Day 3: We packed up our family of 5 plus Papa, checked out of the Rodeway Inn and headed off in our rent-a-van to Yorktown. Despite all our constant troubles of becoming lost in Williamsburg, getting to Yorktown is quite straight forward once you find the Colonial Parkway. This is a brick road with no dividing line, few signs, and as we discovered at night not lit up, but simply enough Yorktown lies on the East end, Colonial Williamsburg in the middle and Jamestown on the West end.
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Yorktown was the location of the final battle in the American Revolutionary War. A National Parks Dept. ranger, who was quite knowledgeable and an untiring speaker led us through final scenes and various landmarks commemorating the battle. It is a quaint quiet colonial style town. Cannon shot damage remains in the side of some of the buildings. The town is positioned on a bluff overlooking the bay. After our tour, we wandered down to the waterfront where the beach was packed with sunbathers, and a few food shacks that line the street. What I took away from Yorktown was the considerable number of French troops that fought and died against the British on our behalf. On a budgetary note, because we had a Senior Citizen with us he was able to buy a senior citizen pass that allowed a certain number of guests. The pass was at least a yearlong to all the National Parks which included Jamestown. This turned out to be the least expensive way by far for our family to visit both locations even if the pass was never used again.
We jumped back on the Parkway and drove off to Jamestown. This was a special treat as some beleaguered ancestor of ours made their way to North America through this portal. All that is left of the original settlement are some foundations – for the rest you must use your imagination. The museum there is excellent with many recovered artifacts and explanatory notes. From there we drove through beautiful Virginia to Charlottesville, home of UVA (Univ. of Virginia) and Jefferson’s Monticello. The Sleep Inn Suites (see review at www.sleep5.com) housed the six of us quite comfortably.
The next morning we were off early for our previously purchased and scheduled tour of Monticello. This can be done through their website www.monticello.org. The docent did a wonderful job directing us through the rooms, providing explanations for all of Jefferson’s inventions, anecdotal family lore and so on. The gardens are especially beautiful and educational. As extraordinary as Thomas Jefferson was it is impossible not to feel conflicted about his accomplishments and intellect juxtaposed with the reality of slavery. Next stop UVA.
We met one of my father’s colleagues outside of the University of Virginia – a charming lady accompanied by her husband, who took us all around the University. The grounds are beautiful and well maintained even during the summer. The library by Thomas Jefferson with its domed top and pillars dominates the central lawn area. Professors’ homes and individual student rooms line the lawn on either side sloping gently away from the library. It was Jefferson’s philosophy that students and professors should live together. We saw Edgar Allen Poe’s room, the stadium, gym, and various other buildings. The admissions office was closed as it was Sunday. My oldest daughter fell in love with UVA. It would be hard not to.
Hogwarts Factor: 2
Day 5 . . . .