Monday, November 17, 2008

Yorktown, VA

This is another leg of our Virginia vacation journey from last month. Let's take a look at the Camp and Gardens at the Yorktown Victory Center .

The museum is filled with great info and artifacts and outside, you will find an encampment which gives a glimpse of camp life for the Continental Army.
If chosen, you can help soldiers re-enact the firing of a cannon such as these above.
The historical interpreters, while wearing period attire, will tell you a sad tale of life in the camp with poor pay, harsh discipline and meager rations of bread, beans and meat. I found the open kitchen, where beans and bread were made, to be very interesting. The smell of burning wood was a nice scent on a cool crisp day.
This is where the supply officer called home. He was lucky as usually 6 people share such a space! He was the one you wanted to make friends with as he had all the supplies in camp. The doctor's hospital was interesting but no pictures were snapped by me. The demonstration had me in a fog. Medicine was brutal back then, OUCH.
This is where the women and children stayed. Yep, I did not know it either but some women and children accompanied spouses to war. They would wash and mend clothes. After checking out the camp, we headed to the 1780's post-Revolution Tidewater Virginia farm. Look at those garden tools! Chickens were snoozing in the warm sunshine outside the garden. I bet they wanted inside to peck for seeds. The morning glory's were shining in the warm sun. Burr, it was chilly that day.
Skipper was enjoying a meal on this beautiful morning glory bloom.
Ah, finally we get to go into the garden. Don't forget to shut the gate, we don't want the chickens to get in. Winter crops looked real healthy and yummy to the tummy as we were getting hungry about now. A tee-pee bean pole! This is the method I was going to use for my beans but my beans turned out to be bush beans instead of pole beans. Ha...It was October 22 and look at those huge beans in the Saint hands! I wanted to pick a mess of them but was a good girl and restrained myself.

This is what a middle-class family called home on a tobacco farm.

Okay, I see a slop jar so does that mean, an indoor bathroom makes one middle class?
A nice brick fireplace with mantel, table and chairs is all one needs to live simply.
The tobacco barn with tobacco hanging on the rafters to dry.
This crop was in another fenced area away from the veggie garden. We wondered why but did not ask as no one was near at the time. It looked a bit like cotton but a bit darker and different then any cotton we have ever seen here in Georgia. Could this be some type of tobacco maybe? Hummmm, anyone know if this is cotton or something else?
Now the Saint and I head to the smoke house. He just has to find a critter to pet! Hey gobbler, you better hide as Thanksgiving is just around the corner. Na, he knows he is safe as this farm butchers a hog on Thanksgiving. Tourist can partake in the festivities if visiting during Thanksgiving.
In the smoke house we find not only meats but herbs and veggies hanging out to dry. Everything you see was grown in the garden and tended by museum volunteers. If you help in the gardens, you get to enjoy in the fruits of your labor by eating the crops! See the gourds hanging in the back to dry? I asked questions on them and got conflicting information as to how they dry gourds compared to the process they use at Jamestown. But they both had the same end results. The table is full of recently picked goodies from the garden.
After our visit to the Garden, we headed back to James island. Here we visited another wonderful museum and saw items unearthed on sight. Here you can see they continue to dig for artifacts on the grounds of the James Fort.

Les, over at A Tidewater Gardener lives near this wonderful place and posted on it a few days ago. Check out his post for more info.
This wonderful park has statues of John Smith as well as Pocahontas.
Last week while telling you of Jamestown, through commenting on the posting, Garden Girl and Frances (Fairegarden) found out they are related! They both can trace their ancestry back to Pocahontas! How exciting it was for me to know my posting let Garden Girl and Frances know they are cousins! Times such as this makes blogging so much fun...
This beautiful church sits on the grounds near the river.
The Monument is in the center of the park but somehow I failed to snap a shot of it from top to bottom. Les has a wonderful picture of it so go check it out...
I found this old twisted tree to be very intriguing. I don't know what it is about the twisted but they do catch my eye.
We also spotted many deer while on this walk. Just look at that big 8-point Buck not bothered by our presence! He was a beauty.

We had a wonderful time exploring where the US was first started. If you are ever going to Williamsburg for a visit, be sure to add time for Jamestown and Yorktown as they are well worth the visit. We did a lot in 3 days but still so much more to see and do. We must get back there again some day!

Raquel at Perennial Garden Lover, also lives near the wonderful towns of Williamsburg, Jamestown and Yorktown. Check out her posting for her view and more pictures. Amazing how Raquel, Les and I have been to the same places within a few days or weeks of one another.

Cosmo from Cosmo's Garden also lives in the area. Maybe I will meet up with Les, Raquel and Cosmo with my next Williamsburg visit!

And one more purple pretty to share with you from YORKTOWN, while In the Garden...


  1. What a interesting trip, I'm glad we have evolved! I think I might of picked at least one bean! Lottsa linking!

  2. Loved hearing about your trip. I always find historical places so interesting, especially the gardens.

  3. I've been to Jamestown, but not Yorktown. I was amazed to see how our pioneer fathers really lived. And, I have been to some battle grounds and agree with you on medicine and treatment back then, OUCH is right! Great post Skeeter!

