Beckett’s Re-do: Colonial Williamsburg

Once upon a time the extended Koreen family headed back to Colonial Willaimsburg for an Easter holiday, this time with the grandkids. The grown ups spoke very fondly of the first trip, the historic house we stayed in, the great food we ate, how much fun it was to be immersed in 18th century colonial life. The kids were pumped. Beckett wasn’t feeling well. In fact, he felt miserable, and who wouldn’t with a double ear infection. He has wanted a do over ever since. Summer 2016, Beckett is an only child while Gunnar works at CQE and this means B gets to pick our destination and Colonial Williamsburg it is.


We are not staying in a historic house this time ( different budget πŸ˜‚) we are staying at the Governor’s Inn and while it has a great pool and includes breakfast and is walking distance to Colonial Williamsburg ( we are in the hood) you need to check your room carefully when you stay here #verytiredcanmeandirty

As always, the weather is a great starting point


Yep, it’s hot here

We toured the Palace and the maze behind it ( one of B’s happy memories) 


#mazeselfie


Bad boys, #whatchagonnado 

Beckett wanted an authentic meal this time around, since he pretty much missed all the others, so Josiah Chowning was our lunch destination 


No spirits were consumed at lunch, too hot, I would have fallen asleep in all the horse poop

After lunch there was a lot of walking and checking out the tinsmith, the silversmith, the milliner, the binder, the various shops and tours at the Powell House, the Gaol and the Public Hospital. 


We ended the day with the Fife, drum and cannon and then went into Williamsburg for take out from Paul’s Deli


And dinner wasn’t just sandwiches 


I can’t say enough awesome stuff about Paul’s Deli! It seems family owned and operated, the food was GREAT! and every single person working there was friendly and invested in us getting good food and service. ( Beckett inhaled his meatball sub before I could get my phone out for a pic) 

Out hotel, not so much. 

Back to nature #goshenandoah

We tend to flip between nature and urban spaces on our summer vacation, chilling off the grid and cooking on the Tarmac ( Washington humour) , but this time round I was way off the grid. My phone has been AWOL for 4 days and initially I thought it was just cuz I was in a National Park BUT everyone else was able to use their phone. It didn’t bug me at first but then it was just WEIRD. But what to do, my phone didn’t work AT ALL. We were staying at Skylands, the highest topographical part of Shenandoah, and it got hit by lightening on Sunday. When we got there Tuesday, they were still off the grid , so no wifi, no computers, in fact they had given our cabin to someone else because they didn’t think we were coming until Wednesday #facepalm I sent a message to Rogers Helps using wifi at the Big Meadows visitor centre but they didn’t reply in the 20 minutes we were there, so that was no help. 

In the meantime, we are explored and enjoyed a really glorious piece of this earth that is unbelievably close to a major US city.


Our first room, we had a picnic dinner and then complimentary breakfast because of the mix up 😘


Anyone notice that I have a long sleeve shirt on or with me? It is cooler in the mountains! Hallelujah πŸŽ‰ biscuits and gravy, cheesy grits OMG I love me some southern breakfast 

Our first hike here, fuelled by that mighty breakfast was the Rose River Trail, a total beauty! 


Beckett says it was uphill both ways and it sure felt like it. It is like a rainforest in the woods, the humidity is off the charts. B had already worn all of his dry fit stuff and had the above outfit left or dressier stuff, he claimed to be dieing.

But we survived.


Beckett has pretty much outgrown the junior ranger program, sob. 

I tried to get a solution for my phone.

 I did laundry. 

We had showers in our cabin. NOTHING beats a shower after a sweaty day! 


There was a WICKED thunderstorm and our lights flickered a bunch, but we had picnic supplies for dinner again ( aka wine) and I sewed patches on Beckett’s camp blanket. It was positively chilly, see B’s long pj pants, best sleep in the cold night with all the windows open.

Second hike on second full day at Mary’s Rock


If I thought the first hike felt like a rain forest, this hike was a wake up call, cooler than yesterday but sweltering humidity. 

The flora was quite beautiful and unique 


View from the top


The boys 


and in case we forgot we were in bear country


He really was that close, eating all the berries and not worried about us at all. 

Beckett wanted one of the big hot chocolates he saw people getting at breakfast yesterday and we had planned on going up to the Lodge that night, but the thunderstorm kinda cramped out style. So


Hot chocolate and some clogging was in order, no pics and my video won’t link 😒

A final look at our cabin, so cute 


Onward to Colonial Williamsburg! 

