Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry

(7/11/12) We set out this morning to spend our time in Yorktown, taking in both the Battlefield and the Victory Center. While one could easily spend a whole day in either place, it was brutally hot, and we were in a rush to get back to Williamsburg to hear Patrick Henry speak, since Wednesday was the only day he would be doing so. (He is one of our favorite Colonial Williamsburg reenactors. If you get a chance, go hear him–the man can answer questions off the cuff with quotes from letters Patrick Henry wrote–he is quite literally a fount of knowledge!)

Work around the home

Yorktown battlefield has a number of cool walking trails and ranger programs available, but we opted to spend the bulk of our time in the Yorktown Settlement. The Settlement consists of both a village area and a military settlement. In the village area, one can see crops growing, livestock wandering, and reenactors involved in various tasks like cooking, planting, dying wool, and many other activities.

Musket Demonstration

Currently, visitors then go through the museum to get to the military camp, but I believe that is changing. The museum houses such interesting pieces of history as a replica ship and items found on it and an actual tent George Washington stayed in. Additionally, there are areas set up where statues narrate different aspects of the war from a variety of perspectives. It’s definitely a unique approach to giving audiences a well-rounded education.

After Patrick Henry and dinner, we decided to head back to Yorktown so one of the students could do some fishing. The area was beautiful and had such a peaceful feeling to it. One of my goals for this trip was that each of us would have some “Soul time”–time just to be away from everything and reflect on life and our place in it. I think for most of us, this was that time.

Fishing Spots

When it finally got dark, we headed into Yorktown. We had been discussing the paranormal activity usually associated with battlefield areas, and my students wanted to look around and “see what we could see.” It was pitch black when we arrived, so the atmosphere was already there. We were heading towards a building we had read about earlier when all of a sudden we heard fifes playing. Keep in mind, this is 9:00 at night. We all stopped in the road and looked at each other. Mentally, I ran through all the reasons we could have heard them, but honestly, fifes are usually something we hear at Williamsburg–at 5:00…Definitely unique. We wandered around the cemetery there, then went and sat on the Victory Monument and talked. There’s something about being alone in nature that just facilitates good discussions, and this evening was full of them. Finally, after a brief Nerf gun battle in the parking lot, we decided to head home, with souls a bit richer for the experience.

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