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