Jamestown Settlement and the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown

History is fun in Virginia!

American History might only go back a few hundred years, but amazingly it is still alive and well at the Jamestown Settlement and the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown. These two locations give new life to the pages of your school textbooks. There, you can see what the days were like for the early colonists in Jamestown, then travel to the nearby American Revolution Museum and compare their experiences to those of families and soldiers a century later. Both are pivotal times in the development of our country and you don’t want to miss out on either experience. Take a day and spend it at these two great locations.

America’s first permanent English colony, the Jamestown Settlement, is an opportunity to embrace the experience of the early colonists. Living history reenactments of a Powhatan Indian village, climbing on board the recreated English ships, and a colonial fort immerse visitors in the sights, sounds, and even smells of daily life in the early 17th century. The interaction continues, and you can watch demonstrations and ask questions of the ‘costumed historical interpreters’ (the official job title of the reenactors).

Exhibits and galleries display artifacts and tell the story of European colonization. The impact of settlements like Jamestown on the local Powhatan Indians is a fascinating topic to investigate. There is also information on the first Africans known to come to Virginia. The cultures of three continents coming together is an amazing look into the origins of America. The documentary they show, 1607: A Nation Takes Root, starts your journey into the past. From there families, can enjoy time spent learning just how different life would be if they were born 400 years ago.

The American Revolution Museum at Yorktown ramps up the action. The dramatic events of the Revolution can be seen throughout the museum galleries or on the 180-degree surround screen film. Visitors can watch “The Siege of Yorktown” then go on to tour and compare it to the modern day city.  Kids will love all of the activities at the Continental Army encampment and the recreated 18th century farm. Join the American regiment for drills or watch artillery fire while chatting with soldiers. This and so much more is embodied with the American Revolution Museum’s living history exhibits.

Both the Jamestown Settlement and the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown will wow history lovers and get kids excited about learning. Set aside at least four hours to enjoy everything they have to offer. There are even specials available if you decide to visit both on your trip. Make it a historic day in Virginia and visit the Jamestown Settlement and the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown.

Coming up shortly is the yearly event Military Through the Ages, Jamestown Settlement – Military re-enactors and modern-day units show how uniforms, weapons, and military tactics evolved through the centuries. You can see this impressive display of armed forces from March 17-18- any history or military enthusiast will have a blast (pun intended). There are live  re-stagings, weapons and ammunitions use, reenactments of battles, and more. Some of the costumed re-enactors tell stories, give lessons, and help kids make crafts, “weapons” of their own, battle flags, instruments, learn to lead (or take part in) battles, parades, cook on open fires, explain how life was in his or her time period- the list goes on and on. Explore (recreations of) boats that once sailed the open seas- and how cramped the quarters were for sailors and settlers. Make sure you visit the recreated Native American village to get to know a bit about the people of the Powhatan Tribe.  There is so much to do during the Military Through the Ages event, there is no way to get it all done. It is one of the most fun learning experiences you will have with your children- just don’t tell them how much they will learn. 

Check out their websites for more details, tickets, and times.

Jamestown Settlement – Site

American Revolution Museum at Yorktown – Site

A Visit to Catalina Island

It begins with a boat ride…

Located off the coast of Southern California, Catalina Island is a vacation destination and adventure start to finish. From the beautiful vistas to the quaint town of Avalon, Catalina is worthy of its hundred plus years as a travelers’ oasis. To get to the island you have two options, boat or helicopter. Most of the islands visitors go by way of ocean travel which takes a little over an hour.

There are two major towns on the island but Avalon is by far the most popular and iconic. Much of the island is undeveloped and now home to herds of bison, wild foxes, and deer. You can even catch sight of a bald eagle if you head out on one of the nature tours of the island.

JazzTrax Festival. Hearing live music where Hollywood stars of the Golden Age partied is a thrill. Or you can catch a movie downstairs in the art deco theatre. Taking a Casino Tour to learn the building’s history is a great way to get a look at everything as well.

Another adventure on Catalina Island is the underwater activities. Swimming, scuba diving, and snorkeling are a big draw.  One option to see the abundant sea life is to get in and get wet, but certain months of the year that is less enticing than others. If you want to get up close and personal while staying dry give the Glass Bottom Boat Tour a try. You can go out and give catching your dinner a try too. The island is known for its great fishing.

Even if you don’t reel anything in you won’t be short on seafood to enjoy. There are restaurants all over Avalon serving fresh fish and other delicacies. With so many options to chose from a Taste of Catalina Food Tour is a way to get started. Visit some Island hot spots on this guided tour which blends Island history, and I spy into a drinking game of Bingo.

The Catalina Island Museum is not to be missed. Learn the history of the island from the first people to live there, through the Spanish explorers, to the purchase of the land by the Wrigley Family. Sports fans will appreciate the ties to the Chicago Cubs who came out for spring training from 1921-1951. Not to mention the art at the museum. Their Chihuly Glass exhibit is stunning.

There are plenty of hotels and Bed and Breakfasts to chose from for your stay. A couple days is perfect to see the island. Our ride back was at sunset and it could not have been a lovelier end to the trip. Overall we loved the island so much that we are planning another trip back to visit again and take part in even more of the activities offered there. My snorkel gear will be packed next time for sure!

Find out more about Catalina Island – Catalinachamber.com