  4. You should be a docent, Skeeter, you really gave us the first class tour. I loved seeing all of it, and do think that was a cotton plant of some kind. Maybe a different variety for the farther north location. Those do not look like any type of tobacco leaves. Thanks for bringing my cousin, Garden Girl and me together. I can't wait to meet her in Chicago next year at Spring Fling. And thanks for the link love too. :-)

  5. Wonderful tour!!!! Imagine living with your family in a tiny cabin like that.

    The gardens are interesting. Those beans are really hilled up.

  6. Good Morning All,
    Another great post of history, Skeeter. Thanks so much for sharing all this info with us. It sure would be nice to visit that wonderful place & see all that it has to offer. But, being that is not possible, I have been able to see it through your pics & descriptions.
    Have a wonderful day all.

  7. Thank you for the link and the compliments. I have never been to the Victory Center. We usually just enjoy the trails and the battlefield sites. After looking at your post, I may have to make a visit.

  8. Looks like a fun trip! That was a pretty neat looking tree.

  9. Skeeter,

    Thank you for the informative historical tour with great photos and commentary. There's just so much in our great country to see. I'm happy to have bloggers who appreciate this fact and share their excursions with us. We could easily drive up there from Chapel Hill, NC...putting this on my list!


  10. Great trip! And the next time you go up there I am going to remind you to hook up with Racquel, Les and Cosmo:) It would be fun for you all to get together-but you know me and my get togethers. I may be a bit prejudiced. I think that is cotton Skeeter. I really do. Not positive though. Those herbs and all in the smokehouse look way cool. The way I picture my attic (if I had one:). Next year we will have to try the teepee thing. I really like the style since all hills are separated.

    Good morning all! Not much blogging for me today as I am still sick. ttyl

  11. Dawn, you dont know how evolved we are. Have you ever seen a medical hospital from that era? Not a pretty sight and bring on the whisky! lol…

    Cindy, Glad you enjoyed the trip with me this morning. The gardens are always a bonus when exploring new places such as this!

    Meadowview, Thanks and yes, we are lucky to be living today rather then back with that medicine! Ouch is the only way I know how to describe it. I am sure people will one day look back at our medicine and say the same thing though...

    Frances, It was my pleasure to bring this wonderful place to you this morning. I am still thrilled to know I brought the cousins together! Too cool stuff this blogging...

    Rose's and Lilacs, I can remember back as a child going camping in a small tent such as those with my 3 siblings, parents, grandmother and a dog! Now that was a cramped tent and that is when I decided cabins were up town! lol

    Lola, I am glad you enjoyed this wonderful place this morning! I enjoy seeing different places through the eyes of others and am glad you do as well...

    Les, The Scouts would love the Victory Center! The encampment is a wonderful learning tool with lots of hands on! Get those boys to this place some time as it is well worth the visit...

    Dave, the twisted trees and anything a bit twisted fascinate me for some strange reason. Maybe I am a bit twisted myself so I can relate. lol...

    Cameron, Yes, you are not that far from this wonderful place so do check it out sometime on a road trip. I was a bit hesitant with talking about vacations on a Garden Blog but so many people seem to enjoy them. I do try to add something “garden” for those that just want to see the garden aspect of things...

  12. Tina, do take care of yourself and get better soon!

    Yep, we think cotton also but a bit darker then our type here in GA. We were being rushed at this point of the tour so we did not get a good look at it but in the pictures, I think cotton also. I knew it was not tobacco but hey, since this was a tobacco farm, we thought, maybe some type of tobacco we are not familiar with. Ya never know…

    I will try to get together with all the south-eastern VA bloggers the next time I am in that area. It would be fun to explore off the beaten paths with them! I had no idea they were from this area of VA. I don’t read Bio’s much so did not know. When I think of people living in VA, I assume the DC area being a bit more north. We will be in VA again by years end but in the Fredericksburg area only so no get together then.

    Can you believe that is the style I was going to use for my pole beans? That is the way our neighbor (when a child) use to have their pole beans but I don’t recall the hills. Sure did produce some huge beans!

  13. What a fun trip. I love going to historical towns and seeing how the people lived, the houses and beds they lived in. I always wondered how come the beds are so short; were people just shorter back then?

    I don't think I could survive living like they did back then, but it's so romantic to think about their lives!

  14. Skeeter, I can just see you holding your hands behind your back and stepping back from the beans so as not to be tempted! I know that's what I would do. Thanks for sharing your vacation with us. Blog posts like this one are so much more interesting than articles you see in travel mags. It takes an experienced, philosophically minded gardener's perspective to capture what's so interesting about these historic war-time places--the things growing and flourishing now where death and destruction were once being planned and executed. The twisted tree caught my eye too for some reason. ;>}

  15. Great trip you have taken us on Skeeter and I am with you, Dave and walk2write on the twisted tree.
    And oh my, Skipper in the Morning Glory is a great photo.

  16. DP, with all the places we have visited such as this, I have come to the conclusion that people were much shorter back then! We have vitamins today! lol. Not sure life was so romantic back then with a lot of death from disease and wars but one can dream a bit. I think it more a rough life but very family orientated so that part would be nice...

