Last week we took our most ambitious field trip yet: a three-day, full-family stay in Williamsburg: one day for Jamestown, one day for Colonial Williamsburg, and one day for Yorktown.
[Note: allow two days for Colonial Williamsburg.]
Jason spent the days working from the hotel room--much quieter than his usual at-home office--while we toured, and we spend the evenings together.
I actually took the boys to Jamestown in 2013--before the birth of this blog. It was our very first ever field trip of any kind. Jeddy was learning about Jamestown in third grade history.... and Caleb was still nursing, so he had to come too. We drove there and back in the same day.
|4 years ago|
All aboard the Susan Constant!
Donning early colonial armor in the reconstructed fort...
....just like Jeddy did four years ago.
|Practicing seventeenth-century carpentry.|
|Fascinated by the various deceased-animal products in the Indian village.|
Despite touring the museum, climbing aboard life-size replicas of the ships in which the settlers arrived, and exploring the fort and Indian village, the most important sighting of all, for Caleb at least, was a pencil-thin, very long, bright green snake next to the water fountain on the way out. We had to stop and look at the snake for about five minutes.
Is he poisonous? Caleb wanted to know. Will he eat us? (He was about one centimeter in diameter. Presumably he would have to also be very stretchy to consume a five-year-old boy--or a little boy and his entire family.) And then, Can we eat him for dinner?
That evening around the dinner table (which did not have skinny green snake on the menu), with Daddy, I asked everyone to tell Daddy one thing they saw at Jamestown that day.
Caleb's prompt answer?
Of course. Snake.
The next day we did the Revolutionary City. I've been there any number of times, but mostly in January, when it's 20 degrees and sometimes sleeting, and once in July during a record heat wave when it was approximately 140 degrees in the shade. This was the first time I've enjoyed not just decent, but beautiful weather in Williamsburg.
|Caleb was delighted by the "tiny town" map of the historic area|
|An exciting novelty for homeschoolers: riding the bus.|
First task: the obligatory stocks pictures.
Seriously, we've been doing these for years.
|our first anniversary trip|
And making our kids do them.
|Jeddy, age 18 months.|
Caleb wouldn't go near them. I think his proclivity for mischief makes him fearful of anything having to do with punitive justice. We had to drag him later to visit the colonial jailhouse because he was terrified we were going to shut him in. He was also disinclined to sit in on a mock trial at the courthouse.
We played eighteenth-century games in the yard for a while, where I also spotted a colonial footman taking a selfie.
|Hi! Yeah, I totally saw that.|
|When I saw this miniature bowling game, I said, "That's right up Caleb's alley," and didn't even get it until Ada said, "Oooh, good one, Mommy!" |
Caleb rode his hobby horse enthusiastically until the poor creature was getting dragged and bumped along upside-down on his head by the reins.
We toured the Capitol.
We trekked all across town, in and out of innumerable trade shops. We talked with the shoemaker. And the carpenter. And the cooks. We had a long discussion about why Caleb can't climb on the "big rocks" in the churchyard.
I had a couple of tired kids on my hands. The day was warm and my step count was up to 13,000.
Caleb told me he was "getting killed of hotness."
So I gave in and sprang for a carriage ride.
That cheered everybody up.
After the carriage ride we found a grassy spot to sit and await the evening drum-and-fife parade. While we waited, Caleb displayed his new knowledge from the churchyard, by quietly squishing ants and placing pebbles over the top of their carcasses.
That evening we dined in a historic tavern and shared one fascinating thing from our day with Daddy again.
"I saw poop come out of a horse."
Some things never change. Jeddy, circa 2007:
We saved Yorktown for the final day, thinking it would be the least involved, which it was, but there was more to it than I expected. It was actually a lot more interesting than the lack of pictures implies.
|George Washington and the kids|
We had a guided tour of the recreated Revolutionary War camp, colonial-era farm, and indoor museum. Most of the kids (and adults) were fascinated by the displays of woeful Revolutionary medicine, crowded camp tents, and how to make fire with flint.
Caleb completely missed all that, having found a caterpillar as soon as we got to the grounds.
He carried it in his cupped hands, trailing along behind the group, until later I realized he didn't have it anymore. When I asked, he pointed to a freshly-erected cairn of pebbles at our feet. "That girl told me he was poisonous, so I squished him."
And apparently buried him in classic northern Neolithic style.
Huzzah for education!