2011
Williamsburg (Virginia)
Colonial and Revolutionary Virginia: Jamestown, Williamsburg, Yorktown
Immerse yourself in historic Virginia with scholars, instructors and historians as you explore Colonial Era history from the founding of Jamestown to the end of the Revolutionary War.
Rating (4.75)
Program No. 2011RJ
Length
7 days
Starts at
949
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7 days
6 nights
16 meals
6 B 5 L 5 D
Getting There
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DAY
1
Introduction to Williamsburg / Welcome Dinner / Orientation
Williamsburg
D
Williamsburg Hotel Historic District

Afternoon: Hotel Check-in: Available from 4:00 p.m. Program Registration: After you have your room assignment, come over to the Road Scholar table to register with the program staff and get your welcome packet containing your name-tag, up-to-date schedule that reflects any last-minute changes, and other important information. If you arrive late, please ask for your packet when you check in. We begin our immersion in colonial and revolutionary Virginia with an expert presentation on Williamsburg. Learn about the town’s history from its beginnings when the colonial capital moved from Jamestown to Middle Plantation. Follow its growth through the 18th century to its height during the Revolution. Then trace its decline with the removal of the capital to Richmond, leaving little more than the College and the hospital for the insane. Finally gain an appreciation for its phoenix-like rise in the early 20th century thanks to vision of a local minister and the generosity of John D. Rockefeller, Jr., resulting in today’s treasure of colonial American interpretation.

Dinner: In our private dining area at the hotel, enjoy a supper with two entrées such as chicken piccata, beef stir fry, lasagna, or pan-seared tilapia, and sides including red bliss potatoes, vegetable medley, baked sweet potato, with dessert plus coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: Orientation: The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the program theme, the up-to-date daily schedule and any changes, discuss safety guidelines, emergency procedures, roles and responsibilities, and answer any questions you may have. Indicated times are approximate; program activities and schedules may need to change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. We have set aside some free time in the schedule for your personal independent exploration. The Group Leader will often be available during free time to accompany informal excursions, activities, or meals that have been excluded from the program cost. You are welcome to join if you like, with any associated costs on your own. Continue getting to know your fellow participants, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead.

DAY
2
Jamestown Rediscovery, Historic Jamestowne, Native Peoples
Williamsburg
B,L,D
Williamsburg Hotel Historic District

Activity note: This program includes significant physical activity. Today's field trip includes an extended walk of nearly a mile round trip; slightly rolling terrain, paved and gravel paths; quite a bit of standing, few resting places. Those who are concerned about the physical challenges can remain in the Visitor Center that offers both detailed exhibits and a fascinating "in the round" video of the Jamestown story. The dig site is about half way on the walk and the Archaearium is at the far end.

Breakfast: In our private dining area, start the day with a breakfast buffet offering choices such as scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, grits, oatmeal with toppings, biscuits and gravy, hash browns, cinnamon apples, seasonal fruit, assorted cold cereals with milk, bagels with toppings, bread for toast, and juices plus coffee, tea, water.

Morning: In an illustrated two-part presentation, an expert associated with Historic Jamestowne provides a fascinating, in-depth look at the incredible Jamestown Rediscovery Project that has been underway for more than 20 years. The site — where the first English settlers built a fort to establish a permanent settlement in North America — was long thought lost to erosion by the James River, but through the perseverance of a dedicated team of archaeologists it has slowly been revealing its incredible secrets. After a morning of classes, depart via motor coach for Historic Jamestowne.

Lunch: Enjoy lunch with your group onsite at Historic Jamestowne.

Afternoon: We begin our afternoon at the Visitor Center, where you can see a film and exhibits later on your own. Then, led by an expert, we will explore the site of the original fort and view the area now under investigation by archaeologists. Depending on the season, you may see members of the team actively working at the dig. Pass through the church tower — all that remains of the 17th century building — and sit in the cool interior of the reconstructed church. Gaze out over the James River and imagine the three small ships bobbing at anchor on the broad waterway. You will also have time to see many of the artifacts uncovered at the dig and exhibited in the architecturally unique Archaearium, with a "see-through" floor that lets you view the foundation of the 17th century statehouse.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: In our hotel classroom, we will learn about Colonial Williamsburg's native peoples with an expert speaker, tracing the interactions of Indians with the government and settlers of early Virginia. Learn about the many different tribes with whom the colonists interacted as they moved farther and farther into the wilderness. Investigate the changing roles of the tribes as they negotiated not only with encroaching settlers, but also with other Indian groups, and as war approached, with the competing factions among the colonists.

