To Plan A Trip

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The Jamestown-Yorktown foundation is planning a series of what it terms Signature Events, ranging from an African-American Conference in February 2007 to a World Forum on the Future of Democracy the following September, with participants from around the world. And, of course, many of the sites and exhibits are meant to be permanent (at least until the 500th anniversary). For more information, go to www.americas400thanniversary.com .

Downtown Yorktown.
 
carla davidson2006_5_31

The Jamestown-Yorktown foundation is planning a series of what it terms Signature Events, ranging from an African-American Conference in February 2007 to a World Forum on the Future of Democracy the following September, with participants from around the world. And, of course, many of the sites and exhibits are meant to be permanent (at least until the 500th anniversary). For more information, go to www.americas400thanniversary.com .

Yorktown, 23 miles away, the site of the last major battle of the Revolutionary War, is celebrating its 225th anniversary in October 2006. Here park rangers offer evocative tours of the battlefield, which by the early 1930s had been transformed into a golf course that even now yields up the occasional tee. Yet many of its redoubts remain remarkably intact.

The town itself, once a thriving port, has settled into a charming backwater with steep streets that wind invitingly down to the water. There you’ll find the newly built Riverwalk Landing, home to good seafood restaurants, unusual shops, and a small, pretty beach. For more about Yorktown and upcoming events, contact www.yorkcounty.gov/tourism .

Colonial Williamsburg is the mighty engine that drove visitors to this corner of Virginia even before the other sites caught on. But with all its treasures, including the nation’s finest collection of American folk art, it’s also the perfect place to kick back, relax, and enjoy a wide range of eating places and accommodations. I stayed at the comfortable, mid-priced Woodlands Hotels & Suites, a 10-minute walk through manicured woods to the heart of things. Other choices include the stately, and pricey, Williamsburg Inn and the chance to rent a room in a colonial-era reconstruction or even the whole house ( www.ColonialWilliamsburg.org ).

Walking along Duke of Gloucester Street, you may offer a greeting to Thomas Jefferson or Patrick Henry. Carry on down the street to Jefferson’s alma mater, the College of William and Mary, a verdant postcard version of what a college should look like. See its proudest structure, the Sir Christopher Wren Building, possibly designed by the great British architect with an update by Jefferson, and three times lost to fire. Here an eager student docent guided me through the Great Hall, pointing out portraits of famous former chancellors, an honorary position. Of Henry Kissinger, she said: “No one ever saw him, but everyone loved Margaret, the Lady Thatcher—that’s how she’s addressed—because she was here all the time and interacted with the students.” The newest appointee is Sandra Day O’Connor. Now that should be interesting.