2284
Williamsburg (Virginia)
Biking through History: The Virginia Capital Trail and the Colonial Parkway
Bike along historic battlefields, settlements and Colonial Era landmarks as you learn about coastal Virginia, one of America’s oldest and most culturally significant regions.
Program No. 2284RJ
Length
6 days
Starts at
1,349
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6 days
5 nights
13 meals
5 B 4 L 4 D
Getting There
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DAY
1
Check-in, Registration, Intro to Yorktown, Orientation
Williamsburg
D
Williamsburg Hotel Historic District

Activity note: Hotel check-in from 4:00 p.m.

Afternoon: 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 your arrival is delayed, please ask for your packet when you check in. 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. A support van will accompany us on all rides throughout the program, unless specified otherwise. Participants are responsible for bringing their own helmet. Water bottles will be supplied. Free time is reserved for your personal independent exploration. Please be aware that program activities, schedules, and personnel 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.

Dinner: In our private dining area at the hotel, enjoy a dinner with choice of two entrées, a variety of sides changing each evening, with dessert plus coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: In our meeting room at the hotel, a local expert will tell us about the history of the quaint village of Yorktown that once was an important colonial port. We’ll consider the military operations that brought an end to the American Revolution and discuss how Washington, Lafayette, and the French allies found the perfect combination of forces to defeat Lord Cornwallis in the fields and earthworks along the York River. Continue getting to know your fellow participants, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead.

DAY
2
Road Rules, Colonial Parkway, Yorktown, VA Native Americans
Williamsburg
B,L,D
Williamsburg Hotel Historic District

Activity note: Biking about 25 miles along the Colonial Parkway, a winding, relatively light traffic byway paved in aggregate, also the Battlefield Tour roads. The roads are generally flat, but have some sections with gentle slopes; some steep hills going down to the waterfront village.

Breakfast: In our private dining area at the hotel, we’ll have a Southern home-style buffet featuring an egg dish, breakfast meats and breads, pastries, a variety of hot and cold cereals, fresh fruit, juices, milk, coffee, tea and water.

Morning: At the hotel, the professional biking staff will discuss helpful riding tips. Please note that a support van will be with the group during all rides in case anyone needs a break to rest. We will then review the Virginia Road Rules with the biking staff and prepare everyone for the ride with custom bike fittings and brief turns around the parking lot. Once all is ready, we will set out on our first ride to Yorktown via the Colonial Parkway on our bikes. Heading along a gently rolling, tree-shaded road, we’ll closely follow the routes of armies that were used in 2 different wars. Eventually our route will meet the York River and follow the river's southern shore past the Yorktown Naval Weapons Station where we may see ships loading or unloading at the docks. We will end at the earthworks around Yorktown that mark the decisive battle of the Revolution.

Lunch: En route, we’ll enjoy boxed lunches from a popular local eatery featuring a sandwich or wrap, pickle, dessert, and soft drink.

Afternoon: Then, we’ll bike over to Surrender Field where the British fifers played "The World Turned Upside Down" during the formal surrender ceremony that ended the Revolution. While here and at regular intervals along the Battlefield Tour Roads, our Group Leader will provide commentary to highlight key historical events. We’ll finish the afternoon following the 9-mile Battlefield Tour Roads and cycle through quaint Yorktown village down to the newly renovated waterfront. We’ll return to the hotel in the van.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: A guest speaker from Colonial Williamsburg’s Native American Initiative will join us at the hotel to introduce and elucidate cultural aspects of Virginia's native peoples. We’ll learn about the many different tribes inhabiting the Tidewater area and explore the complex societies in which they lived, their interdependence with the environment, and their adaptation to it. With this understanding, we’ll be able to face with them the challenges that came with the arrival of the first English settlers.

DAY
3
Colonial Visitor, Jamestown, Geological History
Williamsburg
B,L
Williamsburg Hotel Historic District

Activity note: Biking about 20 miles; mostly along the Colonial Parkway, a winding, relatively light traffic byway paved in aggregate. The road is generally flat, but has some sections with gentle slopes.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: At the hotel, we’ll enjoy the company of a 17th century gentlewoman as portrayed by a historical interpreter while she describes her life in the growing Virginia colony during a time of cultural refinement after the Indian uprising of 1620. Learn about her daily activities with the latest gossip about politics and local notables. Once all is ready, we will again set out on our bikes to Historic Jamestowne. This ride will follow the picturesque Colonial Parkway to Jamestown Island along the shores of the James River, the original "highway" sailed by the first colonists. We’ll stop at several pull-offs with historical markers to discover more details about life in early English America. The route will end at Historic Jamestowne, the actual site of the original 1607 fort, where we’ll independently explore the Visitor Center, observe archaeologists uncovering the remains of the fort and its buildings, and be amazed by the incredible artifacts recovered from the fort site as they are interpreted in the Archaearium Archeology Museum. We’ll finish our visit by biking around the Island Loop Road.

Lunch: In the picnic area on the island, we’ll have box lunches with sandwich, fruit, chips, cookie, and beverage. Note that the lunches will be available from the support van during the entire visit to Historic Jamestown. You may eat at any time convenient to you.

Afternoon: After our exploration and lunch, we will return to the hotel by your choice of van or bike. The rest of the afternoon is reserved for Free Time. 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. The bikes will be available for you to ride around the area.

Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Merchant’s Square, just beyond the Restored Area, contains a number of excellent restaurants with varied cuisine and is within walking or biking distance. Additional fine dining is available within easy driving distance.

