Friday, June 24, 2011

Vacationing in Virginia: Our Photo Album, Part 3

It's Flashback Friday once again, and I am going to try to wrap up our vacation to Virginia we took last fall. If you haven't already, be sure to check out Part 1 and Part 2.

Day 5:

After a very full day in Williamsburg the day before, unbelievably, we somehow mustered enough energy today to get up and drive to DC! On the way, we noticed the clouds were in a perfect, very large horseshoe around us! It was crazy weird. Anyway, just had to share that with ya!

I  know you're so glad I did.  ;)

Many of the awesome, eye-catching national landmarks we had to just appreciate as we drove by. Because it was quite cold and dreary, and walking around in weather like that doesn't mix too well with four small children and two worn-out parents.

So we narrowed down our options during the drive over. We had just enough time to see two things. So we picked based on who we had in our charge--that would be our offspring--and proximity.

Chosen Place #1: National Museum of Natural History (part of The Smithsonian Institution)

Yep. We had to go see the dinosaurs.

Of course, we saw lots of other things, too.

But it was a mad house crowded in this museum. So it was difficult to really take it all in. We were too busy making sure we had everybody with us! And as a result, I didn't take many photos at all.

There were a couple points of interest.

Watching a real paleontologist at work:

And seeing the Hope Diamond:


And some of this place really irked me.

But mostly we searched in vain for a bathroom and enjoyed quiet moments on the second floor looking down into the rotunda (because the crowds didn't linger here).

After a while we had had all we could take and decided to move on to our second destination. But first we attempted pictures outside. With four wiggly, starting-to-wear-down kiddos. In the cold wind. Yeah. It didn't go 100% as planned.

Chosen Place #2: National Air and Space Museum (part of The Smithsonian Institution)

The main reason we chose this spot is because Noah had just completed a lap book on Amelia Earhart, and we knew he'd be able to see her Lockheed Vega.

He had also done quite a bit of study on the Wright Brothers. And they had the most wonderful exhibit about them here! It was so late in the day by the time we realized it, though, that we just barely made it in. In fact, the guard in charge of this exhibit was closing the gates as we approached! (Yes. I begged him to let us in, explaining with far too much information why we really MUST see it.) He didn't give us long. Just a few minutes to snap some pictures and glance around quickly.

Yes. We were glad for Noah to get to see these things. But the real lover of airplanes was along, too! And we certainly couldn't forget about him!

Atticus spotted this exhibit and just begged to go see it. It was a walk-through exhibit that allowed you to view an airplane's cockpit, coach seating, etc. The poor thing was so excited to go on it. But he couldn't have been more bitterly disappointed when he got off, because it was so...well...nothing to it!

Other fascinating exhibits were...

The Apollo-Soyuz Test Project

The Hubble Test Telescope

The Apollo 11 Exhibit

And, apparently, the slippery rails on the steps outside (while waiting for Daddy to go get the car).

Exhausted and hungry, we started the long trek back to Harrisonburg, but on the way back we swung by to see an old college friend, his wife, and their sweet new baby!! And, BONUS, we ate with them at Chipotle! Mmmm!! How I love!

All bundled up. Awwwwww!!!

Day 6:

We had originally planned to leave on this day. But, in case you hadn't noticed how much we had packed into those first five days, we were just pooped. So we stayed an extra day. To rest.

The kids played on the neighborhood playground a bit.

Take a look at this sink hole! Seems to me that's an awfully bad place for a sink hole to happen!

Is the view not amazing here??

And I went shopping for trip necessities. Had to get a picture of this. I'm not used to seeing snow shovels and the like in the grocery stores where I'm from!

Day 7:

Before saying our goodbyes and heading out, we took a few quick pictures.

One of Saylor's static-y hair.

She was feeling especially photogenic today.

We attempted the four together. But this was the best we could come up with.

And then.

We got back in the car. For a very, very, very long drive. And we weren't all that happy about it.

But we soon settled in.

One of the things I think the kids will always remember about our trip was how exciting it was to stop at gas stations along the way! For one thing, it was a much-needed stretching opportunity. But they would also all scramble out in order to clean the windows. It was pretty cute.

