Day 10… A little revolution now and then is a good thing. Or so I’ve heard.

 

We said goodbye to our company early on the morning of vacation day 10, promising to think about joining them for Christmas. The plan was to head down to Yorktown where I’d heard their American Revolution Museum was quite something….. but first, a Golden Corral buffet breakfast.

 

IMG_1529

 

Biscuits and gravy and cheesy hashbrown casserole.

Long live the artery clogging south!

The museum?

 

IMG_1654

 

Was everything they said it was…. and a little bit more.

 

IMG_1546

 

A sprawling place chock full of fascinating history.

(If that’s not your thing? Leave now… I’ll try not to hold it against you.)

2019 was the 400th anniversary of the arrival in America of the first enslaved people from West Africa and the museum devoted an entire section to the subject.

 

IMG_1530

 

Most of it was hard to read.

To view.

And to understand how seemingly otherwise good people could think this practice was just.

 

IMG_1532

 

But though horrible, it is a part of this country’s story.

 

IMG_1533

 

There were many free people of color during the Revolutionary era, and a large number fought alongside the patriots who would later come to own them.

A reprehensible thought.

 

IMG_1535

 

One of the most stunning documents was this:

 

IMG_1538

 

Seeing it in black and white gave me a chill.

 

IMG_1543

 

And the descriptions?

 

IMG_1544

 

Heartbreaking….

 

IMG_1542

 

I can’t even imagine.

 

IMG_1540

 

Even the father of our country wasn’t immune.

 

IMG_1541

 

I certainly never read that in any school textbook.

 

IMG_1545

 

Liberty… yes.

But not for all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Margarita heaven….

 

Our last night with our special visitors ended at Jose Tequilas because…. well, you knew it had to.

Greeted at the door by this…..

 

IMG_1516

 

And this….

 

IMG_1515

 

I knew it was going to be a fun place.

 

IMG_1500

 

The colors were bright and cheerful.

 

IMG_1496

 

And the margarita list was a mile long.

Heaven, I tell you…. pure heaven!

 

IMG_1501

 

I started with the Prickly Pear and Destiny had the Mango…. we both said large, and yes they were.

 

IMG_1498

 

The Dia de los Meurtos theme was fabulous… and everywhere you looked.

 

IMG_1499

 

After a few of those large (and quite potent) margaritas? I wouldn’t be surprised if someone asked those chicas to dance.

 

IMG_1497

 

I tried to persuade our table to order grilled cactus, but there were no takers.

 

IMG_1508

 

Though a second round of medium sized margaritas was approved for us girls.

Purple Gecko for me, Cool Cucumber for Destiny.

And yes, Martin… there was food.

 

IMG_1503

 

Although Mexican food never looks as good as it tastes.

Chicken enchiladas, Spanish rice and re-fried beans….

 

IMG_1504

 

Quesadillas….

 

IMG_1505

 

And churros.

 

IMG_1510

 

A good time was had by all.

There was a third round of margaritas…. the Tamerindo Guava and a Coco Loco respectively…. but yours truly forgot to photograph those.

And to be honest? By that time I was very glad the resort was only 2 minutes away.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For a Living Museum, it sure had a lot of dead things…..

 

Making our way inside, I was surprised by the number of dead things at the Virginia Living Museum.

And to be honest?

They didn’t look too happy about the fact either.

 

IMG_1490

 

Look at the stink eye on this owl.

Clearly he’s not pleased with that skeleton placement.

 

IMG_1410

 

The woodchuck has a piece of wood.

A bit too on point…. no?

 

IMG_1411

 

And Bambi?

Well, he looks like he’s ready to bite off a curator’s finger…. or two.

 

IMG_1406

 

Even the turtle you climb into wasn’t immune from the specter of death.

 

IMG_1408

 

But what really took the cake?

The Christmas tree….

 

IMG_1491

 

Complete with a fish skull angel topper.

 

IMG_1492

 

If that doesn’t give junior screaming holiday nightmares… nothing will.

 

IMG_1402

 

Thankfully there were live creatures as well.

 

IMG_1416

 

Though little people had to be talked into petting them.

 

IMG_1414

 

Horseshoe crabs used to wash up on the Jersey shore by the dozens when I was a kid and they always fascinated me.

