Tuesday, June 16, 2009

American History 101

Somewhere in my public education I missed the 17th and 18th century of American History It seems we always started with Columbus in 1492 then jumped to the declaration of Independence in 1776. This past week Anna and I ventured to historic Jamestown and Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia. We both learned quite a bit. Too bad every 5th grader can't take a field trip here. oh wait, she's a sixth grader now.
I'm grinding corn just like Pocahontas would have. Do you know that girl was only about 10 or 11 when she begged her father not to pummel John Smith to death?
This helmet was extremely heavy. I have no idea how those men wore this armor without taking a tylenol or a little pillow stuffed in the top.
1607 these three ships sailed here with about 100 men. The "Susan Constant" with the "Godspeed" in the background. The "Discovery" was out in the Chesapeake Bay. Wonderful replicas. We learned about the navigation system back then and Anna got to calculate the nautical miles by dropping the rope of knots and using a 30 second sand glass timer dohickey to measure how fast the boat was going. quite cool. Now I get it when they say the boat was going 5 knots. They counted the knots on that rope.
We wandered around the fort and learned that in 1619 the first legislative assembly in the New World met in this fort where the little church is and was called the House of Burgesses. It consisted of the governor, 6 counselors and 2 burgesses from each settlement. Jamestown was the capital till 1699 when it was moved to Middle Plantation where the College of William and Mary (2nd oldest college in America) The name was then changed to Williamsburg.

We meandered around this quaint town of brick buildings, cobblestones, smashed oyster shells, and dirt. No cars, only horses and lots of people walking and working in traditional style 1700 clothing.
Anna is working on a 2 man saw, she's pulling and directing the cut of the timber from below and the servant is pulling the saw from above. She said it wasn't that hard. Yeah tedious work , try doing that all day. boooorinnnnng. This was part of a plantation and we sat inside a slave home and listened to a slave tell us what life was like back then. You didn't work you didn't eat and you ate everything that was put in front of you. Anna wouldn't have lasted a day in Colonial times. Little kids had to go pick the caterpillars off the tobacco plants and haul water and empty chamber pots. Man we have it easy.
One of Anna's favorite places was the brickyard. She got to smooosh the clay all she wanted. Apparently Virginia has an endless supply of clay and they make thousands of bricks a year and use them when reconstructing buildings in the town.

Anna is at the top of the capital garden maze. She had fun running around in there. I went through once, it's built for little people.

My favorite place to eat was King's Arms. We sat upstairs and listened to a gentlemen playing a guitar , everyone is dressed like they did in the 1700's. Candles and old dishes were used. It was a wonderful atmospere. We were served a relish tray of pickled watermelon rinds, salted ham relish and corn relish. Believe it or not I loved the pickled watermelon rinds, they were so soft and sweet. Never had them before. Mint julip sprig in my cranberry sorbet drink. The best corn chowder I've ever had. yummmmm
Huge Magnolia trees everywhere. They smelled so good too.

In front of the Famous Raleigh Tavern (I didn't know it was famous till now) Anna did cuz she just studied about it. So this is where Colonel George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry and other Burgessess would meet after court sessions. George Washington would stay here and he loved eel pie. ooooohhhhhh. We toured this tavern and it was my favorite, simply because a slave girl gave us a tour and really took us back in time. She was just really in character the whole time.

The fife and drum march of victory down to the courthouse where George Washington rides out on his horse.They shoot cannons, muskets and it becomes really smoky
One shouldn't be so happy looking when placed in the stocks, but she sure was.
Learned a lot, walked a lot and sweated a lot. Hot humid place so we ventured to Virginia beach one afternoon and I couldn't get the girl out
Fun times!!!!!


  1. Was that really a "school" field trip? Or a mom/daughter trip just b/c it's summer time? Either way it was pretty awesome to get a play-by-play.

  2. How fun! I've always wanted to go there. Glad you had a good time!

  3. We were just there at Jamestown 3 weeks ago. Isn't it fun? Looks like you had a great time.

  4. Anna looks so cute and you too :)What a great educational trip! We were there with our family (except Luke) a few years ago picking up Rita from her mission in Virginia but everything was shut down, no costumes, no people even..I think there was another family wandering around ... it was January and snowing but we walked around and tried to feel the spirit of it all. WE NEED TO GO BACK AGAIN!!

  5. I love the hats on Anna. Jamestown was the perfect get a way! I had no idea about the knots...

  6. Cutest pictures of Anna! I haven't been to Williamsburg in years, but isn't it a gorgeous place? I love Virginia!