Williamsburg and Other Historic Towns
Click on the links to find out more about these historic sites!
Sunday 12th November – Jordy’s birthday
We woke to a dull day. Left for brunch at the
Chamberlin Hotel on Fort Monroe, but whoops! - breakfast finished at 10.00 and
we arrived at 10.20. Never mind. The Chamberlin
was obviously quite grand in its heyday but has now deteriorated. I
couldn't help thinking that the Canadian Pacific chain of hotels could work
wonders with it as the setting is wonderful.
We then headed out on the Parkway once again, for
the Yorktown Victory Centre. It was getting a bit late but we wanted
to see this as well so we gave it a go. We stopped on the way to get
photos of the lovely autumn leaves on the Parkway and, after Tracy had got in
the car again, I saw a deer. But as I was the only one who saw it, I
had been drinking yet again! At the Yorktown Victory Centre
the reception was once again lukewarm (perhaps it was the time of day) and the
film awful. I even slept through a bit of it, even though I was very
interested in what went on there. However, the museum was
fantastic - in fact, it deserved more time that we were able to give it.
We ventured out to the "Soldiers' Lot" where the hospitality more than
made up for the lack of it up front. We were shown into the tents
which were the same as those used by soldiers of the Revolution, the medicines
they took (which interested Tracy no end), what they ate and all about their
general life. The young people talking to us were fantastic.
We wandered on to the recreated farm where we were once again greeted warmly and
shown tobacco and flax hanging in the shed, how they turned the flax into yarn
for cloth for their clothes and home remedies for illnesses.
What a great day, after a good start, followed by a hiccup or two. Tracy took us in to Hampton on her way to work. Our plans were to have breakfast, catch the ferry at 9.00 a.m. over to Norfolk, visit the Nauticus Naval Centre and other places there, then catch the ferry back or phone Tracy to taxi us. Well, the best laid plans of mice and men oft go astray. Someone else said that, I think. We had a wonderful breakfast in the dining room of the Radisson Hotel, overlooking the yachts in the marina. As we were eating, we saw the ferry coming back from Norfolk and thought we were just in time to catch it back again. However, when we approached the ferry, a lad told us that they had gone to their winter schedule with only two trips each way per day. The first was at 6.30 a.m. Hampton to Norfolk and return and the second at 3.30 p.m. Hampton to Norfolk, returning at 5.30 p.m. I let forth an expletive and then had to apologise, because all of our plans for the day had suddenly gone haywire. This was very annoying as the people in the Visitor Centre had given us the time-table and there was no mention of winter schedule on that. I phoned our 'little girl' and she came to the rescue.
Tracy picked us up and we went back home for her to change. The people she works with were wonderful while we were there as their main aim seemed to be for Tracy to give us a good time and they didn't worry about her taking extra time off, which was great. We then set off to visit some of the James River Plantations. I was thrilled as this was something I really wanted to do. Firstly we visited Sherwood Forest Plantation, the retirement home of President John Tyler and a lovely place. We had a delicious lunch in the very lovely Tippecanoe Room at the plantation. It was such a lovely setting. We were then given a guided tour, taken around by a young lad who really knew his business. It was an unusual house. Only one room deep but 301 feet long - the longest framed house in America, we were told. The property was home to two former presidents, William Henry Harrison and John Tyler. In fact, that is where the name of the Tippecanoe Room came from. Tippecanoe was William Harrison's nick-name and when he ran for President, with John Tyler as his running mate, their slogan was "Tippecanoe and Tyler too". Sherwood Forest was John Tyler's home from 1842 to 1862 and is still lived in by his descendants. It was built in 1730, has been restored and is furnished with family pieces. The family who own it live in part of the house and the other part is opened to tourists. We were shown through the house and then wandered the grounds past the outhouses. Tracy bought Jamie's and Jayne's Christmas present here - a recipe book accompanied by a cd of music we'd been listening to while we had lunch.
We then went on to
Berkeley Plantation which is at Harrison Landing.
