Monday, August 9, 2010
Yorktown has bustled far before Lord Cornwallis surrendered to George Washington in the home owned by the Moore family in 1781; in fact since the early 1690’s. Its historical seaport history played such an important role that it was named the seat of the county’s government (since 1634) and has remained so. To walk its streets is to be immersed in history surrounded by a charming ambiance that outshines its tourist glitz. Actually, there is not a lot of glitz about Yorktown and only a few scattered businesses; it is all about the beautiful architecture of old brick and great vistas out over the York River as it empties into mighty Chesapeake Bay. The town does have a newer Riverwalk area which sports a great beach and lively small harbor scene and our first scent of Atlantic Ocean sea air; but it doesn’t intrude upon the history contained here.
It’s a captivating and enchanting visit on this glorious August weekend and the crowds are sparse, allowing plenty of elbow room. I am delighted to be surrounded by architecture hundreds of years old, reminding me of my trip to England. We tour an old 1730 mansion called the Nelson House and then walk up the street gawking at a magnificent, private, stately old mansion languishing in the afternoon sun. Soon after that, we view the towering Revolutionary Victory Monument, done in nearly 90 feet of marble.
Getting there was an equal delight as the Colonial Parkway cuts a meandering swath through thick forest which follows the York River. Locals are out at all pullover parking areas, cavorting in the water, fishing, and crabbing. This is a very scenic area!