Have you ever listened to someone tell a story and felt you were there? Have you been somewhere, a museum or exhibit and there were reenactors that were so good that you believed they were the character they are portraying in real life? I’ve had 2 of these experiences. Megan was living in Virginia Beach at the time, so we had reason to visit Virginia on more than one occasion. The first was in Colonial Williamsburg in 2007. We were in the Capitol and the reenactor was a woman. She was in period clothing, obviously and was very convincing in her part. There were many of us in the group, 30-40 at least and all ages. She proceeded around the room and telling us the story of the colonials gathering in this room to discuss and plan for the impending declaration for independence. She (I wish I knew her name) would stand behind individuals in the group and whisper in their ear what was said and that person would say it out loud. The entire group was quiet and respectful, it seemed we all understood the significance of what was being said and decided. Somehow, that short tour and her presentation has stuck with me and will forever.
The second time was a year later, at the Yorktown Battlefield. Mike, Sean, Megan and I were there for a tour. The guide this time was a national park ranger, and again I wish I could remember her name. She was in ranger garb, not dressed as a reenactor. We toured the battlefield, learning about various companies and what was happening at each, as well as what was going on “in town”. This included where Lord Cornwallis had his headquarters and where when things got tough, he hid in a *cave* or something like it. The exact area isn’t known, although there is a cave where the townspeople took shelter along the waterfront. Right. At one point at the edge of a field, the guide is telling us about the last night before the last battle. It was to be a full moon, thereby enough light for each side to see what the other was up to. Cornwallis’s men had thought to make a run across the York River to Glouster Point. A storm came up and foiled that plan. The guide proceeds to tell us how this was like a Weather Channel segment of “When Weather Changed History”. Not only was there no way for the British to make a run for the other side of the river, but the storm made it possible for the Americans and French to dig their fortifications and take redoubts 9 and 10 without notice. She was so animated in the telling, I had goosebumps! Again, I will never forget.
So, here we are back in the area. We aren’t making it back to Williamsburg, but for sure taking a better look at Yorktown. Anyone who has followed us for a minute knows we love history. More precisely we like all the old stuff. Old houses. Old buildings in general. Old tools and implements. Old boats. Old furniture and kitchen gadgets. How people used to live and their stories, especially.
While Colonial Williamsburg is a living history (town) museum, Yorktown is a presently lived in town. While Mike walked dogs (King can’t be trusted alone for very long, yet) Matthew and I attended the morning worship service at Grace Church. This church was established in 1697 and has had an active congregation since then. We thought it would be fun to visit, and it was. We met a lovely couple, Betsy and her husband (I really need to get better at name retention). They asked us the usual “where are you from” questions and we talked about dogs and hunting and living on a boat and the ever present “how did you get here from South Dakota?” I told them my story about Williamsburg and the battlefield, and they introduced me to a retired NPS ranger. She was very kind and said she was already retired in 2008 but loved to hear how the presentation had affected me.
We walked all over the small town and visited the American Revolution Museum and the Watermans Museum. On The Hill Gallery features local artists, we spent a bit of time there and made a purchase. It’s just the kind of place we like to shop. There are many little beaches and because it was a weekend, they were packed. The Ben and Jerry’s is a hit as well as a couple of other restaurants and a pub. We didn’t go into any of the other shops this time, but there were a few….. Mike dissuaded me from going into the bookstore. It
We took about a gazillion pictures, so here are many of them. The Schooner Alliance was here in 2008. We took a sunset cruise on it one night back then, so it was fun to see it sailing in the river where we were anchored.
Here’s a short glimpse of our sail out of Yorktown. Sailing with winds of 12-18 knots and making 5-6 knots. We just moved a little north to a new anchorage for better protection from storms blowing in. We will be gradually making our way to Washington DC by June 7th. Mike has 4 shifts scheduled in the ER in Pierre, so we thought that seemed like a good place to spend a few days at a marina and explore some more before he leaves and while he is away.