The authors were loving Virginia.

Loving Virginia – Our First Taste Of Old Dominion

Over the years, Virginia has had a lot of nicknames. King Charles II dubbed it “Old Dominion” due to his loyalty to the crown. In recent years the title “Mother of Presidents” seems more appropriate. After all, eight U.S. presidents were born in this area. With so much history, we knew it was a state we needed to add to our growing list. As we hit the road, we aimed to experience various adventures across the state. As we passed through the Appalachian Mountains, we knew we’d be loving Virginia and all it has to offer.

We discovered an assortment of farms from around the world.

Staunton - Our First Stop

Heading east from West Virginia, it was hard to notice a difference. We were still enjoying the Appalachian Mountains, as we tooled along I-64. About an hour after crossing the state line, we discovered the hills were fading. This signaled that we were approaching our first stop. We are huge fans of living history sites and the Frontier Culture Museum would be the first of a handful we would see while loving Virginia. While paying our $12/person admission, we decided to add a golf cart rental for a small upcharge. We would usually walk an entire site, but time constraints required we limit our stop to two hours. 

Frontier Culture Museum has a large section dedicated to colonial farming in North America.

Farming Around the World

Fortier Culture Museum is dedicated to farming around the globe. We also discovered that the exhibits represent life in farm households during the 1600s and 1700s. Our tour began with farms from four foreign regions; West Africa, England, Ireland, and Germany. In each, we found an interpreter who imparted the life experiences from that period. The next section of the museum focuses on the Virginia region. Here we found Native American farmlands, followed by European homesteader structures. At each, we were guided through the exhibit by an interpreter.    

The Jamestown Museum is filled with artifacts from the earliest days of English occupation.

Exploring Jamestown

Our main target for this trip was the Historic Triangle in eastern Virginia. We arrived in Williamsburg at the early evening and spent a few hours exploring the souvenir shops. In the morning, we made our way to Jamestown Settlement. We purchased combination tickets for Jamestown and Yorktown at $30/person. Our visit started in the museum that details the arrival of the English colonists. There are plenty of displays to spend a couple of hours. Our experience continued with a walk around the grounds, which has three distinct sections. 

The living history portion of Jamestown lets visitors experience early colonial life.

Foothold in the New World

It begins in the Powhatan Village, where costumed interpreters demonstrated native skills. Farther down the trail we landed at the docks. There are replicas of the three ships that carried those first settlers to America. We enjoyed exploring the inside and out of each ship. Our final stop was James Fort, which was inhabited during 1610-14. Here’s where we found a high concentration of costumed staff. They were all happy to provide details about life in this region. Time slipped away from us and it was mid-afternoon by the time we departed. 

Colonial Williamsburg is home to eth largest living history museum in America.

Williamsburg - Our Home Base

Our original plan was to spend the second half of the day at Colonial Williamsburg. With time running short, we decided to spend the rest of the afternoon exploring the shops at Merchant Square. The next morning, we were prompt with our arrival at the visitor center. We chose the single-day passes, which were $50 per person. These gave us access to the guided sites, trade shops, and performances. Colonial Williamsburg is available to view 24 hours a day, but the living history portion runs from 9 am to 5 pm. We knew it would be hot, but we were determined to see as much as possible.   

Lunch at King's Arm Tavern was like stepping back to the colonial period.

Colonial Eats

By the time lunch rolled around, we had made a big dent in visiting the trades and shops. Our heads were swimming with all of the colonial life information we had heard. We wanted to stay with the period, so we ducked into King’s Arm Tavern to check out their menu. The original version of this tavern opened in 1772. This recreation was attempted to stay as true to form, as possible. One notable addition was air-conditioning, which was a huge bonus in the hot summer weather. We lingered over our meal, as much to take in the ambiance as to prolong our delay back to the heat. 

Yorktown held our attention with tales from the last great battle of the American Revolution.

Visiting Yorktown

Our third and final day in the historic triangle would lead us east toward the coast. The first stop was the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown. Here we found an in-depth view of the fight for independence. Similar to Jamestown, this two-part site also features a living history portion. The museum, which is packed full of exhibits and artifacts, was our focus. Being fans of the movie “The Patriot”, we were eager to learn more about the final English stronghold in Virginia. 

Virginia Beach was a great escape to wrap up our Virginia visit.

Beach Adventure

After two and a half days of stuffing our heads with names and dates, we were ready for some R&R. There was no way we could be this close to the ocean and not make a visit. Virginia Beach was only an hour away, so we hightailed it east. Here’s where the hot weather worked to our advantage. It was a weekday, so crowds were thinner than usual at the beach. We soaked in the sun for a couple of hours, before deciding to see what we could find in the way of tourist traps. One block back from the beach we discovered an assortment of eateries, souvenir shops, and games. It was a perfect way to remind ourselves how much we were loving Virginia. 

The northern end of the Blue Ridge Parkway was another reason for us loving Virginia.

Blue Ridge Parkway

The next morning we packed the car and began meandering westward. We planned to double back the way we came but diverted when we came upon the northern end of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Our visit to Gatlinburg allowed us to see the southern start of this iconic roadway. Now we had a chance to explore the other end. (Someday we hope to drive the entire length.) We took our time cruising the parkway and pulled off frequently. When hunger hit, we exited and found Gertie’s,  a cute burger joint along the path back to the interstate. 

The authors enjoy a break from the road.

Loving Virginia

Our visit to Virginia may have only lasted a handful of days, but we created memories that will last our lifetime. While our country may not have the centuries of history found in other parts of the world, we have a closer connection with American history. We hope that you enjoy our memories of the region and will consider exploring it for yourselves someday. We believe you will be loving Virginia as much as we do. It has so much to offer visitors and we barely scratched the surface.  

2 thoughts on “Loving Virginia – Our First Taste Of Old Dominion”

  1. Carroll O'Neal

    Loved this adventure of yours. Your picture taking had some great poses. Looks like a great place to visit.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top