Saturday, 23 October 2010

Day 57 – Settle In Jimmytown? We’ll Take Wilmington Instead!

Joe left me snoozing in bed this morning while he went to get the oil changed on the car (that’s oil change number three if you’re keeping count). I didn’t sleep great last night, so it’s just as well I got a little extra. One of the reasons for my restless night was the hotel; on the road you get used to the fact that--bizarrely--hotels will give you a double room instead of a king, this means we either have to squeeze into one of the two tiny beds or sleep in separate ones. Tough choice…

The rest of our morning was spent in Historic Jamestown. It’s the site of the first English settlement in America and it’s now run by our friend, the National Parks Service. Due to our smart pre-trip investment of an annual National Parks pass, our entrance fee was covered. This was a good thing too as we’re not sure we would have got our money’s worth on this one. After starting out in their small visitor’s center it was just a short walk to the seafront where the pilgrims settled.
Historic Jamestown works more as an archaeological dig area than a tourist trap. In one part you walk through patches of grass and geese to look at brick outlines of buildings you have to imagine for yourself. They do have a partly built house leftover, the Ambler House, but even that didn’t really ‘wow’ us.
It just felt like there wasn’t anything to look at until you get to the fort section. This has a little more to keep visitors interested. There’s a lovely mini church that is almost authentic – at least the base bricks are. Its home to a knights gravestone and was the third church in Jamestown.
Other than that there’s a nice statue of John Smith, a well known pilgrim, whose name is now more synonymous with being the western world’s most common name. Who doesn’t know a John or a Smith?? The ‘dig’ side of things is basically just holes in the ground and the cemetery was somewhat vague. They do have a sweet Pocahontas statue though, but I think I prefer both, her and John Smith’s, mythical story ala Disney rather than the realities we discovered today. Sometimes it is better to romanticise history I guess!
Disappointed with Historic Jamestown, we popped next door to what appears to be a competing – less official – attraction: the Jamestown Settlement. We only had a short time to visit and balked at the $14 entrance fee as it didn’t appear to offer anything different than we’d already seen! Therefore our time there was confined to the restrooms and the gift shop; which was probably more entertaining than both sites combined…
We’d planned to stay in Williamsburg for two nights, but had a last minute change of heart to make more of our time in the Carolinas (good choice considering yesterday’s sleeping situation!). We were going to stiff the Carolinas with an eight hour drive straight through, but felt we weren’t paying them their dues, so today we split up the journey by heading to state number 37, North Carolina. This started with our GPS sending us on an unexpected ferry ride, where I was able to get up-close and personal with some seagulls!

Turns out our decision was the right one as I got to fulfil a teenage dream of mine – visiting Wilmington, NC. As well as being a cute marina town (that includes a comfy big bed for the night), my reason for choosing this as our base was because a classic 90’s teen-angst show was filmed here: Dawson’s Creek.
If you were like me and spent your awkward youth years hooked on the antics of Dawson, Pacey, Joey & Jen then you will get why staying here geeked me out!! I dragged Joe around and thanks to the blessings of the internet we were able to find the exterior of the bar used in place of the Ice House Restaurant and the marshes where the opening credits were filmed. Young Me was very pleased…Old Joe was less so…
So, until tomorrow…
Ani

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