This 4th of July, RightTurn would like to invite you to put some USA in your Great American Road Trip! If you’re looking for things to do on the 4th of July, Virginia is in center of the American Independence discussion since it’s where much of the founding fathers’ work took place.
Nicknamed the “Mother of Presidents,” Virginia has birthed 8 U.S. presidents, so you know when it comes to the USA it’s got the fireworks to be All-American! There are hundreds of years of rich history to explore mile after mile. Since Virginia is for lovers, get ready to fall in love!
As far as the American Revolution is concerned, no city contributed as greatly as Williamsburg to lead the Revolution toward the establishment and governing of a new nation. If gaining a true historical perspective of the American Revolution is what you’re after, immerse yourself in Colonial Williamsburg. Explore the 18th century with musket firing, a tea party, see culturally significant reenactments, and take behind the scenes stable tours only at Colonial Williamsburg!
The Gunpowder Incident – Early in the Revolutionary War, Lord Dunmore, a Royal Governor, led the removal of gunpowder from the magazine building in Williamsburg one day after significant battle victories at Lexington and Concord by Colonial soldiers. The action upset militiamen throughout the colony, specifically Patrick Henry. He led a small force to return the gunpowder to the colony’s control and Lord Dunmore, fearing for his life, allowed the conflict to be resolved and eventually fled the colony.
Duke of Gloucester Street – The most historic avenue in all of America, the Duke of Gloucester Street was born after Virginia’s General Assembly created Williamsburg in 1699. The historical events and figures that are associated with this street are endless. Thomas and Martha Jefferson, Winston Churchill, Patrick Henry, and James Madison all trekked this street. To take a stroll up and down this road is to take a walk back in time into the 18th century. Can’t you just hear the clip-clop of the horses now?
The College of William & Mary – The royal charter of King William III and Queen Mary II of England founded this college in 1693. As the second oldest institution of higher learning in the U.S., it had the pleasure of educating a number of influential patriots of our nation including Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe, and John Tyler. Other important figures include a total of 16 members of the Continental Congress, four signers of the Declaration of Independence, U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Marshall, and Speaker of the House and Great Compromiser Henry Clay.
Food in Williamsburg
After you satisfy your mind about the beginning of our great nation, you’re going to need to satisfy your appetite as well. Here are some great places to nosh while you’re on your road trip.
- The Cheese Shop. Interesting name choice: You know what their specialty is. The way you order as a local: Meat, cheese, bread, extra house sauce. That’s it. NO other toppings!
- Dog Street Pub. This 80-year-old bank turned gastropub combines the old English style of English pubs and the ever-changing style of contemporary American cuisine. Sit. Stay. At the Dog Street Pub.
- Sno-to-Go. A short jaunt and you’ll find the only place “Where it’s ok to eat yellow snow.” Here locals can get an array of flavors of Sno Cones and order them “double stuffed,” meaning shaved ice with the flavor of their choosing, then soft-serve ice cream, and shaved ice, and then even more ice cream! You will be stuffed after this!
Crim Dell Bridge
It’s said that if two lovers cross the Crim Dell Bridge together and kiss at the crest of it they’ll be together forever (Awwwww….).
If that couple shall separate at any point thereafter however, the lady must throw her ex-lover off the bridge and into the water to break the curse of being forever single. Additionally, another legend states that if someone crosses the Crim Dell ALONE, he/she will ALWAYS be alone (Awwwww….again).
Lord Dunmore is up to no good again. In 1775, he ordered a fleet of British ships to sail the James River to attack patriot troops and destroy the town of Norfolk. As they arrived, the militia stayed calm and didn’t charge the ships as they came ashore. Rather expert riflemen started to pick off British troops from a distance. Once the word spread of the British attack, Virginia’s local militia leader, William Woodford, sent 100 more militiamen to defend the city. The British, finding absolutely no success in this mission, retreated; however, not before surrendering two of their ships. Oh, and not to mention, the militia did not suffer one single fatality. This was the bully beat down of all bully beat downs. It’s impossible to ignore this significant victory in the battle for independence. The United States Navy chose Norfolk as its home in 1917. The Norfolk region is the perfect mix of mild climate and unique positioning, and today is the world’s largest Navy base. The base just turned 100 years old last month!
Yorktown was the last major battle of the Revolutionary War, effectively gaining independence for the American army. This location at the Colonial National Historical Park is where British General Cornwallis and his men surrendered to General George Washington and the American and French armies. At this historic site, you can take a guided walking tour of the battlefield and enter the Moore House, where the two sides agreed to a two-hour cease-fire to discuss the terms of surrender. After messages were sent back and forth, the armies settled on the terms and the war was over.
The Yorktown Visitor Center holds many special events throughout the year as part of the Colonial National Historical Park, including Fifes and Drums of Yorktown and historic artillery weapons firing (Cannons!). Don’t forget to visit the Yorktown Victory Monument, which was laid by the order of the Ancient Free and Accepted Masons in 1881. There is much to discover while exploring Yorktown Battlefield, so don’t miss out!
It’s the 4th of July and fireworks are keeping us and our dogs up at night. It’s not simply about barbecues and fireworks; our Independence Day should give you a moment to admire and revere the history that presents itself before you. And more importantly, encourage you to continue to create a new history to be proud of. Be happy this 4th of July!