"If you stick around a little longer, you'll see Ozzy Osbourne."
I laughed, thinking the archaeologist was pulling my leg. We three gypsies - myself, Danny, and baby girl - had just spent the last five hours wandering through Jamestowne, Virginia, and enjoying the unusually wonderful March weather. Surely celebrities like to tour historical sites as much as the next person, but Ozzy? THE Ozzy Osbourne? No way. He's probably one of the last celebrities I'd expect to see in Virginia's historic triangle.
"He's supposed to be here already," the archaeologist said. "His film crew has been here since three."
Since it's the 100th anniversary of the founding of the National Park Service, I had assumed the professional photographers and film crew seen in the park were for promo material. We had even wandered in front of the lens a few times, trying our best to look like polished national park visitors. But apparently, black nail polish and dark clothing would have stood us in better stead - Ozzfest had come to Jamestowne for the day!
Despite American textbooks placing such a huge emphasis on the colonies in Massachusetts, Jamestowne holds the distinction of being the first successful English colony in North America, making it THE birthplace of America. Sorry, Plymouth, we beat you by a solid 13 years. English settlers, financed by the Virginia Company in a venture to discover gold in the New World or at least a westward passage to Asia, landed in Virginia in 1607 and made camp on a mosquito-ridden, swampy island on the James River. Defensibly, it was a good set up to fend off attacks by natives or the Spanish. But its livability proved to be less than ideal. Over 80% of the original 104 boys and men sent to settle Jamestowne died within the first year or two. Starvation and sickness proved to be worse enemies than men.
And note, this was still before your time, Plymouth!
At any rate, the Jamestowne fort was eventually lost to time for nearly two hundred years. It wasn't until 1996 that archaeologists and historians announced that the original site had been found and was in the process of being excavated!
Today the entire island is under the dual control of Preservation Virginia and the National Park Service. Visitors can see the exact location of the original fort, its outline reproduced through the erection of wood logs. Excavations have uncovered thousands of artifacts, several skeletons, and even the skull of a young girl who was cannibalized presumably during the great starving time of 1609-1610.
With this gruesome aspect of Jamestown's history, perhaps it's not so out of place that the "Prince of Darkness" himself, Ozzy Osbourne, would choose to film an episode there for his upcoming History Channel show (warning: link contains strong language). So while baby gypsy slumbered in her stroller, we waited outside the visitor center for a shot to meet or at least see Ozzy Osbourne. As celebrities are rarely punctual, we waited for thirty minutes, but weren't disappointed!
Unfortunately, we were shooed away from our original vantage point by Ozzy's film and security crew so this is the best picture we got. As we walked to our car, I casually mentioned to another couple leaving the park that Ozzy was on his way in. Apparently, they followed him and got a much clearer photo than we did. Check it out!
So while Jamestowne did not disappoint in the history department, Ozzy gave our experience added flavor. And you better believe I'll be checking out his episode on Jamestown to see if we three gypsies made the cut for background material that the crew was filming throughout the afternoon. This just may end up being my ten seconds of fame, y'all!
Ever been to Jamestowne? Or have you ever seen a celebrity while on your travels?
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