the Colonial Parkway between them), there are many hotels, motels, campgrounds, restaurants, outlet malls, shops and stores, gasoline stations, and amusements close by.

Much of the info above (EXCEPT for the pictures), I got from Wikipedia.

One of our favorite shopping stops was at a Yankee Candle “Flagship” Store in Williamsburg. This store had every fragrance they make plus every size candle and every other type of item they make from car fresheners, to diffusers, wax beads, scented oils, home air fresheners, even hand soaps, hand sanitizers and lip balm. We bought a few items there for sure!

One of the more interesting places we ate was at the Yorktown Pub. Barbie enjoyed her fried oysters and I enjoyed my crab cake. The local micro-brewery beers were quite cold and tasty. See pictures below.

Yorktown Pub 3  Yorktown Pub

This past Tuesday we took a day trip to Virginia Beach-right on the Atlantic. We really enjoyed walking their great boardwalk and walking the beach. I‘ll include some pictures below of that trip, including the tunnel (under water) we had to travel in Norfolk.

Norfolk Tunnel  Norfolk Tunnel 2

VA Beach  B & K on VA Beach

B & K on VA Beach 3  VA Beach Boardwalk 2

VA Beach Boardwalk 3  VA Beach barge

All in all we enjoyed our first trip ever to this area! But, it was time to move on.

We hitched up and left American Heritage RV Park about 11:30am, Thursday, October 6. In 55 minutes we pulled in to Bethpage Camp Resort in Urbanna,  Virginia. More on Bethpage in the next post.

‘Til next time……..


Sherry and Charley Dilworth said...

Great pictures!! Looks like you all are having a good time, including Kozmo!!

Be safe!!

Karen and Al said...

It looks like you had a busy and enjoyable week.

FULL-TIMERS...OCT. 17, 2009 said...

You two drove all of 55 minutes in one impressive...LOL
We loved that area. So much history. Thanks for reminding us of some of the neat things about that area. Sometimes we do so much we forget some of it. Great photos! Enjoy your weekend.