 

IMG_1415

 

A more prehistoric sea creature you’re not apt to find.

 

IMG_1405

 

There were interestingly set up exhibits on multiple levels.

 

IMG_1468

 

Where the husband practiced his fish whispering again.

 

 

 

Various tanks contained the beautiful…

 

IMG_1450

 

And the bizarre.

 

IMG_1480

 

I couldn’t quite figure out this crab.

 

IMG_1478

 

Was he picking his nose… or giving me the finger?

Tough call.

 

IMG_1420

 

I was pleased to see my favorite Lionfish again….

 

IMG_1423

 

Spiky venomous fins and all.

 

IMG_1429

 

Gracie fell totally in love with a puffer and sang songs to it…..

 

 

 

Though she got yelled at by a volunteer for being a little too physical with the tank.

 

IMG_1474

 

I’m not sure why disco colored lights ruled in the jellyfish area.

 

IMG_1440

 

But we enjoyed the aquarium and it’s funky residents.

 

IMG_1488

 

There was an odd cave like area….

 

IMG_1459

 

That was very dark and next to impossible to take pictures in… so I can’t share the bats and snakes and reptiles we saw.

But I did manage a shot of the sign for my husband’s spirit animal.

 

IMG_1456

 

Yup… change the shiny objects part to rusty crap? And they’re his people.

Gracie enjoyed the interactive children’s section where all the other kids were making plates of plastic food for their parents.

My contribution to the meal she was making for her mother?

 

IMG_1443

 

What can I say?

You just can’t beat a nicely roasted rat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dead things, live things and lots of things in between.

 

After we settled into resort #2, we tried to pick a day’s activity that we could all enjoy… because yours truly was not visiting another theme park, no matter how much I loved that child.

 

IMG_1493

 

Hence the Virginia Living Museum in Newport News. Part zoo, part aquarium and lots of interactive children’s exhibits.

 

IMG_1361

 

Because who doesn’t love a velociraptor Santa Claus?

 

IMG_1362

 

An extensive boardwalk wraps around the wildlife enclosure where little people can run to their heart’s content.

 

IMG_1366

 

And the old folks can enjoy the beauty of a red fox…..

 

IMG_1371

 

And a bobcat.

 

IMG_1372

 

Who even though a wild cat, still enjoyed a cardboard box.

 

IMG_1367

                                          Insert required cute group photo here.

 

IMG_1385

 

There was a plastic dinosaur section…..

 

IMG_1383

 

Where little hands could get filthy excavating some plastic bones.

 

IMG_1386

 

Injured vultures…..

 

IMG_1388

 

And bald eagles were next… this one with a clearly broken wing. And if you’ve ever wondered how large an eagle’s nest is?

 

IMG_1391

 

Yeah. They’re pretty damned large.

 

IMG_1400

 

More boardwalks, more running.

 

IMG_1394

 

And some shore birds…

 

IMG_1396

 

Whose antics I could easily have stood and watched all day.

 

IMG_1401

 

Did she see anything?

No, but she had fun trying.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 9…. the Manor House and a goose free resort change.

 

Sunday dawned bright and sunny and our visitors wanted to check out the Manor House at the Historic Powhatan Resort.

 

IMG_0068

 

The smallest of our group thoroughly enjoyed it.

 

IMG_1329

 

Especially when she found a pint sized door just her size.

 

IMG_1336

 

Shame it wouldn’t open.

 

IMG_1335

 

IMG_1326

 

But the game room was a good second choice.

 

IMG_1330

 

IMG_1331

 

I had occasion to use the rest room this trip….

 

IMG_1328

 

And immediately fell in love with a sink.

Is that wrong?

 

IMG_1337

 

Sadly, it was Sunday….. and that meant it was time to change resorts.

When we time share travel and I’ve never been to the area? I usually choose 2 different resorts for our 2 week stays in case one of them is a dud. Of course we adored this first place and hated to leave….especially when Gracie found this under the bed when we were packing up.

 

IMG_1524

 

Proof positive there were no dust bunnies.

But, ever onward.

I was slightly appeased when we drove across town, found the road that led to the new resort and saw this on the corner.

