Williamsburg, Virginia

We went to Williamsburg, Virginia for a summer vacation and stayed at the Diamond Resort for a week. Some photos from the trip can be seen here.

The four of us drove to Virginia, which was a rather long drive at 19 hours.  If driving, I highly suggest picking up an EZ Pass. This is a transponder that you place in your windshield interior that will let you drive through all EZ Pass toll roads in the Eastern states. This is a huge convenience to not have to worry about or stop and pay for tolls in cash.

Once we arrived on Saturday in Williamsburg at our condo, we spent the evening resting at the resort.

On Sunday, we toured Colonial Williamsburg and the Governors Palace and other places nearby.  It was neat to see a living historical area with many people in character. The church in Williamsburg is an active Protestant church which we saw pews in which George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and other historical figures had used.

In honor of Father’s Day, our plans were to take the Dads to Captain George’s Seafood Buffet. We attempted to make reservations but they did not do them on Fathers Day. So we planned to be there mid afternoon to be between the lunch and dinner rushes. Unfortunately, we were not the only ones with this idea. The line wrapped around the outside of the building as well as inside. Upon seeing the line, we opted for a less busy locale and chose the Outback Steakhouse.

Monday we went to Bush Gardens Williamsburg for thrill rides and watching some shows.  Katie had a really good time with getting some thrill rides in before rain delays ended rides for the day.

Tuesday was Historic Jamestown and the Jamestown Settlement.  They had a nice musket firing demonstration there.  We also visited the American Revolution Museum, which was huge.  Here they had a canon firing demonstration which was fun to watch, although the 90 degree sun and cement benches were a little warm.

Wednesday we went to Virginia Beach and met up with my Dad’s cousin Lois. Our first stop of the day was a privately owned aviation museum that had planes from World War I & II. The museum is staffed by retired military volunteers. Many of these volunteers had flown in some of the aircraft present. We were fortunate enough to meet a war veteran who had flown planes on display. He was recalling landing aboard a ship and having been hit in the tail by multiple bullets which he was unaware of. There were also planes dating back to the beginning of flight. The majority of the early planes were replicas, with the exception of the Red Baron, which I believe was an original. There were so many planes to see that a return trip will be necessary for us to experience the vast majority that is here.

Also visited Virginia Beach itself and got our feet wet in the ocean. Afterwards we went to lunch at Harpoon Larry’s. Ryan and Sarah both had crab quesadillas. Katie had calamari and fish taco’s. Larry had a burger named “Larry’s Burger”. Larry’s cousin Lois had a Crab Cake BLT. After lunch we did some shopping in Virginia Beach. Of course, stopping for ice cream along the way.

As it was getting warm out we returned to Lois’ house. Dad and Lois looked at genealogy while Sarah, Katie and I relaxed in the comforts of air-conditioning with her two beautiful dogs. We ended the evening by ordering pizza from a place close by.

Thursday we went to Norfolk, Virginia to the Nautica Museum.  On our travel there you have to go through a tunnel under the river followed by a very long bridge. You can buy a combo ticket for the museum, USS Wisconsin battleship self guided tour, and 2 hour “Victory Rover Naval Base Cruise” all for $36.95 per adult.  Well worth it in my opinion.  

On the USS Wisconsin, we toured the main decks and below. It allowed us to imagine some of the daily life of those that were on the ship. They had put a good amount of work into different rooms and exhibits. We learned how they communicated with other ships in the naval fleet by the use of flag signals. They had 6 flag lines on each side of the ship. Each was capable of having 6 flags with a total of 36 flags for sending messages. Katie was given the opportunity to help lower and remove some flags from one of these stations.

It was a beautiful day on the water during the ship cruise. The tour started promptly at 2pm and was two hours long. It was a warm day, though comfortable on the top open-deck of the ship under the shade canopy. The lower indoor deck was also air-conditioned. Thankfully they had hot-dogs aboard, since we couldn’t find lunch before the cruise started since the USS Wisconsin took a couple hours. This tour went through the Norfolk port along the Elizabeth River. We started our cruise looking at private shipyards that were building or repairing naval ships. We went past two container yards. It takes 2 hours to unload a full container ship with their large hoists. Tax payers paid $7 million per hoist.

The Norfolk Naval base, home of the Atlantic Fleet: destroyers, submarines, guided missile cruisers, aircraft carriers and more, is the worlds largest naval base. You could only see the submarine by finding the orange ring going around it. The majority of it was submerged even at dock. The aircraft carriers keep their planes safely underneath the main deck and can bring one up in 7 seconds and launch it very quickly.

Since Grandpa didn’t join us on our trip to Norfolk, we decided our last night in Virginia could be spent at Captain George’s. There was no line, and the amount of food was overwhelming but phenomenal. Definitely worth going.

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