Colonial Williamsburg — Days 3 and 6 of our trip

Walking into Colonial Williamsburg -- I'm the one without the costume ;-)

Walking into Colonial Williamsburg -- I'm the one without the costume 😉

Eating lunch and saluting before we go in

Eating lunch and saluting before we go in

We got a late start the first morning because I needed to go grocery shopping so by the time we got to Colonial Williamsburg and I went to go get our tickets, it was almost time for lunch.  We’ve learned with this crowd that lunch served early is much better than lunch served late with all it’s whining so they chowed down while I got the tickets.  The benefit was also that we didn’t have to carry our food around all day.  Sitting on the bench near the entrance to buy tickets, my Beloved apparently got lots of requests for permission to take their pictures.   We had been told they would get extra attention and it was true not only here but throughout Colonial Williamsburg.  You can rent costumes at Colonial Williamsburg but it’s about $20 a day.  I bought these off the web at http://www.buycostumes.com.  Almost all of them were less than $20 and they were able to wear them almost every day and can still play dress up.  I found the link through a search on Ebay and just did the search again and found the DP’s costume selling on Ebay for twice what it sells for at http://www.buycostumes.com so hunt around.

Also, we went during the Homeschool Days in the fall and the tickets were about $11/person for a 5 day pass versus CW’s usual pass of around $30/2 days/person.  We knew we wouldn’t go every day but we started on Wednesday and had friends coming on Sunday that we thought we might like to join.  They also have Homeschool Days every spring.  Such a deal!  When you arrive, you go into the group sales and get your tickets there even though your “group” is just your family.  The other hint I will give you for saving money is to always ask if there is a homeschool discount.  At Monticello (down the road), we didn’t fit the criteria on the website but I still asked and the ticket lady replied “If you have some sort of proof.”  I pulled out all of our membership cards to THSC (sort of like HSLDA at the state level for those of you who don’t live in Texas) and she gave me one adult admission for free.  At Montpelier (also down the road) it was the same story, so always ask and have something with you to show you are a homeschooler.  They may say no but you might save money.  Now that I think about it, I don’t remember if I did this at Mount Vernon or if I did, what the result was.  I just remember that at the other places, we didn’t fit the criteria on the website and yet they were still gracious to us.

A model of Colonial Williamsburg at the Visitor's Center

A model of Colonial Williamsburg at the Visitor's Center

The boys ready for a day of living in history

The boys ready for a day of living in history

Here the boys are on the bus you ride from the visitor’s center to the edge of Colonial Williamsburg proper.  FM#2 was supposed to be Ben Franklin who never visited Colonial Williamsburg but we hope to visit Philadelphia and Boston in 2010 or so, so I am hoping that he’ll feel vindicated then.  We did go by the printing shop one day but it took some doing because they have reduced hours (aren’t open all day) and their hours did not always fit our schedule.  I would say that is one thing I did not do well in terms of our planning.  If we do it again, I am going to look around the Colonial Williamsburg site a bit more and figure out the places that have limited hours that we are interested in visiting and be a bit more proactive in planning our specific schedule.  Despite my lack of such specific planning, our kids, who have the attention spans of gnats, were perfectly happy flitting from this to that.

The Governor's Palace -- our first stop

The Governor's Palace -- our first stop

We walked off the bus, onto the grounds and the Governor’s Palace was the first major attraction.  I really enjoyed the parts I saw but didn’t see much because all of a sudden, I had a 4 year old who needed to go potty.  Fortunately, there are public bathrooms across the road but alas, it was too late to catch back up with our group, so FM#3 and I went into the gardens behind the palace and enjoyed them while waiting for the others.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have the camera so there are no pictures of that expedition.  My Beloved, who did have the camera, thought the entry hall with all of the weapons was quite something.  Unfortunately, there wasn’t enough lighting to get a great picture but here is what did come out:

Imagine guns and swords covering almost every inch of wall space

Imagine guns and swords covering almost every inch of wall space

Too bad I didn't have a lock. ;-)

Too bad I didn't have a lock. 😉

Now for the other two.

Now for the other two.

Playing in these were a lot more fun, but even that got a bit old pretty fast,  than when you were really stuck in them.  I tried explaining this to the kids but they’re kids . . .

Benedict Arnold delivering the news that the British were now in control of the town.

Benedict Arnold delivering the news that the British were now in control of the town.

FM#2 was quite offended by the whole story of Benedict Arnold.  He just couldn’t understand how could switch over to the British side.  I kept trying to explain to him how we were all British before the Revolutionary War but he just wasn’t getting it.  As we wandered around Williamsburg, soaking up the history and experiencing the story of the Revolution, we came across this actor/interpreter in the role of Benedict Arnold.  FM#2 made his displeasure known and started calling Arnold a traitor and just yelling at him in general.  Arnold’s aide de camp started toward FM#2, threatening to throw him into jail and female actor/interpreter (playing the role of a CW resident in the crowd) stepped in and came to his defense saying “He’s only a boy, leave him alone.”  It really made us feel like a part of the show and made the whole experience quite memorable for our kids.

Burton Parish Church

Burton Parish Church

The church of Colonial Williamsburg where there are still worship services held today.  The rector of this church was apparently instrumental in convincing John Rockefeller to restore the old buildings and create Colonial Williamsburg as a living history museum.

