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?)