State #28 Virginia

That’s right, Virginia is for lovers or at least that’s what the state’s motto says.

It’s the middle to late September and it’s still 90 degrees. I’m usually in my fall clothes by now. I’m not complaining by no means. I love it. The rest of my crew would like it a little cooler as they walk around Mount Vernon in the heat. The weather is wonderful. Warm and blue skies. I’ll take it.

Mount Vernon was the home of George Washington. We started our visit at the visitors center with a short video and then on to the tour.

Mount Vernon has an adventure map for the kids. If you figure out the clues then you win a small prize. This was great. It kept the kids interested while we toured the property and the prize (spoiler alert) was a pressed penny, which is absolutely perfect for them since they collect those anyway. Win-win.

The house is a guided tour but the rest of the property is self guided. One of the employees said now is a great time to visit (from late August to late September is perfect). The only down side about the off-season we’re finding is that’s when lots of renovations happen and things are often closed. In our case, the house was opened but they were painting the roof so there was all this scaffolding. It didn’t make for a pretty picture but we were thankful we were still able to tour the home; that’s what really mattered anyway.

Mason and Trevor enjoy the movie National Treasure so Mason was on the look out for clues. The kid cracks me up.

Our tour guide told us to check out the necessary for a surprise. We probably would have missed the privy if she hadn’t mentioned it. Once the boys read the sign and found the surprise of three potties side by side, they were cracking up.

After touring the property, we went to the museum/learning center. It was pretty neat and extremely interactive so Tuck was entertained for a while at least. I think since Washington was a general the boys liked the solider stuff.

Our last revolutionary stop for this first part of the trip (and maybe the rest of the trip), was Colonial Williamsburg. Now Tuck is learning about this stuff in his social studies class so all this revolutionary history is perfect. We were reading in his history book and he is better able to put it all together from the places we have been.

When I was looking for tickets, I saw Colonial Williamsburg has homeschool days on select days in February and September. How perfect! We were able to get all four of us in for the price of just one adult basically. How awesome was that?! The downsize is all the cool stuff is extra. Like $20/person extra and the musket shooting was $95/person. Axe throwing was the only cheap add-on at $5/person but something told me that giving my kids axes to throw might not be the best activity for us. You could easily spend way more than the ticket price. We chose not to purchase any extra guides, tours, etc

Even so, I was really excited about going. My class went on a field trip in middle school and I wasn’t able to go. So I’ve always wanted to visit and see what I missed. Colonial Williamsburg is a working town from the late 1700s. Real trade smiths and costumed interpreters and citizens milling about.

I wanted to love it! Truly I did. But truth be told, I personally felt it fell flat. I’m not sure if it was just because it was the off-season or what but I was bored. Trev was bored. The boys hung in there longer than I thought before they got bored. Many, but by no means all, of the interpreters weren’t very friendly and it felt like we were interrupting them doing their trade. Some had set times that people could tour their house/business; others were just walk up and ask questions while they worked. Without some kind of spill the boys didn’t know where to even start to ask a question. We were there from 9am-2:30pm and were so ready to leave. I’m glad we didn’t buy the multi-day ticket and I’m glad we got the discount for the day we went. I’m not saying don’t go but I would definitely have your day mapped out.

I have to say though, the trip to the wig shop to see the ladies make a queue was great; especially when the interpreter grabbed one up and used Mason as her example. Haha!

After dinner, it was time to swim. The boys loved this pool because it had color-changing lights and little jets going across the pool.

Today was tough. It was supposed to be kind of a chill day. We were supposed to do school in the morning and crabbing in the afternoon followed by swimming and then laundry. Well, it all went south at breakfast with a simple request that turned into a fit which turned into overreacting. At this point of the trip I’m sure y’all all know which two people this involved. Nobody was in the mood to do school after all that had transpired and I went back to bed, well at least tried.

So we decided to turn our day around and get outside. We headed over to York River State Park.

The ranger gave us directions to the pier, which is part of the park but located down the road. We reached the pier to realize three things. First, we couldn’t crab where we wanted to. The fishing pier had high railings (obviously to keep people from falling in). The problem was that the boys were going to drop their lines and then net the crabs. This couldn’t be done due to the rails.

Secondly, the boat launch area was better suited as it didn’t have the rails but there are posted no fishing/crabbing signs within the boat launch area (again for obvious safety reasons).

Thirdly , the first and second points were moot as the water was way too choppy to even attempt to crab, fish, or anything. Tucker said Thursdays weren’t good days for crabbing anyway. He said he read it in a book in Mrs. Greene’s class last year. Oh, the tales that boy tells. It’s hard to sort the fact from fiction half the time.

Anyway, we went back to the main part of the park and had lunch, played on the playground, and of course the boys had to race.

Trev was majorly bummed about not being able to crab at the park and had that Clark Griswold look on his face. I knew it was not a good idea to let his thoughts get any deeper. There’s no telling what or where we would end up in search of fun.

So we loaded up and headed back to the hotel for school and swimming. That lead to another fit. Suffice it to say, both children did their schoolwork but only one got to go swim. Our chill day turned into a day of small disappointments and lots of emotions. I can’t even begin to imagine what our neighbors think. But now as I write, things are calm and moods are leveled and we are one big happy family again.

Yesterday and today the weather was finally down in the 70s. We all commented on how this was the first day it was actually feeling like fall was coming.

In the morning, we leave for the first of the last two new states in this leg of the trip. Afterwards, we head to our favorite fun place in a state we’ve already been. Then we will be home for a few weeks for a wedding Trevor is in and to decide whether we are taking the camper for the next leg of the journey or if we’re going to continue hoteling it.

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