Tag Archives: sightseeing

2019 – Sightseeing Battleship Wisconsin, Norfolk, VA

We had a beautiful day for our tour of the USS Wisconsin, at Norfolk, VA. She was commissioned April 16, 1944 and served until September 30, 1991 – the last serving American Battleship. This historic ship served in World War II, Korea and Desert Storm. We did the self guided tour. The main deck immediately caught my eye because it was so smooth and clean. A volunteer told me that when it was teak wood laid on the steel deck. The weapons area was interesting especially the 16 inch guns and the missile decks. Several of the missiles that were fired at the beginning of Desert Storm were fired from those positions. I liked seeing the officers country and crew berthing; also the Galley and Mess. One thing that the older Battleships had was a designated head (toilet) for women who were visiting as there were no women assigned to this ship. The Wisconsin was an amazing floating city with all the spiritual, physical and medical needs of the men taken care of onboard.

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2019 – Sightseeing Berkeley Plantation, VA

I enjoyed touring the Berkeley Plantation on the North Bank of the James River, not far from Richmond, VA. In 1619 a group of settlers came here. The first thing they did was kneel and give thanks for a safe journey, declaring that a day of Thanksgiving would be observed here annually. There is a shrine down by the river as a memorial to this act of thanksgiving.

After an Indian uprising the plantation was abandoned for a time and through the years different people owned the land. In 1726 a two story mansion overlooking the James River was built by Benjamin Harrison IV. His son Benjamin Harrison V, who would be one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence and governor of Virginia, was born here. His son, William Henry Harrison, was also born here. He became the 9th President of the United States (his grandson was the 23rd President). The farm changed hands several times through the years and suffered bankruptcy twice.

During the Civil War Union troops occupied Berkeley and President Lincoln came twice to meet with General McClellan. It was here that “taps” was composed and first played. The bugle first used to pay taps is on display.

In 1905 Malcolm Jamieson inherited the property. He and his wife restored the main house for his family to live in. In the 1960s the ground floor of the mansion was restored to its 1700’s splendor and opened for public tours. It is furnished with period pieces of furniture, replicas of paintings, and in the basement there are artifacts from the era. The two side houses are partially open to the public. One is the gift shop and the other is a kitchen.

There are gardens to walk through, a “taps” memorial, a Thanksgiving memorial, and a road that goes past the cemetery and down to the river. Benjamin Harrison V is buried in the Jamieson family cemetery.

I enjoyed our tour of Berkeley and the narrative of our tour guide.

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2019 – Sightseeing Jamestown Settlement – Williamsburg, VA

This is our second trip to this area of the country and we decided to visit Jamestowne Settlement and galleries. Our visit began with a short movie telling how the colonists came to this spot and also some of the history of the early days of the colony. From there we headed out to the villages. First we came to the Indian village where there were docents dressed as Indians explaining their way of life. We walked through the lodges seeing how they lived.

From there we walked a short distance to visit James Fort with it’s cannon emplacements, replica buildings, and “residents” who were happy to chat with us about life there. The guard house was where soldiers reported on arrival and got their armor, sword, musket and bandolier of gunpowder. The docent demonstrated how a musket was loaded and fired. Other buildings in the Fort included one for gunpowder, a storehouse with tobacco hanging in the rafters along with rope and barrels of provisions. The largest building was a church with bells, benches, a confessional, and altar in the front.

We continued on to the ships at dock that are replicas of the original ones that carried the people to Jamestowne. They were small considering how far they came and the number of people and supplies they brought. The docents talked about the ship and answered questions.

We also spent time looking through the very nice museum, learning more about the people who came to the New World. I enjoyed our visit to Jamestown Settlement and recommend it to all.

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