Back in Old Virginia (Part 2: Yorktown)
- Posted Nov. 9, 2010 by Jay Viewed 3402 times
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Yorktown lies at the end of the Colonial Parkway, which connects Colonial Williamsburg and the town of Yorktown. The parkway was constructed, I believe, in the 1930s.
The parkway is quite lovely and relaxing to drive. It is basically a wide, two-laned road on which no large trucks may travel. It meanders along the York River, one of the many Virginia rivers flowing out into the Chesapeake Bay. It is scenic with no building structures along the way except for a few carefully placed markers telling about the native Indians who lived there when the first English arrived in 1607, and also about one or two early 17thC plantations that once worked that land. Today all are gone, and the Native Americans have since migrated to other parts not so far away. The father of Pocahontas, Chief Powhatan, was the powerful chief of a conderation of Indian tribes and nations in this part of North America. He, too, lived in this area. Some of the tribes were the Mattaponi, Pamunkey, and Chickahominy, to name a few. You can still find them and their reservations in eastern Virginia area today.
Yorktown itself is small and bucolic. A large marker erected to honor the end of the Revolutionary War is also there, not far from where Lord Cornwallis surrendered the British army after the French navy appeared on the horizon behind them on the day they had planned to attack Yorktown again. Without the French, the United States would have had a lot of trouble gaining independence at that time. The large marker honors French assistance and marks the Treaty of Paris, which formally ended the war and formally guaranteed independence.
Yorktown suffered great damage during the seige that took place there, but a large number of the remaining houses are original. Others were built soon after the revolution. It is a quiet town, with fewer visitors tha in Williamsburg.
Yorktown is worth a visit, as is Jamestown, which lies nearby. Jamestown was the first capital of Virginia and also, of course, the first permanent English colony, settled in 1607.
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