William Henry Harrison was born in this house. It was used by
General George McClellan as a Civil War Headquarters during the War of Northern
Aggression. It was very interesting to hear the same names popping up in
tours in different places. "Taps" used by the armed forces
to this day, was composed there while General McClellan was there. The
plantation had beautiful terraced gardens and after our guided tour through the
house, we wandered through these down to the banks of the James River, where
they have a 'replica' of a sailing ship. Actually it looked like a
cardboard cut-out and caused us a lot of laughter. We called
at the Shirley Plantation in the dark, but they were about to shut the gates so
we couldn't see much. Another thing for Tracy to do at a later
date. On our way home, driving in the dark, as we seemed to make a
habit of, we nearly hit a big stag standing in the middle of the road. Tracy's good eyesight and good driving saved us from
any mishap, thank goodness. It was dinner at home that night
(not the deer mind you!).
I was up early, even though it was meant to be a rest day -
something to do with a noisy night once again. Caught up with this diary
while David watched TV and had breakfast. I cleaned out a cupboard for
Tracy as the repairman was coming to fix her heating and cooling system.
Tracy had discovered it was leaking and needed fixing. As I did this I
dripped water on the kitchen floor and as I came out of the laundry, down I went
with one hell of a bang. I hurt my wrist a bit and shook
myself up, but was so glad it wasn't serious. This was our
first really wet morning so I had to use, for the first time, the umbrella I
bought in Canada. It was time to find something to do indoors, so we
caught the bus in to Hampton to go to the Air and Space Museum to see
"Journey of Man" on the Imax. This was quite
spectacular, performed by Cirque de Soleil. Rather unusual,
but so clever. I usually prefer to see scenery on the Imax but
this was enjoyable. We were getting a bit peckish so we found a Food
Court across the road and had lunch. By this time the rain had
stopped. We had decided to go on the ferry to Norfolk and
return, because this would give us a look at the naval base and the dockyards on
our way over there. It was a very pleasant trip and we were the only ones
on board so the lad explained everything to David, in between painting and
setting up the boat for a trip to Norfolk for the Christmas lights, the next
weekend. We felt as though we had chartered the boat just for ourselves.
It had fined up completely and wasn't even cold on the way over so we could
stand on deck to get a better view. There were quite a few aircraft
carriers at the naval base and a lot of other activity taking place as we sailed
along. We pulled in to Norfolk and three more passengers boarded for
the return journey. It was getting a bit crowded! We
arrived back at Hampton at 5.30 and waited for Tracy. I realised I
had left her mobile phone at home so she couldn't contact us if she wanted to.
I was getting a wee bit worried, when up she walked and said we were meeting her
sailing pal, Ben Owens and his wife Joanne. I nearly freaked out as
I'd dressed for comfort that day after my fall, and knowing that we'd only be
sitting around in the theatre and on the ferry. There I was going
into a sports bar with my trackpants and an older striped top on.
Everyone else was dressed up from work or in there before dinner. Oh
well, I'm only an old dragon from Kangarilla, after all. We
had drinks and chatted to Ben and Joanne who are really good value.
Ben is very opinionated, especially about politics and history, but he is good
fun and prepared to listen to your point of view even though he would never
agree with it. Of course, we were having a lot of fun about the complete
shemozzle of the presidential election. That muck up gave us good
mileage. After quite a while, Ben suggested we go for dinner
together (with me dressed as I was!) so we drove out to a bistro and had a
lovely meal and a lot of laughs. Joanne is a scream.
She used to work for Red Cross, but is now 'retired' and still working for Red
Cross. She's very high up in the organisation in Virginia. It
was a great night. They are both really good fun.
