Why: If you ever wanted walk in the footsteps of Pocahontas and Captain John Smith, you’d better hurry. A 2014 “Landmarks at Great Risk” report by the Union of Concerned Scientists concluded that before the end of the century, America’s birthplace may only be experienced through history books and Instagram archives. “Sea level on the Virginia Coast is rising as fast as anywhere on the Atlantic coast,” says Adam Markham, Deputy Director of Climate and Energy at UCS, adding that most of the area is only a few feet above water — a startling reality check when you consider that the Virginia Institute of Marine Science projects the state could see its coastal waters rise as much as two feet by 2050. “Jamestown is one of the places that has already changed because of global warming,” says Markham. “Parts have been lost; so the longer you wait to visit, the less of it will be there.” Indeed, recent storms like Hurricane Isabel have destroyed the sites of colonial and Civil War forts, and damaged nearly a million artifacts.
What to do: Book the Colonial Virginia: Riding the Road to Independence with VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations for an active, all-inclusive journey back in time. You’ll be in the saddle for up to 35 miles per day as you explore not only the first English settlement in Jamestown but also many other historic sites such as Yorktown, where you’ll pedal the seven-mile Battlefield Tour loop, and Colonial Williamsburg.
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