Monday, May 31, 2010

Between Degrees Vacation, Round 1

As I mentioned in my last post, my mom and I went to Virginia for a week following graduation. Since I am moving to the South West, and I am from the East Coast, I'm trying to get some beach time in where ever possible. This is tough, seeing as how I live in PA, and the only "beaches" touching this state belong to lakes and ponds.

Colonial Williamsburg

Our first stop was in Williamsburg to see the Colonial Williamsburg settlement. We only had a day, and there was way too much to see even if we were going to be there a week, nevermind one single day. We wandered around, walked through the garden at the Governor's Palace, and saw the inside of two houses. I'll definitely have to go back to see the inside of the palace and more of the homes.

One of the houses I saw, I believe the Reynolds home, apparently had in excess of 26 slaves living and working on the property. It was a massive house, yet the people who owned it never had any children of their own. This particular house talked a lot about slave life, and what it must have been like living during this time period as a slave. On the one hand, you're a slave; on the other hand, you probably heard a lot of talk about freedom from the tyrany and "enslavement" of England. Conflicting messages, no doubt.

Williamsburg was a very important city early in our nation's history, especially immediately preceeding the Revolutionary War. There was a re-enactment of the months before we decided to sever ties with England, complete with people running around yelling, interacting with visitors, and basically a huge mob along the main street of the settlement.

Southern Virginia Beach

After visiting Williamsburg, my mom and I headed east to go to Virginia Beach for the rest of the week. The last couple days of our vacation were excellent beach days. My primary objective was to relax and be a bum for a solid three days, and I think I accomplished that goal. We rented a cabin at the Holiday Trav-L-Park, which was a significant upgrade from sleeping in a tent.

The campground itself was pretty nice: clean, well taken care of. We also got a parking spot by the beach. However, since it was early in the season, some of the things, such as pools, weren't open yet. I think if we had come a week later everything would have been available. Also, the campfire scenario was kind of weird. There were no rings or obvious places designated specifically for camp fires, but it appeared as though people had burned things previously, so we just kind of tried to have a fire in that approximate spot. Once again, like we always seem to do with camping, my mom and I ended up with damp wood which didn't turn out so great (unless your goal is smoke without fire). We finally got dry wood and everything worked out and I was able to have marshmallows.

As far as being a beach bum, that was successful. I did a lot of sleeping and reading and generally laying around. I'm not a big swimmer, but the water was nice. Obviously, it was May and the water was cold, but I have felt much colder later in the summer further North, which is what I'm used to. It was enough to just jump in, get cooled off, then return to snoozing in the sun. With sunscreen, of course. Unlike last year, I managed to avoid frying myself completely. We were in the Outer Banks late last summer, and I don't know what happened, but I reacted really badly to either the sun, something in my sunscreen, or something in the water. Thankfully, that didn't happen this time around.

One of the things I really liked about Virgina Beach was the boardwalk. It just went on and on and on. There were restaurants all along it in addition to the hotels. It was paralleled by a bike path, and people were renting these things that looked like peddle cars. There was the one group of women who I honestly thought were going to wipe out, but they looked like they were having a good time. Also, there were brown pelicans and laughing gulls, which were hillarious. The gulls have black heads and they sound like they are laughing when they make their call.

After a long three years in graduate school, and with another 4+ years on the horizon, I'm trying to get as relaxed as possible during the three months I have off. No stressing out. No worrying about my move, it's all under control.

This is me for the next 3 months...

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