( I discovered if I I turned off my phone I could get service briefly before it crashed off the grid again. I managed to have a text talk with Rogers and they reset my phone, finally, so fingers crossed I can keep on, keeping on) 


Last day in the Capital

Because I always start with the heat, today didn’t feel so bad ( heat advisory on from 2-7pm but ended early) We took the subway downtown and did not do any long walks, instead we used the Circulator ( a bus the basically circles around the core including Georgetown and Virginia where our hotel is AND it only costs $1 AND your fare is good for 2 hours #bestdeal) 


We had timed tickets to start the day at the Spy Museum. We started with a “mission” that we had to solve in an hour, not the same as an escape room, more of a mystery with props. All of the kids in the group LOVED it. ” I think Topaz is a double agent” ” I think he’s double crossing the government” ” I know all about lie detectors ( and goes into exhausting detail of how they work)” πŸ˜‚ then we spent 2 hours going through the museum. If you are a James Bond fan, this place is your Mecca! 


Starvation set in at this point. We saved the free world but forgot about ourselves. #thegreatergood

Lunch was a non-Smithsonian Cafe on the sculpture garden grounds that brought back memories of Paris


We ate inside even though all the awesome art was outside #tooeffinghot


We did the Hirshhorn Art Gallery after lunch. One installation was done all with radiating straight and wavy lines made with a Sharpie on 2 tone painted walls. It was HUGE and was the entire inner circumference of the gallery #futuregoals


Then it was time for SHOPPING!!! πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»  Georgetown has an awesome strip of stores!!


Madewell and Camper for me. J Crew for John, Abercrombie for B and a sporting goods store for B and G #shhh #itsasurprise 

Dinner was at Good Stuff Eatery ( the Obama’s favourite) Top Chef alum Spike Mendelsohn’s place #omg #bestburgersever #bacononbacon


Last walk across state lines 

Sunday in Washington DC #thisplaceishot

First things first


This was the weather. All. Day. Long. You might notice that the ‘real’ temperature was up by 2 degrees today but the humidity was down by 2, add a fairly steady breeze for most of the day and that means it was almost pleasant. My ankles felt like they were burning a bit (think dry heat of Phoenix) and when you were in direct sunlight for a prolonged period of time #scorching but overall, not bad. The turning point came between 5 and 6 pm while we were in the National Building Museum and some rain fell. It all went to hell after that, no breeze anymore , humidity jacked up again, tempers flared.

But enough about the weather. 

We started the day at the U.S. Holocast Memorial Museum. We were there for 2 hours and could have stayed for much longer. 

So. Much. Information.

The museum does a wonderful, informative, exhausting job of outlining how the world got to a place that something so unbelievably atrocious could happen. It goes back to Christ and works its way forward. I was crying by the time I got to the memorial. #whatyoudomatters


We needed to take a break and process what we had just read and seen so we ate lunch at the Museum of American History, the first place we came to. 

We took a walk through the sculpture garden beside the National Gallery of Art. A very restorative change of pace.


Beckett had no idea what the above sculpture was #vintageofficesupplies

A month or so ago, maybe more, #theheathasaddledmybrain we saw a CBS Sunday Morning article on the National Building Museum and an exhibit they had on doll houses. I was not missing this! If you have read The Miniaturist or were ever a little girl then I probably had you at “doll houses”. The exhibit showed the transition of housing styles in England with doll houses #awesome it also showcased the winners of a competition for dream houses which blew my mind.


Under the Stairs.


Made me think of Ready Player One.

The central exhibit is Icebergs! Perfect. Timing.


Which is literally the coolest thing. Cuz the weather sure ain’t.

Time for a snack? Why yes it is! 


We went to the Milk Bar and ate crack pie. And creamsicle floats. And chocolate cereal milkshakes. AMAZING! 

Heavily fortified or high on sugar, you pick, we walked to the White House cuz it was just down the street.


To round out this part of the day, we took a bus to Georgetown for dinner at Martin’s Tavern, est. 1933. Most of the presidents from Kennedy onward have had their own tables there, in fact Kennedy proposed to Jackie at booth 3 ( a little Camelot trivia for you). 

Then we walked back to Virginia and our hotel #crazy

Washington DC day 2

Our first full day was even hotter than yesterday, everyone is a complete sweaty mess.


The real temperature is what the humidex goes to at home in a heat wave, the humidex here is hell #kiddingnotkidding

We started the day at theLincoln Memorial end of the  Mall and the plan was to walk the length of it seeing the various other memorials as we went. I voted to skip it because we have seen it before and it is so freaking hot but we’re here so let’s do this.


We also stopped at the Vietnam memorials, they break my heart every time.

Now that we were good and sweaty it was time to hit some museums. First up Museum of American History, literally the first one and glorious in all its air conditioned glory.


