Historic Williamsburg

Vacation 2016 04_ Williamsburg 01

OBX ranks as one of those places I’d like to hang for a summer. It goes into my North Tahoe and Jackson Hole collection of places I could live. I decided Jackson Hole, WY would be my summer home while Prescott, AZ would be my winter home. I guess OBX would be my vacation spot.

Quiet, laid back, off the beaten path, and great climate. It would be the last place we would visit like this until we got to Maine.

We left OBX and headed to Colonial Williamsburg, VA. The pace was about to pick up and the crowds were going to be larger. We drove a few miles to get off the island, which took us north to Virginia. I had forgotten about the NC gas tax so I stopped about a mile short of VA to fill up, thinking the gas would be cheaper in NC. It wasn’t.

We drove across the border, saw the gas prices in VA, and remembered my home state (NC) has more expensive gas. It was a brain cramp. I have been buying gas in SC for three decades before we travel to NC, knowing I don’t want to buy any in NC. And then I forgot. Oh well.

Entering VA where we did was nice. Lots of water, bridges, ocean and cool scenes to take in. We were only a few hours from Williamsburg, which was a plus because we could hang to the last minute on the OBX, leave, and still be at our destination before dark. A far cry from last year where we would get up early knowing we had a long drive ahead of us.

We found a hotel in Williamsburg, which was about 10 minutes from the colonial part. We found nearly all of our hotels on the fly, typically an hour or less out from our destination. With PriceLine, we could place a bid and get a good three star without hassle. Technology is a perk when vacationing. It does take some of the pre-trip planning away.

I drove the whole trip and Lucia was my research assistant. She was running things from her seat, which made us a good team. She would also look for things to do in the areas we were going, find out about the prices, etc. and then we’d talk about it after we arrived at our lodging place.

Williamsburg, VA was a slow, mid-size town. Where we stayed was quite pleasant. No homeless or other tourist hassles. It was residential and nice. With that said, I did not find a lot of “I really want to be here” feel about the place. I know, I know. It’s historic Williamsburg but I was not feeling it. I could not get into the vibe.

There were actors roaming the old town streets. There was a lot of history and all that but I was not wowed like I expected to be. I suppose if I lived in VA and was reared on VA history, then I would have enjoyed it more. It was not like DC history or Philly history or Boston history, all of which I enjoyed more. Even though VA history went over the top with making it retro, I was challenged to get my head into the game.

Colonial Williamsburg was a street of 1800 stuff. It was about ¾ of a mile that you could walk. You could see the glass blower, candle maker, black smith, and listen to the speechifying. We’ve seen those things many times at Biltmore, Asheville, NC, Dollywood, TN, or Silver Dollar City, MO.

There were homes, mansions, and shops where historic people lived and did business, but I felt disconnected from them. I enjoyed going to the other end of the street where the modern things were. There I could engage people and learn their “current” story.

The one exception was the older black lady I met who was an actor. I sat with her and talked black history and her black experience. Not her as an actor but her as a real person. That was my highlight. I asked her to sing some negro spirituals for me. She obliged, and oh, my soul. I could have listened to her for days.

It reminded me of the black dude who sang at our wedding. I asked him to sing Jesus Loves Me but not like a white guy. He obliged too. His rendition was from head to toe, body, and soul, not some white dude singing from the diaphragm. This lady had that. It was more soul than body. So good.

I videoed her. What she did made the top ten of the one million things we did this trip.

The kids seemed to enjoy Williamsburg, which made it great for me. Lucia liked it too because she likes to know how things are made. That made it great too. For me, it would have been better if I could go and just talk to the people. I had some opps to do that, but most of the time was tending to other things.

I have no interest in going back unless I go with Lucia and we are not moving from one thing to the next, but taking our time, soaking in the moment with no timetable. Having a full learning experience at these places is one of the things about these summer trips that we have not figured out yet.

I know it sounds like a long time to travel but because of the number of things to do and see, you’re more or less hopping from one lily pad to the next while not fully absorbing the moment. It gives you a broad and wide experience of America but not an in-depth one.

Next year may be different if we do it again. Less stops with more time at a location. No matter how you cut it, our country is big and there is too much to see.

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