Tag Archives: yorktown

Yorktown waterfront…. a pub, good food, some feral cats and a view.

 

In case you haven’t already guessed, there was not a single wine filter gift to be had in the entire state of Virginia…. so the only thing left to do was drown my sorrows at the Yorktown Pub.

 

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This unassuming little place got great reviews and had been recommended to us by numerous people so we gave it a try.

 

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While it’s definitely a no frills local hangout….

 

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The riverfront views were lovely.

 

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The feral cats were friendly….

 

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Plentiful, and well fed by the bar owners and staff.

 

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And while the cocktail list was basic?

 

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The drinks were tasty, potent and cheap.

 

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What more can a girl ask?

 

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Good food.

The husband’s weird combination of chicken fingers and mixed veggies looked odd but he was happy with it…. and my fried shrimp were quite honestly the best I’ve had in years. Fresh, juicy, and perfectly cooked with a light crisp batter. Add homemade tartar sauce, some marvelous fries and another cocktail?

 

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And River was a happy camper.

 

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Long live beer diversity!

 

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And cheap meals.

 

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Since the sun was setting…

 

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We took a stroll along the water.

 

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Hand in hand…

 

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Enjoying the scenery…

 

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And the non traditional ways we choose to spend the holidays.

 

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Different places.

 

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Different sights.

 

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Different sounds.

 

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Different experiences.

 

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And never a dull moment.

Tail end of the Yorktown driving tour, some fluffy butts, an elusive Christmas gift…. and late night food.

 

The driving tour of the Yorktown, Virginia battlefield was a strange one and meandered all over the place.

 

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Through the woods.

 

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And past open fields with miles of split rail fencing.

Seriously, it went on forever.

 

 

 

There were creeks and swamps.

 

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And every now and then, a sign.

 

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We saw plenty of fluffy white butts.

 

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And they roamed at will.

 

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We even made friends with a few.

 

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This little beauty had no fear and sidled right up next to my window.

 

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Up our way that would be dangerous.

But this was protected land and they knew it.

 

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Near the end of the tour we saw something a bit odd.

 

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A buck with a funky horn.

 

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And while I can’t say I’ve ever had to tote a rack around  (on my head anyway)  this did look a little strange.

 

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So this was December 23rd and the husband had spent the last 48 hours trying to talk me into driving down to North Carolina for Christmas Day. When we’re on a trip for the holidays? We usually let it pass without much fanfare. No exchange of gifts, maybe just a special meal. But since our daughter of the heart came to visit with us those few days… he was bound and determined we would celebrate with her this time.

While I normally would have agreed, she had a slew of family members staying the night in a one bathroom house and I didn’t want to stress her anymore than necessary. We checked a few hotels in the area but all of them were full. Husband wanted to go for the day…. but it was a 4+ hour ride down and a 4+ hour ride back. Almost 9 hours on the road is not my idea of a fun Christmas… but he wore me down. Which meant we had to spend the rest of that day (and night) shopping for gifts because I wouldn’t go empty handed.

And leave it to me to decide on the one gift that was utterly unfindable on the 23rd of December. And believe me we tried.

Yup.

I had to give her this.

 

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Because she loves wine…. but can no longer drink it because it gives her headaches.

I was going to give her the gift of wine back! Or die trying.

Which we nearly did.

We tried every single freakin’ store for 150 miles. Large malls and small gift shops. Specialty stores and wine outlets. Big chains and obscure holes in the hall. We walked, we searched, we cursed.  (Okay, maybe that was just me.)  We shopped until we almost dropped. Everyone had heard of it… very few carried it. And if they did carry it? They were sold out by the time we got there.

Do you know how aggravating it is to look for something for 7 hours straight and then be told by a laughing salesclerk, “Oh, we just sold the last one 10 minutes ago. You should have been quicker.”  That woman is lucky she still has her tongue…. because if I could have reached the butcher knife on the other side of the counter? She’d be laughing with a bloody stump right now.

And if that isn’t bad enough?

I didn’t find the perfect gift, but I did find this:

 

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No.

No

Noooo!

This is wrong on so many levels … I can’t even. What twisted soul thought, “How can I take a perfectly good candy and ruin it beyond all measure? I know… I’ll add Kale!”

All over the world children are weeping. I hope you’re satisfied Archie.

