Everybody likes to travel - but a large part of why I like to travel is because I love seeing history come alive. I love seeing a 500-year-old painting of Da Vinci so close I can see the cracks in the canvas, and the faded gold paint that I can only imagine was once bright and vibrant. I love walking streets I know so many others have walked before me so long ago. I like to imagine some spirits still linger - or at least occasionally visit. Or that the air smells a little musty because the dust has settled, and I'm the first to scatter it again in hundreds of years. That's why I loved my Europe travels so much.
And that's also why I asked to go to Williamsburg, Virginia for my birthday.
It's hard to describe Williamsburg without making it sound like the lamest place on Earth.
"It's a historical town where the people dress up like they did in the 1700's and walk around and act like they are still in Colonial times."
I told that to my sister-in-law and she laughed, "Are you and Adam going to dress up, too?"
Everyone always asks that.
And no, we did not. (But we saw other people - non-actor people - who did. Hey, at least they were enjoying themselves!)
Or you can go into their coffeeshop and sip old-fashioned hot chocolate while they gossip about Loyalists and Rebels.
You can ask the lady at the Apothecary what to take for an upset stomach (ginger crystals) or what to do about a toothache (pull it out).
You can tour the Capitol building, where our Founding Fathers debated over and eventually signed the Constitution. You can listen to "Martha Washington" lament over her slave being freed - and hear her slave's excitement for a new life.
Where we started: The Visitor Center. There's maps, video presentations to watch, brochures about the restaurants and shops, and the shuttle that takes you to the city (though you can also walk there from the VC).
What we did: We toured the Apothecary, Blacksmith shop, Cabinetmaker, Silversmith, Bruton Parish Church, Capitol, Governor's Palace, George Wyth house, Cooper, Magazine, Public Gaol, Public Hospital, and the Art Museum. There were lots more we wanted to see, but they were either closed that day or for the winter season. We spent two whole days there and probably could have spent another whole day there if it was the summer season with more tours and shops open.
On the third day, we went to Historic Jamestowne, the first permanent colony in North America. It is believed that the 1608 church on this site is where Pocahontas married John Rolfe! Four hundred years ago!!! So cool.
Where we stayed: Homewood Suites by Hilton. It was just a few miles and an easy drive to the Visitor Center, where you could park your car for free and take a shuttle into the city. Because my dad was with us, we got a two bedroom suite, which included a kitchenette with utensils, stove, refrigerator, and a small dining area. It was perfect for all of us. Axton stayed in a pack-n-play next to our bed.
Homewood Suites not only has complimentary breakfast every morning, but also complimentary dinner Monday-Thursday. They also have a pool and free WiFi.
What we ate: We splurged and ate at The King's Arms Tavern for lunch while we were in Williamsburg. I would highly recommend this place above all the other Taverns - they are famous for their Peanut Soup, an original Colonial recipe. Go there for lunch instead of dinner - it's much cheaper and just as good. We ordered the crab cake (which was fabulous, but the coleslaw on the side was even better!), the Norfolk Pottage Pye (sooo rich), and A dish of beef, which was the best beef I've ever had from a restaurant. Possibly from anywhere. Here's their lunch menu.
What else to do: Want more Revolutionary history? Check out Yorktown. If you want something different to do in Williamsburg, something not hundreds of years old, you can always go to Great Wolf Lodge, an indoor water park. There's also the amusement park Busch Gardens or the outdoor water park Water Country USA. For the less adventurous, stroll through Williamsburg Botanical Gardens.
Also, see lots more fun photos on my photo blog!