Monday, October 12, 2009

Day 4, Jamestown 1607

Taking a break from Colonial Williamsburg, we decided to visit the first permanent settlement in the New World, Jamestown. In the same style of learning as the other historical sites, Jamestown started off our adventure with a hands on (or rather feet on) map to explain the distance the first settlers came.

The new British arrivals first encountered the Powatan Indians and much of their customs are represented here. We got to help make a "dug out" canoe. They first burn the wood to soften it and then scrape it our with oyster or clam shells. However, the oyster shells back then were so large that a grown man needed to hands to hold the shell and scrape.

Savannah now wants to find a log at the farm and start building one of her own.

Check out how closely my hips fit. I don't think this canoe was for pregnant Powatans.

They had replicas of the first 3 ships that came. This was our family's favorite part. Below is the kitchen part of the cook's quarters.

We couldn't get Savannah out of here. She played "cook" forever in there!

A deck below is where men were stored as passengers (the space is probably smaller than my living room and dining room). They came to Jamestown as employees of the Virgina Company to work for 4 years in exchange for scarce land back in England. It was a financial venture. These folks weren't looking for religious freedom (those pilgrams came later.) And it was never meant to be a settlement, just a place to work.

They laid on their trunks of luggage also stored on this deck. The port holes were sealed shut for the journey to prevent leaks. For 144 days the men were shut in darkness except for a rare occassion when they might be allowed to come up to the tops deck. It pays to be a sailor. They actually get a bed and daily fresh air! No wonder only 50% of the passengers made it over alive! (They could have used some Vitamin D!)

This is on the deck above again near the captain's quarters. Probably the navigator or 1st mate's bed.

Here is a view of the ship we were just on from the outside.

Did you know the wheel shown in the recent pirate movies (that Captain Jack Sparrow steers on the pirate ships) was not invented until 100 years later. And it was not widely used until 50 more years after that. Ships were instead steered by the shepherds stick shown below. We were told that just about eveything else from the movie was fairly accurate. So, some pirates did turn into skeletons after dark? Hmmmm? I wonder what details of the movie he was talking about?
Savannah tried hard to steer the heavily moored ship. We have a lot to explain to her about sailing!

Where the Powatans lived.

Making corn flour. Savannah could have done this all day. She want's her Daddy to make her one so she can grind fresh flour for me daily. I am telling you, our family would have fit in well back then!

Checking out the bed.

Working the leather with an oyster shell.

Day 3

Day 3 began with breakfast at the colonial bakery. Mark and I had Virgina ham on a homemade biscuit. It was awesome. I also tried their ultra moist apple spice cake. It just tasted like fall. Do you know what I mean? Cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, and apples...yummmm. I wish I had a slice right now.

I took a picture of the brick oven below so Mark could build one for me. Haha. We really have talked about it before because we make so many homemade pizzas. Maybe someday....

After breakfast we visited the goal (jail). There cells weren't too bad. Did you know it was considered cruel and unusual punishment to let people sit in jail. They were only held their until their trial and then if determined guilty they got their punishment (death, public whipping, put in stocks on the town square or what ever) and then it was over. A jail sentence was not an option. Now there's a way to trim our national budget.

The famous pirate, Black Beard was caught off the coast of Virgina and his men were held in these cells. He was immediately executed.

Below is a picture of their "potty" I have no idea why it has steps leading up to it. Funny isn't it?

Savannah and Mark strolling down a lane.

Oh look, I am on this trip after all!

Here was the kitchen at the Royal Governer's Palace. They were making real food of course but you could not try any of it due to health codes. Which is ironic because it is a heck of a lot healthier than anything served at fast food restraunts.

A latern in the Palace celler.

The Palace gardens.

The Royal Governer's Palace entry way.

All of the walls were lined with weapons like this. Talk about trying to make a statement of power. He may have been British but I think with all these weapons he might have been southern at heart! (Not really, he went back to England during the revolution. Darn those Loyalists!)

The Governer's dinning room. One of the first furnaces. Call me crazy but I loved this shade of green!

Exploring the palace gardens some more. There are 10 acres of gardens.

There was an awesome maze we played around in but I never got any pictures of it. I was too busy trying to keep up with Savannah. She could fit into small spaces that a pregnant Momma just can't!