DAY
3
Slavery, 17th Century Lady, Jamestown Settlement
Williamsburg
B,L,D
Williamsburg Hotel Historic District

Activity note: The Settlement field trip includes an extended walk of nearly a mile down and back up a gently sloping hill. Those who wish can board one of the reconstructed ships via a gangway and investigate the decks by climbing steep, narrow stairs. Anyone preferring a less active experience can explore extensive galleries in the indoor museum; special exhibits on the second floor can be reached by elevator.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Our first session today focuses on slavery in the 18th century. With a noted expert, we will examine the evolution of slavery from its introduction in the 17th century, from a form of indentured servitude to lifelong bondage. We will also consider the impact of the “peculiar institution” on families black and white, cultural influences brought to America from Africa, attitudes toward race in the colonial era including changes in laws that reflected and institutionalized the status of Africans in Virginia, and other facets of the lives of both masters and slaves. What better way to experience a different time than to meet someone who lived then? We will next engage in a conversation with a lady of the 17th Century, personified by a talented and knowledgeable costumed interpreter. You will quickly begin to feel that you are truly in the presence of an early colonist as she shares tales of triumphs, tragedies, and the mundane activities of daily life. Be prepared to share your own travel adventures and why you would have emigrated to this new colony on the edge of wilderness.

Lunch: At the hotel.

Afternoon: Following up on our Historic Jamestowne field trip, we’ll explore the adjacent Jamestown Settlement museum and its re-created early colonial environment. Here you will have opportunities to investigate exciting interactive exhibits in the newly renovated museum, stroll through a village of Eastern Woodland Indians, talk with “settlers” in the fort, and walk the decks of the three ships (replicas) that brought the first adventurers to Virginia in May of 1607. These reconstructed venues provide a colorful, compelling look at life in the early 17th century, illustrating the story you saw previously in artifacts and outlines at Historic Jamestown. You will have some free time at your own pace to see what interests you most, whether special exhibits, short films, or chatting with interpreters around the site.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: At leisure. Feel free to relax, spend time with new Road Scholar friends, or check out available activities from the information in your preparatory materials. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions.

DAY
4
Then & Now, W&M Organ Concert, Col Wmsburg, Afro-Am. Music
Williamsburg
B,L,D
Williamsburg Hotel Historic District

Activity note: The Historic Area walk is about 1-1/2 miles in one direction with a good deal of standing; few opportunities for rest stops; level, pebbled streets, occasional benches along the way. For anyone concerned about the physical challenges, there is a bus available about half-way that stops a short block from the College.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: As preparation for our extensive walking field trip, we will have an expert presentation highlighted by archival slides on Williamsburg before and after what is lovingly called the Restoration. The presenter herself grew up in the old town and lived through the amazing transformation that took place in the mid-20th century. She will discuss the physical changes that took place as well as the attitudes and reactions of locals. Learn more about the reinvention of Virginia’s old colonial capital from the Great Depression through World War II, the involvement and generosity of John D. Rockefeller, Jr., and the town’s continuing evolution.

Lunch: At the hotel.

Afternoon: Before leaving for the Restored Area, we will take a detailed look at the Historical Triangle of colonial and revolutionary Tidewater Virginia: Jamestown, Williamsburg, Yorktown. With our expert, we will trace developments from rude beginnings on a swampy island to full flowering in the 18th century and the victory of a new nation on battlefields around the little village of Yorktown. Our field trip will begin at the east end of the historic town, from which we will stroll down historic Duke of Gloucester Street, heart of Colonial Williamsburg. This walk will highlight some of the most interesting features of the Restored Area, including the reconstructed Capitol, Governor's Palace, homes, and tradesmen's shops. We will also view gardens, urban plantations, and even the Public Gaol (jail) for a thorough overview to guide your personal independent exploration on Day Five. The College of William and Mary is adjacent to Colonial Williamsburg. The last stop of the afternoon is the college’s Wren Building, oldest continuously used academic building in the country, built before the town existed, and the first building to be restored during the Restoration. Sit on the hard benches as the early students did and learn about a university education in the 18th century. We will finish with a visit to the Wren Chapel for a concert of period music on its 18th century pipe organ, one of the four oldest in the U.S., with an opportunity to learn about the instrument.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: We gather for an evening of African-American music and storytelling. With a talented singer/storyteller, take a sweeping journey through several centuries of African-American cultural tradition as it evolves from its roots in Africa through transformation during years of indentured servitude and slavery to emancipation during the Civil War.

