First Landing State Park

April 3 – 6, 2017
Virginia Beach & Jamestown, Virginia
Currituck, North Carolina

Enjoying the beach at First Landing State Park.

First Landing State Park had a beautiful campground right on the Virginia Coast, very near (as the name would imply) the place where the voyageurs of the Virginia Company first set foot on American soil in 1607.  We’ve had the opportunity to enjoy several different beaches on this journey already, and each one has it’s own unique personality.  The shores here were lovely, but cool and windy since it was April.  There were interesting treasures to find in the sand, like bright blue & red crab legs, but the weather made it difficult to spend too much time on the beach at one time.  The visitors’ center had neat educational backpacks that could be checked out.  We borrowed one that had materials about the Colonial Americans to read through while we were at the park.

The educational backpack included an electronic bird song identifier. Sunny immediately became a bird-watcher, keeping us updated on every bird she saw. The girls were very disappointed however, that playing the bird call sounds did not summon the beach birds to us. (It wasn’t for lack of trying.)
She was little Miss Audubon for about 3 days.
Beach treasures. I thought these blue crabs looked very patriotic.


Checking out the exhibits at First Landing State Park visitors’ center.
John Smith & the Powhatan chief. It all started out so well…



We couldn’t resist taking advantage of the windy beach one day to fly our kites again!
Kite master
We’d never had kites before this trip, so the girls are still totally delighted by these chances to fly them. (Although we nearly lost them to the wind several times on this day!) It was picture perfect….at least in the pictures.
We found some wind shelters on the beach. We didn’t build them…but we used them!
Flying her kite from the comfort of this wind break.
Coral getting the most out of this day.
This is me getting the most out of this day. (Did I mention it was cool & windy)
All beaches may be different, but the one thing they all have in common….sand for throwing!! (Even though it’s Mom’s #1 rule on the beach to NOT THROW THE FLIPPIN’ SAND!)  Whatever…I’ll just wrap my face in this towel.

One evening we were able to drive south to visit Brad’s Gramma in Currituck, NC.  We enjoyed getting to see her place in North Carolina, since we hadn’t visited her since her move from Ohio.  She has guest quarters in her backyard that are built like a lighthouse!  We had fun exploring the tiny, unusual living space.  Then the girls delighted themselves with playing and rolling around in the lush green grass of the front yard while we sat on the porch to chat awhile.  The girls also enjoyed looking at Gramma’s gnome collection as each one was hiding a penny somewhere on their body and reading the new books she’d picked out for them.

Exploring the lighthouse/guesthouse.
We didn’t stay in the guest house, but it was quite an interesting place!
Guesthouse stairs.
Gramma and her lighthouse.

One day the girls and I went north to the Jamestown Settlement.  The attraction has 3 major areas that they have built as replicas of the original area – a Powhatan Village, the Jamestown Fort, and the Virginia Company ship, Discovery.  We have been reading an American History book to prepare for visiting this part of the country, but it was fun to learn a lot more about some of the things that we had been reading.  The Jamestown Settlement agreed with the history book that we’ve been reading that the Pocahontas story is quite different from the Disney version.  Pocahontas was only a child when John Smith and his men explored and mapped the area.  Years later in England, John Smith did write about the girl saving his life from her father, but it’s unclear whether this is an accurate account, a dramatic ritual that was being performed that was never endangering Smith’s life, or if he just fabricated the entire story to make his adventures sound more amazing.  (From many of the old accounts it sounds like he wasn’t exactly a peach.)  Either way, Pocahontas really was the daughter of the Powhatan chief, but she married an English guy named John Rolfe, went back to England with him to be an ambassador for the Native Americans, promptly contracted some new-fangled English disease like smallpox, and died.

I wasn’t quite sure if this woman was supposed to be part of the Powhatan Village or if she was just doing yard work, but she did have on the Powhatan leather dress. The girls were so happy to weed this garden with her, and even though I rushed them onward to see the whole place in our limited time, Coral begged the entire time we were exploring to “go back to weed the garden!”. When she journaled about this place later, it was her highlight of the day.
Trying their hand at grinding corn in the Powhatan Village.
Learning about pottery making.
Learning about how they processed the deer skins to make dresses and other leather goods.
Here they learned about how the Powhatan used stones to make tools.
Checking out the Powhatan housing.
Coral processing the corn silks to make rope.
The girls got to try their hand at scraping the hair off of deer skins with oyster shells.
Musket demonstration at the Jamestown Fort.
This guy told us to buy a copy of Disney’s Pocahontas and throw it in the trash can. Then he told us how you pull bullets out of a patient if it’s REALLY STUCK. He had all sorts of interesting and gruesome tricks in this doctor’s bag.
One of the townsfolk told me after I took this photo that she had it on backwards. But who can be too concerned with battle safety when you’re this adorable?
Jamestown Church
The Discovery
Chit chat with one of the sailors.
The actors were very friendly and full of interesting information. My girls were more interested in the giant ropes than what they had to say, though.

From the shores of our campground we could see an expansive bridge that left the mainland and went out into the distance towards the eastern shores of the state, so far away that the other end was out of sight.  “Doesn’t it look like the bridge disappears?” one of us noticed on the first day.  “Yes….it does!! The boats are going over the top of it!”  We were delighted to learn that the Chesapeake Bridge-Tunnel-Bridge was our route out of town.  The girls were bursting with questions and anticipation for this drive for the duration of our stay here.  I was excited too, but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit I was a bit nervous as well.  I think our camper was about 7 inches shorter than the maximum clearance.  Sunny was very disappointed to learn that we wouldn’t be able to see fish swimming all around us as we drove.


The final sunset on another great stop on this journey.

We woke up early on the day of our departure to try to outrun the tornado warnings and forecasted thunderstorms.  Since getting from the mainland over the Chesapeake Bay required crossing the 13-mile bridge-tunnel-bridge-tunnel-bridge, and they don’t allow RV’s on the bridge when winds exceed 40mph, we paid our $22.00 toll and got out of Dodge long before the storms arrived on Virginia’s shores.

The Chesapeake – USA’s largest bay – from the middle of it.
Going into one of the tunnels to pull our home under the Chesapeake.  A giant red ship was going right over the top of us.
Per Coral’s request, we listened to “Under the Sea” as we drove both tunnels.

1 Comment

  1. Grandma says: Reply

    Wow! What awesome adventures.. on land and sea and under the sea!

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