A Travellerspoint blog

Day 91-92 Jamestown Settlement (Photo's Added)

Mom went to Church Saturday, then we both visited the Jamestown Glass Blowing operation, then Jamestown Settlement (vs Historic Jamestown)

sunny 49 °F


Miles Driven - 101 RT
Weather - Cold
Camped at - still at Thousand Trails, not sure I care for this type of RV'ing (staying in one place for a week or two, then travelling out from it for day trips). I think I prefer the freedom to just go (of course, that often means staying in a parking lot if we can't find a campground nearby). But the flexibility is more fun.


OK - I'm really falling behind on the blog now, but will continue to chip away as I can.


There are two Jamestowns to visit in Virginia, the first is where the historic settlement of 1607 is actually located, which is run by the National Park Service. The second is a big living history museum run by the State of Virginia. It has a regular museum and exhibits, but also full scale replicas of the three ships that brought the settlers in 1607, the fort, re-enactors in period costume and a Powhatan village. Thursday, we visited 'Historic Jamestown' by the NPS. Today we visited the 'Jamestown Settlement' run by the state, then also the Glass Blowing site (part of the NPS) . This is similar to how the Yorktown Battlefield is run by the NPS, then Yorktown Victory Center nearby is run by the State of VA.

State Web Site for Jamestown Settlement & Yorktown Victory Center

So after dropping Mom off at Church in Williamsburg, I went to the Jamestown Settlement. First, I headed the the full scale replica's of the three boats:


The largest of these is the Susan Constant. She is 116' long and carried 54 passengers and about 17 crew. The Virginia Company leased the boat for the voyage, as was common practice. Since this is a replica, not an artifact, you can climb around and touch things.


I actually climbed into this bunk. It had a straw mattress and wasn't that bad.


The middle sized ship was the Godspeed. She is 88' long and carried 39 passengers and 13 crew. She was also leased by the Virginia Company to carry the colonists for the trip.


The smallest ship was the Discovery. She is 66' long and carried 12 passengers and about 9 crew. This is the only boat that was owned by the Virginia Company and was left at Jamestown over the winter. The colonists used this to explore the region hoping to find gold and silver or that elusive passage to the orient.


At this point I took a break and picked up Mom from church. After I described Jamestown Settlement to her, she decided she'd like to visit it also (and they also had electric carts she could use, what a visitor friendly idea!). She's not quite as into ships as I, so we just picked up the tour at Fort James. With several buildings, gardens, activities and re-enactors - it really feels like you're in an active Fort James.


Inside, we met Francis & Eileen who were working on varioius domestic duties.


Also, here is a shot of Mom with her cart, a bit of a wild driver if you ask me...


Here are more pictures from inside the fort. These are thumbnails, so if you want to see it better or want to see the description, just click on it.


Notice that the fireplace doesn't have any brick or stones yet - just mud. The coastal plains of Virginia have very little rock. Once the colony started making bricks, one of the first things they used them for was fireplaces.


Notice the Armory - Fort James was primarily a military venture, most of the early settlers were gentlemen (e.g. men trained to fight). Captain Smith sent a rather rude letter back to the Virginia Company and told them to stop sending soldiers and start sending people who knew how to work and had skills to build a viable community (e.g. survive).

As in the actual Fort James, various enterprises were also done outside the palisade (fort walls). Here is an example of how they wove fishnets (one of the re-enactors was working on this earlier, but I didn't take a picture until after she'd quite for the day. As many pictures as I've been taking, there's always one I wish I'd taken but didn't.) When she was working on the net, the strands weren't tied together like this. She probably did this to keep them from getting tangled in between work sessions.


A short distance away was the Powhatan compound. The Powhatan's built semi-permanent houses called yehawkans. These not only provided a place for a family to live, but they also stored their wealth here, which was mostly comprised of deerskins.