 

IMG_1495

 

Ample tequila in walking distance is never a bad thing.

The Wyndham Kingsgate actually got higher reviews than the Powhatan we’d just left, so I was expecting something special.

On first glance?

 

IMG_1528

 

It looked like a school.

 

IMG_1527

 

And their pond was totally goose-less.

Strike one.

 

IMG_1526

 

The closest thing they had to a Manor House was the activities center which consisted of a few pools, a gym, and numerous video game machines.

Strike two.

 

IMG_1357

 

The buildings were much closer together with more units per building and though it was empty in this picture…. the parking lots were filled to capacity the whole time we were there and didn’t have reserved spots. We circled and hunted for a place every damned night.

Strike three and we hadn’t even been inside yet.

 

IMG_1523

 

Thankfully the 2 bedroom/2 bath unit was pleasant…… albeit smaller than the first resort.

 

IMG_1339

 

But the furniture was nice quality….

 

IMG_1353

 

The kitchen well stocked….

 

IMG_1356

 

And though the balcony was the bare minimum….

 

IMG_1518

 

The king sized beds were comfortable.

 

IMG_1344

 

I did take issue with the fact the master bathroom was smaller was than the guest…..

 

IMG_1343

 

And while the shower was attractive it only had that one tiny shelf which barely fit a bar of soap. What’s a girl supposed to do with her shampoo, conditioner, bath gel, loofah, razor etc.?

Piss poor planning if you ask me.

 

IMG_1351

 

And while the guest bath was also attractive, there wasn’t a heck of a lot more room to move around.

 

IMG_1350

 

See?

There isn’t even an entire horse in the picture…. that’s small.

But we did get the second floor that my husband always has to have. Which Destiny was actively cursing when she offered to drag my suitcase up to it.

 

IMG_1519

 

I believe her grimace is in direct proportion to it’s weight.

 

IMG_1355

 

The girls relaxed while we put the food away…. and Gracie drew me something to put on the refrigerator.

 

IMG_1359

 

I was thinking something like this would be more appropriate….

 

61raOs0hoSL__AC_SL1019_

 

But yeah, whatever.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hell…. continued.

 

It was finally dark enough to check out the lights we’d paid a small fortune to see at Busch Gardens.

 

IMG_1271

 

Have you ever stood in a freezing cold circle of strangers and stared at a tree?

We did.

And I felt like a Who.

 

dec

 

Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas as much as the next person.

But Christmas in Busch Gardens? Loud and crowded, filled with screaming, unruly, sugared up children as well as their rude, cell phone addicted parents…. and utterly devoid of the old world charm they were attempting to replicate?

No.

 

 

But we smiled… and enjoyed the company of those we love.

 

IMG_1252

 

If not the techno extravaganza.

 

 

I read there were 10 million lights in Christmas Town…. and I believe it.

If it stood still? They lit it.

 

IMG_1274

 

Admittedly there were some pretty spots.

 

IMG_1277

 

But the crowds pushed you along at a pace not conducive to enjoying them.

 

IMG_1292

 

There were numerous theaters you could enter and view a show…. for a large price.

But we did stumble on this extremely blue one for free.

 

IMG_1289

 

Naturally there was no place left to sit…

 

IMG_1287

 

So we stood off to the side and listened for a while.

 

 

Until our teeth were chattering again.

 

IMG_1260

 

Thank God for the warm up stations.

At least they got that right.

 

IMG_1294

 

This was an impressive section of lights.

 

IMG_1297

 

Although I was constantly getting bumped into when I stopped and attempted to focus a shot.

 

 

That tree at the end?

 

IMG_1299

 

Shone like the sun.

It was so damn bright….. I think my retinas actually screamed.

 

IMG_1302

 

In case I forgot to mention it….. trying to stay together and find your way around this place in the dark amidst the crowds of screaming children and oblivious parents? A total nightmare. We had no idea where we were half the time and by the time we decided to head back to the parking lot?

 

6360826008720736931965468980_pic1

 

We couldn’t find a map, no less the exit. And I think they plan it that way. We even went into the stores and asked the staff how to get out …. but they looked at us like the proverbial deer in headlights.

