(C)  2002-2014 J. Watson       All rights reserved  
Travel Letters
 RV Travel notes from
      the traveling gran'ma and gran'pa
Vol 14  No 1&2 combined                                                                                                                                                       March-May, 2004

Colonial Williamsburg is a favorite so we try to get
there every year or so, especially in the spring.  
Each visit to the area is a refresher course in
American history – the first permanent North
American settlement by the Brits was in Jamestown
in 1607; and in Williamsburg the seeds of the
Revolutionary War were sown.  A highlight was a
tour of the Randolph house, which we had not seen
before.  Randolph headed the Continental
Congress.  Re-enactors, in period costumes, tell
the story of the home.  

Colonial Williamsburg is moving in this direction with
Dear Gals… Your guys …
Our grandchildren… our sisters

FIESTA KEY, FL; 2/24/04

Not much (actually nothing) to report.  As some of
you know, we got a late start to Florida this season
TV keeps informing us that up north it’s been
extremely cold.  That’s been the stimulus to
increasing tourism and has the Keys bursting at
the seams.  

It’s a busy season with
NO vacancy signs most
every place.  There has been some chilly weather,
low 60’s, and constant winds that have cut into the
swimming and fishing.  Some people on vacation
have left because they expected tropical breezes,
not 20-mph winds punctuated with gusts.  Don’t get
the wrong idea; it’s usually about the warmest part
of the continental US.  Sometimes it’s as much as
20 degrees warmer than even central Florida.  
There is no record of frost hitting this part of
Florida, which is south of Miami.

We’ve been enjoying early pre-dawn laps in the
heated pool, walking along routes that overlook the
ocean, working on-line to learn of the ancestors,
and the usual tourist things like watching sunsets.  

A couple of manatees explored the marina this
morning.  The one on the right is about ten feet
long.  Scars on the one to the left were from a boat
propeller.  Sorta ugly blobs, aren’t they?

This nearby key has the quaint Keys appearance,
which has become smothered by new houses and
condos on many other keys.  Persistent winds
continue to keep fishermen on shore, now over a
week.  Just so you understand, this is both
recreational fishing and commercial.  I heard of a
lobsterman who hadn’t been out to pull traps in ten
days – that means no income.  The birds have a
problem too, as they can’t see through the
turbulent water to dive for their dinner.  
On the way to Williamsburg we swung over to
Yorktown to view the battlefield.  We walked the
redoubts where the colonists defeated Cornwallis’
troops to end the Revolution.  Out from here is the
bay that opens to the ocean where Lafayette’s fleet
met the Brits and forced the British navy to turn tail
and head to New York to lick its wounds.  

The redcoats faced these canons of the colonists in Yorktown.  These
redoubts were later used by the Confederacy against Union troops.  

Lafayette’s blockade prevented the Brits from
reinforcing its land forces in Yorktown and as a
result the colonists were able to overwhelm the
enemy land forces.  This led to the surrender of the
Brits to Washington’s Army just a few days later and
eventually to the Treaty of Paris that formalized the
victory of the colonists.  The United States became
a reality.

Williamsburg gardens were grand.  It was a relaxing
visit with emphasis on ambling through the gardens
and revisiting those we most enjoyed.  Of course
we toured the Governor’s Palace, Capitol, Raleigh
Tavern and the William & Mary campus.  

W&M's Wren Building is the oldest academic building in the US
                                                      Elms grace the yard.  
                                 College classes are still held here.
Home, NC; 4/20/04

We returned home about two weeks ago and have
been on the go since then.  

This is a great time to be in the Wilmington area -
the azaleas burst out just as we arrived – about a
week later than usual.  The Azalea Festival was
held a week before the blossoms bloomed.  We
heard that owners of the homes included in the
garden tour took extreme measures to force their
plants, like warming them with electric heaters.  To
take it all in we drove around the city – Greenfield
Park was prime as were the many colorful

                  Dogwood trees contrast to the vivid azaleas
                                                   along Greenfield Lake

It’s been several years since we last toured Orton
Plantation.  This is a former rice plantation that was
started in the early 1700s by Roger Moore.  It’s a
beautiful place about 15 miles from our home.  It
fronts the Cape Fear River where rice was grown
well into the 1800s.  
(Orton Plantation was closed to the
public indefinitely in June, 2010)

   Visitors enjoy expansive gardens at Orton Plantation

Well, if Wilmington is prime then Colonial
Williamsburg, VA must be too.  True to form we
headed there.  

We enjoy strolling along Duke of Gloucester (DOG)
Street that stretches one mile from the Capitol
building to the Wren Building at the College of
William & Mary campus.  There are gardens along
the way.  Horse drawn carriages clatter along the
road and costumed workers contribute to the
colonial aura.  At this time of year there are families
here for the spring break as well as garden club
The Governor’s Palace gardens.  As tulips fade they are replaced.
Throughout the summer other colorful flowers are planted.
re-enactors adding an
insight to the colonial
period as they portray
gatherings at street
corners with Patrick
Henry, Jefferson, and
other notables of the day.  
Jefferson disputing England’s
imposition of taxes without
“DOG” Street is lined with small-restored shops and homes
Fife and drum corps parade
Down the street volleys are fired
The weather has been splendid for going to the
beach and picking up shells or just enjoying
watching the surf hit the beach.  You can tell we're
retired.  The river-walk at the downtown riverfront
is enjoyable.  From here we see the
USS North
and the courthouse you’ve seen on
enjoy the summer, y’all