24 June 2011

One favorite field trip

Since it is summer vacation, here's a field trip we enjoy.  One of our favorite places to go is Williamsburg, VA. Sweet Pea and Rosie Jane love walking down the streets of Williamsburg, it's like taking a trip back in time.  The best time to go is in the spring, when the flowers are blooming and the streets aren't crowded with the summer vacationers, although we love it any time of  the year.

Williamsburg has costumed re-enactors at the houses, shops, and restaurants as well as actors playing the parts of real people as part of it's "Revolutionary City."  The Revolutionary City recreates events leading up to the Revolutionary War.  You can buy a ticket to get into all the trades, some of the houses, the Governor's Palace and the Capital building.  One fun place to go with kids is the Benjamin Powell House.  This is at the far end of the town, behind the Capital building.  They have many colonial games for children and the interpreters there are really helpful in explaining how the children lived, learned, and played and they teach and play the games with your children.

Our family loves to go to Williamsburg for the day.  We'll head down, stop at The Cheese Shop for lunch (lots of different kinds of sandwiches, patio outside, located in Merchant's Square), we'll wander down "DoG" Street (Duke of Gloucester).  Since we have an annual pass and come down several times a year, we'll stop in the houses and trades that spark our interest that day, sometimes it's the blacksmith, sometimes one or another of the homes, often the brickyard.  Which reminds me of two more really fun things with kids at the 'Burg - the brickyard and the apprentice tours.  The brickyard is open from late spring through the summer.  There they mix the clay and shape bricks.  In the fall, the bricks are fired and used in construction projects around Colonial Williamsburg.  Sometimes the bricks are used in historic projects outside of the area as well.  The fun part about this is that they clay is mixed by stamping and stomping in a clay pit in your bare feet.  The workers there are more than happy to have guests join in!  Rosie Jane and Sweet Pea have certainly enjoyed stomping in the clay several times.  They do have a barrel of water to clean your feet when you're finished.  The other fun thing is the apprentice tour.  You have to buy a separate ticket for this but it's worth it.  The kids are taken around to three trades to experience what it was like to be an apprentice for them in the colonial days.  The girls have been to the aforementioned brickyard, the wigmaker, the blacksmith, the gunsmith, the apothecary, the bookbinder (yes, we've done it with them several times). At each stop they get to try their hand at some piece of the job and take away a souvenir, be it a clay curler or a book cover.

As you can see, we love going to Williamsburg and I think it's about time for another trip there.  If you're looking for more information to plan your own trip to Williamsburg their website is www.history.org.

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