Die Region Virginia
VMany formative events in American history, both good and bad, took place in Virginia. The region was named after the virgin Queen Elizabeth I, who was never married.
In 1607, English adventurers founded Jamestown, the first permanent British settlement in North America. But the New World brought little luck to the settlers, the majority of them died from illnesses, from fighting with the Indians or from hunger – the soil was unsuitable for agriculture.
Finally, settler John Rolfe, who was married to the legendary chief daughter of Pocahontas, managed to grow tobacco with the help of the Indians. The tobacco trade made Virginia later the wealthiest English colony.
But the chapter of slavery in America began with the plantations: in 1619 the first Africans were brought to Virginia as slaves. In the same year, representatives of Virginia’s eleven major settlements came together for the first General Assembly, the first representative government body in America.
Now, 400 years later, there are numerous events in Virginia to commemorate the events of 1619. The state is also closely interwoven with the American War of Independence and Civil War. Virginia is a destination for history buffs – but also nature lovers. For example in the Blue Ridge Mountains and the numerous national parks.
The world record
Roy Sullivan, born in 1912, has survived seven lightning strikes. He is described in the “Guinness” book of records as “Virginia’s lightning rod”: Seven times he was proven to have been struck by lightning, once more when he was still a child was.
The ranger in Shenandoah National Park survived every lightning strike, but always with injuries. Sullivan died in 1983 and was found in his bed with a bullet in his head. It is unclear whether he killed himself or was the victim of a crime.
The journey through time
Colonial Williamsburg is more than just an open-air museum. It is an 18th century city that has been restored with a lot of effort. More than 80 original buildings have been preserved, further residential buildings and shops have been historically remodeled.
Every day, numerous actors bring the city to life. Between horse-drawn carriages and costumes, visitors should feel like they are witnessing the eve of the American War of Independence.
Guests can watch artisans at work, sample 18th-century recipes in taverns, and listen to the speeches of the revolutionaries. More than a million visitors come to the town every year.
“My baby belongs to me, is that clear?” “Dirty Dancing” fans are getting the tissues out now. The line is translated quite freely, in the original it reads: “Nobody puts Baby in a corner”. But film history wrote “Dirty Dancing” either way.
For the shooting, the “Mountain Lake Lodge” in Virginia turned into the holiday resort “Kellerman’s”, where Frances “Baby” Houseman (Jennifer Gray) wants to spend a quiet summer with her family in 1963 – until she teaches dance teacher Johnny (Patrick Swayze) get to know. The love story of the two is so popular today that fans from all over the world make a pilgrimage to the locations.
The lodge offers fan tours and dirty dancing weekends, of course with dance lessons. If you don’t like Mambo, you can take a look at Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln” filming location – it was also shot in Virginia.
Thanksgiving is the most important family festival in the USA, the common turkey feast is an institution. There are various explanations of how the festival came about. One is that the first Thanksgiving was celebrated in Virginia in 1619 – by the English, who celebrated their safe arrival after crossing the Atlantic and repeated from then on every year.
Virginia is the largest producer of farmed oysters on the east coast. Their taste varies by region – salty, buttery, mild or sweet. Gourmets travel several days on the Virginia Oyster Trail from oyster farms to restaurants.
On the way, the oyster route conveniently crosses the Chesapeake Bay Wine Trail, where you can sample Virginia wine.
“I can really say that I would rather have been to Mount Vernon with a friend or two than to be visited at the seat of government by the officers of the states and the representatives of all European powers.”
George Washington, the first president of the United States, wrote this in a letter in 1790. The statesman often longed for his Mount Vernon estate in Virginia, which he had helped to a large extent. At his request, Washington was buried in Mount Vernon after his death, the site is now a museum.
Washington was the first of eight US presidents to come from Virginia, more than any other state. A nickname for Virginia is therefore “Mother of Presidents”. Thomas Jefferson, author of the American Declaration of Independence, also came from here. His Monticello manor is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is open to visitors.
Whimsical, record-breaking, typical: You can find more parts of our regional customer series here.