This starts in Atlantic City, NJ. The Boardwalk has been rebuilt after the hurricane,
and the casinos are fixed up and open for business. But a block inland and it is
a different story. The damage from the hurricane is still visible on the buildings
and the streets. In fact they are still working actively on repairs at the beach. Look
closely at the left center and you will see two large excavators digging in the sand. I
think they were digging in a drainage system from the inland storm drains.
The "Steel Pier" is rebuilt, this time out of concrete, and is open. Do you remember
the pictures of the roller coaster sitting in the water after the collapse during
the hurricane? It is gone and not rebuilt. Most of the rides are pretty tame now.
We spent two days here wandering the Boardwalk and visiting a couple of casinos. I
don't gamble but Kathy likes the slots. This time she won $50 and like the smart
lady she is she took it and bought a Hard Rock Casino logo shirt instead of pumping
it back into the machine. An expensive shirt but it was their money not ours. The
second day she lost $10 but we still came out ahead this time.
An interesting attraction a few miles south is "Lucy, the World's Largest Elephant". She
was built in 1882 as an attractant for a real estate development. It didn't work
and over the years she was a home, a tavern, a tourist attraction but over those
years she slowly fell apart. In the 1970's she was going to be torn down when a
group was formed to save her. They raised money, moved her and fixed her up. You
can look around outside for free or pay $8 for an inside tour. We took the tour
and climbed the spiral stairs in a leg to the main room and then again up to the
We also spent some time watching the World Cup Football games with Germany and the
USA. We are rooting for both of those teams.
When we left we headed south to the tip of Cape May and rode the ferry to Delaware
(facing backwards) where we watched two more games at the local pub. Then it was
on south through Maryland and into Virginia to the Bridge Tunnel (above entering
one of the tunnels)across the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay.
We had been planning on camping at the Cape Hatteras Seashore NP in the Outer Banks
of North Carolina near the Kill Devil Hills, but the National Park campground had
no power or shade and the weather was very hot. So we stayed in Virginia at a private
park with shade and power for our fan.
The next day we rode down to the Wright Brothers Memorial and walked the ground where
they first flew a powered plane. The brothers had made several trips here over the
previous three years testing gliders, both models and big enough to carry a person. On
December 17th 1903 they made their first flight, 12 seconds and 120 feet. The buildings
are the hanger, left, and the workshop/living space, right. The flight line starts
at the large white rock and runs along a path to the upper right corner. (The closer
path leads to the highest hill where I took this picture.) There were four flights
that day. Each is commemorated with a smaller rock along the path. The second was
also 12 seconds and 175', the third was 15 seconds and 200', the fourth was the best
at 59 seconds and 852'. On the last flight the plane was damaged in landing and
they were done.
At the time they were there it was not flat and grassy. They actually complained
about the blowing sand but then commented that the reason they came here from Ohio
was for the wind (to help flight) and the sand (for soft landings). The hill in
the picture to the left is the one I was on for the picture above. It looks like
After the visit, on a hot but not windy day, we went to a pub and watched two more
World Cup games. Germany and USA are in the same group of four and are leading the
points score over Portugal and Ghana.
After those games we headed to the Williamsburg area. An area full of early American
History. To get there we took another ferry. We could have taken a big bridge but
ferries are much more fun and this one dropped us off right in front of Jamestown,
the first English settlement in what will become the USA.
As we approached the ferry dock we could see the replica ships that had brought the
first settlers to Jamestown. We got to go aboard them and see what life was like
for the sailors and settlers. There were lots of costumed re-enactors. (I believe
that is the correct term, not actors.) They described what we were seeing and what
it was like aboard for four and a half months as they crossed to the "new world".
The area includes a replica fort filled with re-enactors and equipment that was common
to the time period.
The cartridges around his belt are just that, they hold the individual gun powder
measure to be poured down the barrel for each shot.
There were probably 30 to 40 people in costume doing everyday chores and explaining
the lifestyle to the visiting tourists.
