Didn’t Know Much About History (Exploring Virginia)

dismal swamp 3We were welcomed to Virginia by a sign along the Great Dismal Swamp, a narrow and shallow swath of water cut through a piece of property formerly owned (and surveyed) by George Washington himself.   The Great Dismal Swamp has trees overhanging on both sides and was so narrow in some parts we had to make sure our mast didn’t hit any of the trees overhead as we passed by.







Because the swamp is between two locks, the depth is controlled at about 6 feet.  Our boat extends 5 feet 2 inches below the water and we bumped logs sticking up from the bottom several times.







Dismal SwampThe scenery was absolutely beautiful but the yellow flies (only around the time of year we passed through) were horrendous.  We were itching for weeks.  After safely avoiding Hurricane Arthur and locking through the second lock, we made our way up to Norfolk, Virginia. As we had been making our way up the East Coast, we had been learning a lot about American history.  Fortunately for Dante, his grade in school (5th) is the year to study American history.  Fortunately for me and Darold, we tagged along this learning journey and were amazed to find out how much we did NOT know!







Norfolk and its surrounding area was a super triple dose of American history and we loved it.  We stayed 10 days in the terrific anchorage on the Elizabeth River between Portsmouth and Norfolk, and rented a car for a portion of that time to explore the surrounding areas.  Go ahead – ask any one of us a question about the Colonies, American Revolution, War of 1812 or Civil War!





Norfolk anchorageWhen we were anchored, we saw a fantastic Fourth of July fireworks show over the city of Norfolk.  There were about 40 boats anchored around us during the show, but they all left afterwards and we had the anchorages almost to ourselves the rest of our stay.






NorfolkIf there is one complaint we have, it’s that we simply didn’t have enough time to see all that there was to see.  Our favorite maritime museum was the Mariner’s Museum in Newport News.  The museum is also a laboratory where they are restoring the USS Monitor, the first armored war ship from the Civil War. We could have spent days there.







yorktownWe also loved exploring around Jamestown, Yorktown and Colonial Williamsburg.  Before going to Williamsburg I’d never heard a complete reading of the Declaration of Independence.     Even if our country doesn’t always get everything right in execution, the ideas upon which we were founded are truly inspirational.








mt vernon 2Another favorite was Mount Vernon.  It was so surreal to be able to sail up the Potomac, anchor within sight of George’s house, and then take the dinghy over to the dock to pay our respects.  Since George Washington’s death, it’s also a tradition to ring your ship’s bell as you pass Mount Vernon on the Potomac.  Needless to say, we dusted off our ship’s bell and paid homage to the man, whose legacy is that he could have been king but thought better of it.  Good job, George.







To see more pictures of our adventures around Virginia, go to these links:

Great Dismal Swamp: https://www.flickr.com/photos/easethemain/sets/72157645970747046/

Norfolk: https://www.flickr.com/photos/easethemain/sets/72157645971154166/

Chesapeake Bay: https://www.flickr.com/photos/easethemain/sets/72157646017315212/

Mount Vernon: https://www.flickr.com/photos/easethemain/sets/72157646028134425/

Colonial Triangle (Yorktown, Jamestown, Williamsburg): https://www.flickr.com/photos/easethemain/sets/72157646017315262/

Newport News Maritime Museum: https://www.flickr.com/photos/easethemain/sets/72157646017315282/.

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