Sunday, April 7, 2013

Virginia is for Lovers

A difficult part of having educational employment is that Matt's Spring Break never lines up with when our children's is.  What we've compromised is getting things done around the house during Matt's first part of the break, and then pick up the kids from school on Thursday and have them miss Friday while we explore a new place.

This year we left the destination up to Wes, Kate and Sophie.  The choices were A) Philadelphia and the Franklin Institute and Valley Forge, and B) Richmond, VA, the children's museum there, and the National Zoo in D.C.

We gave the proposal to them over breakfast a few days before and it was split momentarily, with Wes wanting Richmond and Kate wanting Philly.  Sophie didn't really care as long as a hotel and swimming pool was involved, but when we got deeper into the options, the Children's Museum won her over, so off to Richmond we went.

We picked up Wes and Kate from school and headed South.  A short time later we came to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel.  It's a 20-mile long toll tunnel connecting the lower part of Delmarva (DELaware-MARyland -VirginiA), also known as the Eastern Shore, to the mainland part of Virginia.

Picture from
While traveling on it you drive under the ocean through tunnels, twice.  The gaps allow ships to cross over without the need of a substantial drawbridge.

 This is our picture while on it.  And then the picture below was as we were descending toward the first tunnel.

This is our fourth or fifth time on the bridge but it hasn't gotten old yet.

One of the places we visited while in Richmond was Maymont, an estate given to the city after its owners, James and Sallie Dooley, passed away.  It has beautiful grounds, a petting zoo area, areas for wildlife, and the Dooley's mansion.

This really isn't a fair comparison, because Downton Abbey is gigantic, but it had that kind of feel.  Very ornate, A below kitchen for the servants, gas and electric candles/chandeliers because electricity in homes was still very new, a state of the art telephone in the butler's area.  It was pretty cool, although Wes and Kate didn't appreciate it as much as I did;).  Matt had Sophie and Joshua outside.  They started the tour but lasted all of 90 seconds.  
After Maymont we went to the Children's Museum and played and played and played.  
 After a full day of play we drove to Silver Spring, MD and crashed.  Matt loved the hotels for the cable access since it was the first weekend of the NCAA tournament.  The next morning I was able to sneak off to an early morning session at the D.C. temple, and then after breakfast we headed to the Zoo. Here's the cheetah area.

 We thought we'd spend most of the day there, but our kids were worn out, so after about 3-hours or so, we took off.  Since it was earlier than expected we were able to swing by the Church's Home Storage Center in the area and stock up on some items.

It was a fun and tiring trip but Matt and I are convinced that our children would've loved us getting a hotel down the street just the same, as long as it had a pool and continental breakfast;).

And for those still wondering ... Virginia is for Lovers is the state's awesome tourism and travel slogan:).


audrey said...

What a fun trip! You guys always come up with really cool things to do. I need to call you for advice before I ever try to plan things :). That house looks amazing! And we love the tunnel bridge, too--not the hefty toll of course, but the bridge is awesome! It's always a nice feeling getting off the shore.

jill said...

As though I needed more reasons to come visit Virginia. How fun!! I love that you plan vacations like this for your family. Very inspiring. I need to get off my hermit-wagon and learn to travel more. Thank you for showing me it's not as difficult as I imagine it to be - it's much more wonderful.