Happy Birthday, Uh-Merrika!

That’s right-it’s that time of the year to break out the old school American flag pendants, eat a million hotdogs just because you can, and set off the biggest and loudest fireworks your neighborhood has ever seen.  It’s the 4th of July!

While you may be yelling, ‘give us the history of baseball, hot dogs, or fireworks’ (all very 4th of July-esque), I unfortunately don’t have any objects relating to the above, since a) I was never really into baseball after the age of 13, b) am a vegetarian and can’t stand hot dogs, and c) and the only awesome fireworks I’ve ever seen in Virginia have to be illegally brought in from South Carolina. And I didn’t have time to make that trip.

So instead, I’m approaching this post on July 4th a little bit differently.   Instead of yakking about something super fun, like ice cream, I’m going to drone on about Jamestown, Virginia, and its glasshouse.

Without the adventurers who spent three plus months on a super small ship, heading for a mass of land where people had disappeared 22 years earlier, the American dream and the spark of Independence almost 170 years later would never have been born.

Jamestown, settled in 1607, became the first permanent English settlement in North America, after the failed attempts at Roanoke Island, North Carolina in 1583, 1584, and finally with the Lost Colony in 1585 (in which 116 colonists disappeared). Today, Jamestown is a Colonial research and museum haven, with 3 interpretive sites for visitors: Jamestown Settlement, life-size recreations and interpretations of the colonists’ fort and ships, as well as a Powhatan village; Historic Jamestowne, an archaeological interpretation of the fort using it’s exact location; and Jamestown glasshouse, a modern recreation of the 1608 glasshouse utilizing 17th century glassblowing techniques to make historic replicas and modern works of decorative art.

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2012 John Greene Vessel

Because my in-laws live in the Jamestown/Yorktown area,and subscribe to the Collector’s items (the photo above is part of their collection), I’m always eager to visit the sites in the historic triangle, and a visit to the glasshouse is always a must.  Artisan glassblowers and interpreters make beautiful glass objects from start to finish right in front of you.

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Over the years, I’ve received a few pieces as gifts:

teal

Rare (and now no longer made) teal vase. My mother-in-law bought this for me as a wedding gift, since teal was one of my colors.

blue pitcher

While the glasshouse was unsuccessful in both its ventures on the island, in 1608 and 1622, the modern day replication of the glasshouse is going strong.  Research and archaeological excavations also continue today at Historic Jamestowne- archaeologists recently discovered evidence of cannibalism!

In honor of today’s holiday, I’ll be cracking open a nice, cold beer, watching fireworks (most likely in the rain), and paying tribute to the colonists that made Independence from Great Britain even possible.  Thanks, Jamestown colonists, for sticking it out through disease, famine, and almost imminent death.  All of us in America sure do appreciate it.

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Filed under Colonial, Glass

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