Yorktown Virginia is a quaint little town on the York River near the Chesapeake Bay. Boasting a population of only 195 on the 2010 consensus, it is a charming town full of history and beauty. It was founded in 1691 with the name of York, after the town of the same name in England. Sometime after the American Revolution the name Yorktown gained in popularity. Yorktown is part of the historic triangle, along with Williamsburg, and Jamestown and is rich in colonial history.
My family and I spent a pleasant day wandering around in Yorktown, exploring their walking trail, the Riverwalk. Their beaches were crowded, but my daughter enjoyed the swimming, while the rest of us ate a leisurely picnic on the grass near the beach. We strolled through the town on hilly streets, some of which are closed to vehicles.
The riverwalk is a paved trail that wanders along the York river and has several interesting stops. We discovered small hideaway swimming beaches with pretty white sand and sea grass, a historic windmill that was once well recognized as a guidepost for ships in the area. There is a museum located on the same property as the windmill, but it was closed when we went to visit. A few abandoned sailboats lined the shoreline, and lead us to an interesting cave known as the Cornwallis’ Cave. Rumored to be haunted, the entrance is barred, but you can still get a peak inside the tiny area, where it is believed some townspeople took shelter during the Siege of Yorktown.
Yorktown Monument & Nelson House
Our riverwalk trail ended at the Cornwallis’ Cave so we climbed the steep roadway to the top of the hill and came to the Yorktown Victory Monument. It is an impressive sight. The cornerstone of the monument was laid in 1881 at the start of the Yorktown Centennial Celebration. It stands at 98 feet tall and is topped by Lady Liberty. She hasn’t had much luck unfortunately, lightning and major storms have damaged the statue quite a few times. Near the Yorktown Victory Monument is the Nelson House. Built around 1730 by Thomas Nelson, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, it shows damage from the Siege of Yorktown and was used during the Civil War as an Army Hospital. The house is open for tours, but it is recommended you speak with someone from the National Park Service, (they own the house) before visiting. The house does not have regular visiting hours. Next to Nelson House sits the gardens. Slightly overgrown it is reminiscent of an English garden with a small maze and several places to sit and escape the hot afternoon sun. The gardens also boast beautiful views of the Nelson House.
Well that wraps up my visit to Yorktown and the historic triangle of Colonial America. Next weeks blog post is a surprise, even I don’t know what it will be.