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Williamsburg, VA, Mini-Reunion

October 8-12, 2015

Click here to see our entire Williamsburg Photo Album



On the weekend of October 8-11, over 60 of us gathered in the Historic Triangle of Virginia to enjoy each other’s company and experience the early fall where our nation got its start.  Our hosts were Clay and Pinky McEldowney who moved to Williamsburg a couple of years ago and were kind enough to show us how hospitable their new home is.


 

After our opening reception on the evening of October 8, we boarded a bus the next morning that took us the short distance to Jamestown.  Of all the places we visited, this was the one where there have been the most recent developments, largely due to the work of the well-known archaeologist Bill Kelso who about 20 years ago identified the actual location of the original James Fort (it was thought to have been washed out to sea) and began excavations there. In the past few months, his project, Jamestown Rediscovery, identified the remains of four individuals buried underneath the original church.  They were all people who had been known to come to Jamestown, but it had not been known what happened to them.

 

Thanks to Dan Harman (a member of the Jamestowne Society), we got a behind the scenes tour of the archaeological activities currently underway, including an introduction by Dr. Kelso who showed us the ongoing excavations. We then received separate presentations regarding the objects recovered, the history of the early settlement and the preservation techniques used to catalog the ongoing discoveries.


 

After leaving Jamestown, we moved over to Yorktown and enjoyed a cruise on the York River in two schooners—the Serenity and the Alliance.  We were treated to a warm, sunny and windy afternoon as we proceeded under sail down the York River observing the same view of the Yorktown Battlefield that the French fleet experienced 235 years ago.   Some of us even helped to hoist the sails on our schooners.

 

After disembarking from the ships we proceeded to the Yorktown Battlefield Visitors Center to get an overview of the siege from the land, including a tour of two of the important redoubts that the colonials seized from the British during the course of the battle. Our visit to the Historic Triangle coincided with the 235th anniversary of the start of the siege, and we saw many tents for the re-enactors converging on the area for the anniversary.

 

We then returned to the Williamsburg Lodge where we had a cocktail reception and dinner with two speakers.  The first was Taylor Reveley ’65, the current President of the College of William and Mary, who, with his wife Helen, joined us at both our reception and dinner.  He spoke to us about the difficulties experienced by William and Mary during and after the Civil War. We rewarded him by giving him a personal locomotive, the first he said he'd ever received. After dinner, Patrick Henry made a surprise visit and speech, extolling the virtues of liberty and putting in a few digs at our fellow alumnus James Madison. After his presentation, Mr. Henry revealed that he was in fact a graduate of Rutgers University, accounting for his knowledge of matters related to New Jersey that were peppered throughout his talk.

 

On Saturday we were guided around Colonial Williamsburg on tours of the major buildings like the Governor’s Palace and the Capitol as well as the re-created trades facilities and shops that exist throughout the restored colonial community. 


That evening we marched to our dinner at one of the Colonial Taverns behind a fife and drum corps.  Before the dinner adjourned, we thanked Clay and Pinky by presenting them with a group photo autographed by all of us. 

 



On Sunday most of us returned home, but 12 of us lingered to play golf on Ford’s Colony’s Blackheath Course, arranged by Clay.  A good time was had by all, despite the quality of our golf, and the competition concluded with Clay sinking a birdie putt on the last hole, a fitting end to all the festivities.

 

Thanks to Clay and Pinky for making the local arrangements and also to the behind the scenes team of Dan Harman, Jeff Kaplan and Ken Mertz who helped put everything together.  Thanks also to everyone who participated in the trip, especially those who journeyed from the West Coast, David and Roberta Johnson from the Bay Area and Bob Andre from Seattle.


 

We plan to arrange several more minis over the next few years, so if you couldn’t join us for this one, we hope to see you at the next one.

 

Text:  Rick Kitto

Photos:  Clay McEldowney, Niel Lewis, Curt Kehr, Jeff Kaplan


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