Thursday, September 20, 2007


My wife and I hadn’t gone on a vacation for several years, so what better time than to go than when she’s six and a half months pregnant?

Our destination was Williamsburg, Virginia. I’ve always had some degree of interest in history, and with Jamestown, Yorktown and Williamsburg all clustered together, I was pretty excited to be exposed to so much American history all at once.

The museum portions of Jamestown and Yorktown were really interesting because they also had people dressed up in period attire that explained how things worked at that time. These were not character actors, but I prefer being able to interact with historians on this level rather than to speaking with character actors who pretend that we’re still living in historic times.

When we visited the actual sites of Jamestown and Yorktown, it was quite surreal. Jamestown was the first settlement in America that succeeded (unlike Roanoke), settled 400 years ago. It was burned to the ground long ago, and all that remained was the church tower and the foundations of several buildings. The church was rebuilt in 1907 as part of the 300 year anniversary of the settlement, and a visitors’ area houses a number of artifacts and information. Currently, you can also see the chair donated by the Queen of England on her visit earlier this year (one of the workers asked if we had seen the chair, to which we answered yes, but it wasn’t very comfortable; I don’t think anyone had used that joke before based on the lady’s reaction).

Yorktown was where the final battle in the American Revolution took place (though it was more of a siege than anything else). We backed up the British against the water, and the French kept sea-faring reinforcements from coming to their aid. After being bombarded for a while and realizing there was no way to win, General Cornwallis finally surrendered. Upon hearing about the surrender, Lord North, the prime minister, reportedly said, “Oh God, it is all over!” You could still see the raised battlements in the earth, though more as a result of what was reworked during the Civil War than during the Revolutionary War. Still, with the cannons in place, you could picture the sights and sounds as they would have been during the siege from both sides of the battlefield. My writing mind was racing with all of the input.

One thing that really stood out to me at all of the historic locations was how focused on God the people at that time were. From the people’s quotes to the engravings on their tombstones, I could tell that they weren’t just playing church. They knew God personally, and He was everything to them. I’m sure there were those who didn’t believe; there always are. But from what I’ve seen, those who first came to America were primarily followers of Christ.

I’m realizing there’s too much to tell in one post, so I’ll save my comments on the rest of our trip in hopes of telling these tales another time. It was certainly a memorable week, with plenty of fun and relaxation (though I don’t recommend taking a six and a half month pregnant wife on long walks when it’s hot and humid outside).


GeneHowell said...

So one of the concerns for Jamestown now is that when the ice melts off of Greenland the location will flood.

You should come and do the Charlotte/Asheville circle.

Matthew Wuertz said...

We actually had a layover in Charlotte both ways. I like all the rocking chairs in the airport (especailly helpful for pregnant wives).