Posted by: Mary | October 30, 2012

Historic Yorktown

Originally published on my private blog on February 28, 2010

On the fourth day of our trip to historic Virginia, we set out to visit the Yorktown Victory Center and the Yorktown National Battlefield, the site of the last major battle of the Revolutionary War. The Victory center was a great museum of the history of the Revolutionary War up through the adoption of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. It was worth spending a couple of hours and watching the brief video.

Outside, there was a replica of a military camp. Staff in period dress answered questions and made presentations about the doctor’s tent, cooking food, women and Native Americans who followed the camp to handle laundry, etc and a demonstration of firing a rifle.  There’s also a replica of a farm from the period, showing how Americans lived during the period around the Revolutionary War.

By the time we finished at the Victory Center, we were hungry and headed to the nearby Yorktown Pub. We had a great view of the York River and after lunch, we walked out for a few photos on the most historic beach in America. It’s hard to believe that so many ships were sunk in that river and remain there today.

Our last stop was the Yorktown National Battlefield, where we took a guided tour by a park ranger who really loves his job and was very enthusiastic about telling the story of the Battle of Yorktown. He really brought history to life and we made it through an hour in the cold and wind without hardly noticing. I’d highly recommend that anyone visiting take advantage of the ranger tour, as you will get so much more out of the visit than you would if you make the trip on your own.  When the ranger was finished, we had just enough time to drive through the battlefield route to see some of the sights, but not enough time before the sun set to take the audio guide tour in our car.

For those really interested in history, I’d suggest breaking up these sites over two days so that you can do the audio guide car tour to make the most of your trip.  Tickets are good for seven consecutive days and there are multiple passes available that include combinations of Jamestown, Yorktown and Williamsburg over seven days.  We made this trip with our nearly 15-year-old niece and four straight days of history was as much as she could handle, but if you are taking kids and have more time, breaking up the sites over a week would work well.

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