Washington, DC

Friday morning, we drove from Norfolk to Washington, DC to pick up Vijay from the airport.  The kids and I were all excited to see him; it was great to have family time after a week apart.  We had a great weekend in DC starting with sight seeing and museum hopping. The National Muesum of Art, Smithsonian Natural History Museum, International Spy Museum, the National Archives…It is so easy to focus on what we didn’t see, what we did see was wonderful. It was so inspiring to see these symbols of our Nation.  It was fun for all of us as a family too because it was a first time for us all.

The weekend ended  relaxing with family.  Vijay’s entire immediate family was there, a rarity.   It was great fun to see nieces and nephews and watch all the cousins together.  I love the time that the kids can spend together.  As other’s with families spread across the country know, any time together is a gift and a blessing.  Every moment is one to be cherished.

Colonial Williamsburg

The kids and I were so excited to go to Williamsburg and see a living museum.  It gives such a great sense of what is was like to live at the time of the Revolutionary War.  As an adult, it also made me aware that we are struggling today with some of the same issues that they did then mostly all centering on the role of government vs our individual freedoms.

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Check out Sam with his new musket!

We began with a tour of the Governor’s Palace.  The boys loved the entry hall and were fascinated by all the weaponry.  I was fascinated by the room layouts and how that reflected family life at the time.

We went the the courthouse to view a trial.  India became my sewing apprentice for the next 6 years, wonder what use I can make of that?

 

We spent a little time preparing clay for brickmaking.  Based upon the questioned asked about the composition of the soil at home, I think someone (or two) is planning a little brickmaking at home.

 

It was great to hear the workers give you a perspective of how sociatal norms had change, what the courts were like and the perspective that while the American Revolution brought change, it really strove to preserve much of the British system of government.

The day ended with a viewing of the troops on the green.

Charlottesville and Monticello

Today was a day I was really excited about.  We went to visit Monticello, Thomas Jefferson home.  We started the day with a drive and said goodbye to the beautiful Shenandoah Valley.  Yes, Max looks as if he is sleeping.  I didn’t notice that on the photo until I posted it.  Sorry, Max.  Knowing Max’s sense of humor that might be on purpose.

One last goodbye.

One last goodbye.

We arrived in Charlottesville ready to go to the ACE Biscuit and BBQ, since we had struck out the night before for southern BBQ.  We found this little out of the way gem.  It was closed.  India told me it didn’t open until noon, it was 11:40.  So I said lets take a little drive and see the town.  As we drove away we saw a car pull into the lot.  We viewed Charlottesville with its cute downtown and pastel colored house and returned.  Still closed…the sign on the door said it was their birthday and they were closed!  Boo Hoo and off to the Buttz BBQ.  Bonus, we also got to see a bit of the University of Virgina campus.  I should say, we really got to see the University of Virginia Campus as the traffic was worse than the Loop….slow slow down a two-way twisty road with twice as many pedestrians as cars.  The Buttz BBQ did not disappoint with our brisket and pulled pork.  Max finished his lunch, than ordered a second.  I guess I better get used to this, with Sam soon following in his brother’s footsteps.   Then a surprise stop in a used bookstore and a box of books purchase. (Yes, Honey, more books!)

 

Off to Monticello.  I really cannot begin to say how beautiful and wonderful Monticello is.  It is a tribute to our second presidency.  They have three tours:  The House Tour; Slavery at Monticello; and the grounds and the gardens. Words fail me here and I cannot of course begin to describe Thomas Jefferson.  However, the tours did allow me to understand Thomas Jefferson, the man and politician, as a complex and multifaceted man with great gifts as well as great failings.  The Slavery at Monticello tour was really well done.  I was impressed at how the issue of slavery was addressed in a way that was appropriate for young children, yet still described the horrors of that time in out history.

Finally dinner in Richmond.  To bring the day full circle, decided to end with more BBQ.  Off to the Hogshead Cafe, for a Hog’s Dog.  A hotdog, wrapped in bacon, deep-fried and topped with pulled pork and coleslaw!  Virginia’s response to the Springfield horseshoe!  Unfortunately for us, it was Monday and the Hogshead Cafe was closed.  Off to a local pizza joint instead, to top off a great day!WP_20130826_038

Visiting Virginia

Chicago to Virginia Beach to Washington, DC and back.  I thought I would document our fall trip with photos and commentary…I never seem to document our day-to-day.  Armed with only a camera phone, I decided to move forward and write something each night of our trip.

Day One – Driving

This day was really a long one.    We decided to do the bulk of the driving in one day.  Armed with luggage for 11 days, lunches and snacks for the road we set out.  Not much to say here, except the kids were awesome in the car and Indiana’s rest stops are the pits, but Ohio and Pennsylvania, do a very nice job as rest stops go.

Day 2 – Shenandoah Valley

We packed it up early in the am and drove to Virginia.  The kids were so excited.  I didn’t realize when we left that the kids had never seen mountains.  After all that car time, we felt a little nature would be in order.  Our first stop was supposed to be Luray Caverns, but based on a travel video, Max wanted to see the Skyline Caverns.  We started our afternoon with a tour.

Caves really amaze me.  I think it is so inspiring what nature can create underground.  The kids must like them too, this is our 3rd cave in as many years.

We ended the afternoon by driving Skyline Drive through Shenandoah National Park.  I don’t know if I even have words for how beautiful it is here.  The kids had a blast, hiking, finding salamanders and centipedes.  We all agreed we wish we had more time here and would like to come back and just stay for several days.