Book Beat Babes

Book Beat Babes

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Checking Into Our Past! By DL Larson

Traveling down Interstate 95 and 65, I feel like a mouse in a maze. My husband and I were in the D.C. area and making our way south. The tree line continues to close in on us, and I miss the big horizon sky of the Midwest.

We visited Mt. Vernon yesterday. I was surprised to discover this magnificent bit of history was nearly lost forever. Thanks to the Ladies Aide Society for rescuing the estate from ruin. A distant nephew of George Washington had sold much of the 8,000 acres of the family plantation. The last bit, 500 acres, he agreed to sell to the ladies group. The house had already been condemned. These ladies raised money to restore Mt. Vernon to its previous glory. In 1861, they opened the doors to the public. If you are a history buff as I am, then you realize this was during the Civil War.

Our next stop was Williamsburg, Va. More tall trees on both sides of the road is all we see of Virginia. Plus an occasional marsh. Well, okay, lots of marsh. We have no idea what is behind all the trees. We approach an intersection, look both ways and see .... Trees! It's disconcerting not having a focal point. Trees, trees, trees.

Now keep in mind I don't mind trees. I love trees. But I would enjoy a view too. Gazing at marshes leaves me queasy. I don't know what's in those marshes. And I realize I don't know the difference between a marsh or a swamp.  I'm sure I could figure it out ... Marshes have mostly grasses and swamps have trees, but my Midwestern ways lack in specifics.  The rivers are brackish, which means they have tidal salt water affecting them daily, another anomaly as a Midwestern I am not familiar with. Wildlife is surely different as well. We saw a water snake in the James River, but I don't know if that little critter would survive in the Illinois River or not.

Jamestown Settlement was another bit of history that has been documented for us to learn from the past. We visited the settlement today and learned they lived under marshal law. If one did not work, one did not eat. If one missed church for no reason, a public flogging was instituted. Life was tough and having fun or relaxing was not on the menu of things to do. Gambling was forbidden and again, flogging was the punishment.

The Powhatan Indian village helped the settlers many times and for awhile they were friends. Even the Indians used food as incentive for their children to learn. An Indian boy's mother would help him perfect his skill with bow and arrow by throwing clods of dirt or other objects she might find while working in their vegetable fields. If the boy hit his target, he had lunch. If he missed, he went hungry!
Talk about incentive.

Tomorrow we visit old Williamsburg. It should be a great day. The city is nestled in and around groves of trees. Landmarks are far and few between.  It promises to be a challenging drive! One we're looking forward to. Then it's on to the Blue Ridge Parkway to meet up with friends.

Til next time!

DL Larson


  1. Sounds like a great summer trip, which you are very much enjoying! Good for you!