Tomorrow is the first day of school for us so I feel like tonight is officially the end of summer. There’s no way I can do a summer wrap up post, a garden post, a hurricane post, and a vacation post, but I’d best get something down about the vacation because you know tomorrow will be all about the first day of school. So. Vacation. We somewhat last minute decided to take a vacation to Williamsburg, VA the week before school started. We’ve had such a good time there in the past that we knew we’d love it again. We were meant to go Sunday to Sunday and Hurricane Irene was scheduled to land in our area on the Saturday night before our departure. We really weren’t sure if we’d be going or when-all dependent on the hurricane. On Saturday afternoon we put all our loose outdoors things safely into the garage and securely locked up the chickens. Then we waited. And waited. Finally around dinnertime it began to gently rain. We went to bed and when we woke up were happy to find we had power and no trees on our roof. A walk around the property revealed only one tree limb down and some scattered branches. The basement had just a small amount of water. Really, nothing worse than we’ve had from other storms. Then we went into town to see if the river had flooded. It had-and worse than we’ve ever seen before. It was fascinating and scary, but also very sad. Folks in town had flooding in their homes and they lost electricity for a full week. Mind you, this is literally a 1/4 mile from our house, so we were quite lucky.
We drove around taking pictures of the damage and flooding and then decided that since our house was secure we would indeed head down to Virginia. We got to our hotel at 10pm only to discover….no electricity there! They checked us in, handed us glow sticks, and sent us off to find our place in the pitch black. Morning’s daylight would reveal a lovely condo type apartment in the woods, which would explain the utter quiet and darkness once the sun went down. Also, as you can imagine, hardly anyone else was staying there!
The power eventually came back on Wednesday and honestly, since we had running water, after the first very hot night, it really wasn’t too bad. An adventure! We got great night’s sleeps since we didn’t stay up very late, and Tuesday we were out all day at Busch Gardens, which was totally electrified, so it was fine. Things looked up Monday morning when Paul brought me a lovely giant cup of tea from the exotically named Ukrops.
So I have a full set of pictures up on Flickr, but here’s a quick rundown of what we did:
Went to Busch Gardens for two days and had enormous fun riding rides, being entertained, interacting with animals, and enjoying the lovely setting. You know the one major thing Busch Gardens has over Disneyworld? It’s not in Florida. The park is tucked into a very woodsy setting–trees and hills everywhere, very shady. Favorite parts? Riding the log flume with the kids (Clark rode it 5 times in a row), channeling National Lampoon’s Vacation at the Oktoberfest, and seeing lorikeets all over Paul.
Another day we swam and frolicked, visited a local playground, and walked around Colonial Williamsburg. It didn’t matter to us that it was closed-we just enjoyed walking around looking at the buildings and had a great dinner afterward.
The main thing we did that was new to us was visit Jamestown Settlement. This was a big hit with all of us. I really enjoyed the inside exhibits and history and learning about the 1607 settlers (though it gave me extreme white person guilt about taking land from the Native Americans). The kids especially enjoyed the recreated Indian village and the replica ships.
There is also a recreated fort, where Clark especially enjoyed the armory. We also crammed in a visit to the Virginia Living Museum. (Our second local natural history museum of the summer-we also visited the Cape Cod Natural History Museum, and I have to say that I just love these aquarium/zoo/natural history museums that are all about that area. They are really terrific and so informative.)
Our final day we availed ourselves of the hotel amenities-shuffleboard! miniature golf! swimming! and hit Busch Gardens at night for a little late night fun.
The next day we checked out and began an extremely long trip home. We went via the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, which is a total engineering marvel to me and a scenic delight. From there you travel up Virginia’s Eastern Shore, which is fascinating and super rural. We were thrilled to stop and visit a friend of mine, which also made a nice little break. From there it’s further north past all the giant commercial chicken farms/plants in Maryland and Delaware, and to the Cape May-Lewes ferry.
This was another lovely break and we all enjoyed the ship ride. Unfortunately it was a wee bit longer than I remembered. And once we reached New Jersey it was not the 2 hours I thought back to our house, but a solid three. Needless to say I was dying to get home by then. So all in all, a great way to end the summer.