I was gone all weekend. B-man and I left the house on Saturday, took the dogs to my Mama’s house, and then drove down the Williamsburg. The location actually falls into the “day-trip” realm in my mind, but B-man’s Mom got a sweet deal on a time-share (like $50 a night!) so we went down for the weekend.
The drive was only about 2 hours long. We stopped for lunch along the way, and then got to the condo and hung out with B-man’s brother, his brother’s wife, and B-man’s parents. It’s kind of funny that we were hanging out down there… since we all live really close to each other.
For dinner we went to the Aberdeen Barn. It was recommended when MIL checked in, and apparently is well known for having awesome steaks. While I profess to be a carnivore, I prefer my meat in the form of hamburgers, hotdogs, and lunch meats… and bacon. I had the New York Sirloin Strip Steak. I didn’t think it was any better than any other steak I have ever had. It was also kind of expensive for B-man and I. We generally try to stay under $30 (total) when we go out to eat. With a coupon we ended up paying about $50 for the both of us. It included salad, the main meal, and dessert though. I guess I’m just not a fancy eater.
I love travelling, BUT I think this was the last trip I am going to take until the baby is born. Sleeping is difficult in my own bed, and about a million times harder in new places. While my husband was snoring about 30 seconds after his head hit the pillow, I was awake for several hours after laying down. We spent the night at my in-laws a few weeks ago, which was almost unbearable… so I thought if I brought all of my normal pillows that this trip would be better. So I toted my 5 pillows down there… and saw little improvement. I will not be leaving my bed again.
Sunday we all had a slow start to the morning. Some time before noon B-man, his brother, and I packed up into our Jeep and headed to Yorktown. Every one else went shopping. On the way to Yorktown you drive down a beautiful scenic road along the York river, owned by the National Park Services, and there are little pull-offs with signs explaining significant events that took place there.
J+B in front of the York River
We drove to the Yorktown battlefield, only to realize that the next tour wasn’t for another two hours. We bought our tickets and headed out to do some geocaching (wikipedia explanation). You can’t put geocaches in National Parks. All of the ones that used to be there have been removed, and the only ones that remain are “virtual” caches. This means that instead of looking for a physical thing, you are looking for the answer to a question. On the website some one will post a question, and the coordinates for the answer. There are four of these virtual caches in Yorktown, and we found three of them!
One our walking we saw a couple of cool things:
The Yorktown Victory Monument
This monument was commissioned shortly after the victory by the American and French alliance over the British forces that had been holding Yorktown in 1781. Oddly enough it wasn’t built until about 100 years later! In 1879 work on the statue finally began. In 1942 the statue at the top was struck by lightening and decapitated, and several years later was replaced with a new head, and a lightening rod at the top. lol.
We walked down a little road toward the beach. The weather was nice, but I was wearing tennis shoes, and feeling rather tired. I did not touch the sand.
The beach of the York river.
In search of a geocache answer we found this little gave in the side of the banks.
Apparently Cornwallis, the leader of the British forces, hid out in this cave during the Alliance’s siege on Yorktown. You can’t go inside it now, there is a gate covering the entrance, but it was pretty neat.
After finding the cave we headed back towards the battlefield. It was less than half a mile, but there was a long hill. Hills are hard on my hips. They were hard on my hips before I was pregnant, but now they are even harder. My sweet husband took my purse (how does that thing get so heavy?!) and I slowly marched on up the hill. Then I sat down and refused to move for a little while. We did make it back to the museum/battlefield with plenty of time. We had a snack, then checked out the museum inside the NPS building.
Our tour guide, Bobby!
The tour was well worth the wait. Though… next time I am taking a camping chair, as it was a lot of standing, and not a lot of walking. The tour focused on the tactical side of the battle. The first stop focused on while Cornwallis choose Yorktown and that area to hold.
The second stop (which included benches and made my preggo feet very happy!) discussed the weaponry used. The British had more people, and more guns, but the American/French Allies won… why do you think that is?
While the men I was with came up with plausible but slightly complex answers, I blurted out “Bigger guns!”. I mean… we were looking at a bunch of canons for heaven’s sake.
I was right. And the tour guide said she’s always happy when some one answers that question correctly. Apparently it’s a tricky one. I thought it was rather obvious!
The third portion of the tour was kind of a play-by-play of the seige that took place.
The British had dug two lines of defense, but upon the arrival of the Allies, they pulled back and used only the inner trenches. Per “typical siege warfare”, a successful siege has only three lines, meaning that by the time they dig their third trench they should be in a position to win. I laugh… it sounded so scientific and official when the tour guide explained this… but really… why three? lol.
This siege is often referred to as the last major battle in the American Revolution. It was not the last battle, there would be a few more further north, but taking Yorktown back from the British was significant for many reasons. Despite having smaller numbers, and not being as “professional” as the British Army, the Franco-American troops won out because of their planning, and cleverness. Win!
The NPS fee was $10 (that includes the movie at the visitor’s center, the museum, and the tour) and it was well worth it.
We also drove around a saw the Yorktown National Cemetery.
This battlefield played a huge role in the American revolution, but it was also a big part of the Civil War, later on. I believe that the majority, if not all, of the graves in this cemetery are from the Civil War.
From the road this place looks like a house, with a large fenced in yard, but when you get closer you can see the grave markers. Many bodies were moved here from other cemeteries after the war, as people were often buried where they died during the war with little ceremony or pomp because of the necessary to keep moving. This left many unmarked graves, resulting in about half of this graveyard’s headstones saying “Unkown Soldier” some even have two, three and even four unknown soldiers buried in them.
Surprisingly, the majority of the young men buried in this cemetery were Union soldiers. I guess I find this surprising because it is in Virginia. Maybe that isn’t so special, but I thought it was interesting.
If you have a chance to go to Yorktown, I highly recommend it. The drive from Williamsburg was only about 15 miles, and the history was so interesting. I feel like it made up for my really poor understanding of US History in about 2 hours! lol.
For lunch we hit up Red Hot & Blue. It was delicious. Well… the pulled pork was. I wouldn’t recommend the brisket. For dinner our group met up with B-man’s younger brother and said brother’s girl friend for a delicious Italian dinner at Sal’s by Victor. I had Four Cheese Tortelinni in a creamy sauce. Umm… I like cheese. The service was good, the food was good, and the prices were much more affordable than the previous night’s dinner (about $15/plate).
Considerably stuffed we headed back to the condo. B-man and I didn’t stay up much longer, and headed to bed. The next morning we were rushed out of the condo because no one had realized we needed to be out by 10 (I was told this at 9:55. No shower for me!).
We did some shopping at the Premium outlets (where I bought some maternity clothes at Motherhood which I will be sharing about later) and then we went to Pierce’s for lunch. This place also came highly recommended, but I was less than impressed. My pulled pork sandwich was good (not the best… but I love pulled pork so much I served it at my wedding… so maybe I’m picky). My macaroni and cheese was dismal, but the onion rings were good. Prices were in in the $7 – $15 range.
So that was my weekend. What did you do? Have you been to Yorktown? Can you recommend any of your favorite historical places?
PS: When I got home after a weekend of no internet I have about 150 unread blogs. I’m still working on reading them!