First Time in Jamestown

Over the years I have heard many things about the Colonial Williamsburg area, but I really didn’t understand the scope of it.  Packed into one relatively small area in Virginia are tons of sites with historical significance.  So many that people take their children on vacation there and consequently many of the sites are pretty touristy.  After I looked into what was available we knew what we didn’t want, but ultimately settled on Jamestown, which is a national park. Jamestown is the site of the first European settlement and is also an archaeological site.  As such the layout is pretty simple, but that is exactly what we wanted to see. It also is dog friendly and we were able to take Jack as we walked around.  He absolutely loved it by the way and enjoyed every second of it.  I liked it as well until it started to get crowded and then we left. I would definitely recommend if you go getting there early in the morning, because it is a very popular site. One other thing I should mention is when you are pulling in there are two Jamestown locations.  The one with the fountains is more like a living recreation, but go past that to get to the historical location.  The reenactment costs $20 to get into and was not our speed but I took some pictures of the fountains and liked the plaques for every state that showed how they entered the US.

The plaza with all of the state flags

 

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Super interesting to me how every state started in a different way

 

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This is the sign for the Jamestown historical site we went into

 

With the America the Beautiful pass is costs $10 (half off). Jack couldn’t go through the building but we went through the exit to get to it

 

There is a boardwalk over the marsh to get to the site

 

And a beautiful monument

 

 

When we entered there were building recreations on the right and remains of buildings to the left.  We went left first and there were less people over there.

 

 

The signs were pretty interesting along the way

 

Although they didn’t find gold they found lots of timber which England needed to build ships. That (and the deep bay) is why they settled here.

 

I didn’t know that 80% of the people sent to the colony were indentured servants and 60% died before they completed their terms. When they started growing tobacco they couldn’t get enough indentured servants which is how the slave trade started.

 

 

Mulberry trees were naturally growing in the area and they immediately started trying to get a silk trade going.

 

This building was one of the largest ruins remaining.  It was the house that was built when this site ultimately became a plantation.

 

Beautiful views of the bay

 

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Turns out this was a terrible site to build a settlement because of the water.  There are high levels of naturally occurring water in the area and the marsh caused high saline contents.  They also had drought right after they settled here and many people died from the terrible conditions.

 

After finishing the left side, we walked over to the fort area which was more crowded.  There was a Native American person speaking to groups in that area and we were able to see the remains of the church.

 

Ferries were going back and forth pretty frequently

 

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My favorite part was the statue of Captain John Smith.  He explored this area with Pocahontas as his guide.  And yes I certainly understand that his relationship with the Native Americans was problematic, but I admire his courage in exploring all this territory.

 

This map shows his numerous expeditions

 

 

I would have liked to see more information about Pocohontas.

 

The remains of the church tower

 

The inside was a re-creation, but there is a tomb inside as well.

 

A scale model of James Fort

 

One of the original graveyards

 

 

Most of the wells were still in place and I learned that most of the cool artifacts they have found were in the wells. After the water dried up they were used as trash disposal areas

Because it was hard to maintain social distance in the fort area, we moved on to the museum.  This building has the artifacts they have found and Lee really enjoyed it.  No puppies allowed though so we took took turns going in and I have to say I didn’t care for it.  Almost immediately upon entering they had a skeleton of one of the original colonists and that bothered me quite a bit.

 

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I appreciated the fact that they went to significant trouble to identify the bones, but having them out like this felt sacrilegious to me.  That’s odd because I find mummies fascinating and they hold dead bodies, but I would have preferred if after they identified him they did not put him on display.  That’s just me. Here’s a few pictures of the rest of the artifacts though.

 

 

They found lots of original money

All in all I am really glad that we went and standing where the first Europeans stood gave me chills.  We have a complicated history though with this nation and it’s hard to think about the fact that those things were happening from the very beginning.  We all grow up with a sanitized view of how this country is formed and it isn’t until later that we realize that there were winners and losers in that story. One last thing, on the way out we saw a small sign for the original glass blowing house and decided to stop because we love glass blowing.  That was really neat and the shop was open and they were making traditional items inside.  I loved the little pitchers with the heart shaped mouths, but glass and RV’s don’t go great together so I gave it a pass.  Pretty neat though.

 







These are obviously modern furnaces with recreated outside structures, but it was interesting to see what it might have looked like.

 




 

Finally, for the last several years we have made a calendar for friends and family as Christmas presents and this year I would like to send one to one of our readers.  It’s all about Jack this year, so if you would like to have a chance at receiving a calendar, please email me at camperchronicles@gmail.com with your name and address.  The first email received will get the calendar!  

Thanks to all the people who read this blog.  I wish I could send one to everyone. Have a wonderful holiday and please stay safe. 


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3 thoughts on “First Time in Jamestown

  1. I feel the same way you do about the skeleton, Jamestown seems like a really cool spot! Your calendar has given me lots of smiles this year in lockdown, and it’s great to see you traveling!

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