There were several women re-enactors cooking in the village. They used a piece of slate to fry corn patties. They said they had to trade with tribes to the west to get slate, since it can't be found in this area. I also liked their clay pot. They used the pointed end to stick in the soft sandy soil in this part of Virginia to anchor the pot. If they need to cook something, they stack hot coals or rocks around the base. One of the women had also made a turkey stew.


So ships, forts and villages - a lot to take in! The standing exhibits in the museum were also excellant, but this one had a sign saying no pictures in the museum so I'll just have to remember it I guess. It was all organized along a time line, beginning with the Powhatans, to the Virginia Company, the Colony and then all the way up through today. I had to rush a bit and skip the last section - just too much to get through in one day.

Mom also wanted to see the glass blowing shop at Jamestown since we'd heard about it from several sources. This is only a short way down the road from Jamestown Settlement, but is run by the National Park Service again. (All three, Historic Jamestown, the Glass Blowing operation, and Jamestown Settlement are very close together). Anyway, the glass blowing consists of two parts; ruins from the original Jamestown efforts and an active glass blowing operation somewhat based on the original methods (but using natural gas for the ovens) with a gift shop of course.

The Virginia Company sent glass blowers and other tradesmen to the Colony to try to get some sort of profitable industry started. In 1608, they set up a glass furnace about a mile from the Fort and appear to have made some glass, but the operation wasn't successful. They tried glass blowing again in 1621, but weren't successful then either. The ruins are, well ruins. They are covered in a protected building to preserve them - you can look at them only through glass.


The glass blowing was interesting, but quite similar to the glass blowing we saw at Wheaton, NJ, so will not expound too much on this process. They did have a nice card explaining the basic formula for glass and where the materials came from in 1608. Glass is 60% sand (gathered from the beach), 15% Potash (from wood ash), 15% Soda Ash (from Seaweed ash) and 10% Lime (from crushed Oyster shells).

Of course, I bought a green glass wine bottle and had it shipped home. It is based on one actually found in Jamestown during the archeological excavations. Dear Postman, Please don't break it!


As usual, I had planned to try to get back to the campground before dark. As usual, we didn't make it - there was just too much to see. (Aren't you glad I'm not uploading all the pictures I take?)

I had planned to take Sunday off before heading up to Monticello, which we did. We again wanted to do Laundry and basic housekeeping chores. Also I'd bought a lot of books that needed to be packed up (lots of history in Jamestown, Yorktown, and Williamsburg). We did take Sunday off, but I again didn't work on the things I'd planned (OK, we did get the rig cleaned up). Saturday night, I picked up one of the books I'd bought and started reading it - didn't finish until Sunday night. Oh well, the rest will be shipped home to be read later, and we will continue with our journey tomorrow - packed up and caught up or not.

Just FYI - this particular book is "The Long Fuse: How England Lost the American Colonies, 1760-1785" by Don Cook (387 pp excl. references). Fascinating.

Posted by jl98584 18:55 Archived in USA Tagged family_travel

Email this entryFacebookStumbleUpon

Table of contents


Has the storm that hit the midwest last week hit you guys yet? its apparently snowing a lot up in New England, quit a bit of snow, maybe 2 feet? in northern Maine. It snowed here Saturday, a couple inches here on Capitol Hill even. Then got wamer and rained Sunday, much warmer, even in the mountains today, so in addition to the rather large amount of rain, snow is melting, making floods and potential floods all over. roads are closed because of water over them, even in Seattle. The radio program we were listening to was actually interupted by an emergency broadcast about flooding in Monroe and Carnation. I've never heard an actual emergency broadcast before. We've been cleaning the house instead of going to the concert and bead party we were going to attend. there's nothing wrong with sitting down and enjoying a book. this trip is for you. the book sounds interesting. I'll have to look it up. from what you've been learning on this trip and from things I've heard over the years, it sounds like England did just about everything wrong in terms of keeping america as a colony.

by drque

This blog requires you to be a logged in member of Travellerspoint to place comments.