Monday, September 21, 2015

Our trip to Charlottesville, Richmond, Jamestown and Virginia Beach

We have a lot of places we want to see while we are here in Virginia.  We wanted  to do some trips before school started so we could go a little farther.  August 7th and 8th we went to Charlottesville
(about an hour from Buena Vista), Richmond, Jamestown, and Virginia Beach.  It was a lot to see in only two days and we didn't really get to stay long at any of the places, but we did get to see them.

First, we went to Monticello which is near Charlottesville.  It is Thomas Jefferson's home.  We didn't want to pay to take a tour bus up to the house, but we thought we could walk up and see it without going in.  We were wrong.  We actually couldn't even see the home, but there was a cool museum area that was free.  The kids could try out some of his inventions and see what life was like for Thomas Jefferson.  It is really neat to know that 3 of the first 5 Presidents of the United States lived within two miles of each other in Virginia.  We also saw James Monroe's house briefly.  I enjoyed seeing the area the Presidents lived.

I don't know what these trees are, but I really like them

Next, we went on down the road to Richmond.  Neil had done some research and found a few good places to see in Richmond.  We started out at an art museum.  It might have been good for some people, but it didn't work out great for us.  I think we made the security guards nervous.  One guard followed us from area to area for quite a while.  I really didn't like him following us around.  I guess security guards aren't comfortable with a lot of children walking around the museum.  We were told a couple of times to step back away from the displays.  I was really ready to head somewhere else.  Next, we went to Marymount park.  We really enjoyed walking around the gardens.  I found several places that would be perfect for family pictures.  There were all kinds of different gardens.  I think the children enjoyed crossing the fish ponds in the Japanese gardens the most.  We also found the small zoo there.  They were setting up for a jazz festival so the park was a little busy, but we enjoyed it.  We also drove down Monument Lane in Richmond.  It is lined with statues of heroes of  the United States.  It was really cool to see.  I think it would have been even better if we had parked and walked, but it was still impressive.

Richmond has a really cool Civil War Museum that I wanted to see.  Friday night it was closed by the time we got there so we went first thing Saturday morning. Tredegar Iron Works was really important in the War. They have turned to Iron works factory into a Museum that was very impressive.  The stories are amazing!  I really enjoyed hearing the Civil war stories from the area.  Richmond was the capital of the Confederacy so there were a lot of battles that took place in the area.  

After the museum we went to Jamestown, Virginia.  It is the first English settlement in America.  It was settled in 1607.  It was amazing!  They are doing a lot of excavation and it was amazing the facts they could tell you about the past.  They have a skeleton that they know likely who it was and how he died.  I really enjoyed seeing Jamestown.   A sister in our ward told me that you haven't really seen Jamestown unless you have spent a whole day there so I guess I haven't really seen Jamestown.  The younger children had an activity booklet they were filling out and that kept them entertained and busy.  The each got a young explorer backpack when they finished.  We also saw Surrender Field where the British surrendered at the end of the Revolutionary War.  It has a neat monument that Congress ordered at the end of the war, but it was years before it was put up.  It is interesting that America had two beginnings in the same area.  The Revolutionary War ended to give America a new beginning at the same place that the first English settlement was established,

The highlight of the trip for most of our family was Virginia Beach.  The children were really looking forward to driving through the tunnel to get there.  The tunnel doesn't go through a mountain, it goes underwater.  They thought they would be able to see the water above them so they were disappointed when it just looked like a tunnel.  It was pretty cool to think we were driving underwater.  The kids absolutely loved the ocean.  It was the first time any of us had been to the Atlantic Ocean.  It was a stormy day and the waves were huge.  The tide kept washing you further and further down the beach and that made Neil and I nervous.  The kids did pretty well at staying together.  The waves were so big that they would come crashing in and knock you right over.  Lydia would go clear under, but she always came up smiling.  She loved the ocean! Joshua would take this adorable superman stance and face away from the waves and just wait to be hit.  I tried to get a good picture of his stance, but never quite caught it.  The older kids laughed and had a great time together.  MaryAnne and Dallin loved looking for shells and playing in the ocean.  Joshua loved chasing the seagulls. It was fun to watch him. Even though it was a stormy day they really didn't want to leave the beach.  They did like the little faucets to wash the sand off your feet.

We had a great little trip across Virginia.  It was fun to see the Atlantic Ocean.  I loved Jamestown and seeing where America really began.  Richmond was fun, except the security guard that followed us from room to room. I should have asked if I could take his picture.  I am so glad we made this trip before school started.

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