Thursday, April 8, 2010

Jamestown, Virginia, United States

It's been a year this month since I wrote my last update. My brother encouraged me to start writing again. In his honor, I have chosen Jamestown to start things back up.

For those of you who slept through history class, Jamestown is the site of the first permanent English settlement. The History of Jamestown website has a nice one page history of Jamestown along with several links. It explains that the Virginia Company was formed in 1607 by King James I in an attempt to find gold and a water route to the Orient. Captain John Smith was a member of the Virginia Company and was one of the first settlers. You may recognize his name in the stories about Pocahontas. The Indian Pocahontas married the Englishman John Rolfe. Mr. Rolfe was a tobacco entrepreneur and came to Jamestown a couple years after the settlement was established.

Today, Jamestown is a community that values America's past. You can go back 400 years in time at many of the historic sites that have been preserved in Jamestown and the surrounding area. The Official Jamestown Settlement website has a lot of information about upcoming events and places to see. There's a link at the bottom of the page to help you plan your visit.

Just down the road from Jamestown, are several of the old plantation houses along the James River. The James River Plantations can easily be done in a day trip but to really appreciate them they should be visited over a span of two days. One of the plantations, the Berkeley Plantation, was the family home of the Harrisons. Benjamin Harrison was a signer of the Declaration of Independence and William Henry Harrison was the ninth President of the United States. William Henry's grandson Benjamin was the 23rd President of the United States.

I should also mention the Yorktown Victory Center. Yorktown is the site of the last major battle of the Revolutionary War.

If you decide to take a trip to Jamestown, I recommend staying in the nearby town of Williamsburg. Colonial Williamsburg has done an excellent job of preserving what life was like for the early Americans. I searched for lodging and I think the Williamsburg Hospitality House would be a good place to stay.

For those of you looking for more excitement than what history has to offer, you can visit the Busch Gardens theme park in Williamsburg. It is home to the Alpengeist steel roller coaster.

Ten years ago, CBS aired the first season of Survivor. Surely, the settlers of Jamestown would easily "Outwit. Outplay. Outlast" any survivor Jeff Probst can find today.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Idaho Falls, Idaho, United States

Idaho Falls, Idaho, is one of the Top 100 Places to Live according to RelocateAmerica. The city is located on the Snake River on the eastern side of the bottom part of Idaho. It is due east of Boise. Because of the road system in Idaho, you can't go in a straight line from Boise to Idaho Falls. If you start in Boise, you have to take a curved southern route to get to Idaho Falls. Here's a link to it on Google Maps.

What is there to do once you get to Idaho Falls? You can visit the Tautphaus Park Zoo. It opened on April 11, 2009, and closes for the year on October 4, 2009. However, they will be open for Boo at the Zoo October 29 through October 31. Adults (13 and over) are $5.00 plus tax. Children (4 - 12) are $2.50 plus tax and children 3 and under are free.

If you're interested in the Titanic, you can visit the Museum of Idaho. They have Titanic artifacts on exhibit until September 7, 2009. They are open every day except for Sunday. The fee is $7.00 for adults (18 & up) and $5.00 for youth (4 - 17). Depending on the size of your family, it may be cheaper to purchase the family pass for $20. The Museum is also home to Lewis & Clark expedition artifacts.

For those of you who were wondering, yes, Vanilla Ice and MC Hammer are still performing...together. They will be at the Idaho Falls Civic Auditorium on Saturday, June 6. If you're looking for something a bit more current, Blake Shelton and Julianne Hough will be performing at Sandy Downs on July 16.

If you are looking for day trips from Idaho Falls, there are some National Parks close by. Grand Teton National Park is a little over 2 hours away in western Wyoming. Yellowstone is north of Grand Teton but less than a 3 hour drive from Idaho Falls.

Time for the census figures. According to the U.S. Census website, Idaho Falls had an estimated population of 52,786 in 2006. In contrast, Boise had an estimated population of 198,638. Here's an interesting fact: in 2000, there was an average of 15.6 people per square mile in the state of Idaho. In 2000, there was an average of 1003.2 people per square mile in the state of Rhode Island.

Official website for Idaho Falls.