It had been an arduous journey crossing the Atlantic. For four months the first Englishmen to settle the New World tossed and heaved in small ships on the open ocean. Now they were on land! Reaching the shore of Virginia must have felt like paradise. John Smith and his party found lush green forests, plenty of food, sunshine, and the Kecoughtan Indians as they made their way up river to what would become Jamestown. By 1610, the City of Hampton, now the oldest surviving English settlement in the United States, was beginning life as a bustling tobacco shipping port. Such is history of Virginia, where you can experience the awe the colonists felt as they landed on American shores, the first capital of Virginia in Williamsburg, Thomas Jefferson in Charlottesville and the homes of the other seven presidents Virginia gave the nation (more than any other state). Virginia also has more African American heritage sites and more Civil War heritage sites than any other state. While exploring, enjoy the great scenery of beautiful rolling countryside and enjoy more scenic roads than most other states in the nation. Take time to meander the Blue Ridge Parkway and delight in coastal Tidewater areas. Contrast these with flat Southside and the rugged mountains of the Appalachian west. Learn the stories of the first colonists who risked their lives to start a new country and the settlers, plantations and countrymen who came after them. Bring yourself up to the present day in beautiful gardens, southern cuisine with a touch of sophistication and cultural events throughout the state.