A day of false starts and muck ups, but finally a good one. Tracy suggested that I go with her on her way to work to the chemist where I'd left one roll of film to see what sort of a job they did. The plan was that we were to pick up the film and if I was happy, leave the rest to be done and she would drive me back home. When we got there the chemist was shut so Tracy drove me back home again then off she went to work. She suggested that she come back at 10 a.m., pick us up, go get the film, pick up Lisa's print and drop us off at the University to visit the museum there. Great plan - but the film wasn't in and Lisa's print wasn't ready. However, we did go to the museum. Tracy dropped us off and returned to work. The musem was good, but very small so we were through it in no time. Then what? Tracy had told us to go to a funny little community store in the University grounds and buy two Jamaican patties. These were delicious little curry pies (like party pies) with pastry like Vili's. Yum! We then waited quite a while for a bus until a nice young girl told us it didn't run there, despite a sign to say it did, and gave us directions to walk across a bridge to reach the main bridge back into downtown Hampton. This was such a pretty walk with a lovely view of the marina area. We'd looked up the bus schedule and seen that a bus left in about an hour, so we decided to go and pick up Lisa's print then, instead of in the morning as we'd planned. The print was beautiful. I was so pleased with it. It was one of David Dridan's I'd brought from home and we'd had it framed for Lisa as a thank you for her hospitality. We went back to the food court for hot chocolate as it was getting cold, although fine. Here was where the trouble started. I suggested that we catch the bus where we'd got off the day before, which was about 50 metres from where we were, but David had spotted on a timetable that there was a bus terminal somewhere and thought it better to board there. We trudged all around the streets, me with the print under my arm, and to cut a long, grumpy story short, we caught the bus back at the bus stop where we'd started! Oh well, as I'd said before, you can't win them all. It was an interesting trip back to Tracy's anyway, as the bus went a different route out of downtown Hampton back to Buckroe Beach and Atlantic Avenue. We walked back, did some cleaning (well, I did), had a relaxing bath (well I did) and got ready to go out with Ben and Joanne once again (we both did). We went to the Hampton Yacht Club, which is where Tracy learnt to sail, and sat drinking and chatting looking out over the marina and the lights of Norfolk, across the bay. Then it was time for dinner upstairs. We all started a delicious meal with 'she crab' soup. Yummy! Tracy and I followed this with crab cakes and David had grilled salmon. It was all delicious - except for the collared greens. I just can't come at these. They are a Southern specialty and they can keep them so far as I'm concerned - obviously an acquired taste. Ben insisted on paying for all of us, which was a bit embarrassing. They insisted on us trying peanut pie, so they shared one piece while Tracy, David and I shared another. It was delicious. We finished off the day with drinks back downstairs, looking at the lights. They are a lovely couple - very warm and generous. Tracy has a lot of fun with Ben on his boat. It was freezing cold when we came out of the yacht club - a real change in temperature. We thought it could be a permanent change as winter was approaching, after all. When we got home, Tracy showed us the photos of her adventures over the past 10-11 months and then it was time to sleep. Tracy had to pick up Lisa from the airport at Norfolk at 12.30 a.m. and originally I offered to go with her but I blew out and she was on her own.
(The lady at the chemist shop where we'd left the film seemed
a bit grumpy when we left it there on the Saturday, but I think she was getting
a bit embarrassed at the delay and she started to chat and of course asked where
we came from. I told her and she said she would love a kangaroo, so
I went out and got her a Kangarilla Primary School fridge magnet. She was
thrilled and this proved to be a good bit of PR work.)
When we all surfaced, we gave Lisa her print, which she
loved. It looked beautiful. The framers had done a great
job of it. It was so good to see Lisa again. We then set out for Colonial
Williamsburg and on the way picked up Macca's for breakfast. As I
said before, we couldn't seem to make anyone understand us from the pick-up
areas of any of these places and always ended up going inside to place our
orders face to face! This was no exception. Then it was
off to pick up my photos and guess what - they weren't there again!
Talk about a marathon. This was all because I had asked to have them done
with a matt finish, which I was starting to regret. The lady there
kindly offered to do my other films in their store, so long as I was happy to
have glossy ones and then she could keep her eye on them. She even offered
to do them cheaper - there was quite a heap of them - so I left them there and
hoped for the best. That good old fridge magnet did the trick!
