We set out from Harbor View Campground about 10 AM and drove about 65 miles south to the Chesapeake Bay Thousand Trails preserve near Gloucester, Virginia to introduce Greg and Jan to one of our favorite campgrounds in this part of the country. We stayed there a couple of years ago and really liked it, and I think Greg and Jan did too, because they said they were looking forward to spending some time there one of these days.
Next we drove to the friendly little town of Gloucester Courthouse, the county seat of Gloucester County. They have preserved the original county courthouse and several other historic buildings in a small park located in an island right in the middle of the main street through town.
During the Civil War, Union troops came to Gloucester Courthouse searching for weapons they believed Confederate forces had hidden there. They only stayed two hours and couldn’t find any weapons, but they did seize a large number of horses, mules, and other livestock from local families before marching on.
Then we drove north to the George P. Coleman Memorial Bridge, which carries U.S. Highway 17 traffic over the York River from Gloucester County to Yorktown. I’ve been over it several times now, and it doesn’t bother me because it’s fairly low and four lanes wide.
The last time we were there, we saw the three-masted schooner Alliance sailing out into Chesapeake Bay. The ship is based in Yorktown in the summer months, and sails the Caribbean Islands in the winter, giving passengers a once in a lifetime vacation experience. And this trip, there it was, in almost the exact same spot!
We had all done the tourist thing on trips here before, so we didn’t stop at Yorktown Battlefield, Colonial Williamsburg, or any of the other area attractions. We did drive along the waterfront and passed the Waterman’s Museum, which we did a feature story on two years ago.
Then we drove over to Williamsburg to check out the Williamsburg Outdoor World Resort, which we had never stayed at, but were considering for a future visit to the area, and I’m glad we did! The roads are very narrow and sites are tight, with lot of trees. We quickly decided that it is definitely not a place we would want to bring our 40 foot motorhome.
Crossing back over the bridge, we stopped for an early dinner at Ginny’s Place, a country style buffet that Reuben Bristow had recommended, and it was pretty good. Lots of comfort food like meatloaf, fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and bread pudding.
Then we drove north a few miles to Urbana, another historic little town, with several beautiful old plantation homes, including Lansdowne, built in the mid-1700s and at one time the home of Arthur Lee, a member of Virginia’s prominent Lee family, who helped shape the country during Colonial times and produced Civil War general Robert E. Lee. The beautiful home fell into disrepair and was almost torn down, but new owners acquired it and carefully restored it to its former glory.
At one time Urbana was an important tobacco shipping port, and later an oyster processing center. Reuben Bristow had told us his family were early settlers in that area, and that one of his ancestors had a store on Main Street that still stands today. And sure enough, one of the neat old buildings had a plaque proclaiming it as Bristow’s Store! According to Urbana.com, Bristow Store was built in 1898 and sold coal, cord wood, railroad ties, harnesses, and horseshoes. The grocery section offered live chickens, salted meats and fish, and flour and sugar scooped out of barrels into brown paper bags. The Post Office was once located in what is now the shoe section of the store. Merchandise is still displayed in the original storefront windows and on ceiling-high shelves reached by ladders that roll along original wood floors.
By the time we got back to our campground it was almost dark, and we were all pleasantly tired from our long day of playing tourist. Today we’re headed south, and plan on a quick overnight stay just inside the South Carolina state line. That will put us in Hardeeville, South Carolina mid-day Tuesday, which will be our base for a week or so while we explore Savannah, one of our favorite cities in the country.
Thought For The Day – A gun in your hand beats a cop, on the phone every time!