Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Colonial Williamsburg Vacation 2016!

I read recently that people who travel tend to go back to the same place over and over instead of visiting new places, and I thought...hmmmmm...yes, guilty as charged here too, as we go to not only the same destinations but stay in the same lodgings over and over as well!

Isle of Palms, you have all of my heart!
So I decided this year we'd begin to travel more often, to different places than before as well as keep returning to our favorite destinations. (Yes, it is possible to budget so that you can travel more - as a solo parent on one income I've learned a trick or two about this, but that's a blog for another day!) Historic Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia had been on my wish-list of destinations for a while now, and we really had a great time visiting! I can not say enough about this amazing place!

The simple beauty of scenes like this greeted the eyes at every turn.
 I called and spoke to travel planners and got a great deal on a family packaged. We stayed at the Williamsburg Woodlands, which was a 10 minute or so walk down a lovely brick path to the Colonial City, passing a working windmill and an 18th century homestead along the way.

You have arrived!
The next few photos I will allow to speak for themselves. History, which we love in my family, really came alive for us here on this vacation. I tell my son "A good trip changes you. You come back, but you aren't the same, and that's the goal of travel." This was definitely one of those trips. We learned so much!

Everything is authentic. The blacksmith shop makes nails and other things used in construction here.

From keeping a couple of sheep and chickens to lush flower and vegetable gardens, how people use the space of their yards was very inspiring, practical and of course, sustainable.

Colonial boy for a day!

Witt House, where General George Washington prepared for the infamous Siege of Yorktown

It's not every day one gets to discuss the founding of our country with it's first president!
Or touch the stair railing - original to the home - that he also surely touched on his way up the stairs so long ago!

Colonial Bee Skein 
Original 18th Century Apothecary jars. Still my heart!
Just another breathtaking view...

Governor's Palace
Of course I visited the 18th century coffee shop, where I sampled drinking chocolate - the Colonials drank their chocolate in tiny mugs to deflect the high cost of tea! Coffee was a favorite drink as well during that time period, preferred over tea, actually! I didn't get any photos of that experience, too involved in the moment, but these picture hung over the mantel!

Passed this lovely meadow walking in to the city each day. 

The march to the infamous Siege of Yorktown...

...with fife and drum in tow!

It was toasty - Virginia is further North, but still a Southern state - with summer in full swing, but it's the Tidewater region, which meant sea breezes and overcast days made for very pleasant weather during our entire stay. This allowed for much enjoying of the Williamsburg Woodlands' pool and waterpark as well!
We learned and saw so much, I can definitely see that this a place we will likely visit again one day. I found the vacation package to be affordable and well worth the cost. We didn't make it to nearby Yorktown or Jamestown, too enraptured with the Colonial City itself, but we did head over to Williamsburg to visit the Colonial Art Museum, where I easily could have spent the entire day. Different seasons offer different opportunities for visitors; for example, sheep are sheared, wool is carded, spun and dyed at certain times of year and planting takes place certain times of year, just like in the Colonial times. I'm told the Christmas season there is especially magical, as it the harvest season. I want to return for them all!

 I hope you have enjoyed this little glimpse into one of our travels. Where will you go this summer?:-)

Saturday, June 4, 2016

On 'Being' Home

Earlier this week, my son completed the elementary (primary) school years, and one of the plots we tend in our church’s community garden produced its first harvest, two lovely yellow squash.

My son’s elementary school years coming to a close and the first harvest from the garden intertwined, connecting in a symbolic way not lost on me as I brushed away foliage that evening to pull the squash. It had been an emotional day. The ending of the elementary years are, in essence, the end of childhood, at least young childhood. Sorry for the cliché, but it is truly the end of an era.

Endings and beginnings, however, overlap without our noticing most times. In the garden, I was pleased to see how quickly the small cucumber seedlings are sprouting into hearty vines. We want to try our hand at making pickles this year, but I don’t know if just two vines will be enough. I may have to supplement with a few cukes from the local farmer’s market, but that’s okay. Still, given how robustly our other plants are producing, it’s possible we’ll have all we need for a few jars of bread and butter pickles right here.

These were my thoughts as I perused our plots, the significance of the day and all it symbolized resting somewhere comfortably until I was fully ready to process it.  Parenting alone, I've often worried that I am not enough, or that there will come a time when I am not enough, but I have sown seeds in my son, seeds I hope will take root as he heads towards the adolescent years - seeds of kindness, compassion, spirituality, a love of old things, simpler times, and how to find joy in doing the work needed to keep the world – or at least our little slice of the world – spinning.  I hope that the example I strive to set for him through my own life will be enough, but I don’t know. As he gets older, there may be times when he needs others to step in, to sow seeds that fill the spaces I can’t.

And this is okay. Just as it takes a community of gardeners to fill the plots in our garden, it takes a community of teachers, coaches, friends, family members, etc. to help parents guide children as they journey through adolescence and into adulthood. The roots I've given him will hold him firm as he grows towards his own unique destiny.

Returning home one evening earlier this week after a walk, we smelled the lingering aroma of our dinner as I unlocked the door. "Smells like home," he said, and I had to smile. I, too, can remember coming up the steps of the house I grew up in, breathing in the scent of a home-cooked dinner on the stove, and thinking, smells like home.

It's the little things, the simple things, that ground us, that create us, that define family and home to us. My greatest blessing, my highest calling, is creating and being 'home' for my son. And it's a fine life's work. :-)