At 9:30 that night the husband was screaming Uncle…. and grumbling about food. We were both too exhausted to care at that point and stopped at the first place on the way back to the resort. An Outback Steakhouse.

I’m not a lover of chain restaurants and hadn’t been to one of these in 20 years.

 

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But $5 Boozy Cherry Limeades sounded pretty good….

And for that price? I had 3.

 

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Their Blue Cheese Wedge salad left a lot to be desired…. and the husband’s French Onion soup was only fair.

 

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But his filet was blood rare and he made short work of it.

 

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My grilled filet and shrimp skewer combo was filling…. and I’ll leave it at that.

There’s a reason we’re not chain restaurant fans, and if we don’t go back for another 20 years?

I’m okay with that.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yorktown National Cemetery

 

The next stop on the driving tour was a solemn one.

 

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Where I found it a sad statement on today’s society that this sign even needed to be posted.

 

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Silence and respect is the very least we can give them.

 

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I’ve always found cemeteries to be beautiful places.

 

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And never fail to become emotional…. constantly close to tears.

 

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It doesn’t matter that none of my people were here…..

 

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They’re someone’s people.

 

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Someone’s son, husband or father.

 

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And they made the ultimate sacrifice for a country we all share.

 

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Cemeteries are a perfect place for personal reflection.

 

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And I made sure to give my veteran husband some time alone with memories of his war… and those he lost.

 

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I have to admit I was ignorant of the tradition of coin laying. You don’t see this up our way, but almost every grave had coins on it in Yorktown.

 

According to legend, the coin left belongs on the gravestones of U.S. military veterans. Visitors who wish to show their respect leave coins on the headstones in different amounts. It shows their loved ones of the soldiers family that someone has come to visit the grave.

Leaving a penny means you visited and want to thank the veteran for their service. A nickel means you trained at boot camp with the deceased, while a dime suggests you served with him or her. Finally, a quarter signifies you were with the soldier when they passed away.

The origin of the tradition, like the meaning behind it, is still up for debate. But many people believe it started in America during the Vietnam War. America was having a crisis of conscience. Any discussion of the war usually devolved into a more significant discussion about politics. Leaving a coin was a way to say you appreciate the soldier’s service while avoiding an inevitable uncomfortable conversation.

 

I really wish I’d known this before our visit.

I would have broken my piggy bank and put a penny on each and every one.

 

Yorktown National Park mini museum and a whole lotta humps.

 

We were beginning to discover a strange thing about the Historic Triangle area in Williamsburg ,Virginia…. everything is done in triplicate. National Parks, State Parks and tourist venues all cover the same history and it can be a bit confusing when choosing a place to visit. So after finishing the Revolutionary War Museum and the Yorktown re-creation, we headed to the actual Yorktown site and found a National Parks visitors center.

It had a small museum with most of the same information we had just seen… and a broken heating system which rendered the building slightly less cold than the Arctic tundra. Needless to say, we didn’t linger.

There was a ship.

 

 

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A one fourth size replica of the one that sunk in the neighboring York River.

 

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So we boarded her…

 

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Explored… and then moved on.

 

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To some tents.

 

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But not just any old tents.

 

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These were literally George Washington’s tents.

Delivered by Philadelphia upholsterer Plunket Fleeson in May 1776, Washington’s original set of campaign tents included a large dining tent — which also served as his headquarters and meeting room — and two additional tents that provided space for the general to sleep and store his baggage.

Though made of rugged worsted wool and linen, several of these tents succumbed to rough treatment during the war, requiring Washington to order replacements. Still more abuse took place after the deaths of the general and his wife, when their stepson — George Washington Parke Custis — began snipping off pieces of the historic fabric to give to guests at his celebrated outdoor parties.

Later, the tents accompanied the Marquis de Lafayette on his triumphant 1824 tour of the nation he helped create. Yet even at historic Fort McHenry, where they were reverently displayed under the original Star-Spangled Banner, the increasing fragile artifacts were handled with a recklessness that’s hard for curators to imagine today.

Greater still was the threat from Union Army pillagers who seized the Arlington estate of Custis’ heir — Mary Custis Lee — and her husband, Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, during the Civil War. Only a word of warning from a Lee family slave named Selina Gray persuaded federal officials to seize them for safekeeping, thus saving the irreplaceable relics.

