Daddy Clanger (imc) wrote,
Daddy Clanger

Episode 5: March 18th-19th

On Thursday we set out at the crack of mid-morning and drove into the centre of Richmond in order to take route 5 out to Jamestown. After a minor setback involving roadworks which completely closed a street with no warning and no diversion we found the route again and drove the winding country road through the plantations of South Virginia and found the Jamestown Settlement without too much bother.

We went into the café and had lunch before venturing out for the princely sum of $10.25 apiece past the proposed new visitors' centre (due for completion in 2007 when it will be the 400th anniversary of the founding of Virginia) and tower of unknown purpose into a little reconstruction of an Indian village. One person was demonstrating how to make fire with a pointy stick and a bow (he made a fair amount of smoke but we didn't stay long enough to see an actual fire).

Beyond the Indian village was the jetty where there are reconstructions of the three ships which first arrived in Jamestown - the Discovery, the Godspeed and the Susan Constant. It seemed slightly odd looking at a sign by each one describing how big it was and what it did and then saying "year built: 1984" (one of them was 1991 even, I seem to remember). I do remember there being ships there last time I visited - in 1981. While we were exploring the boats there were some loud bangs as they were demonstrating ammunition nearby.

Going back towards the James Fort we passed an area where they were sawing wood into planks. Wood was obviously used in the construction of the settlement, but it was also exported back to England. There was also a kayak-type vessel being made out of a large log. It's a long process. The bits of wood which they want to remove are first burnt and then chipped off. When we saw it it was fairly hollow and they were shaping one of the ends. Sadly, our camera ran out of batteries so we couldn't take any more pictures.

One of the men who were sawing came and said hello to smallclanger. He had a cartoon moustache and beard - and smallclanger gave him a big smile because he likes beards.

Within the Fort there were several houses and a church. They were fairly impressive buildings for the time. bopeepsheep commented that they were quite a lot larger than the log cabins that the homesteaders of Dakota were building over 200 years later; however, the homesteaders all had to build their own whereas the Jamestown settlement was a collaborative effort.

Back in the visitors' centre we noted a plaque listing some of the names of the original 104 settlers. One of the children named was a Samuel who shared our surname. In the gift shop we saw a book called `Surviving Jamestown' which is subtitled Sam's story - so we had to buy it. We also got smallclanger a little book containing pictures of some animals that could have been seen in the settlement.

From Jamestown we followed a sign to Williamsburg. As we approached the town we saw signs saying `For Colonial Williamsburg follow the shields' - so we did. We ended up at the visitors' centre, so we had a quick look around and took some leaflets in preparation for coming back the next day, and then we went back to Richmond on the I-64, which was a bit quicker than route 5.

The next morning, bopeepsheep wasn't feeling too well. After staying in bed a while, we went online for a time, and then she sent me out to get some lunch from a local grocery. I also drove a bit further than originally intended in order to get some reasonably-priced petrol. Anyway, by the time we had had our lunch it was mid-afternoon, but we still decided to go and see a bit of Williamsburg.

As we approached on route 60 we stopped at the Williamsburg General Store as requested by my Mum, and I went in to see if they had any `itty bitty cups'. However, they said that they had got rid of them so I left empty handed. We then continued on through the town, ignoring the shields this time, and attempted to find the historic part. We found it and parked near the Merchant Square and had an hour or so on foot looking at the old streets and buildings. We also went in the Everything Williamsburg gift shop and bought a few items. So we didn't see the whole town - and we certainly didn't pay the $16 32 or so each to get inside any of the buildings - but we did see a fair number of things there. It looked quite a lot like an old English village. Anyway, we hobbled back to the car and set off back through town the way we had come. On the way out of Williamsburg we found the outlet mall, so we stopped while bopeepsheep went round Carters (there may be a theme developing here). She came back and told me there was a pile of stuff waiting behind the counter for me to go and pay for it! And then we made our way back to Richmond - another day completed.

That evening my cousin Alex had to go out to fetch his wife from Norfolk airport as she had flown in from Boston for the weekend and Norfolk was the cheapest place in the general area to fly into. They were due back in at 1am or so - so we didn't wait up for them.


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