Posted on June 25, 2016
Even though Virginia was the tenth state to ratify the new Constitution and become a state, on this date in 1788, one of its nicknames is “Mother of States.” Why do you suppose that is?
Two pretty good reasons:
First, Jamestown, Virginia, was the first permanent English settlement in the “New World.” It was first settled in 1607 – more than 400 years ago!
Second, several states were “born” on what was originally Virginia territory. They include West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, and part of Minnesota!
Another apt nickname is “Mother of Presidents.” Four of the first five presidents were born in Virginia, including Washington, Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe. Since those early years, four more Virginia-born presidents have been elected: William Henry, Harrison, John Tyler, Zachary Taylor, and Woodrow Wilson. It probably doesn't surprise you that Virginia can brag of providing more presidents than any other state. (Although Ohio is right behind with seven.)
Colonial Williamsburg is one of the best “living history” museums I've ever seen. The streets are carefully restored and recreated so that we can see what life was like back in the late 1700s. Costumed re-enactors show guests how barrels and horseshoes and candles were made, how butter was churned and wine was prepared, how thread was spun and cloth was woven.
Recently more emphasis has been placed on Williamsburg as a Revolutionary City. These days guests can see and hear more dramatic re-enactments, including black enslaved people discussing the irony of living among white people fighting for “freedom,” Patrick Henry debating what to do now that colonists and British soldiers have clashed at Lexington, and Shawnee men debated a possible peace treaty with the British. Not only are there the usual musket-loading and artillery demonstrations, there are "roving, large-scale street-theater pieces that stretch more than two hours in length"!
Williamsburg is fairly pricey, but I loved my visit! And I have read that some parts can be seen and heard for free.
I've never seen it, but I love the idea of Foamhenge – an exact replica of Stonehenge made from Styrofoam!
You have to arrange a special access visit to walk among the stones of the real Stonehenge – but you have no such problem with Foamhenge! Plus, it's free!
Last but not least, the Great Dismal Swamp looks more beautiful than dismal. And the wildlife probably don't find this refuge all that dismal, either!
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