Welcome to our Appomattox Road Trip series! There’s so much to see right here in Virginia, I can’t wait to jump in the car and get going. Today we’re heading to Richmond, Williamsburg, Jamestown and Yorktown.
Are you ever too old for the zoo? I mean, honestly, who doesn’t love getting a close up look at some of our exotic and elusive neighbors? Today we are driving through the Metro Richmond Zoo. The gray wolves were just gorgeous. They are hoping the mated pair will soon start to populate the large habitat with pups. Our kids’ favorite stops were the otters and sloths. Remy will tell you that a sloth may be slow in the trees, but it can move much faster in the water! Giraffes are always a must-see as well as the baby hippo…it was so cute. They have a zip line and adventure park on-site, but we have so much to see today we didn’t stop there.
Normally, I would plan a stop at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, but I am going to wait for summer for that one. Instead, we’re heading to the Poe Museum. I used to love reading Edgar Allan Poe’s suspenseful work and when I found out there was a museum so close, I knew we had to check it out. From his silk vest to his boyhood bed, seeing the artifacts that were part of this mysterious author’s everyday life was an interesting glimpse into a man about whom people still speculate. Did you know the stories he spread about himself were just as fanciful as the ones he wrote about others? The garden that was the source of much of his inspiration can be found at the nearby Linden Row Inn.
I had the opportunity to visit his grave in Baltimore a few years ago. My dad had told me about a mysterious visitor that would come every year to toast Poe’s birthday at midnight with cognac and three red roses, but it’s been over ten years now since the tradition came to an end.
There are SO many restaurants to choose from in Richmond. My current dream is to try out L’Opossum, but today is not that day. We’re going to get back on the road for the history portion of our trip.
The communities of Williamsburg, Jamestown and Yorktown make up the Historic Triangle of Virginia. The first one we’ll pass through is Williamsburg. The town and shops are open to the public, but for access to tours and many of the historical buildings, we purchased tickets. The governor’s mansion and surrounding gardens were lavish and beautiful, but what I found most interesting was the period artisans. I loved watching the blacksmith and silversmith work, and we have a friend that has gotten incredible tartan cloth woven on the looms here. We toured the armory and woodworking shop, and had lunch at a lovely little bistro called The Trellis. We decided to skip the carriage rides and walk the cobbled streets. The kids loved the fife & drum performances. There’s so much to do here!
Jamestown is the site of the first permanent English settlement in North America. It was established in 1607 by 104 Englishmen. It was chosen for its situation on a peninsula with deep water on all sides. By 1624, over 1,230 people had taken up residence in Virginia. Today, the site is a mix of the reconstructed fort and active archeology. We saw artifacts and learned about ongoing digs. We got to meet great living history interpreters that showed us what life was like in the 17th century. The kids even collected Junior Ranger badges!
Yorktown was great because we got to visit our friends at the Marl Inn Bed & Breakfast. We had a great dinner with them at the Water Street Grille, and they told us about the town’s investment in the historic locations and tourism. Amy got out some toys for the kids to play with and we enjoyed some locally roasted coffee from Mobjack Bay Coffee Roasters. Throughout the year, Celeste from Mobjack offers a variety of history tours.
As the site of the final decisive battle of the Revolutionary War, a visit to the Museum was a must as well as the Battlefield. After six years of war for independence from England, George Washington’s army received reinforcements from France. On October 17, 1781, he accepted General Cornwallis’ surrender. Our war had been won!
As always, our trip had a little something for everyone: good food, friends, history, adorable animals! Join us next time, we might just be ready to leave Virginia for our next excursion…