America’s Historic Triangle: Jamestown

On Sunday we went to Jamestown.  There are some interesting exhibits in the Visitor’s Center and a pretty interesting 25 minute movie that briefly covers the history of Jamestown.  We did not go to the National Park site next door. It would have been an extra $10.  I wish we had now because that is where the original site of Jamestown is and where they are doing all the excavations.  We will have to go back to do that another time.  Also, I think by this point we were a little historied out.

Fountain at the entrance to the Visitor’s Center

We decided to do the 90 minute guided tour.  It was free, and I think that it was very informative.  There are 3 areas: the Indian village, the fort, and the ships.  In each of the areas a re-enactor talks about that area.

Corey-  Indian guide
Here Corey is talking about corn, how it came to this area, and how it started out as something similar to what we know today, but through plant breeding it became what we know it as.  
Indian dwellings
Inside an Indian dwelling
The Indian dwellings were very interesting. They were made out of young trees and reeds or grasses for the outer covering.  Inside there was a fire in the floor with a vent in the roof to help it not get so smoky.  A whole family would have slept in one of these dwellings.  The sleeping area is what looks like benches covered in animal skins.
I couldn’t imagine being a Native American in that area at the time when the English settlers came.  Seeing those ships, the men dressed as they were, the  weapons, etc…. It truly must have been like seeing an extraterrestrial.  
Inside the fort
Church bells

If you had lived in Jamestown you would have had gone to church twice a day during the week and on Saturday. On Sundays you would have gone 3 times.  If you missed a weekday service your rations for the day would have been taken away.  If you missed a Sunday service you would have had your rations for the week taken away.  Miss 3 Sunday services and you were executed.  They said that there were no records of anyone missing 3 Sunday services.

Ships from the fort.
The Susan Constant
The Godspeed from the Susan Constant

The ships are replications of the originals.  We only walked around the Susan Constant, the largest one.  I was expecting something like out of Pirates of the Caribbean or Captain Hook’s ship in Peter Pan, but not so.  I couldn’t tell which area was the captain’s cabin.  It was all so cramped.

The summer camp that I went to, Camp Chanco, is only about 5 miles up the James River from the Jamestown ferry which is right next to the ships.  I remember one summer during the sailing class our boats being away from the shore of the camp and the wind dying.  Several of our boats ended up floating almost all the way down to the Jamestown ferry.  One of the many memories I have from Camp.  I love that place!  I met some of my best friends there.  I could talk for years about Chanco, and I wish I could describe the place that it holds in my heart and what it means to me.  Chanco is sunshine with magical forests 🙂  If you have children, send them to a summer camp.

Anyhoo….

I would like to think that I could have been brave enough to go into and survive a situation like the one that the settlers from England faced in Jamestown. However, given that  almost all of the settlers died, I probably would have too.  Then again, if I had been woman during that time I wouldn’t have arrived in Jamestown until it was a more functional settlement. Even then it would have been very hard.  It really makes you think about how much our society has advanced and all of the technology we take for granted.  I know that the maternal side of my father’s family goes back to the American Revolution.  I wonder how much further back than that it goes?  Maybe one day I will do the research.

By the time we got through walking around the Susan Constant we were, or I was, getting hungry.  We ate lunch at the cafeteria in the Visitor’s Center.  It wasn’t great, but decent enough for a quick bite and sufficient enough to make us less cranky.  We then went to the massive Yankee Candle store in Williamsburg for smelly good items and then went home.

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