The kids at the other end of Palace Green in front of the Governor's Palace.

The kids at the other end of Palace Green in front of the Governor's Palace.

This was taken early one morning before the crowds descended upon CW.  I had run back to one of the stores to get another gun (of course, I have boys) and my Beloved took the kids to the print shop while I was shopping.  He stopped on the way to snap this wonderful picture.  FM#2 is still ready for a fight as you can see from the expression on his face.

The print shop’s attached store had some great books — some which I hadn’t really seen anywhere else.  This is all to say I think we spent more there than anywhere else. 🙂  I’ll have to compile a list of all our purchases for those of you who are dying to know — you know who you are but today is not the day because I’m already getting pressure for this installment.

The longest school field trip ever – Days One and Two, on the road again

Okay, I’m going to see if I can blog about this and be consistent.  I’m feeling the pressure now that Laurie is commenting on my blog.  I’m also concerned that  about the fact that I don’t know how to add pictures to wordpress but perhaps I can figure that out because that’s the best part of our trip.

We left Houston on a Monday and stopped just over the border in Georgia visiting a friend from TLT(TOG {Tapestry of Grace — our history/literature/geography/fine arts/music appreciation/vocabulary curriculum} Loose Threads).  Although we had never met, she had invited us to spend the night in her home.  Now, as crazy as the idea of spending the night of the house of someone you have never met before might seem, this was not the first time we had done this.  Also, my matron of honor, before she had married, had been on missionary training with this couple (before kids) and so I sort of knew her. Right?

Her kids (4 boys, ranging in age from slightly older than FM#1 (Future Man #1) to slightly younger than FM#3) and our kids got along great.  Her (and her husband’s) house was just beautiful and so well built for our crazy kids!  This is because she has this huge basement where the kids could play to their heart’s content and the parents could sit in the living room, enjoying each others company, and not hear pounding over their heads.  This means there is not the constant worry about this crash or that one and makes a delightful time even more enjoyable.  We let them stay up way past their bedtimes and in the morning they were all sorry to part company.  Even the DP (Dear Princess) fit in, apparently earning the nickname of Huggy Bear from my friend’s FM#4. 🙂  My friend was quite gracious and packed us “breakfast to go” so we could get a quick start.  Unfortunately, our start still wasn’t that quick since our A/C had gone out and we had to make a stop at their mechanic’s place to get some more freon or whatever the stuff is that they put in the system nowadays.  BTW, it’s out again so apparently we have a leak, since this was just done in September.  Here are the moms with the kids.  I’m the one with kids in matching outfits.  I tried to keep this up for most of the trip so that if someone was lost (a real possibility with our crew), I could tell the police “He was wearing an outfit just like this.”  I don’t know why I say “he” because the only time we lost a child it was the girl but I’ll let EuroMom tell that story if she wishes.

Us with our Georgia TLT friends
Us with our Georgia TLT friends

The second day, we made it all the way to Williamsburg but it was pretty late by the time we got there because of our A/C repair.  We were somewhat brutal that day with no long stops for the kids to run around.  Just a couple of short ones where we did speed drills.  We even drove through Charlotte, where we used to live, and called nobody.  Yes, I know, we are real slugs for that but we had a destination and were way behind schedule.  Driving through the back roads of VA, which is what it seemed from the path we took, during the black of night with no street lights (yes, can you say city girl?) was a bit harrowing.  I kept thinking we were going into the woods where the headless horseman was and that it really wasn’t the path to Williamsburg.  Perhaps I thought this because I was driving and everybody else in the car was asleep and I felt quite alone with no cars near me.  So, anyway, it wasn’t until the next morning that we really saw our accommodations:  a condo complex built on the site of an old plantation.  The plantation house is still there and there is a cannonball in one wall of the house from the Civil War.  Every evening, they have a drum and fife playing in front to make you feel like you are living during the Revolution.

A bit of music at the Historic Powhatan Plantation
A bit of music at the Historic Powhatan Plantation

This really did make you feel like you were surrounded by history, even when you went to bed at night.

Another view with the house in the background.
Another view with the house in the background.
Traffic stopped for the Canadian Geese who ruled the whole plantation.
Traffic stopped for the Canadian Geese who ruled the whole plantation.
They just sort of moved from pond to pond on the property, all day long.
They just sort of moved from pond to pond on the property, all day long.

We really enjoyed our accommodations but would have liked a few more dishes.  The condo slept 6 so they had 6 of everything but not anymore.  Sometimes, at dinner, we needed more than that with sides and desserts and such.  Also, in the morning, there wasn’t enough used to run the dishes but we would need them for dinner, so we had to hand wash them which delayed a fast start out the door for sightseeing.  But it had some great, fun, pools for the kids and it was warm enough for them to enjoy them.  We were off to a great start and looking forward to our whole experience.  Ike was not yet in the Gulf and we were oblivious to the decision we would have to make at the end of the week of whether or not to continue our vacation or return home to look after our property.

The next post will be our actual visit to Colonial Williamsburg.  I would say “tomorrow’s post” but that would be a bit too hopeful. 😉