We spent an hour wandering around, taking pictures and talking with them.
But the European settlement was not the only one to see. There was also a Powhatan
Indian Village with its costumed members.
The inside of the Indian huts were just as accurate as the European houses.
The only difference is that the outsides were the same woven reed mats from SE Asia
as the ones we had seen at the Moorcroft site a couple of weeks ago. No one had
the time, energy or money to collect and weave the local reeds into mats when they
were available mail order for a fraction of the cost and time. The difference was
After spending the day here we headed on to our campground about ten miles away.
The next day we went back to the villages but turned south and went to the actual
site of the original Jamestown. This is an active archeological dig. There is a
rebuilt fort wall and several foundations and the pits for the digs. Sitting partially
on the site is a 19th Century church. Nearby is a museum with artifacts unearthed
from the site. Several wells that the settlers discontinued using became trash pits
and were valuable finds for the diggers.
In the early 20th Century a road was built from Jamestown to York Town, about 20
miles away. Today this is a greenbelt that cuts across the peninsula between the
two famous towns. Jamestown as the first English settlement in the country and York
Town as the end of the Revolutionary War and the start of the country as a sovereign
place in its own self.
It is a pleasant ride without stops or crossroads. It even tunnels under the old
town of Williamsburg which we will visit later.
In York Town there was the usual museum as well as a replica soldier encampment with
demonstrations of life as a Revolutionary War soldier and some pirates were teaching
a group of kids how to handle a sword during a shipboard battl e.
There is also a driving tour of the battlefield area with signs indicating the significance
of a particular spot. Of course it looks nothing today like it did then. None of
the trees are the 240 years old to have witnessed the battles. It was mostly cleared
farm fields and farm homes then. Along the way you pass the house where the British General Cornwallis
surrendered to the American General George Washington. But Cornwallis was too ashamed
of his loss to actually hand over his sword to Washington so he had an aide do it. This
ended the Revolutionary War.
We spent the most time in old Williamsburg, the colonial city that was the capital
of the British colony of Virginia from 1699 (when the capital was moved from Jamestown)
to 1776 (when England no longer had an say in its affairs). It has been preserved
as a folk village.
It was also the most expensive at $42/person. One does not have to pay to walk around
the village but if you want to enter any buildings or see the staged events you have
to have a tag visible. The whole place covers several hundred acres with dozens
of buildings, houses, stores, churches, armory, market stalls, taverns, capitol and
the Governor's Palace.
We started with a tour of the Governor's Palace. It had hundreds of swords and muskets
displayed on the walls. The guide said he was the keeper of the armament.
And there were lots and lots of people in costume wandering the streets and interacting
with the visitors. The buildings, mostly original, had merchants, artisans and shopkeepers
doing their daily duties. A lot of the items sold were made in the traditional way
as this shoe maker is doing.
Food and drink were also available but expensive. A couple of slices of a very good
ham on a dry bun was $5, a 12 oz. fountain soda $2.75. I don't know if the re-enactors
are paid or are volunteers but this is a money making operation.
Among the staged scenes were the trial of a drunkard that had been maligning the
king and making seditious statements in the tavern the night before.
And the sale of a jailed pauper's possessions to pay his fine. This is a real auction
of real items. We bought the carpet on the steps to the right. These are items
available for sale in the village elsewhere at twice the opening bid. We had another
bidder but still saved money on the carpet.
The Declaration of Independence was read in its entirety on the steps of the capitol
building and then was followed by a march down the main street behind a drum and
The big event of the day is at 5:00 in the evening. It is a review of the troops
before the upcoming battle. The regimental band plays and carries the flag.
Then practice with the muskets and cannons. Of course no shot, just gunpowder. It
makes a loud bang even with the reduced charge for the display. Of course they did
not actually go off to battle now. This battle was actually fought over two hundred
That takes care of the mid-Atlantic lowlands. Modern resorts and lots of history. Next
is Washington DC and more World Cup games with Germany playing the USA. We don't
know who to root for!