Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Revolutionary City

     The first road trip of the family's summer, and to break in the new SMV, was an eight hour jaunt from PA down to Virginia and the Revolutionary City of Williamsburg.  It was an almost quick, straight run down the interstate, past D.C., and into another world.  After a few bathroom breaks to stretch our legs and gather some brochures at the different welcome centers, we arrived at our pleasant hotel room situated right across the road from 1776.  The restaurant downstairs from our room was just the ticket to get into the spirit of the place.  We filled our bellies, enjoyed a brew, and settled in to get enough rest for the coming day.
      Our trip back in time began as soon as we stepped away from the hotel.  A pedestrian bridge fitted with a timeline led across not only the road but across history.  The original surviving homes from the 1700's came to life with well-versed re-enactors.  Every few hours, right on schedule as listed on the map, history came to life and some of the most important moments in a young country's founding played out before us.  There were Red-coats and militia and declarations of independence and the actual reading of The Declaration.  There were horses and buggies and encampments and silversmiths and brick makers and blacksmiths.  The amount of detail in the "living museum" was overwhelming and the kids were enthralled.  The firing of cannons as the militia went off to fight the British, practicing with muskets in the encampment and marching with the re-enactors, and talking with revolutionaries filled our day.  The kids also tried their hands at being spies for George Washington and gathered clues as we explored the city.  We even came back after dinner to enjoy the city as the day cooled into night.  Fires lit the streets and lanterns guided us around the buildings as a ghost guide whispered stories of other-worldly residents still occupying the taverns and workshops.  It was a long and wonderful day. (One hint for those who visit here:  the souvenir mug is well worth the unlimited refills at the different tavern stops, especially the grocer that doles out root beer floats and root beer slushies in a never-ending fashion.)
       I could not in good conscience leave Williamsburg without stopping at the local brewery.  Their beer was fresh and made for the Revolutionary City to compliment the theme of the place.  Hardy brown ales and tavern porters, along with more modern, lighter renditions, filled their taps.  I was able to procure not only some of those brews for the coming chilly nights of Fall but also some hard won pumpkin ale that seemed to disappear from every shelf I tried to snag it from.  Other stops along the road included homemade pies, Chick-fil-a (no one wanted to pass this by), and the southern peanut shop to gather goodies for football Sundays.  Our only regret was not being able to visit nearby Jamestowne, the original colony and another living museum.  But we will be back, as voted upon by the back seat navigators.  As a whole, the first half of our first new road trip was a great success and a pleasantly relaxing endeavor for the driver.  It is quite enjoyable to have a couple of weird kids that dive into a detour away from the roller coasters and arcade games and feed their curiosity.  They will never forget touching the same doorknobs and bannisters as George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.  I know I never will and that thrill beats a roller coaster everyday, to say, as a family, that we touched history.

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