VA and OBX w/Ralph | 6.10.11

Colonial Williamsburg. A must-see!

We had visitors this week, my dad and my sister, Karen. After a couple of days in Greenville, my dad, sister, and I packed the cooler with ice and drinks and hit the road for a couple of days in Williamsburg, VA and the outer banks of NC. Gary had flown to Los Angeles that day to spend six days with Jordan. Our wonderful 83-y/o neighbor (Remy’s best friend) took care of our hound. The drive to VA took us a little over 3 hours and I saw another new part of the country, as did my dad and Karen. We drove through Newport News, VA, home of a large naval base and saw an aircraft carrier. We also drove through a long tunnel, which was under water, and that was pretty impressive. My dad was in a talkative mood and shared many stories the whole 3-hr drive about his life, childhood, and he amazed us that he remembered so many details from 80 years ago! Wish I had a tape recorder.

My plan (and it was a sincerely fun plan) as a tour director was a great one, I thought, until we started trekking through Colonial Williamsburg at 9 a.m. with temperatures already in the mid-80’s. I tried to focus on this authentic town complete with many original buildings, homes, and churches, but the heat/humidity was wilting my dad and sister who were used to 70’s temps in San Diego. We took dad back to the hotel by noon – and it was 95 by that time – but Karen and I continued on with more touring and lunch; she was a trooper. We relished the AC in any establishment we visited in the downtown area. The buildings in Colonial Williamsburg, except for the taverns & pubs, were definitely not air-conditioned. I didn’t really get pix of Dad and Karen at Williamsburg as it is difficult to look like happy, enthusiastic tourists when you are ready to drop from the heat.

One really cool thing about Williamsburg is the downtown area, right next to the historical part, and next to that is The College of William & Mary. If it was 10-15 degrees cooler, I would have walked the campus. I’ll make sure I get back here in the fall and bring Gary and hopefully Hanna. The college was chartered by King William III and Queen Mary II back in the late 1670’s when Williamsburg was still a British Colony. I would love to take a class there!

After our Virginia trip, I took my dad and Karen down the coast of Virginia to the outer banks of North Carolina. Kitty Hawk was something my dad thoroughly enjoyed, as did Karen – we visited the museum there and saw all of the “first flight” memorabilia, documentation, and photographs of William & Orvil Wright, who took their first flights off a tall sand dune in 1905. The first three flights were all less than 20 seconds, but those events left their mark on the state of North Carolina, as well as the rest of the future aviation world. I was told that many school kids in NC take field trips to Kitty Hawk; I can see why. It is worth the trip. The only negative was thick smoke from a nearby forest fire. The heat was pretty high from being a normal June day, but the smoke made it tough to be outside.

After Kitty Hawk, we took a 15-minute side trip to Cape Hatteras National Seashore and saw the Bodie Island Lighthouse (pronounced Boddy, go figure), built in 1878. Loved it. It was a beautiful drive back to Greenville on day 3 and we were back in the house by 7 pm. It was a long and full day for sure. The next day, we got back in the car and drove to Winston-Salem. We watched my brother, Bill, pole vault in an open track meet in the master’s division, ate some lunch, and then sent my dad off to Charlotte with my brother. Karen spent a few more days with us in G’ville.

All of the pix are from Colonial Williamsburg or the city of Williamsburg, Va.

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