Monday, August 12, 2013

History to the Max

Natalie’s Ten Year Old Trip
Day 7
August 11, 2013
We begin the day at the Colonial Pancake House, where Seniors can order from the Children’s Menu, so we are all on the same page.

Then we drive down the Colonial Parkway (which Granddad and Gayl last traversed by bicycle about six years ago while riding Bike Virginia) to Jamestown, the first permanent English settlement in America, established 1607. 

A costumed ranger playing the role of John Rolfe, the Englishman who married Pocahontas, gives us an orientation to the island, as if we are newly arriving colonists from England.  We learn about all the reasons past colonists failed and died over the first twenty years of colonization, and about  how much better everyone isf faring now that (1)he has married Pocahontas and created a peaceful connection between the English and the natives and (2) the society is less communal, so people work harder, recognizing that they will personally benefit from their labors.   While he is talking (and talking, and talking), we are sitting on benches overlooking the James River, and watching the car ferries cross, reminiscing about when we rode the ferry with our bicycles.

(A couple interesting things that our John Rolfe guide fails to mention about his marriage to Pocahontas--it was the first interracial marriage in American history, and Nancy Reagan is a descendant of their union.) 

After his talk, we accompany Natalie as she embarks on a hunt game that Jamestown has created, with a very cool comic/activity book that we use to find clues hidden throughout Jamestown.  We can complete this mystery in less than two hours, along the way we learn a lot about Jamestown and how archeologists find clues to life in the settlement, and the reward for solving the mystery is a cool Jamestown drawstring backpack.  We like this game!

After lunch, we are back in Williamsburg, intent on completing RevQuest. Just when we thought we had completed the game yesterday, we learned at the last stop that there was another whole stage to the game.  When we continue today, we find out that we had been hoodwinked into helping the British in the first half of the game, and now we have  to redeem ourselves though another series of clues and ciphering activity.  Finally, we complete the game and earn our reward, a commemorative coin with a secret word engraved on it that would let us continue to play further, if we like.  This whole episode sort of reminds me of that scene in the movie Christmas Story when Ralphie gets the long awaited secret decoder ring, only to find that the secret message is “Drink your Ovaltine.” 

Just after we get back to our room to get ready for dinner, the sky opens and provides our daily afternoon downpour.  The rain stops just before we pile into the car to dinner.  Our timing with rain is quite amazing.  The rain has not stopped us yet, even though it has poured down every afternoon but one of Natalie’s ten-year-old trip.   

And, we see that there is more rain showing on the radar after dinner, so we all carry ponchos for our 8:30 ghost walk, but we don’t see any rain (or any ghosts, either), as we follow our guide through the dimly lit streets of Colonial Williamsburg, stopping to listen to tales of modern sightings of ghosts hearkening back to the 18th and 19th centuries.   

We try to get to bed early--we have to be up at 6 a.m. tomorrow to get Natalie to the airport.

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