Returned in 1901, the outer elements of both the dining and sleeping tents were quickly sold; they ended up in the collections of the Smithsonian Institution and what is now the American Revolution Center at Valley Forge, Sundberg said. The Park Service acquired the dining tent ceiling and sleeping tent chamber from the Lee family in 1955, putting both on display at what was then the new Yorktown Visitor Center.

 

 

And pardon my geekdom, but I think that’s pretty damned cool!

 

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Heck, they even had Lord Cornwallis’s table he used during the war.

But by that time we were freezing and had to go outside to warm up. Wanting to see the actual Yorktown battlefield…. we started the driving tour with directions from the park rangers.

 

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I’m not quite sure what I was expecting.

 

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But what I got were a bunch of humps.

Humps here.

 

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Humps there.

 

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Humps everywhere.

 

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Apparently they’re called redoubts.

 

 

And not be outdone, we had humps as well.

 

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I believe there were 10 of them on the tour, but come on. Once you’ve seen a  few humps?

You’ve seen them all.

 

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Though this one had cannons, which I photographed from the top of  a hump……

 

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Before realizing you weren’t supposed to climb to the top of the humps.

 

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Revolutionary Museum finale…. a farm, some fowl, and a few gag worthy recipes.

 

The end of our living history tour was a typical Yorktown, Virginia farm of 18th century.

 

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It re-creates the life of Edward Moss,  and you can read a little about it  here.

 

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The house was simple, but comfortable enough for the time…

 

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Or so Edward told us.

 

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There was a separate building for cooking… where they were currently following old recipes and baking pies.

 

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Apparently you used to be able to sample the food, but the health department put the kibosh on that and now you can only drool.

 

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And although the pie smelled great, I can’t say I’d be too eager to try any of these recipes.

 

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Calf’s head surprise…?

 

 

No.

 

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Transmogrified pigeon?

Yeah…  I’ll pass on that as well.

I did get a kick out of this spice jar stopper though.

 

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As promised….

 

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Some chickens.

 

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Because no matter where I go, I tend to find fowl.

 

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There was candle making.

 

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And slave quarters.

 

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Complete with….

 

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You guessed it.

Shoes.

 

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There was a tobacco drying shed, because back then tobacco equaled money.

 

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And if you’ve never had occasion to be in one?

 

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Trust me… it smells wonderful.

 

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A few more buildings…

 

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A lot more fencing…. and we were done.

 

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Well…

 

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After I said goodbye to the resident ducks.

 

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I do love me some waterfowl.

 

 

Yorktown re-creation… in which we explore outdoors.

 

The second half of the American Revolutionary War Museum in Yorktown, Virginia is the interactive outdoor exhibit re-creation.

 

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First up…. the soldier’s encampment.

 

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It’s one thing to read about these things and see them in your mind’s eye….. quite another when you can physically touch and experience them first hand.

See those little tents? 4-6 men slept in there….. and let me tell you, it wouldn’t have been comfortable for one.

 

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Meals, such as they were… were cooked here.

 

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And the fire was kept burning 24/7.

 

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There were few doctors as we think of them today, and the surgical tent more than likely contained a barber with a bag of torture implements like these. Please note the large bottle of laudanum in the back. I’d be chugging that like iced tea, thank you very much.

Though if you were bitten by a mad dog?

They had you covered.

 

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The General’s tent was a bit larger….

 

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And served as his office as well.

 

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The laundromat was a bit primitive.

 

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Though you did get a discount if you brought your own soap.

And the entire camp was ringed with wooden spikes to repel attackers.

 

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As well as providing excellent selfie backgrounds.

 

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Yes, another Revolutionary War museum post…..

 

But there was so much to see and I’m not even covering an eighth of it.

 

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Oh, stop.

A little knowledge won’t hurt you, although these might.

 

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While I’m not a general fan of firearms…

 

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Even I had to admit they were beautiful in the 18th century.

 

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The silver work was lovely.

 

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And the under sides of the butt caps really did have grimacing faces… but the lighting, the glass cases, and the reflections prevented any of my pictures from being post worthy.

 

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Everywhere you looked you were surrounded by history.

 

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Which is basically my nerdy idea of heaven.

When I die? I want to find out who killed JFK, how the pyramids were built and the location of ancient Troy.

 

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And trust me, I have a lot of shoes.

 

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Impressive, right?

 

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There was even a tree of knowledge. If only I could spread some of it’s seeds in our nation’s capitol today…..

