Tuesday, May 05, 2009

MomMom and Pops + 4

Recently we went on a "field trip" to Williamsburg, Virginia with our grandchildren. It was a highly anticipated trip but it's possible the children were just excited because they were getting to go on a trip together. Hopefully, by the time it was over, they had learned experientially more about American history. We met them at the airport and flew to Newport News, Virginia, picked up a rental van, and drove to our hotel. I think they might have been happy to just stay there and swim in the indoor pool and play computer games, and, of course, we did that later, but we were excited to show them Colonial Williamsburg. Here are some highlights of our trip along with some pictures of our activities.

First night-We ate at Chowning's Tavern where there was a colonial musician and a colonial magician. The children got to "assist" the magician. They were asked to inspect the rope (Ashlyn), inspect the cup (Hannah), and actually take part in some of the tricks. David turned a ball under the cup into an orange and Aubrey turned the ball into a potato. On the way to the hotel that night, David asked "Is there a vending machine where I can get a potato and an orange? I need to practice that trick!"

First full day-First we went to the visitor center to rent costumes and check on other activities for the day.
Because the children were wearing costumes, there were certain activities they were allowed to take part in. First we went to The Magazine where David learned to be soldier. He LOVED his sergeant (not) and was ready to enlist right then. The girls then went to the garden where they actually planted a row of turnips. After that we went to The Geddy House where they learned proper manners. From there, the girls had to go to the post office to apply for a job as a tutor and then to the printing press to learn how to print their application for the job. It took a little explaining to the children for them to understand that when the sergeant was "mean", he was playing a role and when the lady at the Geddy House made an example out of them, she was playing a role. They were beginning to think everyone in Colonial Williamsburg was RUDE. However, our four little colonial children got attention everywhere we went. We aren't sure if people thought they worked there or if just seeing those 4 children in their colonial clothes drew all the attention.
People constantly asked if they could take their picture, etc. I told the children they now know how celebrities feel with the paparazzi following them. We all went on a wagon ride, Ashlyn played a game that the colonial children would have played, they climbed in the towering oak trees with low hanging limbs, and then Aubrey took spinning lessons (she's the only one who chose to do that). She was quite good and caught on quickly. Our lanthorn (lantern) tour scheduled for that night had to be cancelled due to lightning; however, we were OK with that since we had been extremely busy ALL day.

Second full day-We slept a little later and then left for Jamestown Settlement. This was an interesting day for all of us. First we saw how the first settlers lived and how difficult life was for them. Hannah and Ashlyn tried on the armor that the settlers wore for protection when they left the fort. We then went to see replicas of the ships which brought the settlers over and we were able to explore the entire ship. The children got to try out the bunks and see just how wearisome it must have been to travel so many days and such a long distance on those ships. After touring the ships, we went to see the Indian village. There the children were able to play games the Indian children played, see how they cooked over an open fire, try their hand at grinding corn, and also learned to skin a hide. Jamestown Settlement was lots of fun for all of us. We left there and drove to Yorktown and through the battlefield. Although there wasn't much for them to do there, they can say they've been to Yorktown. We left Yorktown to go back to Williamsburg for A Grand Medley of Entertainments which recreates an 18th century traveling show. It was fun to watch the children laugh at the antics of the players.

Our last day-We got up and packed all of our suticases and loaded them into the car---it was time to check out of the hotel. We went to the Visitor Center to catch the bus to Colonial Williamsburg. First we visited the Capitol and then the gaol (jail). The children got a kick out of seeing what life was like in jail in colonial times. Later, Ashlyn and I visited an old cemetery and the Episcopal Church where George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and other famous people have worshiped. We ate lunch and visited the Govenor's Palace briefly before leaving for the airport. However, before we got to the airport, we got an email from the airlines saying our flight had been delayed due to weather. Since we had more time, we went to Historic Jamestown and the children got to see a glass blowing demonstration and wade in the James River.

Finally, we had to head to the airport and catch our flight back home. Even though we had a terrific time and learned so much about history, they were ready to see their parents and I'm sure the parents were ready to see them, too. It was a joy to us to watch our grandchildren learn new things, see things they've studied in school, have fun together, and get to experience life in colonial times. What a blessing that we were able to do this with them and we thank their parents for sharing them with us for a few days. The time we spent together was priceless.

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