Summer Vacation

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So I took the summer off! At my house, the academic school year has a nice pace to it. We stay busy but on a nice schedule; we work, rest, eat, play. During the summer it seems that everything goes nuts and each week looks different than the one before. My kids did camps, we traveled, we did all the things homeowners have to do in summer (paint! caulk! clean!), and we caught sleep when we could. I was so glad to shed our schedule and start our whirlwind summer back at the end of May. Now I’m extraordinarily glad to be back on our school year schedule. If it’s true that the secret of life is enjoying the passage of time, I definitely get the most out of it by giving the summer everything I’ve got and then settling oh-so-happily down to our cozy routine in the fall. Ahhhhh.

I’m going to share a few favorite pictures of our big family vacation. We made smaller trips within our state and to visit friends, but our summer highlight was the 9 days we spent driving to Williamsburg, Virginia; on to Kitty Hawk, North Carolina; and then back to Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. The kids mostly traveled like champs. Daphne can be a tyrant on the best of days, but all the kids logged our miles (1800!) with patience and didn’t start turning on each other until the last day, when that sense of being almost-home broke the spell of adventure.

wmsburg-dorothy

My kids learned about the Revolutionary War last year in school. Williamsburg felt like a natural place to wrap up our study. Both big kids went in costume and we spent two days experiencing the Revolutionary City.

williamsburg-muster

Worth was particularly taken in by the weapons and the militia drills. He had such a serious soldier face that his mother (ahem) wasn’t sure if she actually liked it on her five-year-old.

sharks

After two fun days in Williamsburg we drove on to the beach in North Carolina. We stayed on Kill Devil Hills. The Outer Banks were seeing a rash of shark attacks during the time we were there, which might have concerned us more if the water hadn’t been too cold and the waves too high for the kids do to more than get their feet into the water.

sandy-boy

After many miles in the car and lots of listening to historic interpretation, Worth was more than ready to take on the waves and the sand.

pout

This is Daphne’s pouty face. When something didn’t go her way, she refused to acknowledge anyone while staring at the ground. Poor kid. #unsympathetic

wright-monument

We visited the Wright Brothers Memorial in Kitty Hawk. I found this excursion to be very inspiring. The idea of flying for the first time is so amazing! The kids, impressed by our tour guide’s words, told everyone that we visited the “graveyard of impossibility” after we got home.

beach

I didn’t make the kids’ matching beach outfits, but I did bribe them with ice cream to pose nicely for my tripod. I also Photoshopped out a photo-bombing passerby!

bear1

From the Outer Banks, we went back through the Williamsburg area and visited Jamestown, then on to Charlottesville to see Monticello. The kids were getting slightly immune to the charm of historical homes by the time we reached Jefferson’s mountain, but that is such a nice site with such kid-friendly offerings that we all had a good time anyway. After our night in Charlottesville we took the exit for Skyline Drive and twisted and turned through the top of the world to Skylands, a lovely old lodge tucked up in the mountains. The highlight of the gorgeous drive was seeing a mother bear with her cub.

bear

Though I pulled over as soon as there was a safe place, I could not get a very good photo of the mother and baby bears. We treated the kids to plush bears as souvenirs and my husband (such a good sport!) posed them in the grass so I could photograph them instead. Look! It’s just like what we saw in the clearing next to the road.

bears-in-the-mist

There was a mist over Skyland much of the time we were there, but it was so pretty itself that it was hard to begrudge it the dimming of our mountain views. It was also downright chilly, which was not a possibility I’d packed for. The kids must have thought their parents were very generous on vacation; first plush bears and then cuddly new hoodies all around!

waterfall

We hiked, played and enjoyed good food in the mountains.

mountains

I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed a vacation more! Dorothy is still young enough to enjoy all our family fun wholeheartedly, and although Daphne’s toddler antics can be challenging (and noisy in restaurants and hotels!), she’s old enough to be a part of the fun herself. Of course I’ve ordered my book of trip photos from Blurb.com, and I’m sure I’ll entertain myself by glancing through it over my afternoon coffee in the winters to come.

I hope you have had a great summer too!

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