Thursday, December 3, 2015

Traveling Thursday~ Historic Jamestown

Recently, we headed off for a family vacation to Williamsburg, Virginia. While there we visited a few of the historical settlements in the area, the historic triangle.
While in the Williamsburg area, we stayed at the Woodlands Resort. The hotel was wonderful. The people were very friendly and extremely helpful. Since we went on the off season, it wasn't very crowded. We had a few business men, a couple of buses carrying older couples, and a few other homeschoolers. 

Our first day there,we visited Historic Jamestowne.  Jamestowne was the first permanent English settlement in North America. Last year, we studied all about Jamestown so the kids were knowledgeable about how the colonist landed there in May of 1607. The colonists had a difficult time there. Life definitely wasn't easy for them. They had to face attacks from the Powhatan, hunger, and illness. 

Captain John Smith

"For in Virginia, a plain solider, that can use a pick ax and a spade is better than five knights." 
~John Smith

We had a beautiful day to explore the outside. We were able to see where the archaeologists have worked to bring the fort back from the past. You can see where the fort really existed. They have found were the triangular trenches were that supported the wooden fort walls. They are still searching for artifacts! We actually saw 3 people working the day were there. They were digging up the earth and than sifting it to see what they might find. The kids loved seeing them in action. Of course both kids thought the process looked tedious. 

We visited the various monuments placed throughout the site. You can Captain John Smith looking out over the water and Pocahontas greeting you as you enter a garden. We visited the inside of the 1907 Memorial Church. We saw the remains of the church tower. The 17th century church tower is the last surviving structure from when Jamestowne was the capital of Virginia. 

The site now has a wonderful museum, the Archaearium! Here you can see all the amazing artifacts that have been discovered. The Archaearium opened in 2006 and houses over 2,000 artifacts. The exhibits in the museum focus on the setting of Jamestown 1607-1624. While exploring the museum, visitors will experience how life was during this difficult time. You will see tools, armor, coins, personal items like buttons, games, trade goods, dishes, food remains, bones, and  religious items. We were thrilled to see crucifixes, rosaries, religious medallions of saints, and other Catholic religious items in the collection. As a child we were taught they were all Protestants, so it's wonderful to see that Catholics were part of the first people to settle there too. Sadly, many of the colonist believed a few of the Catholic colonists were spies for Spain. They were publicly tried. One was sent back to England, while the other was executed.

As you stroll through the museum, you will see items from the Native Americans and how they influenced the lives of the colonists. There are even remains of colonist they have found. Therese and I read about a young girl, about 14 years old who died and than was eaten during the starving time. The museum is filled with artifacts that help tell the tale of Jamestowne. It's a wonderful way for kids to learn about our history. 

Kids can even have fun while searching through the Jamestowne site. They offer kid a scavenger hunt. At the end they receive a special prize at the Archaearium. I will tell you that the scavenger hunt makes the kids think, provides some history, and has the kids exploring the whole fort! Even if you can't make it to the fort, they have some wonderful online programs for kids to do. 

Of course, the scenic bypass was a wonderful place to spot a few birds. Michael was thrilled when he spotted an Eagle and then a Blue Heron. 
I think I have a future ornithologist!

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