While we waited for the cleaning crew to finish, Atticus and I would get him changed, walk around a bit, and do things like this.

Now if you'll remember, we stopped in Lebanon, Tennessee, on the way TO Virginia. But we decided to go on a little farther to Nashville this time. Because Lebanon is a smaller town and the hotel situation is not as easy for families with this many little kids. And the best you can get is a "continental breakfast," which consists of nothing but processed baked goods and cereals. We were thinking if we stayed somewhere with a suite-setup (so Paul and I could talk, watch TV, and unwind while the kids went on to sleep) and a breakfast with a little more variety, we'd be a happier bunch.

Well, we weren't all that impressed. For one thing, there wasn't even internet access.

What? I can go to the local Dairy Queen and get free Wi Fi, but Embassy Suites, where I'm paying $xxx to stay in a room with huge Kool-Aid stains on the carpet and more shades of green in the "decor" than I turned in my various moments of carsickness on the trip, Embassy Suites forces you to pay $10 a day????????!! Okay...


Day 8:

After our better-than-bagels, but still-pretty-gross breakfast (even though it was cooked-to-order!) the next morning, we tried our hand(s?) at a few video games.

And then my very spontaneous husband decided to drive us about 15 miles away from the interstate (and our way home) to The Hermitage, the home of President Andrew Jackson. I'm so glad he did. Because we had a great time. It was very well preserved and incredibly interesting.

I wish I had taken a picture of this, but it was one of those moments that happens upon you, and you think about the camera much later. Anyway, at one point Atticus decided he wanted to tag along with a British gentleman, touring with his friends. At first we thought Atticus didn't realize he was holding on to a stranger's pants leg, but he totally DID! He wouldn't even come to us when we called him! He was smirking and perfectly happy to be going along with this man and his friends. He was looking at us like, "Nah. I'm just gonna hang with these guys. I'll catch y'all later." So funny.

First we watched a short film, which was very well done. And then we were able to browse through a smaller exhibit, filled with some of the more precious artifacts from the estate.

Here's Atticus, a little miffed at having to sit down and be quiet because it echoed so badly in here!

Let's go outside and head up to the mansion, shall we?

There's just something about Atticus and benches. (See Part 2.)

Alright. Maybe we should try for four one more time.

Not bad! *sigh* I feel so much better. 'K. Let's keep moving.

One of the best things about this place is their fabulously-done audio tours. Seriously good! we are.

Unfortunately, they don't allow photography of any kind in the mansion. :( So, you'll have to go check it out yourself. But we took lots of pictures on the grounds.

The kitchen was a separate building from the house, which was quite interesting to me. Made sense, though, as you'll read here. I don't know what happened to my pictures of the kitchen.

Somehow I didn't get a picture of President Jackson's tombstone. Just relatives.

A slave cabin

Just had to capture Atticus and his method of getting down a step.

big step1

big step2

big step3

This is another slave cabin, which belonged to Alfred Jackson. (Did you know slaves often took on the last name of the family they served?) Alfred lived here even after becoming a freedman, until he died in 1901.

He was so loyal to the family that, if I remember correctly, he made a deal with the folks working to preserve these grounds that when he died, they could have his home and everything in it, if they would only bury him with the family here on the grounds. So they did. I just thought his story was fascinating. He lived 98 years, and his tombstone reads, "Faithful Servant of Andrew Jackson."

These fluffy critters weren't actually part of the tour. But who could pass up such cuteness?!

Whew! Good thing the fence wasn't on!

The little boys had fun throwing pebbles into this old spring house.

It was just a beautiful day all around. (And, yes, we were sort of dreading putting off the rest of the drive home.)

Taken just outside of the Hermitage Church, here they are one more time, properly stair-stepped.  ;)

And then we drove some more.

The End


  1. I loved hearing your voice in that video <3
    Love the pictures!!

  2. It looks like an amazing trip. One that they will all remember.

    Hugs & love,


Whatcha' think?

Get widget


Blog Widget by LinkWithin
Lilypie Kids birthday Ticker Lilypie Kids birthday Ticker Lilypie Kids birthday Ticker Lilypie Kids birthday Ticker