Monday, July 23, 2012


The final leg of our Williamsburg adventure had us wantonly taunting the Rain Spirits yet again--I mean "journeying to Jamestown for more investigation of America's past, and observation of authentic colonial environs". (All the while offering silent, fervent, continuous prayers heavenward, that we might spend the day under moisture-less dry clothes...if it's not too much to ask...) Being kind of a veteran of the "exploring historical spots" club, I've come to expect certain reliable things--like comprehensive, fact-filled brochures; friendly, helpful employees; and an interesting, informative orientation film. And it goes without saying: I always take the time to watch the movie. It gives you the historical background, sets up any larger global perspective, and clearly tells the story of the sights you're shortly going to see, using actors and narration to keep your attention. Good stuff, I tell ya! But unlike my solo excursions, this time I had my husband and children with me. Immediately, Husband plowed forward, proclaiming,"We don't need to sit through that, right?" Um...yeah, we do. He looked back at me incredulously and fake-whined, "'s twenty...four...minutes long!" (Okay, maybe our sons DO get some of their drama from the paternal side...) He did warm to the idea, though, when his butt sank into the deep, padded theater seats and we all settled in to get educated. As the opening sequence rolled, Riley leaned over and noted, "Hmm, it's only 2D." (Yes, my spoiled amusement-park-monkey, do not expect Native American arrows or musket balls shooting out at you during this presentation. Thank goodness.)

So we learned that Jamestown Settlement was an experiment attempted by the English Tea Company to colonize the New World with British settlers. The English encountered a variety of difficult circumstances, including their relations with the Powhatan Indian tribe (who were obviously there first, occupying and using the land), brutal winter weather conditions, disease and starvation, and their own struggles to establish a self-sufficient outpost through farming, hunting, and trading. A large proportion of those who came to Jamestown did not survive. Even with new infusions of immigrants, the colony never turned a profit and eventually dwindled away. Grim...but good to know! When the lights came back up, Riley turned to me and said, "That was interesting!" (Yay! Welcome to the...History Nerd Guild. Let's get t-shirts made!)

Outside, we were now free to wander through the recreations of Powhatan Indian structures, the James Fort, and English ships. We got to stop and gaze upon a blacksmith demonstration, hear instructions for loading and firing a musket, and chat with a mock-colonist about his current shift on Guard Duty to protect the fort and its inhabitants from potential Indian attack. It was all super-fascinating...but I knew our time might become limited when Derek, focused on one of the many chickens wandering freely about the grounds, scratching and pecking in the dirt, wistfully moaned, "Chickennnnn....sandwichhhhhh!" Uh-oh. Time to scurry down to the waterfront and clamber through the boats before we lose our hungry adventurer to the dreaded Low-Blood-Sugar-Crash. Onboard, we got a very real sense...of just how claustrophobic we'd feel when scrunched below-decks into a cabinetlike bed with little space to move about and even less fresh air. That's quite enough of that, thank you very much, let's go back up and admire the nice...ropes and masts...for a while...(Do you like the specialized nautical terms I picked up? Ha!)

After that, deciding that we'd tempted fate quite sufficiently for one weekend, and wanting to escape in our sweaty-but-unrained-upon outfits for the drive home, we vacated Jamestown. Now all that was left to do was steer ourselves back North--but wait, there's still Virginia roadways to contend with, right? I'll spare you the details of our should-be-3-hour drive...that took a total of 5.5 hours due to horrific traffic and a get-me-the-HECK-off-of-this-hellish-road detour (by choice). Suffice it to say, Team WestEnders unanimously agrees that all of our behind-the-wheel vacations in the future shall be to the West or North. So long, Dixie!

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