The Governor's Palace was home to Patrick Henry and Thomas Jefferson, but not at the same time.
Colonial Williamsburg is frozen in carbonite before transport to Jabba the Hut.
Before electricity came around, shopkeepers had to work under candlelight.
Visitors have a carriage-eye view of Colonial Williamsburg's Historic Area.
Basket weavers walking home from the market.
Getting to Richmond from Williamsburg takes an hour by motorcycle. In the 1700s, it took 12 to 18 hours via carriage.
Fair maidens are scattered about doing what maidens do. Whatever that is.
An oxcart driver at Colonial Williamsburg. The ox provided the power for heavy jobs.
Waking from my mystical teepee tour somewhere deep within Frederickburg, Virginia, it was time to forge on and continue the southern journey through Virginia. There's an old saying that goes, "Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it." Take Cops for instance. No matter how many times it's on the tube, people still seem to get busted without wearing a shirt. Come on, people, if you're going to break the law, put on some clothes. Taking off your shirt is a dead giveaway for possession of weed, DUI or just simply driving a white van erratically. But this isn't a story about shirts; it's a story about coats-the Redcoats, or rather the colonists and the allies who overthrew them in the name of liberty. Yes, this is a story about liberty-about exploring the very foundation of our country in the very places it was founded-or something like that-on a Victory Vision, of course.
It seems our country is in an awful mess right now, and in order to prevent folks from making the same mistakes that have gotten us to where we are, I felt it was my duty to travel back in time to the 18th century and teach our forefathers the ways that would teach the fifthfathers the ways, etc. That and commit myself to the first ever American loony bin, Eastern State Hospital, which is in Williamsburg, Virginia.
On a motorcycle and bearing tons of gas and deodorant from the future, I imagined myself as the magic man with the iron horse and fresh smelling armpits. No colonial wench would be able refuse me, and all men would respect me. In these modern times, where everyone wields a crackberry instead of a cool musket, I am fairly stupid. But going back in time, now that will make me a genius. Sure, it's not like I could invent cornflakes earlier or anything, but I would teach women that they need to trim up certain things and men to wear clothes that don't make them look gay. And come on, 18th century dudes, wigs? No wonder no one can pay a mortgage. Besides, you'd never be able to see the open road with all that powder. It's a good thing our sixthfathers cleaned up their act before bikers were invented.
To put my plan into action, I mounted my time machine, the aforementioned Victory Vision, and traveled via the rustic looking, yet smooth earth-toned roads of the Colonial Parkway in the Colonial National Historical Park (nps.gov/colo) through Yorktown and up to Colonial Williamsburg. The 23-mile scenic roadway connects Jamestown, Williamsburg and Yorktown, and for its throw-back to the Colonial era it is often referred to as "Virginia's Historic Triangle." Unlike the Bermuda Triangle, it is actually a place that you want to be lost.
The parkway with its lack of modern roadside debris, like strip malls, traffic signs, or concrete graffiti (yellow and white painted lines) really had me feeling like I was on a horse galloping through the 18th century, minus the silk breeches, leggings, frilly shirt, and cravat, of course. I let my steed buck and enjoyed the fall colors whizzing by knowing the extra tourists visiting Jamestown, Colonial Williamsburg and Yorktown, had already headed back home.
Meant to be an interpretation of a Colonial American city, Colonial Williamsburg is, the country's largest living museum and an epic roadside attraction with restored Colonial-era buildings. The effect goes beyond the architecture, as interpreters dress the part-in those damn wigs-but luckily everyone smelled nice...except for me after an encounter with a band of hippies and traveling by bike for several days. The interpreters perform speeches in the town square, and dudes like Thomas Jefferson mill about doing the nation's business and yapping about independence and such. I wanted to tell him about my stash of fireworks, and how this one time...but he was too busy signing some important document about life, liberty and the pursuit of something.
Overall, I learned a lot about Colonialism and realized that Colonial Williamsburg-back in the day-would have been a great place to get drunk. The docs in the 18th Century thought alcohol was good for you and that water made you sick, basically the same philosophy I maintain today.
The town and I share a lot of sentiments, really. Indeed, Colonial Williamsburg's motto is, "that the future may learn from the past." Hmmm, I'm going to go with probably not. So while he was inventing our country's laws, I told one of our forefathers to set a good example for us all-for future days when we might break them-and keep that frilly shirt buttoned up tight.
Like old stuff? Only 9 miles from Colonial Williamsburg is Historic Jamestowne (historicjamestowne.org). This is the site of the first permanent English settlement in America. Lots of archeologist digging and not much else.
Unlike the true location of America's first colony Jamestown Settlement (historyisfun.org) is a modern reenactment of life in the 18th century, sans-Pocahontas
If you don't go to Yorktown Victory Center (historyisfun.org) you won't be missing much.
Some world leaders have been known to have a big head. Presidents Park (presidentspark.org) features huge sculptures of the heads of all 43 U.S. Presidents.
The Army has a secret flying saucer, and it's under restoration at Fort Eustis, Virgina, the home of the U.S. Army Transportation Corps. The project, Avro Car, carried out during the Cold War was halted, but it was planned that the vehicle would ascend vertically and reach flight speeds of up to 1,500 mph. Either that, or the whole thing was just a cover for captured aliens. Fort Eustis also houses a one-man flying machine. The De Lackner Aerocycle with motorcycle-like handlebars was powered by a four-cylinder, water-cooled motor.
Air Power Park has enough jet planes and missiles to do something bad with (hampton.va.us).
Abe, the original owner of Doumar's Cones and BBQ is credited for making the world's first ice cream cone (doumars.com).
Is it possible to build a 60-foot mountain out of trash in a public park? Yes. Mount Trashmore.
Dress To Impress
If you plan to see any of the museums on U.S. Military property, you must follow their rules or you will be denied entry. Strangely, no mention of wigs. You must be using:
- DOT approved motorcycle helmet.
- Safety or shatterproof goggles or full face shield.
- Full finger gloves.
- Long pants (shorts are NOT authorized and are stupid to wear while riding).
- Over the ankle boots (sneakers/running shoes are NOT authorized).
- Long sleeved shirt, bright or light reflective color during daylight.
- Light reflective belt, (worn diagonally across the chest) or vest during hours of darkness. I had trouble getting into a few places without one even in the daylight.