Two young 50-something females. One big adventure exploring the Americas. Have liquidated everything they own and packed a Saturn Vue with bare necessities to set out on this journey. Planting seeds at each juncture symbolizing their new growth. With an open mind and heart, ready to get a true view of this world.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Step Back In time

A short drive this beautiful spring morning brings us to the first settlement in the United States, Jamestown. The weather and location provide the scenery for a most perfect day. Located directly on the James River, this national park is a wealth of information about the early settlers here and the self-guided walk through the settlement makes for a truly rich attraction destination. Another chance to use our all access park was especially nice since the fee requirements run $10 per person (worth every penny, by the way).

Archeologists run an active dig on-site and a smart little museum displays artifacts found. Just one of many fine points promoting the efficiency of this park. Ruins, monuments, burial ground, and fully intact church continually beckon and time spent here extends as we attempt to take it all in. With our delayed departure, lunch time brings the option of a quick bite at the quaint cafe on property, also riverside, with several enticing options. Quick, friendly service guides us to the best pick and we enjoy a delightful alfresco snack before resuming our tour.

Further exploration reveals a five-mile driving tour which winds along the river and marshy land, information markers dotting the trail pointing out notable historical significances. One spot delivers a short walking path out to the point, noting the opportunity for witnessing soaring eagles. Unfortunately, none are present today, but the stroll and view still memorable. Continuing along the route, another discovery is of a small cemetery in an isolated location, bringing home the reality of trials these early explorers must have encountered. Definitely, a time for pause.

From the drive, we have one final detour, as the Glasshouse is located right before the exit of the park. A winding walking path through a wooded area, also along the river, brings us first to the site of the excavations of the original glass house functioning in the 1600's. And, then into a present day operation, demonstrating the glass making techniques of this time period. Quite a fascinating little show, and we are mesmerized for several minutes, as one always finds themselves around fire. Beautiful glass vases are being created today and we marvel at their delicate and fine-tuned craft.

We catch the ferry at the next landing over to transport us to yet another step back in time. The free 15-minute ride brings us into Surrey County, a present day establishment that has managed to function as if in a long ago era still today. It is later than we had originally planned, as our Jamestown excursion proved lengthy, so we are limited in our tour here. However, there is, as always, a bonus.

Six miles out of the town center, Bacon Castle sits on a well manicured farmland, smokehouse, slave quarters, old well pump and barn dotting the acreage. As the hour is late, the house and volunteers are long gone, but the grounds are still open for our exploration. We tour unsupervised and have a real sense of trespassing into a world long ago removed. The empty fields, save a neighboring cow pasture, create a mood of complete solitude. We find ourselves looking over our shoulders, a presence lurking. No one is there, but....

Several miles away, we find ourselves at yet another private destination. The Chippokes Plantation State Park we enter around 5, discloses a closing time of dusk. We realize we may have 60-90 minutes available here, so we delve in fully. The park is huge, and there is not a soul in sight. At the far end of the park, an historical site has been preserved with all of the old plantation's out parcels. Again, we have the sense of trespassers, as we tour the grounds unattended. And again, there is an over the shoulder glance at every turn, is someone there? It is quite intriguing and we savor the moments as we continue down garden paths just beginning to brim with spring foliage and take short detours to the every present river's edge.

Dusk is descending as we pull ourselves away from this magical find, a small trail discovered a bit too late as we exit. We could have used many hours longer here but we are out of time. As we head back into Surrey proper, the Surrey Restaurant and Country Inn promises a true Virginian supper and delivers as advertised. We indulge in peanut soup, chicken fried chicken with mashed potatoes, collards, green beans and yeast rolls. Heaven! Sweet iced tea washes it all down and we are too full to dapple in the dessert choices - what a shame!

Post-sunset skies welcome us as we board the returning ferry, re-entry to the real world we fear will be difficult this evening. We have had such fun frolicking in the past!


  1. What??? No peach cobbler!!!!!????

  2. Is "chicken fried chicken" particularly Virginian? Or do the chickens fry up their kinfolk?