Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Playing Tourist in Virginia

So, most of last week I got to forget about the boat projects and be a tourist with my wife and parents during their visit.  Of course a boat won't just let you forget about it, so there were a couple things I had to deal with on the boat as well.

My parents made it to Hampton Virginia shortly after I got the galley faucet installed on Saturday.  It was late in the evening, so we didn't really do much until the next day except try to figure out what to do.  The next day we decided to take a trip to see Yorktown.

It is an interesting small town, but it's claim to fame is the battlefield.  This is the location of the last major land battle of the American Revolutionary war.  Continental army and French forces laid siege to the British, eventually forcing the surrender of Cornwallis.

The battlefield, only the sound of tourists today.

Some examples of the artillery used here.

The Moore House, where the surrender was negotiated.

The room where the surrender was negotiated...they think.

The next morning I ended up doing the oil change I had planned to do before my parents know...when I was working on the galley.  Fortunately, oil changes aren't terribly difficult on the boat so it didn't take too long.  Then we did a little shopping and local sightseeing including another visit to Fort Monroe.  We even tried stopping by the local Bass Pro shop one more time but decided that fishing off the boat just wasn't in the cards for this week.

Old downtown Hampton, VA.

On Tuesday, with recently serviced engines and nice weather, I took my parents sailing on the Chesapeake.  This is the first time they have ever gone sailing with us and the first time they have been on our catamaran.  It was a nice morning to be out on the water with reasonably calm seas and winds in the 15 knot range.  We sailed south on a close hauled course until we reached the shipping channel coming out of Norfolk, then turned away to parallel the channel.  My parents got to see a couple large container ships as they were heading out to sea.  Then we turned back toward the marina.  In an interesting twist, we were once again beating to windward on a course 180 degrees from our previous course.  As it turned out, this was a nice thing as it gave us a nice cooling breeze on the boat.  A breeze we didn't realize we needed until we made it back to the marina and felt how hot it was.  This week would continue the trend of "unusually hot" weather for the region.

I think I (in combination with the hot weather that week) wore my parents out as they opted to go rest at their hotel after our late lunch.  With the free evening we attended a pot-luck gathering that we were invited to at the marina that evening.  Here is another one of those moments where it is nice to have something on board that you can put together in a hurry...of course we did not.  Given how hot it was, I decided it would be refreshing to make a tropical "coleslaw" so we made a quick trip to the store for a few ingredients (the "coleslaw" includes cabbage, pineapple, cranberries, walnuts, and carrots). We had a nice evening talking with the other folks that were staying at the marina.

The following day we continued our tour of the region's historical impact by visiting the recreation of the Jamestown colony.  This is a bit of a tourist trap, but it was interesting to see the museum as well as the recreations of the ships that were used to bring the colonists over (our boat doesn't seem like such a small craft to cross the ocean after all). I also found a live demonstration of a matchlock musket to be interesting.

Jamestown settlement replica.  Tourists are the only thing they trap today.
Tobacco has played a role in Virginia for a long time.
Replica Indian settlement...the replica Indian doesn't seem authentic.

The ship Godspeed (full size working replica).

Each day we seemed to have some work to do on the boat, so our "tourist" time didn't seem to start until after 11 AM or so.  This somewhat restricted what we could do in a given day, and in the case of Jamestown, we ended up making a second trip up to see the original settlement site where they are currently undergoing an archaeology dig to try and better figure out what the original settlement was like (yes, the touristy replica Jamestown is not on the actual historic site but is nearby).

The original Jamestown fort site.

The fort from outside the wall.

The Jamestown Church site.

One of the dig sites, you can see a fireplace/oven on the right.

It was unseasonably warm for the entire week, not cooling off until the day after my parents left.  But I think we all had a pretty good time.  It was nice to get a chance to finally show my parents the boat and take them out for a sail as well as get away from the boat and go be a tourist. It reminds me that I need to work more on the balance between fixing the boat and having fun...lately I've been too focused on getting a few major work items done in anticipation of future adventures and have been neglecting the "living in the moment" part of this lifestyle.  Sometimes it is hard to change habits that have been ingrained in your psyche for 40+ years.


  1. I drove up to Yorktown several years ago while on a work trip to NC. I found the historic sites and town fascinating, and I am not even American. They must have really upset Cornwallis for him to surrender in such a manor. :)
    Hope to explore more of the East coast towns while exploring the ICW..... soon.

    1. Yeah, I'm sure Corwallis' defeat wasn't viewed very favorably by the crown either. ;-)

  2. Our fun to suck ratio has been seriously skewed lately so we need to get together in the islands and declare a week holiday on boat work and just go play. What do you think?

    SV Kintala

    1. Sounds perfect...on second thought...make it 2 weeks. :-)