When touring historical spots, we always seek a nice balance between the Griswold’s visit to the Grand Canyon in National Lampoon’s Vacation (jump out of the car, look and nod twice, jump back into the car) and a three-year, in depth master thesis exploration. I am not naming names, but Son 1 finally ripped the car keys from Hub’s hand and jumped in the driver’s seat during our car tour of Yorktown’s famous battlefields … our extensive car tour of Yorktown, where we stopped at every battle site, cemetery, sign, statue, hint of sign, mound, other cars pulled over or unusual weeds and/or rock formations along the way.
In Hub’s defense: Son 1 careened into the parking lot of the last stop of the driving tour to view the field where Cornwallis’ troops surrendered. Son 1 was happy to idle the car, sit for a moment gazing at said field, and then drive on. Hubs insisted we get out of the car and walk. He was right. The actual battlefield was across the parking lot behind us and down a path. Hubs was gleeful, Son 1 argued the whole way back on our four hour, three hour drive from Yorktown to D.C., contending that there was no actual proof which field it was, as what is taken as accurate history often times is not. This makes the honking, lane cutting, slow to a crawl for no reason traffic around the D.C. area even more fun than usual. And he’s an attorney, never one to drop an argument. And a really bad driver.
The trip also including a visit to Williamsburg, Virginia, which we quickly renamed “Disneyburg.” Okay, most of the building are replications, and the some of the costumed workers were less than enthusiastic about authenticity (Ray-Bans and iPhones, anyone?) but some guides were highly informative, some buildings quite historically significant, and it was just plain fun.
Perhaps to reinforce the Disney connection, we heard a Williamsburg tourist exclaim “This sh*t hurts!” for no discernable reason, maybe too much walking? This is an oft-quoted, multi-purpose saying from the annals of Hagnauer vacation history, first heard many years ago as a girl was hopping off of Space Mountain. We were more than thrilled to hear “our” saying quoted word for word at another vacation spot.
Highlights included seeing an Amish family walking down the street of colonial Williamsburg and commenting to Hubs, “I don’t get it.” Son 1 then comes strolling up, takes in the site before us and asks “What’s the point?” Are senses of humor genetic?
To begin this loop through our nation’s history, we picked up Son 1 at the Greyhound bus station in Richmond, Virginia. Now this is noteworthy for a few reasons. First, anyone who knows Son 1 will be shocked to learn he actually rode a Greyhound bus. It also re-emphasizes that nature overrides noggin, as by desperate necessity, I actually used the bathroom there, and lived to tell about it. We had about three hours to spend in Richmond, so in traditional Hagnauer family fashion, we only ate lunch, went to the art museum, went to the Museum of the Confederacy and toured the Confederate White House.
We ended the trip with three days in D.C. finding things we haven’t done before; lunch at a local food market and exploring area shops, touring Catholic University’s basilica (largest in U.S., all dressed up in thousands upon thousands of Easter lilies), and the last day Son 1 got up at 6:30 a.m. to procure highly coveted and almost impossible to get same-day tickets to the new African American History Museum.
We also had time to enjoy our tried and true favorites, like walking the National Mall from the Capitol to the Lincoln memorial, then sneaking around the back of the monument and enjoying the quiet, relatively tourist-free side, watching the Potomac roll by and gazing at Arlington.
It was a whirlwind trip, great to visit Son 1, and I only cried just a bit when saying goodbye to him.