"Pachelbel's Canon in D"
performed by Dean Shostak on Glass Armonica. We caught one of Dean's
shows in Colonial Williamsburg and were fascinated by this instrument
designed by Ben Franklin. There's a picture of Dean playing it later in
this section, and you can learn more about the Armonica via YouTube by
, or hear about it from Dean himself by
At our stop in Gloucester, VA we’ve learned a great deal about the
Revolutionary War. This area was witness to a number of historic events
of both the Revolutionary and Civil War periods; however, since we’ve
been to a few Civil War sites now, we concentrated mainly on visiting
those sites representing the Revolutionary War era.
The major sites we saw this stop were:
Richmond- Capitol of Virginia
Mt. Vernon- last home and final resting place of George Washington
Jamestown- the first English settlement
Yorktown- place of the last major battle in the Revolutionary War
Colonial Williamsburg- tourist trap extraordinaire. Ha ha- just kidding.
It’s great- sure it is.
Before Richmond and Mt. Vernon, we visited what is known here as the
Historic Triangle: Yorktown, Jamestown, and Williamsburg. Each of these
were established as British colonies and later played a part in helping
to escape all of that “tally-ho” and “fancy a cup of tea” nonsense with
the help of George Washington.
Each of these historic towns offers tourists a glimpse into the past,
with restored buildings and street scenes that help portray life in the
late 1700’s. With a National Parks pass it costs nothing to see these
sites. Each town also has a private or state sponsored site which has
not only historic buildings, but costumed actors playing the part of
British and American soldiers, colonists and slaves. But, seeing these
reenactments can cost big bucks, so we opted to save our dollars and
visit only one of these places- the biggest reenactment village around-
The Revolutionary City at Colonial Williamsburg.
Colonial Williamsburg is the world’s largest outdoor history museum.
Among the hundreds of restored and reconstructed buildings you’ll find
homes, taverns, churches, businesses, even a capitol building and a
governor’s mansion, all reflecting a moment in the 18th century. The
place is huge. Throughout the day, several reenactments take place from
one end of the large Revolutionary City to the other- the effect of
which is to have a thousand people all running in a big mob (jumping
over the horse doody in the street) from one location to another. You
listen to a historic speech, run ¼ mile, listen to the reading of the
Declaration of Independence, run back ¼ mile, and then watch the fife
and drum parade while scraping horse doody off your shoe, onto the
At the end of the day, you’ve learned a great deal at Colonial
Williamsburg, but your feet are tired. Plus the mayhem of all the people
clamoring for the best spot to see George Washington address the crowd,
(“You do realize it’s not the REAL George Washington, don’t you
people?), has taken its toll and could make even the sweetest soul a
little cranky. Who could blame a person for wishing they could smack the
tri cornered hat right off the head of that weirdo who’s wishing you,
“liberty and freedom, and the pleasantest of evenings madam”. Luckily,
we witnessed no such incident, but if anyone had started to get bored,
crabby and horribly cynical, there’s always Ye Olde Ben and Jerry’s Ice
Cream Shoppe right down the street, and a bakery right in Towne. At the
end of our day Travis did ask me sweetly if I wouldn’t like to just try
one of those muffins at the bakery, “Might make you feel just a teensy
bit better there…uh, honey?” And wouldn’t you know it- Argh! Those
muffins had nuts and raisins in them- gross!
You know, I should really say something nice about Colonial
Williamsburg. There is a great deal to see there after all. Even if most
of the buildings are closed or only open for a few hours each day during
which times the actors aren’t actually doing much of anything but
sitting around, talking and drinking (what is that, mead?) from out of
those clay mugs they all seem to have. There is a great deal to see
there, really. Oh, and the Crystal Concert was very neat. Trav has
included lots of info on that, so I‘ll just leave it there- but it was
probably our favorite part. Likely, because I had to stop complaining to
listen to it.
Of course, we did have happier, less crabby days this stop. Before
Colonial Williamsburg we took a day each to visit Yorktown and
Jamestown. Each played a distinct part in the American Revolution.
Richmond has a unique capitol building designed by whom else but Thomas
Jefferson. Our longest day trip, but maybe one of the best, was to Mt.
Vernon, the home of our first President, George Washington. The exhibits
there are very well done and give you a sense of who Washington was, and
what he stood for. We even got to see his false teeth, and learned that,
contrary to the rumors, he never did have wooden ones. Wonder what he
would have thought about thousands of people lining up to look at his
false teeth every day.
Now we’re at the end of our stay in Virginia. Putting crabbiness aside
and being serious for a moment, we want to say that the places we’ve
visited here have been truly humbling and inspiring. To stand in the
spots where such great men have stood, to see where the birth of our
country was taking place- it’s really pretty amazing and it makes you
very grateful for everyone that’s come before you.
Virginia has been fun, and it’s a beautiful place, but it’s time to move
north. With this next move we’ll formerly be out of “The South”, but
we’re definitely not going to run out of historically significant places
any time soon! So much to see, so much to do, days of exploring ahead-
where are those muffins?