From Mount Vernon we drove down to Jamestown. This was only about a 3 hour drive but between our usual late start and a bit of homework we didn’t get to Jamestown until late afternoon so we just went to a local park until it got dark before heading to a nearby Cracker Barrel for the night.
The next morning we went to Colonial Jamestown for our second to last stop of our founding of America tour. Started in 1607, Jamestown is the first successful permanent British colony in the New World. Colonial Jamestown is on the site of the original settlement and has a re-creation of some of the walls of the original town. It is an active archeological site and we got a tour by the head archeologist. She did not wear a hat or carry a whip and as she showed us the painstaking work of real archeology, Olivia quickly became bored. It may have been my fault as I forgot to have her watch the Disney movie Pocahontas beforehand. Of course the movie was not anywhere near accurate, sort of like a homeopathic version inspired by some characters in real history but it is a lot less depressing than learning that out of the 500 or so colonists, only 60 survived to live the next year. Still, it was a lovely fall day and we got a nice Popsicle at café on site.
After a good night’s sleep back at the Cracker Barrel we went to Yorktown for our last stop learning about the founding of America. Colonial Jamestown and Yorktown, where the British surrendered in the last major battle of the Revolutionary War in 1781 are very close to each other and form nice bookends to the story. It is ironic that that the American ensured their independence 174 years and just a few miles from where the first British colony was settled.
The battlefield and some of the dirt walls still exist although like most battlefields it is a peaceful field now. There is a nice little museum at the battlefield which was covered by our National Parks pass. The town of Yorktown is still a sleepy scenic little town etching a living off of several museums and tours capitalizing on the battle.
A long morning sufficed to explore Yorktown and afterwards we drove down to Newport News, one of the main Naval shipyards in the United States. There we stopped at Victory Landing park where we had a great view of a couple of modern aircraft carriers under refurbishment. It was impressive to realize that the aircraft carriers we saw were larger than the park we were standing in. It is not every day one can see a $13 billion dollar ship. We stayed for a couple hours to make sure we got maximum value for our tax dollars.