Maybe they never get out…

I don’t know.

 

IMG_1307

 

Asking the plastic polar bears seemed like a waste of time.

 

IMG_1313

 

So we kept walking.

 

IMG_1312

 

Took a right past the ice castle…. then a left…. then a right… and another left…. and backed up… and crossed a bridge…. and turned around….. and found ourselves back at the damned ice castle.

 

IMG_1317

 

We walked and walked.

And shivered and chattered and froze.

 

IMG_1261

 

We also blessed the day man discovered fire.

But then we finally saw something familiar.

 

IMG_1321

 

And I was never so happy to see a fake European village square in my life.

 

IMG_1320

 

Joy to the World my *ss.

 

 

I was only joyful when we found the exit, waited on yet another long line for the shuttle, rode the sardine can to the parking lot with 50 tired, cranky children and worn out adults and got into our car.

Christmas Town at Busch Gardens Williamsburg?

Bah humbug.

Overpriced and over rated.

 

 

 

Busch Gardens Virginia….or as I like to call it, Hell.

 

I think we’ve established we are not theme park people.

So spending 6 hours at Busch Gardens in Williamsburg while on Christmas vacation?

 

imagesMZE3PTQ1

 

It’s billed as the prettiest theme park in the country.

 

IMG_1182

 

And while I doubt that’s a very high bar…..

 

IMG_1183

 

It’s plastic fantastic fake European villages failed to impress….. seeing they were less village and more overpriced stores filled with gimmicky tourist merchandise.

It was enough to make me drink.

 

IMG_1184

 

Warm Apple Pie Cocktail in hand… we continued.

(You knew it was coming, don’t look so surprised.  If ever I was in dire need of alcohol? It was then.)

 

IMG_1186

 

So we paid a fortune, had drinks in hand and a 7 year old who wanted to go on some rides. Problem was… most of them weren’t operational for Christmas.

This did not go over well with the little person in our midst.

 

IMG_1207

 

She couldn’t drink, and she didn’t care about fake Europe… she just wanted some rides!

 

IMG_1189

 

We found a few animals to distract her.

 

IMG_1188

 

But it was cold and she was growing more bored with each step. Every ride we passed? Locked up tight.

And then viola!

 

IMG_1191

 

I spotted a gondola.

 

IMG_1190

 

3 adults and a midget. We’re in!

So we get on line.

A long line.

A very long line that took us almost 40 minutes to reach the end.

We boarded, anticipating a leisurely ride over the park.

 

IMG_1192

 

And I kid you not, after taking this picture….

And this video….

 

 

Which lasted 40 seconds, we were done.

One second of ride for each minute we waited on line. Totally worth it!

Not.

 

IMG_1200

 

We landed in “France”.

And you know what? I’ve been to France…. this wasn’t even close.

Still not finding a working ride, I spotted Hogwarts and the child’s eyes lit up.

Yay me!

 

IMG_1202

 

Boo Busch Gardens…. it was blocked off and locked up tight.

I was beginning to hate this place.

 

IMG_1204

 

Psychedelic camera toting bear aside.

Did I mention it was cold?

 

IMG_1232

 

I mean down right freezing for southerners and even quite brisk for us Yankees after a few hours of walking.

 

 

At least this made her laugh.

If we had known all the fun kid stuff would be closed? We wouldn’t have gone in the afternoon but just waited until after dark for the lights.

 

IMG_1215

 

Even the scooter brigade looked disappointed.

 

IMG_1217

 

We did mange to find an old time carousel.

 

IMG_1214

 

Where we waited on line for another 30 minutes to ride for 30 seconds. You could seriously get whiplash from how quickly these things end.

 

IMG_1230

 

Magic dragons were climbed on….

 

IMG_1219

 

Towers were explored….

 

IMG_1222

 

More alcohol was needed….

Okay, maybe that was just me.

 

IMG_1220

 

Rope bridges were crossed….

 

IMG_1226

 

Even by the husband if you can believe it.

 

IMG_1231

 

Another warm up station later, it was starting to get dark enough to see some lights.

And yes, as cold and miserable as I was….. I was going to wait until dark for the lights we paid almost $300 to see.

A preview…

 

IMG_1246