Williamsburg and Berekley Plantation

How could you be in the Norfolk area and not have breakfast in Williamsburg?  It was founded in 1632 as Middle Plantation, a fortified settlement between the James and York Rivers.  We expected to find lots of historical 'stuff' to photograph.  So, we took the ferry and drove into Williamsburg.  Wow!  This place is now so commercial that it reminded me of a Disneyland-ish theme park.  In fact, the basis of Williamsburg's economy is tourism and it is Virginia's largest tourist attraction.  But, unless you want to spend a lot of money for a tour, get on a big bus, and go spend the day with tourists . . . well not what we had in mind.  We decided to follow the advice to just walk around main street and have breakfast at one of the local restaurants.  Even then, the boutique shops, while lovely, are not historic but rather an upscale version of Sedona. 

This is the back entrance to the Visitor Center.  The place is huge, filled with just about any tourist memorabilia that you could want.

This is the back entrance to the Visitor Center.  The place is huge, filled with just about any tourist memorabilia that you could want.

Thomas Jefferson is a common subject for statues in just about any town in Virginia.

Thomas Jefferson is a common subject for statues in just about any town in Virginia.

One thing that struck me was that almost every building, new and old,  had some form of 'gables' as part of its architecture.  Not something you see back west.

One thing that struck me was that almost every building, new and old,  had some form of 'gables' as part of its architecture.  Not something you see back west.

This band was playing at the street fair just outside the restaurant where we had breakfast.  They were really good.

This band was playing at the street fair just outside the restaurant where we had breakfast.  They were really good.

Notice that stainless steel guitar.  Classy!  Foot stompin' . . .

Notice that stainless steel guitar.  Classy!  Foot stompin' . . .

From the front steps the 1726 Georgian mansion is an impressive building.  It is the birthplace of Benjamin Harrison V, a signer of the Declaration of Independence and of William Henry Harrison our country's 9th President.  It is also the ancestral home of Benjamin Harrison, our 23rd President.

From the front steps the 1726 Georgian mansion is an impressive building.  It is the birthplace of Benjamin Harrison V, a signer of the Declaration of Independence and of William Henry Harrison our country's 9th President.  It is also the ancestral home of Benjamin Harrison, our 23rd President.

You have to walk a ways back to get a better photograph of the house.

You have to walk a ways back to get a better photograph of the house.

This is where one buys their ticket to tour the main house at the Berekley Plantation, or for less money, tour the grounds.  We opted for just a self guided grounds tour as we were running out of time.

This is where one buys their ticket to tour the main house at the Berekley Plantation, or for less money, tour the grounds.  We opted for just a self guided grounds tour as we were running out of time.

Side view of the main house.

Side view of the main house.

I was enthralled with the gardens!  Wow, there is a lot of planning and tending in these large open spaces.

I was enthralled with the gardens!  Wow, there is a lot of planning and tending in these large open spaces.

As you walk across the large open space you are heading to the James River.  Access to the river was very important to the early settlers as it was the way they could transport their agricultural products to other parts colonies and even as far away as England and the rest of Europe.

As you walk across the large open space you are heading to the James River.  Access to the river was very important to the early settlers as it was the way they could transport their agricultural products to other parts colonies and even as far away as England and the rest of Europe.

The James River is impressive to a desert rat!!

The James River is impressive to a desert rat!!

Paths such as this led back to the main house past gardens planted with corn and tobacco (for showing tourists).

Paths such as this led back to the main house past gardens planted with corn and tobacco (for showing tourists).

Just in case you, like me, needs a bigger font.

Just in case you, like me, needs a bigger font.

I would imagine that restoration of these properties is not cheap and it is ongoing!  Most plantations are funded by charging for tours and from sales in their gift shops.

I would imagine that restoration of these properties is not cheap and it is ongoing!  Most plantations are funded by charging for tours and from sales in their gift shops.

On our way across the James River we passed a ferry just like ours!

On our way across the James River we passed a ferry just like ours!

When we drove onto the ferry we were quickly told by an employee, eyeing our cameras, that we might want to check out the osprey nest located very close to the ferry.  There are three chicks in the nest and this parent was feeding them, tearing apart something that I could not see from the ferry.

When we drove onto the ferry we were quickly told by an employee, eyeing our cameras, that we might want to check out the osprey nest located very close to the ferry.  There are three chicks in the nest and this parent was feeding them, tearing apart something that I could not see from the ferry.

Yeah, one of my few birds in flight that actually turned out!

Yeah, one of my few birds in flight that actually turned out!

When we come back to visit my brother Ken we are going to spend more time in Williamsburg.  We may even pay for a full day ticket and join the tourists!!  Well, maybe.