We just did a compressed tour with highlights from the last time we were here and we bought COLD drinks for jacked prices because we no longer care about anything but keeping cool. That’s Julia Child’s kitchen ( second pic) and we stopped to watch some of her old shows with Graham Kerr. I was laughing out loud. #bestshowontv 

and Elmo.

Next up was Museum of Natural History and Beckett got the map and lead us on a complete tour. He was a bit disappointed that the dinosaur exhibit is under renovation so it was in a bare bones state while construction is underway. But we learned about some new animals, and some that have gone extinct and there is a cool app you can get called skin and bones that you hold your device over the skeleton and it shows you what the animal really looks like, immensely cool. 

No pics from there 😁 too busy learning I guess.

 Next we went to the Amercian Indian Museum mainly just to eat lunch. It has a 3 star rated restaurant that isn’t cheap but nothing in the Smithsonian food sphere is, so it might as well be good. 

I had freijoda and B had a HUGE chimichanga. We also had gazpacho with smoked trout in it, John had tacos and tapioca for dessert. Seriously awesome and expensive lunch.
We were not done museum-ing  yet. Onward to Air and Space πŸ›©πŸš€


Beckett almost loved this one as much as Natural History. He explored every square inch. I would say this one needs some updating. A lot of it is circa 1980 and I’d like to think we have made some progress since then.

We were now all tired and even though we spent most of the day in museums, it was so hot outside when we were outside that it was barely bearable. And yet we saw people running #crazytown

We walked to a Starbucks for, you guessed it, cold drinks and wifi. The Smithsonian has wifi most places but it doesn’t let you do anything ( volume or state of service? I don’t know but it sucked and my regular data was impacted by something too, so I might as well of been off the grid) 

Then we went to a baseball game. 

Because yay, sitting outside in 49 degrees is AWESOME! The heat never really abated all day or night.


It was Star Wars day after all. They have ‘presidents’ that have running races races #mindblown that dressed up as Star Wars characters and fought each other. Completely nuts. Food at the game was excellent. They had a conference room set up as a cooling centre with AC cranked and ice water to drink. We ended up going for an inning just for a break. Nats had a 7-1 lead for a while and then almost blew it but squeaked out a 7-6 win right at the end of the ninth

12 hour day on the hottest day of the year. 

Washington DC 2016

We had a pretty painless drive here from the campground ( only a couple of hours away). We did have to stop for lunch en route and get gas. Actually, first we had to stop at Starbucks for iced coffee ( and to get some espresso re-ground so it worked in an actual espresso machine) and wifi after 2 days off the grid. But I didn’t take a picture of that 😁. 

Lunch was an American Classic ( in our minds, at least) 


A butterfingers shake for Beckett and burgers for all, mine was a jalapeΓ±o burger and it was amazeballs! 

Have I mentioned the temperature here? Yes? Well I will post it again because it is insane! 


We had a plan for the afternoon of our arrival which included a stop at the team store at the Verizon Center ( Beckett is a huge Capital’s fan) and at least one museum before dinner. We made it to the Verizon Center.

 But the team store is only open 3 times in the summer and we are not even close. 
And it is HOT. 

So we took our sweet time walking and public transporting to our dinner reservation. We got there a bit early, but they were very gracious and sat us right away. 


Ethiopic you might guess is an Ethiopian restaurant that is really well known in DC. I have wanted to go since we were here the last time, but it is a little off the beaten track  and no, we were not seated on the patio. πŸ™πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ» 

Our dinner was the vegetarian sharing plate for 2 plus lamb tibs ( bite sized pieces of lamb and onions slow cooked in a sauce that was sooooo tasty) to round it up to 3 people. We inhaled it!!!!!

Our night concluded with a Target run for more Chobani. 

Summer Adventure 2016

Beckett got to pick this year’s destination ( or at least make suggestions) because he is basically an only child for 9 weeks while Gunnar is a counsellor at CQE. Here is the oldest child hard at work.


So, we left late ( as usual, but even late for us) and the first day’s drive took even longer than we thought due to construction and traffic ( and it was Wednesday which felt like the new Friday). This meant both lunch and dinner was consumed on the road. Lunch was at Tim Horton’s ( didn’t even make it to the States #epicfail) and dinner at Burger King (#killmenow).

But:


This place was pretty sweet. No cell service at all, so a nice break from everything. The reason we picked this park was 2-fold a) cabins b) close to Falling Water.


The tour was GREAT! We all loved it. And want to win the lottery so we can build one just like it. 

Then, because it is a bit warm we hit the beach after some lunch. 


John and Beckett rented some water bikes and went exploring. They said it was fun. I swam and floated and then read a bit on the beach. #winwinwin

Next stop: Washington DC


It might feel a bit warm.