Evening: At the hotel, we’ll be joined by an energetic retired geology professor who will explain the interaction of climate, geography, flora, fauna and human inhabitants of Tidewater Virginia. We’ll examine the evolution of the river over eons as the land mass of eastern North America rose and sank while considering the importance of the river and its resources to the various human populations that have inhabited the region.

DAY
4
VA Capital Trail, Berkeley Plantation, Colonial Music
Williamsburg
B,L,D
Williamsburg Hotel Historic District

Activity note: Biking about 30 miles; portions of the ride on the Capital Trail are specifically designed for biking; smooth pavement wide enough for passing, level to gently hilly; public roads paved in asphalt, rather narrow, winding, sometimes gently hilly.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We’ll begin the morning at the hotel with a presentation by an expert from the East Coast Greenway. The East Coast Greenway Alliance (ECGA) is the non-profit organization spearheading the development of the East Coast Greenway (ECG), a 3,000 mile trail route from Calais, Maine, to Key West, Florida. The ECG passes through 15 states, connects 25 major cities along the Eastern Seaboard, and creates a safe environment for active-transportation users of all ages and abilities in order to build a healthy and sustainable future. Based in Durham, NC, the ECGA also employs field staff in each of its four regions. The Alliance promotes the vision for connecting local trails to a continuous route, provides strategic assistance for states, counties, and municipalities that build local trail sections, officially designates trails as part of the ECG trail system, posts signage, and makes maps and guides to facilitate use of the Greenway. After class, we’ll set out on our longest ride of the week so far, a leisurely journey along the Virginia Capital Trail as it parallels the Route 5 Scenic Byway. The smoothly paved trail connects Virginia's 3 capitals of Jamestown, Williamsburg, and Richmond. Our ride today will include portions of the trail in James City and Charles City Counties.

Lunch: At the delightful Courthouse Grill in Charles City County, we’ll have a plated meal featuring local favorites including sandwiches, wraps, homemade chips, sweets with coffee, tea and water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: We’ll finish cycling this segment of the Virginia Capital Trail at historic Berkeley Plantation, the ancestral home of the Harrison family of Virginia that gave our country many early statesmen and 2 presidents. While here, we’ll have an expert-led look through the house before exploring the grounds independently. Afterwards, we’ll return to the hotel in Williamsburg by van.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: After a long day on the road, sit back to enjoy the talents of an accomplished musician in colonial dress as he introduces a variety of fascinating instruments typical of the Revolutionary era. Some will be familiar, but others may be quite a surprise.

DAY
5
VA Capital Trail, Richmond History, Intro to Williamsburg
Williamsburg
B,L,D
Williamsburg Hotel Historic District

Activity note: Biking about 25 miles; portions of the ride on the Capital Trail are specifically designed for biking; smooth pavement wide enough for passing, level to slightly hilly; urban roads paved in asphalt, partially on dedicated bike lanes.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: Transferring via van from the hotel to the Herring Creek Trailhead, we’ll begin today’s ride near yesterday’s stopping point on the Virginia Capital Trail. Continuing to pedal the Trail parallel to Route 5, we’ll head over slightly hillier terrain towards the Fall Line on the James River in Richmond. Our surroundings will gradually progress to become more urban as we approach Virginia’s modern capital city. The Fall Line is a geographic feature that stretches from New York to Georgia that was created by ancient geological friction in the age of Pangea. The 7 mile portion of the Fall Line over which the James River passes through Richmond sees a roughly 100 ft. difference in vertical elevation along this rocky granite “seam” that once frustrated early colonists traveling by boat.

Lunch: En route, we’ll enjoy boxed lunches prepared by a local restaurant. Meal includes a sandwich, chips, fruit and cookie, along with a choice of water or soft drinks.

Afternoon: We’ll finish the portion of our ride on the Virginia Capital Trail at Rocketts Landing where the trail ends. From there, we’ll continue along urban streets to the American Civil War Museum and Brown’s Island where museum staff will provide an introduction to the exhibits. The museum, housed in the historic Tredegar Gun Factory, includes extensive artifacts, an interactive film, hands-on activities, detailed timelines, and more. Take some time for independent exploration of the museum, island, and other nearby points of interest including the locks in the canal that lifted boats up over the geological obstacle known as the Fall Line. For those interested, museum staff will also lead an escorted walk around Brown’s Island during which we can learn about the Confederate States Laboratory, the nearby prisoner of war camp, and the evacuation fire at the end of the Civil War.

Dinner: At a nearby local restaurant, we will have a farewell dinner including a choice of entrée, sides, and dessert along with coffee, tea, and water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: During the return ride in the van to the hotel, a local expert will lead an introductory lecture about colonial and revolutionary Virginia with a special focus on Williamsburg. We’ll learn about the town’s history from its beginnings when the colonial capital moved from Jamestown to Middle Plantation and follow its growth through the 18th century to its height during the Revolution. Then, trace its decline due to the relocation 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 the vision of a local minister and the generosity of John D. Rockefeller, Jr., resulting in today’s treasure of colonial America. Be sure to prepare for check-out and departure in the morning.

DAY
6
Williamsburg, College of William & Mary, Program Concludes
Williamsburg
B

Activity note: Biking about 10 miles through the campus of the College of William & Mary and along some city streets; mostly level ground, gentle hills; vehicular and pedestrian traffic on some narrow streets.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: Right after breakfast, we will hop in our support vehicle and ride to Colonial Williamsburg for a casual narrated walk with our experienced Group Leader along Duke of Gloucester Street where we’ll learn about the government buildings, trade shops, gardens, and the lives of people from 18th century Williamsburg. After this stroll through the historic area, we’ll mount our bikes for a leisurely ride around some of the streets and by-ways of the town, as well as through the campus of the College of William & Mary. We’ll then return to the hotel. 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!