Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Family Trip to Virginia

As I mentioned in my post about Passover, my family and I rented a house in Virginia to extend our vacation. I found a great historical house in New Kent, Virginia, which is about 4 hours from my house. The town itself is tiny, but it's a great base location for visiting Colonial Williamsburg, Richmond, and Newport News.

New Kent
The Iden Plantation was amazing. The current owners are only the third owners since the 1800s! Before the two most recent owners, it had been in the same family since it was built in the 1830s. The house is huge and sat on a ton of gorgeous land. The kids loved running around and visiting the chickens and peacocks. We loved the fresh eggs!

I loved seeing the historic buildings, like the one-room schoolhouse and the frame where the old ice house sat. Did you know that back in the 1830s people would cut giant ice blocks from lakes during the winter, and then store them in giant pits in the ground for the rest of the year (or as long as they could before it melted)?

Yes, we are adorable in our matching pajamas

Old slave quarters

We were really excited to go to Williamburg with the family, but unfortunately, it wasn't the best experience. I went as a kid and really loved it, but Dan and I went with our kids when Asher was a newborn and it was just OK. This time with the whole family, it was a disappointment. It was really hot out and there just wasn't that much to see unless you paid for the (expensive) tickets. Because the kids are only 5 and 2, I didn't think they would get enough out of the tickets to make it worthwhile. What I should have done though, is check the schedule for horse carriage rides. I assumed they went all the time, but after I very stupidly promised Zahara we could go on a ride, I was informed they were sold out for the day. Oops.

Z is a prisoner

I'm sure when they're a bit older (or if they were very into history at this age), it would be an awesome vacation. It just wasn't great this time. The lambs were cute at least! Oh, and tip for anyone with small kids, we brought our wagon and it was a life-saver! Highly recommend.

Newport News
We spent all day in a fantastic museum called the Virginia Living Museum, and could have spent even longer! This place was amazing! It is part zoo, part museum, part play space. Tons of hands-on experiences, including touching starfish and crabs, and playing in the very well-stocked play veterinary area. I especially loved seeing the otters playing. The dinosaur area was really neat too, and I wish we had more time. They had a sand pit where you could "excavate" fossils.

We had a nice picnic lunch in the woods. I really love Passover foods. Matzah sandwiches are so good! I know I'm in the minority here though :)

We spent most of our time in Richmond at the Children's Museum, which was perfect for the kids. I love museums that are built like small cities. There is so much for them to do--and for me too! A little grocery store, a news station, a bank, a library--it was all so well done. Zahara reminded me so much of myself as a young girl when my friends Sarah, Jenny, and I would pretend to be news anchors again and again. We always told the same stories: girls in China were having their pigtails cut off. Why that story? No idea. We were weird!

While the kids played a little bit longer, my dad, sister, and mom and I went to check out Richmond's synagogue, Congregation Beth Ahabah, which was founded in 1789. We toured the small Jewish museum and got a personal tour of the sanctuary. The current building (from the 1900s) has an original Tiffany's stained glass window. It's gorgeous! It was really interesting to hear about how far back the Jewish community in the South goes.

Overall, it was an amazing time with the family. We had a blast, laughed a ton, and made great new memories. Can't wait to do it again soon!