Sunday, November 6, 2011

Vacationing in Old Stomping Grounds

M., the kids, and I are back from a quick getaway down to Williamsburg, VA. Back in the spring, I bought a Groupon for a 2-night stay, with ideas of showing the kids the campus where I went to college, foraying in to the realm of educational vacations(what with all the people-in-colonial-garb), and finally visiting Busch Gardens, a place I never managed to get to in my four years of residence there. Well, a spring vacation turned in to a fall vacation - that's just how things go, I guess, when life gets away from you. But I think we ended up with a better vacation for it. Busch Gardens was closed for the weekend, so that attraction is just going to have to stay on my "Things To Do" list. And really, did I want to schlep the kids around an amusement park? No, I didn't. So that actually worked out well. Instead, we had plenty of time to meander through the campus of the College of William and Mary, and show the kids the charms of Colonial Williamsburg. They did pretty well, all things considered. Building tours were tough - Lucy had trouble sitting through the little spoken vignettes in each room. Also, there was so much walking that they eventually fought over who got to sit in the umbrella stroller we had with us. Other than that, though, the trip was a much better fit for their age group than I expected. Soldiers with guns, fifes, drums, on horseback; blacksmiths wielding hammers on fiery red metal; horse drawn carriages; impressive looking buildings; an old "gaol"; a garden maze - we all really enjoyed it. The weather was cold but beautiful, and the crowds were much, much less than what you would see in the spring or summer. I highly recommend a visit if you can swing it.

A few photos from our trip follow. And by "a few photos," I really mean "more pictures than you'd ever care to look at."

Finn running toward the Wren building, our first stop on campus.

He was quickly distracted by a nearby cannon.

Meanwhile, Lucy made a new friend.

Then she had to try her hand (butt?) at climbing the cannon, too.

Which actually gave me an opportunity to get a somewhat decent (and very rare) photo of the two kids together.

A sub-par photo of the Crim Dell, the most scenic spot on campus. Which is saying a lot, as W&M has quite a few scenic spots!

Back at the Wren building; it looks like I have two soldiers defending me here.

An attempt (mostly failed) to corral the kids into posing for a picture.

See that smile? That's me eating a cheese sandwich from the Cheese Shop. It is the stuff of legends. Oh how I have missed those sandwiches!

Waiting for lunch at Chowning's Tavern

The Governor's Palace

In the gardens behind the Governor's Palace

A beautiful arched tree walkway in the Governor's gardens

The kids were enthralled with the maze in the garden

Finn exiting from one last spin through the maze

The day ended with a review of the soldiers - marching, fife-playing and drumming, a rousing speech from a horse-mounted Lafayette, and lots of gun shots and cannon-fires. The kids loved it.

Lucy kept calling the soldiers in red "pirates." She is still asking me where they went. I finally gave up and told her they went back to their ship. She's going to need some remedial history lessons some day.

The kids got another treat - their very own fruit flies to keep as pets/do experiments on. A friend of mine from my grad school days is now faculty at W&M, continuing his research on fruit fly development (my poison of choice for my Ph.D. in Biology). He took the kids on a tour of his lab, showed them some fruit flies under a microscope, and then gave them some to take home. I can't wait to give some classes on the life cycle of the fruit fly as soon as the larvae start digging through their food. I may need to go buy a microscope... :-).

We only have a couple of extra vials of food, so we'll need to get creative if we're going to propagate beyond the next couple of weeks. Or we'll just have to go wild - break out the empty wine bottles and start catching flies the old fashioned way!

So, that was our (long) weekend. How was yours?


  1. What a great trip! Oh Cheese Shoppe cheese sandwiches. Yum. The kids looked like they had fun!

  2. I remember how beautiful that campus is and I'd love to do a photo shoot there too. Glad a good time was had by all!

  3. First of all, we LOVE the new (big) photo of Finn and Lucy! Second, yay, for your visit to Williamsburg and W&M!! What's not to love?! Looks like a great trip and how neat that you got to visit Professor Matt! ;-)