    W2W, Now you know the Saint was smacking my hands to keep them off the beans! lol Those are his hand on the beans and not mine. My hands might have accidently plucked one or two! One must look past the death and destruction of such places. We must not forget though so as to not repeat it. I try to find beauty where ever I go even in the middle of a battlefield. You like that tree? Hum, I sense a bit of a twisted side to you as well as myself. Remember the group Twisted Sister? Don’t know why that popped into my head as I don’t think I ever listen to their music but liked their name… hee hee…

  17. Jean, I am glad to see my twisted mind is not alone this morning. lol... You are the first one to mention the Skipper and I was expecting him to stand out this morning with everyone being cold. Speaking of cold, my fingers are cold so time to get a bite to eat and warm up with some hot tea. Have a good day!

  18. Hi, Skeeter--I'm pretty sure that plant is cotton. So, on your trip you must have seen both of our main rivers here, the York and the James! You didn't by chance get to the Yorktown Pub, did you? That's our favorite place to eat in Yorktown--it's right across the street from the beach. Thanks so much for sharing your trip.

  19. Cosmo, We did see both rivers but ate all meals in Williamsburg. We did eat one meal at the museum cafe in Jamestown and it was really good and not over priced. We sure did enjoy your neck of the woods and want to go back again some time. We have seen it in fall and Christmas time so maybe a spring trip will happen for us...

  20. Hi Skeeter, thanks for the links!What a nice trip you & the Saint had in Virginia! Yorktown is wonderful with history. It's been years since we've been to the Victory Center. Thanks for the tour & the wonderful pictures you shared today. Hopefully the next time you get back to our area we could all get together for lunch or something. :)

  21. Thanks for the tour, it was soooo interesting. Those camp conditions sound grim. I wonder if they ever got a ration of alcohol the way the guys on the Lewis and Clark expedition did? Probably not.

  22. I had to laugh at your experience with the pole/bush beans. I did the same thing but it was with my son's second grade class. I had to sneak into the garden and re-plant the pole beans! They never knew! Thanks for the great tour! I would really love to visit this area.

  23. PG, As you can see through my postings, we truly did enjoy our visit to your wonderful area. We will make a date the next time we get that way but the next VA trip is just home for the holidays being a bit further north. We may go to downtown DC as it is always fun that time of year...

    Jan, if they did get alcohol, they needed to drink it to deal with the medical procedures! They were horrible to say the least! Glad I live in this Century...

    JGH, No one has mentioned my goof and I wonder if people were just being nice to me. lol, Now I see I am not the only one to make a little goof with the pole beans. The only beans I ever had before were pole beans. I just picked up the packet at the store and planted them and then they just would not trail up the poles I had for them. The Saint and I got a real kick out of that one as I am sure you did as well. You are a good mom to sneak in and correct the mistake…

  24. Skeeter,

    There is so much in this fantastic country to see...Thank you for the tour. Medicine was horrible then...almost butchery. No one wanted to see the surgeon show up! I love seeing the gardens! So much has not changed!


  25. Beautiful church! I wonder what it would have been like to live then. Simpler in some ways; harder in others. I can see myself sitting as part of a quilting bee though, as I've done before. Socializing with the other women. But a slop jar? I don't know about that aspect of it!

  26. Gail, As far as the medicine goes, I am glad I live in this century! :) Gardens have not changed much have they? I never thought of that before but you are right. Dirt, rows and crops! Tending them is pretty much the same also but the tools are a bit better today but pretty much the same tools if you think about it…

    Brenda, The church was really nice and simple inside also. I think we could all adjust if need be but Not sure I want to deal with the medical aspect as some have been chatting about today. Slop jar, I think an outhouse would be more uptown for me! I could do a quilting bee and maybe help in the Garden also but butchering a hog, well, I think I would become a vegetarian if I had to do that as the hogs would probably end up my pets...

  27. Skeeter, looks like you had a wonderful trip and made the most of your 3 days. I would imagine the Virginia area could keep a tourist busy for days. I hope next time you do get a chance to meet Raquel, Les, or Cosmo--that would be an added treat.

    I missed the comments between Garden Girl and Frances--how exciting to find a family connection as well as a gardening connection!

  28. I adore living history museums like this! So interesting. I can almost feel the ghosts there when I go.

  29. Rose, We sure did pack a lot in over 3 days! Since we have pets and dont travel often, we must do all we can while away because who knows when we will get back again. I do hope to meet with Les, Raquel and Cosmo some day. It was exciting for me to be able to bring Garden Girl and Frances a bit closer in this blogging world!

    Susan, Living History places are the greatest! Hands on are real good examples of life verses reading from a book. Seeing with your own eyes is the way to go for me! I always fear a ghost may decide to come home with me from one of the many places we visit filled with tragic history. I was really concerned at Gettysburg!

  30. I loved the picture of the tobacco kiln as I call them. Thanks.

  31. Linda, Some dont like it but I like the Smell of tobacco drying and smoking in barns. I don’t care much for the smell of cigarettes though.... :)I guess I like tobacco barns as they remind me of my homeland in Tennessee...