Off we headed for Williamsburg. It was a dull day and starting to
get really cold - was there snow about? Williamsburg is
wonderful. It is by far the best tourist attraction I've been to.
It has been done so tastefully - in America? Everything is so - well
- colonial. We started off the tour by watching a film about what
happened in Williamsburg at the time of the Revolution, and guess what.
It was a good film at last. (David was still looking for Mel - at
least this was the right war!) Then we boarded a bus and rode to the village.
Apparently people live in some of the houses in the village but traffic is
banned from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. so the colonial feeling is there despite this.
We visited Williamsburg in 1977 but couldn't really remember much about it,
except that Tracy remembered, and rightly so of course, that we had our photos
taken alongside a well. We first visited the Governor's palace
and were told, very quickly and very profusely, the history of this building.
The guns and swords hanging on the walls in here were amazing. Then
we wandered down the street and someone mentioned food, so of course off we went
to the taverns to find out what there was to eat as someone had told us that the
food at these was outstanding. Joanne had also told us to
watch out for peanut soup (?!) On our wanderings we went into
an apothecary store which had wonderful things in it. We chose
lunch at the King's Arms Tavern and what a delicious lunch it was.
We had decided to have a big meal for lunch and then skip food for the rest of
the day. The tavern was a typical colonial tavern and we sure did have
delicious food - no collared greens thank goodness. Tracy,
Lisa and I had peanut soup, as recommended, and it was delicious. I
really must get the recipe. Tracy and I also had 'rummers' for
drinks. Boy, were they strong. I am sure mine kept me
warm for the rest of the afternoon, not to mention a bit giggly.
It really was a wonderful meal in a wonderful setting.
Out we went to walk this off and our first stop was the jail, which was pretty
scary. The people working in the village, all dressed in
colonial garb, were fantastic. By far the best we'd experienced
anywhere - so informative, but also so warm and friendly. Everyone
said hello. We then went over to the court house which is where
important decisions were made about seceding from the British. We
then wandered the streets, into shops and out again until we came to a bakery
where the others bought hot chocolate and I had the most delicious hot apple
cider - nothing to eat though. We'd had enough! We found
a well outside the bakers. We couldn't remember if it was the 1977 one,
but Lisa took our photos by it, just in case. (We'd have to look at our
photos when we got home) Along the street we watched the calling for
volunteers to join the army to fight the British, with pipe band and all, but
decided against it as we were foreigners. What would Her
Majesty say anyway?! By this time it was getting a bit dark and
fires were being lit in the street. It was so beautiful.
Then guess what - we found the most wonderful shops which are actually out of
the village, but still set up in colonial style shops. Fantastic!
By this time David was really dragging his feet so we caught a bus back to the
Visitor Centre and set off for home. When we got back to
Hampton, we picked up the photos and I was very disappointed in them at first,
but it was hard to tell in the car's lights, so I kept my fingers crossed.
Tracy had an appointment to have her hair cut and after much difficulty we found
the hairdresser over at Ghent, which is across the Bay, near Norfolk.
While Tracy had her hair cut, we sat and looked at the photos and we were
thrilled to bits with them in 'real' light.
Up to a dull morning. We said goodbye to
Lisa, rather sad to see her go. She is such fun and we'd thoroughly
enjoyed her company once again. Did the washing, got a few
things ready for our travels once again until Tracy came back for us to go to a
special Thanksgiving lunch at the base. We were invited especially
as guests, which was very nice. The lunch was delicious, with
baked Virginia ham, turkey, salads, all sorts of vegetable dishes, including
greens. This time I really enjoyed them so it must depend how they are
cooked. The lady who cooked these said it depends who cooks them.
It was really nice meeting the folk that Tracy works with and has talked about.
Kurt, who had invited us to Thanksgiving at his house, was there. We
chatted to different ones while we ate and generally had a good time.
One of Tracy's work-mates had his little boy, Alex, there and I've never seen
such a ham. He was only eight months old but boy did he play up to
Copyright © Warriordoc and OGD 2000, 2001. All