Sunday, August 14, 2011

Williamsburg and Jamestown

We got to Williamsburg at night.  It was very confusing driving around Williamsburg.  It was not at all what we thought it would be.  There is a long street 6/7 blocks full of old houses (some original, most remade) and it is surrounded by 2 other streets that have lots of old buildings.  Most of the houses are private residences and businesses.  We DID NOT buy the $50+ ticket for Williamsburg.  The ticket allows you to enter and tour the buildings, watch demonstrations, and watch shows if they are performing any.  Now, I can see how the ticket would be worth it to go into the buildings, but it was neat enough just walking around and looking at everything!  The best part was all of the costumed actors.  They were just hanging out talking or sewing or playing.  It was surreal.
We then went to Jamestown... you know, Pocahontas, John Smith, all that jazz.  It was AWESOME!!  There are two "Jamestowns"... there is the real one which is a national park, then there's the other one which is nearby, but is replica everything and not where the actual one was.  We went to the real one.  Here's the story:  Forever people thought the land had eroded, making the spot where the fort was now in the James River.  There was one man, though, who didn't believe this.  There is a church tower that is still standing.  It was built like 5-10 years after the people landed.  He thought that the church tower would not have been built far from the fort so he dug around the church tower and discovered discoloration where fence posts had stood.  Long story short, he excavated the area and has found: where the original outer fence was, the governor's house, lots of graves, the church, another house, the well, and LOTS of artifacts. Some of them below the waterline in the well are perfectly intact.  The area is still a "working" archaeology site, but we went on a Sunday so did not get to see them digging.  Jamestown was probably one of our favorite stops on this trip!
Our feet on the original Williamsburg cobblestone street.

A pretty Williamsburg house with a great garden out front... It was an herb garden now,
but we saw pictures of it during the spring and it is full of beautiful, brightly colored flowers.

The original VA state capital

Tower of the oldest Episp. church in the country

A goofy hat

Tents set up beside the original capital

Please note the costumed ladies in this one.

Battery and guardhouse

Governor's palace

Boats at the "other" Jamestown... the one that is like an amusement park

This is what the land looked like that they thought would make a good settlement. 
There are no pictures of the tar pits, but they were big and gross.

A reconstructed house in the original spot.

A reconstructed fence in the orignal spot and the original church tower

The spot where the settlers landed

Original fence position again

The crosses mark spots where they discovered bodies.  Within the first few months over 100 people died.  Graves were discoverd everywhere, with a several people in some graves.  Some buildings were built over graves, too, so they are excavating two things at the same time. 

Pocahontas statue

Monument at park for settlers

James River

An archaeology site

Original church tower

An original well.  We liked the curve of the brick.

John Smith's statue.  We learned that he was here when the settlers landed, stayed for a few years, then left and did not return.  He died poor in England.

This shot is angled because the camera was falling as it took the picture!

Not original.

3-D map showing the layout of the original fort.  The stuff that isn't quite 3D in the upper right and left is in the James River now.

Chris's artsy shot from the church tower

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