Monday, September 2, 2013

Yorktown - Damn Colonials!

From Onancock we went to Deltaville for two nights, staying at Dozier's Regatta Pointe Marina. This is one of the regular stops for an awful lot of cruisers for a couple of good reasons. First, this first class marina is stratigically located on the route pretty much inbetween Norfolk and The Solomons, and in our case about equi-distant from Onancock and Yorktown, where we would be spending Labor Day. The second is that Deltaville, while not a vibrant swingin' burg is a good stop for provisioning and equiping. Those are a couple of activities we needed to get involved in. Regatta Pointe has some loaner cars to use to head into to town to make the stops at auto parts stores, a hardware store, grocery store and a West Marine. But we had a better idea.

Waaaay back in our initial ascent of the east coast last year, waaaay back in Georgetown, South Carolina we met Brooke and Susan of Liquid Therapy. The are a lovely couple and they are from Deltaville. They are regular readers of this blog and stayed in contact with us so that when we were in town this time around we got together for lunch, and they kindly acted as our chauffers to the grocery store, hardware store and auto parts store. The restuarant that we went to was not too far from the marina as the crow flies, just further up the Rappahancok River on the other side of the highway bridge that crosses it, but a bit of a drive by car. The road leaving Deltaville does not directly intersect with the highway crossing the bridge so we got to see a bit of the countryside. After a pleasant time with them we hunkered down for the night.

The weather for our cruise to Yorktown was ideal. Seriously. I mean that. It really was. The National Weather Service called for almost calm winds and the subdued seas that go along with it. And that is what we got. There was only a hint of a swell the entire way. The marina for our stay is called Riverwalk Landing Marina right on the waterfront of Yorktown. Susan, the dockmaster, along with some the help of some York county workers got us in and tied up very nicely. The current on the York River is very fast and we fortunately got to the marina a tad bit after low tide so the current was slack. The docks are humongous floating concrete piers. Susan is a former Coastie and she certainly knew what the hell she was doing.

Our initial impressions of Yorktown were positive. The little downtown area is very new with lots of restaurants and shops. There is a public beach right there and there were a lot of people milling about, having lunch or swimming. Our hopes were high. Were we going to be disappointed, falling victim to such a nice initial impression and expectation? Nay, we were not disappointed with Yorktown. Yorktown is a winner to us.

While there are things to do and see in downtown Yorktown the main attraction is the Yorktown battlefield operated by the National Park Service. A free trolley encircles all of Yorktown and the battlefield and all you have to do is jump on at one of the many stops along the route. (They are well marked.) After being dropped off at the battlefield visistors center you can instantly see where most of the battle emplacements are. But the best thing to do is to go inside and pay the $7 per person fee and take a forty-five minute guided tour of the place after watching a short video about the battle. Park Ranger Dan was our guide and he was not only informative and engaging but funny as hell. Lets just say he gave an interesting slant on not only the battle but how history has framed this battle. For instance, shortly before the battle Lord Cornwallis withdrew British troops from forward redoubts leaving them to be walked into by Continental and French forces helping them gain a protected forward position and a decided advantage. Why did he do that? No where in history does Cornwallis ever disclose why he did that. This was just one of several huge blunders made by Cornwallis ever since he set foot on colonial soil. Ranger Dan connected those dots brilliantly. He also showed that the good guy's success at Yorktown was helped by an unusual mix of luck and happinstance. The good guys brought big, long range artillery. The British had mostly lightweight short range field guns. The colonials correctly surmised that the Battle of Yorktown would be an artillery battle and rained thousands upon thousands of rounds of big, fat ol' cannonballs on the British position. The British basically had pop-guns. Also, Cornwallis had given the command to evacuate his troops over the York River a short distances to Gloucester Point. This was a failure. First, most of his flotilla of ships were either destroyed in the battle, scuttled or otherwise unusable. All the British had were rowboats. So an order to evacuate using rowboats was issued. Good plan except for the freak storm that flared up and sank most of the rowboats. After nine days Cornwallis surrendered.

Anyway, I don't mean to get all history-ish on you here. But this is an area very steeped in history.

The only downside, and I mean the only thing, is that the current can be a bit tricky if you arrive by boat. Call the dockmaster before hand to see when the best time to arrive might be on the day you want to get there.

We liked Yorktown. So will you.

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