It began Thursday evening with us frantically trying to do some last minute packing to get out of town. We had planned a get away. . .for the three of us because we're not ready to leave Aidan yet. . .to Colonial Williamsburg with a stint at Great Wolf Lodge thrown in for good measure. We didn't really know what to expect for either place, so we sort of were packing on the fly without much of a plan. It worked though!
We left Friday morning and drove the little more than three hours down to Williamsburg. We arrived at about lunch time so we stopped to eat and then headed over to our hotel to check in. Upon entering the hotel, Aidan immediately spied the pool--indoor, or course!--and began badgering us to go swimming! But, we had plans to go to Colonial Williamsburg. We got our bags into the room and then headed over to the Visitor Center where we got checked in and received our passes. I had prepurchased what I had thought were two day passes for us and discovered at check in that these were actually multiday (three day) passes!! Cool!!! Pat looked at me dubiously, but didn't really say much.
We got our passes clipped on, grabbed a map and off we went, on an adventure back in time. . .back to 1775. They have this set up really neat in that there is a path you must follow from the Visitors Center over to the Colonial Section. In the path are brass plaques which count backward: 1950's--you accept that schools are segregated; 1940's--your evening entertainment does not come from television; 1920's--you accept that women do have the vote; 1865--you know people who own other people; 1820's--you can travel as much as 70 miles in one day; 1790's--your most current news is a week old; 1775--you are a subject of His Majesty, King George the Third. I think I missed a few, but you get the general idea. It's a pretty neat trick to get you mentally back into the 18th Century frame of mind.
The first stop is at the Great Hopes Plantation. Aidan LOVED it here!!! There were yoked oxen, a male slave starting a fire with a flint and steel, a chicken coop, slave quarters, and two different gardens--one for the plantation owners and one for the slaves. There were also horses and hogs. . .a very well to do plantation, although we, by today's standards, would never have guessed it!!
After the plantation, we moved on to the town proper. . .we first encountered the Governors Palace where were informed that Governor Dunmore and his wife would be hosting a ball that evening. We were provided a tour of the Palace and given subjects to discuss with Lord and Lady Dunmore as we saw fit. For anyone into history, Lord Dunmore had been Governor of New York for one year prior to coming to Virginia. . .after he left, a bit on the run from us American rebels, he was assigned a post in the Bahamas.
Anyway, Lord Dunmore had his weaponry on display as decor within the Palace walls. When you first enter, in his studdy and lining the stairwell. Quite impressive!!
Other nifty things seen at the Palace were the sconces , bed linens and the beautiful fireplaces:
To his credit, Aidan only looked like this a little bit. . .
At first Pat was a little upset with him until I reminded him that Aidan is a 5 year old boy. . .and by the way Pat, are you really truly enjoying this??? Pat smiled. . .yes, I know my husband!! I, on the other hand, couldn't get enough!! Much to my boys dismay. . .
The Kings crest remains over the door of the Palace which can be seen when exiting on the way to the beautiful boxwood maze, that Aidan absolutely loved!!!
From here we toured the Palace kitchens, yes cooking with the fire in the fireplace, and then on to the Town Green. Trying to find things to amuse Aidan, we found the Foundry and Gunsmith. This was cool as we were shown how a gun is rifled and how bullets were made. Interesting, though, in that it wasn't very near where the town aresnal was kept. . .
From there, were went over to Bruton Parish. We walked into the churchyard and I noticed some gravestones. Realizing we were walking over graves, I went up behind Aidan and whispered "Hey! Get off me!" He turned and looked at me in horror! I love doing that, but it isn't nice. Aidan was fine after a bit and even laughed about it.
We went into the church proper and saw the interesting pew boxes. Most of the pews had been inhabited at one time by some very famous Virginians. . .George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Patrick Henry. . .Bruton Parish is the oldest Episcopal Church in the United States. It was initially founded in 1674, as an Agnlican Church and then became Episcopal after the Disestablishment of the Anglican Church in the 1780's.
The building was built in 1715 from plans drawn by Governor Spotswood (of Blackbeard fame). It is really beautiful and it's amazing how well the Parish (still active) has been able to preserve it.
I would have loved to attend services there--still active with four services each Sunday, and we actually toyed with the idea, but judging from the look on Aidan's face, we determined it was in everyone's best interest for us to forego that pleasure.
Other really cool buildings we toured were the Arsenal, which is Octagonal shaped and first above, and the Capital Building. Both were really beautiful. It's amazing to see these buildings and realize how much of our American history was hatched here.
After this, the light was failing and it was very cold, so we wandered over to Raliegh's Tavern for some Hot Cider and Gingerbread cookies all consumed standing near an outdoor fire. . .awesome!!!
That evening was spent at the Hotel pool enjoying ourselves and relaxing. . .
Day Two, we went went back to Colonial Williamsburg and saw much of the same sights with the addition of the Wheelrite and Blacksmith shop. But the big fun for Aidan started that afternoon when we checked into Great Wolf Lodge. . .a humongous waterpark built for kids of all ages!! Waterslides, wave pools, lazy rivers, fountains, geyers and a giant bucket of water that dumps a 1000 gallons every five minutes. . .what's not to love??? Well, Aidan loved it. Pat and I have done this now and know we don't have to do it again. . . : )But, Aidan loved it!!! Did I already say that???
Because the waterpark was a bit strenuous and not really adult friendly (with the exception of the money mom and dad needed to spend!) we decided to spend the mornings at Colonial Williamsburg and the afternoon at the waterpark. . .this seemed to satisfy everyone. However, the end came too soon for Aidan, who was none too pleased at our departure for home!
But home we went. . .while on the way, though, we stopped at a Bass Pro Shop--have you ever been to one of these??? It's an amusement park for hunter/fisher gatherers! Aidan liked it too. . .we stayed for a couple of hours and had lunch there before making our final trek home. . .but we had to get a picture with the Bad Boy Bear!!
Aidan went back to school and Pat and I still had one more day so we did some Christmas shopping and went out for a really nice lunch. . .oh! And, he surprised me by taking me to a jewelry store for some new diamond earrings!!
Whew!!! What an Anniversary!!