Vacation in Williamsburg VA
There won’t be any holiday travel for us this year with Little Sister coming so soon, so we took a week away in while we could. Our criteria were: a short, direct plane ride; slightly warmer temperatures; plenty of Linus-friendly activities. We ended up in Williamsburg VA.
Day One: Getting Settled
Not a lot to report on the first day. We flew in, had enormous quantities of shrimp and crab at a teeny place called SiStar, then drove to where we were staying. We took a walk around the grounds to check things out, and Linus immediately found a nice playground. Please try to ignore how saggy and full his diaper is…
Here are my two engineers checking to see exactly how the wheel is attached, and how it works.
Our little pinball wizard!
Day Two: The Army Transportation Museum
I’d made a list beforehand from the internet and friends, and we decided to just start down the list. We started with the Army Transportation Museum, which was very nice. It’s on a base, so you have to go through a bit of security. But once you’re in, it’s free and you can really take your time. Inside are a lot of dioramas – some small like this one, and some life-sized.
I was excited by this, the Bell Rocket Pack. I had to write a story about it when I worked at Textron.
Outside, they have big pavilions with all of the large equipment. Linus is very into trains right now, so it was a nice place for him to visit.
Linus has taken over my role as scale. He just doesn’t hold still for very long.
The woman who was at the front desk of the museum (which is free, by the way), absolutely loves babies. She has six of her own! She’s one of only two non-family people who have asked to feel my giant belly this time around. She was very taken with Linus, and gave him this little train from the gift shop. He adores it. When the wheels spin, the little smoke stack goes side-to-side.
All of this interesting equipment around, and he’s most interested in the puddle in the corner. By the way, it rained just about every day we were down there. The locals told us it was unusual weather – both wetter and warmer than it should have been. We didn’t let it stop us.
The routine we quickly developed was to lounge around in the morning, head out for an activity around 9am, lunch, and then back to the hotel to nap and relax. Around 4pm, we went to the terrific pool at the resort – it has all kinds of fountains and nooks. Linus really loved the long ramp down into the pool. He could walk up to his chest before he needed a hand. Then we had dinner in and an early bedtime. We tried dinner out the first night, but it was just stressful for everyone. We were there to relax!
Day 2: The Mariners’ Museum
Next we headed to the Mariners’ Museum, easily one of the nicest museums I’ve been to. It’s a beautiful, airy space with well arranged exhibits and visuals. I highly recommend it. Its focus and centerpiece is the USS Monitor, which was brought up from where it sank during the Civil War. This is the red beacon that sat on top of it, and was described by eye witnesses as the last piece that sank.
Look at this sassy little boy with his foot up! I love his casual stance.
Here’s a reconstruction of how the turret looks when it came up. The actual turret is still in water for preservation. It will be there for another 15 years. To help you orient, remember that it’s upside down (from sinking).
Me and Linus for scale.
This is a reconstruction of the rotating gun inside the turret.
Here’s Linus back at home and playing with his trains. Those eyes!
Day Three: The Virginia Living Museum
Everywhere we went, people asked whether we’d gone to the Virginia Living Museum yet. That was Day 3. It’s a great museum. Lots of info on native plants and animals, and very interactive to keep little guys entertained.
These were all fish from the James River.
Here’s a flounder! I ate one later that day.
I wish we had a video of this adorable sound Linus makes when he sees a frog. It’s like a little squeak in the back of his throat, and it actually sounds like a frog – unlike ribbit ribbit. I have no idea where he learned it. But even looking at this statue, he made the sound.
Here we are checking out a (fake) hollow log.
Linus has been doing this move a lot. I think it’s to show off his flat abs.
Outside of the museum is still part of the museum. Big trails like this wind their way through a little forest so you can enjoy native trees and animals. Linus led the way.
Here’s his funny little old-man walk!
I never should have shown Linus how to stuff a dried leaf between the cracks of a bench. He wouldn’t leave until he cleared this one.
Here’s a little lynx. I’d never stand a chance of seeing one in the wild, as I’m just too noisy when I hike.
They had a really nice aviary. Check out this pelican! I don’t know why I love pelicans so much. Because they’re like little dinosaurs?
Here’s Linus getting acquainted with the local birds.
Back inside, I managed to convince Yen to climb inside this turtle shell!
On the way back, we stopped off at the campus of William and Mary. Here’s Linus marching right up to the president’s office for a word.
He was the big man on campus. Every girl who walked by made little “Oooh!” sounds. One even took her headphones off to say, “He’s so cute!”
Oh my goodness, the Tran men are so handsome!
Day Four: Jamestown
We took the Colonial Parkway over to check out Jamestown. That’s such a nice drive. We drove it many times just for fun. And speaking of fun, Linus was overjoyed to find so many leaves in need of picking up.
This is the long walkway you take across a swamp to the archaeological digs. They say that Jamestown wasn’t nearly so swampy then as it is now. I hope not, otherwise I really have to question their decision making.
Linus loved the big monument right after the trail. He ran around and around it at least ten times.
We had some trouble keeping control of him. He wanted to touch everything, and just wouldn’t let us explore. Not that we cared much. This vacation was for him too.
We finally just headed back to the bridge and let him tidy.
Day Five: More Colonial Parkway and Yorktown
It’s a good thing we don’t have door handles like the one in the rental unit. Linus very quickly learned how to open the door, particularly if he could locate something to stand on – in this case, Yen’s show. He’s obsessed with standing on things right now. Which, you’ll remember, is how he got that big scratch between his eyes. We’re helping him to be more careful now.
We decided to go back to Jamestown to ride the ferry. It was free, after all, and we thought Linus would enjoy it. It was a dreary, misty day.
These photos are all along the James River.
We startled this flock of cormorants, which were clearly following a big school of something below the surface.
Here we are on the ferry! It was all of Linus’s favorite things: cars, boats, birds, weird sounds, and Yen.
One grandmother brought a big bag of bread crumbs and fed the gulls off the back of the boat so her granddaughter could see them. She didn’t seem to mind that Linus watched too.
Not much on the other side – pretty run-down, frankly. So we just came back again on the next trip.
We carried on to Yorktown and decided to check out the town before lunch. Oddly, the sky was clear on this side. The locals said it’s always like that – you never can predict what the weather will be.
Linus is very into windmills right now. He shouts out his little version of the Vietnamese word for them whenever he sees one: “Yaw! Yaw!” At least that’s what it sounds like to me.
He couldn’t get enough of this little plaza. Around, around, around.
This cannon was taken away for restoration, leaving just the base. Linus walked around, and around, and around it.
After lunch he played on the beach for quite a long time. Yen found sand everywhere for days after.
As we were leaving, so was the fire marshal (he was out checking emergency beacons). We stood admiring the engine, and then he asked if Linus wanted to sit inside! He also ran the lights for us as he drove away.
Day Six: Virginia Air and Space Center
This place is a little gem. It’s very small, but it has a very large collection all jammed together. Linus was really in his element. “Plane! Plane!”
They had a big hands-on sections for the kids.
This little tent is meant to show red blood cells. Linus didn’t like it much.
Yen could tell you what all of these are, of course.
Hello from two floors down! Linus needed a snack.
This was a little weigh station that allowed you to measure your weight on different planets. Linus played on it a long time.
He loved this big, reflective ball.
And of course with all of these fancy exhibits, what did he find? A switch on the floor.
He really liked this interactive section that demonstrated principles of aerodynamics. I think he could have stayed there all day. Future engineer!
Back at the ranch… I can’t resist… This is what potty training looks like in 2015!
Linus is becoming an expert at escalators. Here he is in the airport as we head home.