Savannah behind the Governer's mansion.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Day 2, Going Back in Time

We easily slipped into the 18th century our first day at Colonial Williamsburg. The beautiful homes and friendly staff dressed in pre- American Revolution clothes took us back to another time that we would otherwise never be able to experience.

In our first day alone we spent time with the blacksmiths, gun makers, sliversmiths, a shoe maker, and a wig maker. Each craftsman drew Savannah and the other children into the story of their work. They talked about what they were doing as they made actual items to be used on site or for other historic sites. Every gate hinge on property was made the way it would have been 300 years ago, along with the wagon wheels, windows, nails, and anything else that might need to be repaired or replaced. It was amazing to watch them use ancient tools and create masterpieces.

Not only were the children drawn into the conversation by the artists but they also had examples and tools for the children (and adults) to pick up and examine. This is better than any history class. You just can't get this stuff from a book.

Although 300 years ago there was not a farm in Colonial Williamsburg, they created one just outside of the area to represent how 97% of Virgin's population lived at the time. Below you can see tabacco drying after the summers harvest. They us an ox and and old plow just like back them. This is not just an easy tourism related job!

Colonial shopping was also a big hit with all of us. We explored the stores full of handmade goods just as closely as we did the exhibits. They had cool wooden toys from the time period, old maps (which were amusing to see what they thought Florida looked like. Let's just say they had it about half the size of Cuba.), sewing projects, handmade nails, hats, kitchenwares, canned goods, and the best rootbeer ever (no high fructose corn syrup or artificial flavor). We all had fun with the hats.

Real rootbeer.

Savannah with a giant leaf on her head. Don't ask me why. It's a 4 year old thing.

Shoemaker shop.

Shoemaker. We listened to him for at least 20 minutes, maybe longer. I am telling you, they can hold a child's attention.

Savannah really enjoyed the court house. Which is odd because we really haven't talked to her about breaking the law, court, or jail. I mean, why would we? That's not normal preschool topics. None the less, she enjoyed learning about it and was made head judge (they had 12 back then plus 12 jurers. It was fun to learn that we kept lots of the same British ideas of law.).

Savannah was then promoted as sherrif of the court (they were always a judge as well). She is so little in the box that all you can see is Mark.

Seeing horse drawn carriages around town was cool.

The lady in the wig shoppped played her part so well that she scared Savannah as she informed her that well brought up little girls shaved their heads so the wig will fit better. She also added that she would have time to perform this task for her in an hour or two so that she could get a proper wig. She offered to shave Mark's head as well and that's when Savannah headed for the door!

We had lunch at Chowning's Tavern. Candlelit of course since we were now in the late 1700's. Mark would raise his mug periodically and yell revolutionary battle cries. I think in this picture he had just yelled out "Down with the King!" We really submerged ourselves in the experience. Can you tell?

Savannah drinking apple cider.

These are just a few highlights. We took a ton of pictures (these are unedited) and I recorded a notebook worth of things I learned (I love history, can you tell?). More to come in the next post.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Day 1...and so it begins

We have returned from our first official Peteet family vacation. What? You thought we traveled all the time? Well, we do. But this is the first time it has just been the three of us. Life's a party when you are a Peteet and we always end up traveling with extended family and/or inviting friends on our trips. This is the first time Mark, Savannah, and I struck out on our own. We thought about caving and inviting others (all three of us like a party after all) but with Mark's new job we had begun to crave time together with just our little clan.

I can sum up our trip to Williamsburg Virgina in one word...wonderful. But those of you who know me, know I won't stop at one word when summing up the trip! It was one of our best family vacations ever and I cannot recommend this destination enough for those of you with kids (and those without kids for that matter!).

Our first day we decided to relax. This is not a normal activity I plan for our vacations. Turns out Mark really likes traveling with me pregnant! Our whole trip was laid back.

We swam at the indoor pool, played games at the large, free, arcade at our resort, Savannah napped, and Mark watched a little college football. It was a cool rainy day so I made a pot of cozy warm soup in our condo and curled up on the couch with a good book. All in all a very good first day!

View from our condo. A flock of geese and ducks visited us daily.

Savannah in her tent on the balcony. She treated the balcony like her own room.

Savannah and Mark playing video games. Savannah also had a chance to take on Darth Vader in a video game. It was like a dream come true for her. She had the run of the arcade which made her feel like she was 13 years old.