Thursday, August 02, 2007

Vacation Part II

Jamestown is a great place to visit. If you are a homeschooler, your family can get in part of it free. There are two parts of Jamestown, the National Parks Service side, which is the original location, and a part run by the Jamestowne/Yorktown group. The NPS side is free to school groups and homeschools. Check the guidelines on the website. Basically you have to write a letter stating who you are, and how many you have. As a side note, when we went, the guy who takes the money or letters didn’t seem to want to give us the map or pamphlet that he had just given the cash paying man in front of me. I guess you can come with your own information, but we didn’t haul our books and website printouts with us from Kansas to Virginia. Besides, we wanted some keepsakes in addition to the information.

The NPS park has a live archeological dig going on, and a museum with a lot the stuff they discovered, including some skeletons. Other than that, they have a few cannon, some statues, and the church, but mostly it’s just “this is where they really were.”

The other side of Jamestown is right next to the NPS site. It has recreations of the Jamestown fort, a Powhattan village, and the three ships that brought over the original settlers; The Susan Constant, the Godspeed, and the Discovery. You will not believe how small the ships are. Though, as one of the “actors” said when my kids said something about the diminutive ships, “The Titanic sunk.” The Indian village was pretty cool. Out here all we ever see are teepees, so to see more permanent structures of wood and skin was pretty cool.

In the fort, by boys were mostly impressed with the armory, where all the weapons were kept; pikes, swords, shields, and of course, matchlock guns (don’t call them rifles). There was armor just inside the gate that kids could put on, and every child did.

Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C. was really something. We only had one day there (I know, bad planning, we thought we would have two, still not enough), and tried to see the monuments. When I talked to people before we went, they kept saying “You have to see suchandsuch, it’s right off the Mall.” I couldn’t see how everything could be “right off the Mall.” Now that I’ve been there, I know how. The Mall is HUGE. Don’t think you are going to walk it with small kids. And the Jefferson Memorial is way off to the side. About one hour walking with kids. That’s just for the Jefferson and the FDR memorials. It was beautiful however. The whole mall area is. I couldn’t even feel the corruption in the air. There were lots of people jogging. I mean lots. They were everywhere, all day long. It was amazing.

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