 

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Naturally we had to check out the surround sound movie.

 

 

 

Complete with battle scene sequence smoke rolling by on the floor.

 

 

 

And in my experience?

There are very few museums who actively instruct you to touch their balls.

 

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Yup.

 

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Seriously big balls.

 

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This now concludes the indoor museum section of our trip to Yorktown, Virginia.

Well, wait….

Maybe just one more thing.

 

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Because who doesn’t love 244 year old rat skulls?

 

Revolutionary War Museums can be fun.

 

Really, they can.

For example…. is it me?

 

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Or is Paul Revere a dead ringer for Jack Black?

 

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See?

Fun!

 

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America looked a little different in the 1700’s.

 

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Back when this fellow was in charge.

 

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And who knew ole Ben was a songwriter?

 

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Not exactly top 40 material, but hey… he had other things on his mind.

 

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We spent hours exploring…..

 

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And were very impressed.

 

 

They brought history to life.

 

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And there was even a little Revolutionary Name That Crap!

 

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Can you guess?

 

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And how about…..

 

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Can you guess?

 

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One more.

 

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This was rusty so you know the husband loved it.

 

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We learned a lot… and I won’t bore you with it all.

 

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But it was a fascinating place.

 

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Filled with fascinating things.

 

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Admit it, you started humming Yankee Doodle Dandy when you saw that drum.

 

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They even had shoes!

 

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How great is that?

 

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Day 10… A little revolution now and then is a good thing. Or so I’ve heard.

 

We said goodbye to our company early on the morning of vacation day 10, promising to think about joining them for Christmas. The plan was to head down to Yorktown where I’d heard their American Revolution Museum was quite something….. but first, a Golden Corral buffet breakfast.

 

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Biscuits and gravy and cheesy hashbrown casserole.

Long live the artery clogging south!

The museum?

 

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Was everything they said it was…. and a little bit more.

 

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A sprawling place chock full of fascinating history.

(If that’s not your thing? Leave now… I’ll try not to hold it against you.)

2019 was the 400th anniversary of the arrival in America of the first enslaved people from West Africa and the museum devoted an entire section to the subject.

 

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Most of it was hard to read.

To view.

And to understand how seemingly otherwise good people could think this practice was just.

 

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But though horrible, it is a part of this country’s story.

 

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There were many free people of color during the Revolutionary era, and a large number fought alongside the patriots who would later come to own them.

A reprehensible thought.

 

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One of the most stunning documents was this:

 

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Seeing it in black and white gave me a chill.

 

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And the descriptions?

 

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Heartbreaking….

 

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I can’t even imagine.

 

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Even the father of our country wasn’t immune.

 

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I certainly never read that in any school textbook.

 

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Liberty… yes.

But not for all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yorktown, the Riverwalk, cocktails and finally…. some food.

 

After our long day at Historic Jamestown, it was time for some refreshment. Liquid and otherwise.

 

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So we headed to Yorktown…

 

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And their popular Riverwalk Landing.

 

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I had planned to leisurely stroll around, check out the cute little shops…..

 

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And walk the waterfront.

Until a stiff wind blew in and made it feel like -10 degrees.

 

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New plan?

Drinks and dinner.

 

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This place looked promising from the outside….

 

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From the inside? Not so much.

 

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And while the cocktail list was interesting…..

 

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And the Mulberry Muddler quite tasty, it was basically a loud sports pub with a menu that didn’t satisfy the husband’s cravings.

 

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So one extremely large soft pretzel later, we left…. and went next door.

 

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And were very glad we did.

 

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Ah, much better.

 

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It was a lovely place, and practically deserted off season.

 

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Cocktail?

Well, if you insist.

 

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While I’m generally not a wine drinker, I do occasionally like Sangria…. and this one had apple brandy. Scrumptious.

 

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We relaxed. We watched the sun set. We drank….

 

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And yes, food picture screamers… we ate.

 

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The menu was intriguing….

 

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The food marvelous and artfully prepared.

Husband had the catch of the day…..

 

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While I opted for the lamp chops.

Were they good?

 

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I picked them up and gnawed the bones…. so in a word, yes.

 

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Full, but never too full for dessert… we split this, which almost put me in a chocolate coma.

Day 7, done.

Only 8 more days to go!

 

 

If that helps?

Sure, be my guest.