Sunday, July 15, 2012

BENEDICT ARNOLD, YOUR NAME WILL GO DOWN IN THE ANALS OF HISTORY!  That, verbatim, is what my father yelled at the general at Colonial Williamsburg on Friday, as Arnold on horseback was lecturing a crowd as to why the revolution was failing and why we all ought to join him in supporting the Loyalists.

I hadn't been in Williamsburg in at least 25 years, and I'm glad I took my daughters there as part of our trip this past week. The colonial craft skills were much as I remember them -- the smiths, the coopers, the milliners and the others all demonstrated their talents well, answered questions from the kids and were patient with the grownups who tried to take them off-character.  What I appreciate more now, however, is how hard they work to paint a nuanced picture of Revolutionary Era.  The street theater reenactments alternate each day -- Su/Tu/Th/Sa are set in the years before 1776, the others in 1779-80 -- allowing for varying views on how things were going, and there was much more discussion of slavery and religion than I recall from growing up. Really well done.

Bullet points from the Midatlantic Adventure, below the fold.

  • Thumbs up to the Williamsburg Woodlands Hotel & Suites: great location right next to the Visitors Center, adequate rooms, solid activities for kids including swimming pool and complimentary mini golf and shuffleboard.  Shuffleboard!
  • Thumbs down, however, to the Embassy Suites in Old Town Alexandria for not letting us know in advance that their pool was closed for the week. I would've rebooked.  That said, great location for a DC family trip, right across the street from the King Street Metro stop, and a solid free daily breakfast.
  • I cannot say enough awesome things about the Tuesday night Marine Corps concert and silent drill team at the Iwo Jima Memorial.  (They played a medley from Grease!)  And then it started pouring rain.  And they kept playing and drilling as though it were 70 and sunny. We scrambled for the buses back to the Arlington Cemetery parking lot; they kept playing, and even the behind-the-scenes Marines acted like nothing was amiss.
  • The Capitol Police make airport security seem like teddy bears. Had to throw out our sunscreen on a ninety-degree day, and we had to learn from others that based on our position in line, we were still at least an hour away from seeing the House Gallery. Ugh. 
  • I'm glad the National Aquarium in Baltimore has ended its dolphin shows, and allows instead for more casual observation of the mammals. 
  • Why isn't there a Metro stop near the Tidal Basin monuments? Or parking? (And what is up with the traffic on I-95 south of the Beltway?)


  1. Mr. Cosmo11:10 PM

    Good trip!
    Re the Metro stops, remember that almost all of the land south of Constitution Avenue and south of the Washington Monument (along with a significant portion of the peninsula SE of the Jefferson Memorial) is landfill created with the tidal basin.  So the Lincoln Memorial, reflecting pool, WWII monument, Jefferson Memorial, FDR, and every cherry tree is resting on silty, swampy landfill.  It's very possible that it's not possible (or economically feasible) to put subway stops there.  Note that all of the Metro stops in SW D.C. are on "original" land.

  2. Melissa R11:50 PM

    I-95 between DC and Richmond during the summer is hell on weekends.  I generally end up taking longer back roads around simply for my sanity even if it doesn't really save time.

  3. You got caught in that wild storm Tuesday night?  I stayed a few minutes too late at the office, and when it hit, just decided I would have to wait it out.  Which was fine, except for the fact that dinner that night was a pop tart and a handful of nuts.  It was quite a downpour!

  4. Cecilia9:21 AM

    Yea!  As an alum of William & Mary and a resident of the DC-area, I'm so glad that you had such a good, overall experience in two of my favorite places.  Colonial Williamsburg has put a lot of money and effort into improving the whole Williamsburg experience, especially in the last 5 or so years.  I-95 is awful, just awful.  I was once involved in a 6-car wreck on it, and it was all the fault of tail-gaters.  It is one road where I religiously observe the rule about leaving at least 2-3 car-lengths in front of you because you just never know when traffic is going to suddenly come to a dead stop on it.  If you haven't seen it, really interesting article in this month's Vanity Fair about the planned Eisenhower Memorial and the really clashing views over the architecture and design of it.  

  5. Jim Bell11:30 AM

    Hope you took the girs to Zatinya or Jaleo...

  6. We didn't, though I've been to Zatinya before.  Dinners while in DC were on the VA side, and erred on the side of family-friendliness over top cuisine.  Good burger place in Old Town Alexandria which had one of those magical Coke fountain infinite-flavor machines.

  7. Gleemonex12:03 PM

    Were the smiths able to tell you when they're going to get over all that lawsuit bullshit, answer the goddamn Money Phone, and do a reunion tour? 

  8. Adam asked, but before he got an answer, their leader went into a terrible depression and committed suicide.  Heaven knows he's miserable now.

  9. I think you've told this one before.

  10. Genevieve3:11 PM

    Ask next time if you want some family-friendly and tasty recommendations.  Or just look on terrific local foodie board .

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