DAY
5
Historic Triangle, Col. Music, Tavern lunch
Williamsburg
B,L
Williamsburg Hotel Historic District

Activity note: The guided walk from the hotel to Shield's Tavern is about 1/3 of a mile on paved and gravel paths with one large intersection to negotiate. During the afternoon free time, participants can walk as little or as much as they want in the Restored Area.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We continue our detailed examination of colonial and revolutionary Jamestown, Williamsburg, and Yorktown with opportunities for Q&A with our local expert. Next, enjoy the talents of an accomplished musician as he introduces a variety of fascinating instruments typical of the Revolutionary era. Some will be familiar, but others may be quite a surprise.

Lunch: In the colonial era, public houses were gathering places for residents and travelers. Enter into the ambiance of Shields Tavern (1745). Though the building has been reconstructed, the atmosphere — though not the contemporary menu — is similar to what patrons such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Patrick Henry would have known. Strolling musicians and personalities from the past enhance the experience.

Afternoon: Free Afternoon. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions. With your Colonial Williamsburg pass, you can independently explore what appeals to you most in the town. The Restored Area is approximately a quarter-mile from the hotel, a walk past fenced fields where horses and oxen often graze. At the Colonial Williamsburg Visitor Center, accessible by shuttle, you can view the classic film “Story of a Patriot.” You are also free to visit other sites in the area on your own, or simply relax.

Dinner: This meal has been excluded from your program cost to explore the local fare on your own or with new friends.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
6
Yorktown & Revolutionary War, Yorktown Battlefield & Museums
Williamsburg
B,L,D
Williamsburg Hotel Historic District

Activity note: Walking along the Yorktown earthworks requires balance and stamina because of the steep sides of the works. Those concerned about the physical challenges can explore the Visitor Center galleries until the group returns. The walk at Surrender Field is about half a mile round-trip. The American Revolution Museum is fully accessible, but the grounds include some hilly areas and rough paths.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: In an extended two-part class, receive an introduction to the course of the Revolutionary War in the Tidewater area, thereby setting the stage for our field trip to Yorktown. Hear from a military expert about army life and maneuvers during the war. Explore Washington's campaign, coordinated with movements of the French fleet, that trapped British Lord Cornwallis at Yorktown, leading to his surrender and eventually to American independence.

Lunch: At the hotel.

Afternoon: Our Yorktown field trips begin at the Visitor Center with an introductory film, “The Siege of Yorktown” and exhibits that focus on various aspects of the campaign that ended the Revolutionary War. Next, we board a bus and head to the battlefield where climactic events of 1781 unfolded. We will be able to get out and walk around for a closer look at siege lines to visualize the opposing forces facing off. At Surrender Field, imagine the defeated British turning over their arms to the victorious American and French forces as their military band (allegedly) played “The World Turned Upside Down” — surely an understatement as far as Lord Cornwallis was concerned! From the battlefield, we move on to the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown, with many period artifacts, immersive experiences, dioramas, interactive exhibits, and short films. We finish our field trip at a recreated 1780s farm, complete with a house, kitchen, tobacco barn, crop fields, and herb and vegetable garden.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: Enjoy another delightful costumed interpreter as a Woman of the Town of York, Martha Goosley. Mrs. Goosley will entertain you with tales of life in the busy port village, the impact of the revolutionary crisis, and the challenges to an independent woman.

DAY
7
Women's Roles, 18th Century Virginia Cookery
Williamsburg
B

Activity note: Hotel check-out is by 11:00 a.m.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We will examine the status of women in the colonial era, very different than it is today, and not just because they could not vote. Explore the "sphere" in which 18th century women of all classes and colors were expected to function, centered on home and family. Learn about women's legal standing and how some enterprising ladies found ways around the restrictions of their time. Then bring the week to a delicious end with a session on 18th century Virginia cookery. Learn about methods of early American cooking and participate in the preparation of a delightful treat. During the demonstration you will also learn about the roles of women and slaves in food gathering and preparation on the colonial plantation. This concludes our program. We hope you enjoy all your Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. We encourage you to join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures. Best wishes for all your journeys!