Sunday, October 14, 2012

Yorktown and Colonial Williamsburg

Locals in Virginia say "If you don't like the weather wait a minute." There's a similar saying in New England. We actually waited a couple of days for clear weather to motor the short distance from Sarah Creek across the York River to take a mooring at the Riverwalk Landing in Yorktown.

     Occasionally, getting to shore from an anchorage location has been quite a long distance as was the situation at Riverwalk Landing in Yorktown. The new high speed 15hp outboard has been a wonderful addition to our cruising inventory for those extra long dinghy rides. Prior to going ashore I like to consult the cruising guide. It mentioned a free historic triangle shuttle with a pick up at Riverwalk Landing with stops at the Yorktown Battlefield, Colonial Williamsburg and the Jamestown Settlement. As usual time was fleeting and it was already noon when we boarded the trolley for Colonial Williamsburg with a walking agenda to the Battlefield later in the afternoon.
The Governor's Palace, Williamsburg
I'd read a few reviews concerning Williamsburg and one reviewer stated that he'd wished he hadn't spent the $40.00 admission fee because tourists can walk the grounds for free! The price of admission basically includes tours of the various buildings. I don't really enjoy tours so we decided to take advantage of the "free" self guided tour since we had only two hours before the last trolley returned to Yorktown.

     The village is well maintained preserving an authentic example of colonial architecture without the distraction of tasteless tourist shops.

     There were a few taverns on Main Street where we would have stopped if time allowed. There was also a garden area being tended by a man and woman dressed in colonial garb where heirloom plants could be purchased.

   At 3:30 we boarded the last trolley for the 13 mile return trip along the scenic Colonial Parkway to the Battlefield. Both the Parkway and the Yorktown Battlefield are part of the National Park System.
An impersonation of A. Wyeth's Christina's World

     The Battlefield is the site where the British General Cornwallis surrendered during the Revolutionary War. Many of the original bunkers have been preserved. Paths lead throughout the site with placards describing the bunkers, redoubts, and canons throughout the park.
Canons line the bunkers of the Battlefield
After touring the Battlefield we followed the path that lead directly onto Main Street in the historic section of Yorktown. This section also had numerous permanent placards describing the historic homes and businesses along the street.

     Although newly constructed, the architecture of the buildings that encompass Riverwalk Landing are in keeping with the colonial atmosphere of the area. We stopped at a restaurant for happy hour before returning to Simple Life for the evening. The locals in the restaurant were friendly and curious about our trip. One even asked if he could do anything for us and offered to take us shopping if needed. It seems that people along the waterway recognize boaters. Perhaps it's our scruffy appearance.

     While walking back to the dinghy a man stopped us to announce that the young man at the Riverwalk Landing pier had just completed a cross country trip on his bike from Oregon to Yorktown! The local newspaper reporter was there along with one other person. We stopped to have a chat with the young man named Hugh Donovan and he told us that he'd begun the trip 72 days earlier and that the route he took was the same one that designed for the TransAmerica Trail in 1976 to celebrate the bicentennial. Since then hundreds of bicyclists have followed the same route ending in Yorktown. As we bid goodby we each wished each other well along with good wishes for many new adventures and went along on our separate ways.

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