When life gives you lemons, go ride Lemonade!

Mid-Atlantic Coast

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 top.

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 this today.






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 negligible.

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 fife corps.


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 years ago!

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!