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Playing Tourist like Zoey

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Chesapeake, VA
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for Virginia Beach
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Playing Tourist like Zoey

Since Zoey played tourist, I thought I'd follow her lead. My husband and I spent this past unseasonably-warm weekend in Williamsburg. We've done Duke of Gloucester St numerous times, and since there were no special events, we ventured out in other directions.

We drove about 20-minutes outside Williamsburg to enjoy the wine tasting at Saude Creek Vineyards in New Kent County. The tasting fee includes a souvenir glass. We enjoyed the wines and bought several (watch out for the "Wine B****" -- yeah, that's on her shirt -- she's a laugh riot and quite the sales woman). The view at Saude Creek is a surprise. It looks like you're in the mountains. You'll be looking around for ski slopes, I promise. They have several music and wine events planned for the winter weekends. Should be a good time.

On Sunday we did both of the Jamestowns. First we went to the Settlement, which includes the reconstructed fort and ships. The last time I visited Jamestown, it was self-guided, but now to go outside to the fort and ships requires a guide. Good move! Our interpreter was Dennis. If you can figure out his schedule, go when he's there. Wow and more wow. He put Jamestown in perspective in such a meaningful way that I will never think about our early history in the same way again. Dennis is amazing.

Then we went to Historic Jamestown, where the REAL Jamestown was. When I last visited Jamestown, everyone thought the land where the fort was located had eroded into the river. But no. Only a small piece of the land has eroded away. So it was exciting to see the outline of the fort, where archeologists are currently digging, and the burial site of those first settlers all marked with black crosses. Here a park ranger led the tour. He was excellent too.

No more will I ever think that I can use a brochure to go on a self-guided tour. These 2 tour guides are worth twice or more the cost of admission.

Williamsburg...
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1. Re: Playing Tourist like Zoey

Sounds like a good day out, Wendymath! A good guide really can make all the difference.

Wichita, Kansas...
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2. Re: Playing Tourist like Zoey

So do you go with the tourguide at Jamestown and then have some time to explore on your own or do you have to stay with guide the whole time?

Chesapeake, VA
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3. Re: Playing Tourist like Zoey

At the Settlement, you stay with the guide, but there is somewhat of a downtime when you are exploring on your own until he rounds everyone up to leave the fort. From there you can go to the museum on your own.

At the Historic Jamestown you explore on your own unless you particularly want to be with the guide. He meets at the monument at designated times, so if you're there early, you can wander on your own and then just meet up with him.

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4. Re: Playing Tourist like Zoey

At the Settlement, it depends on what time of year you visit.

During the winter, the outdoor exhibits can be visited only as part of the guided tour that Wendymath described so well. During the summer, you have the option of exploring on your own, or taking the tour. At least that is how it worked this year.

I'm not sure that the winter season dates are the same every year, so it's best to call ahead to confirm if that is important to you.

The tour is great. I have done it multiple times. It's fine for children of all ages if that is what you are worried about. Since you are outdoors, it's easy to step away from the group momentarily if a little one gets fussy. On my visits, the guides were very good at keeping visitors of all ages engaged.

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5. Re: Playing Tourist like Zoey

In addition to exploring the National Park site on your own, a ranger led tour is also worthwhile and informative. There are also Virginia volunteer guides often available at the archeological excavation to help explain the progress on site. The indoor exhibits, both at the entrance and on the island, are also worth your time at Historic Jamestowne.

6. Re: Playing Tourist like Zoey

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