For our final day in the area we planned to visit Jamestown then drive around Yorktown. At Jamestown we first visited Historic Jamestowne which is run by the National Parks and an Association for preserving historic Virginia. As usual, the tour by the National Parks representative was entertaining and informative. Colonists sent by a private, profit seeking company first settled this area in 1607.
They thought they had chosen a great spot - deep harbour on the river, lots of timber, friendly Indians but they soon discovered that the nearby swamps caused lots of illnesses and the colony's population plummeted in the first year. The company kept sending replacements! After a while the Indians weren't so friendly which resulted in more deaths - all told a very unpleasant experience for most. Fortunately John Rolfe, who married Pocahontas, managed to grow a popular flavour of tobacco which improved the situation. Then King James decided he'd take over responsibility for the settlement and suggested the Company declare bankruptcy. The settlement struggled on until some decided to move the capital to Williamsburg. Those who weren't initially in favour of this plan changed their mind when most of Jamestown was burnt. Archaeologists are excavating the area and learning more about the settlement. We saw some of them carefully scraping dirt away in a cellar where they have already found two fireplaces - but they don't yet know what they were used for.
We moved on to the Jamestown Settlement, which was built quite a while ago to represent the original settlement. Again people dressed in the 1610 - 1624 period explained about their life. The highlight was the firing of a cannon - we were told to cover our ears and open our mouths when it was ignited. Yes it was loud.
There were rooms of informative displays but by this time it was 17:00 - closing time so time to head back to Hampton and no time to revisit Yorktown. But, that's fine - our philosophy is to spend the time we want to at places rather than visit, too quickly, all the places on our wish list.