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…

The Colonies at Williamsburg VA

The Colonies at Williamsburg VA

The Colonies at Williamsburg VA

Here are my two engineers checking to see exactly how the wheel is attached, and how it works.

The Colonies at Williamsburg VA

Our little pinball wizard!

The Colonies at Williamsburg VA

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.

US Army Transportation Museum, Fort Eustis VA

US Army Transportation Museum, Fort Eustis VA

I was excited by this, the Bell Rocket Pack. I had to write a story about it when I worked at Textron.

 

US Army Transportation Museum, Fort Eustis VA

US Army Transportation Museum, Fort Eustis VA

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.

 

US Army Transportation Museum, Fort Eustis VA

Linus has taken over my role as scale. He just doesn’t hold still for very long.

US Army Transportation Museum, Fort Eustis VA

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.

US Army Transportation Museum, Fort Eustis VA

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.

US Army Transportation Museum, Fort Eustis VA

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.

Mariners Museum, Newport News, VA

Mariners Museum, Newport News, VA

Look at this sassy little boy with his foot up! I love his casual stance.

Mariners Museum, Newport News, VA

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).

Mariners Museum, Newport News, VA

Me and Linus for scale.

Mariners Museum, Newport News, VA

This is a reconstruction of the rotating gun inside the turret.

Mariners Museum, Newport News, VA

Here’s Linus back at home and playing with his trains. Those eyes!

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20151102-DSC_4418-2

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.

Virginia Living Museum, Newport News

These were all fish from the James River.

Virginia Living Museum, Newport News

Here’s a flounder! I ate one later that day.

Virginia Living Museum, Newport News

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.

Virginia Living Museum, Newport News

Here we are checking out a (fake) hollow log.

Virginia Living Museum, Newport News

Linus has been doing this move a lot. I think it’s to show off his flat abs.

Virginia Living Museum, Newport News

Virginia Living Museum, Newport News

Virginia Living Museum, Newport News

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.

Virginia Living Museum, Newport News

Here’s his funny little old-man walk!

Virginia Living Museum, Newport News

Virginia Living Museum, Newport News

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.

Virginia Living Museum, Newport News

Virginia Living Museum, Newport News

Virginia Living Museum, Newport News

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.

Virginia Living Museum, Newport News

Virginia Living Museum, Newport News

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?

Virginia Living Museum, Newport News

Virginia Living Museum, Newport News

Here’s Linus getting acquainted with the local birds.

Virginia Living Museum, Newport News

Back inside, I managed to convince Yen to climb inside this turtle shell!

Virginia Living Museum, Newport News

Virginia Living Museum, Newport News

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.

College of William & Mary

College of William & Mary

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!”

College of William & Mary

Oh my goodness, the Tran men are so handsome!

College of William & Mary

College of William & Mary

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.

Historic Jamestown

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.

Historic Jamestown

Historic Jamestown

Come on!

Historic Jamestown

Linus loved the big monument right after the trail. He ran around and around it at least ten times.

Historic Jamestown

Historic Jamestown

Historic Jamestown

Historic Jamestown

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.

Historic Jamestown

Historic Jamestown

Historic Jamestown

Historic Jamestown

We finally just headed back to the bridge and let him tidy.

Historic Jamestown

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.

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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.

Colonial Parkway to Jamestown

These photos are all along the James River.

Colonial Parkway to Jamestown

Colonial Parkway to Jamestown

Colonial Parkway to Jamestown

We startled this flock of cormorants, which were clearly following a big school of something below the surface.

Colonial Parkway to Jamestown

Colonial Parkway to Jamestown

Here we are on the ferry! It was all of Linus’s favorite things: cars, boats, birds, weird sounds, and Yen.

Jamestown-Scotland ferry

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.

Jamestown-Scotland ferry

Not much on the other side – pretty run-down, frankly. So we just came back again on the next trip.

Colonial Parkway to Jamestown

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.

Yorktown Riverwalk

Yorktown Riverwalk

He couldn’t get enough of this little plaza. Around, around, around.

Yorktown Riverwalk

Yorktown Riverwalk

Yorktown Riverwalk

Yorktown Riverwalk

This cannon was taken away for restoration, leaving just the base. Linus walked around, and around, and around it.

 

Yorktown Riverwalk

After lunch he played on the beach for quite a long time. Yen found sand everywhere for days after.

Yorktown Riverwalk

Yorktown Riverwalk

Yorktown Riverwalk

Yorktown Riverwalk

Yorktown Riverwalk

Yorktown Riverwalk

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.

Yorktown Riverwalk

Yorktown Riverwalk

Yorktown Riverwalk

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!”

Virginia Air & Space Museum, Hampton

They had a big hands-on sections for the kids.

Virginia Air & Space Museum, Hampton

This little tent is meant to show red blood cells. Linus didn’t like it much.

Virginia Air & Space Museum, Hampton

Virginia Air & Space Museum, Hampton

Virginia Air & Space Museum, Hampton

Virginia Air & Space Museum, Hampton

Yen could tell you what all of these are, of course.

Virginia Air & Space Museum, Hampton

Hello from two floors down! Linus needed a snack.

Virginia Air & Space Museum, Hampton

Virginia Air & Space Museum, Hampton

Virginia Air & Space Museum, Hampton

This was a little weigh station that allowed you to measure your weight on different planets. Linus played on it a long time.

Virginia Air & Space Museum, Hampton

He loved this big, reflective ball.

Virginia Air & Space Museum, Hampton

Virginia Air & Space Museum, Hampton

And of course with all of these fancy exhibits, what did he find? A switch on the floor.

Virginia Air & Space Museum, Hampton

Virginia Air & Space Museum, Hampton

Virginia Air & Space Museum, Hampton

He really liked this interactive section that demonstrated principles of aerodynamics. I think he could have stayed there all day. Future engineer!

Virginia Air & Space Museum, Hampton

Virginia Air & Space Museum, Hampton

Back at the ranch… I can’t resist… This is what potty training looks like in 2015!

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Linus is becoming an expert at escalators. Here he is in the airport as we head home.