Thursday, July 2, 2015

Episode 273 (7-6-15): Taking “The Great Road” by Timothy Seaman on an Independence Day Journey to the Virginia Peninsula and Historic Triangle

CLICK HERE to listen to episode audio (3:42)

Transcript of audio, notes on the audio, images, and additional information follow below.

All Web addresses mentioned were functional as of 7-2-15.


From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of July 6, 2015.

This week, in honor of Independence Day, we feature a Williamsburg musician’s composition honoring a road that connects three famous places in Virginia’s colonial and Revolutionary War history.  Have a listen for about 25 seconds.

MUSIC  ~25 sec

You’ve been listening to part of “The Great Road,” by Timothy Seaman on the 1998 CD, “Celebration of Centuries,” from Pine Wind Music.  In the early 1600s, the “Great Road” led from Jamestown Island to parts of the Virginia Peninsula between the James and York rivers—the southernmost of coastal Virginia’s four large peninsulas and the center of European settlement in early colonial Virginia.  Today, the Great Road is commemorated in the Colonial Parkway, part of the Colonial National Historic Park that preserves and interprets Jamestown Island and the Yorktown Battlefield.  The 23-mile parkway connects Jamestown, Williamsburg, and Yorktown, referred to as Virginia’s “historic triangle.”  This physical connection helps millions of annual travelers learn about the Peninsula’s historical connections: from the first permanent English settlement in North America at Jamestown in 1607; to Virginia’s colonial capital in Williamsburg from 1704 to 1779; and to the decisive Battle of Yorktown in 1781 that effectively gained independence for the United States.

As we celebrate that independence in 2015, the Colonial Parkway is one of hundreds of Peninsula roadways between James City County and Hampton Roads, a region of busy cities, bustling ports, vital natural resources, nationally significant military installations, and popular tourist destinations.  400 years after the first European settler traveled the Great Road, and 240 years after independence, the peninsula between the James and York rivers is a treasure of Virginia’s past and a focal point of the present and future.

Thanks to Timothy Seaman for permission to use this week’s music, and we close with a few more seconds of “The Great Road.”

MUSIC ~10 sec

For more Virginia water sounds, music, and information, visit us online at, or call us at (540) 231-5463.  Virginia Water Radio is produced by the Virginia Water Resources Research Center, part of Virginia Tech’s College of Natural Resources and Environment.  Thanks to Stewart Scales for his banjo version of Cripple Creek to open and close the show.  In Blacksburg, I’m Alan Raflo, thanking you for listening, and wishing you health, wisdom, and good water.


“The Great Road,” from the 1998 CD, “Celebration of Centuries” (and also included on the 2001 CD “Common Wealth”) is copyright by Timothy Seaman and Pine Wind Music; used with permission.  More information about Timothy Seaman is available online at

Where Thomas Jefferson might have been if radio had been available in 1776.  Photo by Gabe Minnich.

Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, “History/Capitol,” online at

David Hackett Fischer and James C. Kelly, Bound Away: Virginia and the Westward Movement, University of Virginia Press, Charlottesville, 2000.

National Park Service, “Colonial National Historic Park,” online at

National Park Service, “Green Spring Plantation,” online at

Timothy Seaman, liner notes for the 1998 CD “Celebration of Centuries,” online at

Virginia Department of Transportation, “A History of Roads in Virginia,” 2006, online at

York County, Virginia, “A Statistical Snapshot of the Historic Triangle,” online at


Following are the subjects of and links to some other Water Radio episodes related to the American Revolution.  For other episodes related to history, please see the “History” category at the Index link above (

Revolutionary War Waters: EP168 – 7/1/13
Surrender at Yorktown, featuring “The Surrender of Cornwallis,” by Bobby Horton: EP103 – 3/19/12
George Washington, Walter Johnson, and the Rappahannock River: EP149 – 2/18/13
Water and Virginia-born Presidents: EP135 – 11/5/12
Water origins of Virginia’s signers of the Declaration of Independence: EP220 – 6/30/14


This episode may help with the following Virginia’s 2010 Science Standards of Learning (SOLs):

Grades K-6 Earth Resources Theme
4.9 - Va. natural resources, including watersheds, water resources, and organisms.

Grades K-6 Living Systems Theme
6.7 - natural processes and human interactions that affect watershed systems; Va. watersheds, water bodies, and wetlands; and water monitoring.

The episode may also help with the following Virginia 2008 Social Studies SOLs:

Virginia Studies Course
VS.2 – physical geography of Virginia past and present.
VS.3 – first permanent English settlement in America.
VS.4 – life in the Virginia colony.
VS.5 – role of Virginia in the American Revolution.

United States History to 1865 Course
USI.2 – water features important to the early history of the United States.
USI.5 – factors that shaped colonial America.

World Geography Course
WG.6 - past and present trends in human migration and cultural interaction as influenced by social, economic, political, and environmental factors.

Virginia’s SOLs are available from the Virginia Department of Education, online at