Williamsburg and Jamestown
At the end of January, after a particularly trying week, Rob and I decided to skip town for the weekend, packing up the bikes (the weather was unseasonably warm) and heading down to Williamsburg.
Our first stop that Saturday afternoon was the Charles City Courthouse, a jumping-on point for the Virginia Capital Trail. We didn’t get very far, however — only a few miles. Standing still, the air was calm and temperate enough, but on our bikes, we seemed to be pedaling into a headwind that channeled through my helmet and froze my ears. So we turned back, and the wind gave me no further trouble.
From there, we drove to Williamsburg to check into a bed and breakfast for the night. Looking up reviews ahead of time prepared us for some of the place’s quirks, including the fact that the owners didn’t actually live there, so when you check in, oftentimes there’s no one to check in with. (Instead, there’s a note and key by the door.) The house was plenty nice — and we had all it to ourselves that night — but with no one to welcome us, it felt a bit like we’d broken into someone’s vacant home by mistake. No cops broke down the door overnight and hauled us away, however. And in the morning, a housekeeper materialized and prepared breakfast for us.
After breakfast, we walked down to Colonial Williamsburg and strolled around a bit. We’d learned the last time we visited that while you need to pay to be able to enter certain buildings or interact with costumed interpreters, there’s no charge just to walk through. So we walked the length of the historic district, down to the old capitol building, then turned back, hitting Chowning’s Tavern for soup / stew on the way. (With a name like that, Rob joked, no doubt it was quite popular with sysadmins and command-line enthusiasts of the day.)
Then we headed out to Jamestown, site of the first permanent British settlement in the United States. We had learned earlier that there are actually two Jamestowns within about a mile of each other: 1) Historic Jamestowne, the site of the original settlement administered by the National Park Service and 2) Jamestown Settlement, a museum / “experience”-type place with a seemingly huge visitors center. We opted for the NPS Jamestown and a tour of the grounds led by a park ranger.