Our Historical Virginia Vacation (Part 1)

3.30.2016

Let me first thank you to everyone who read and responded to my post on Monday! It felt good to finally finish that and share some of my thoughts, and I'm glad so many of you resonated with it.

Now for something much more fun! On Saturday, March 19, Jordan, R, and I left for our first family vacation.

We chose Charlottesville, Virginia, as our destination for four days and had a great time! I am going to save all my thoughts about traveling/flying with a baby for a separate post and just share some pictures and highlights from our trip. We bought plane tickets just two months ago, which is pretty spur-of-the-moment for us. (You might be interested to know How We Budget For Travel.) One day in January I decided I wanted to go on vacation. Our five-year anniversary is coming up in May, R can fly for free and is in a generally good mood most of the time so I figured she would do okay, and I felt like I just wanted to get away for a little change of pace.


(Montpelier, home of President James Madison)

I asked Jordan where he wanted to go, and he said "somewhere out east." So I spent an hour plugging flights and dates into Kayak. I randomly chose airports and dates until I narrowed it down to a few of the cheapest options (cheap being both of us flying for under $500 total). Then I let Jordan pick. He is a huge history buff and got really excited when I said Charlottesville, Virginia, because that is the home of Monticello, Thomas Jefferson's house. (Below)
There are also two president homes nearby (James Monroe and James Madison), and for an added bonus, Lexington is just a few hours away, which is the home of Stonewall Jackson (I'm sharing all our pictures from our day in Lexington in a separate post)Basically you might say this trip was a tour of old, dead, white guy houses and graves, and Jordan was in historical heaven. He loved every minute! R and I had fun watching him have fun and just went along for the ride.
Jordan and I both enjoyed seeing a part of the country that is so old and historical. Virginia is absolutely beautiful with rolling hills and houses set back on large plots of land. It was easy to imagine a few hundred years ago when many of those houses were operational plantations and such. Of course, since we are just coming out of winter, a lot of the trees are still mostly dead, but many of them were starting to bloom with these really pretty yellow, white, and purple buds. We also got a hint of those famous apple blossom trees! (I think that's what they were...)
Amazingly, I did not get motion sick while driving on those twisty roads, but that's probably because I sat straight forward and didn't look at my phone or read or anything else. Oklahoma is so flat and all our streets are on a grid, so it was very different to drive down roads that curved and went up and down so much. And the trees! So many tall trees all around. We had a great time just driving to the different destinations on our itinerary and seeing the scenery.
Jordan really wants to go back to Virginia and hit some spots we missed during our trip. I booked us a cabin via Air B&B in Ivy, which is next to Charlottesville, and we basically stayed within a two-hour radius to the south/west. 
There are places up north that Jordan wanted to see but we didn't have time for, so maybe in the future we can head back to Virginia and see those! I would also love to see Washington DC at some point. Travel goals and such.
We left OKC at noon on Saturday, March 19, and arrived home at noon on Wednesday, March 23. (We were supposed to come home on Tuesday, but our flight was delayed and we had to stay an extra day.)
Here was our itinerary:

Saturday: 12pm flight OKC --> Wash DC --> Charlottesville, Virginia (arrived at 6pm)
Sunday: Monticello (home of Thomas Jefferson), Michie's Tavern, Ashlawn-Highland (home of James Monroe)
Monday: Lexington (home of Stonewall Jackson), Natural Bridge (Foamhenge)
Tuesday: Montpelier (home of James Madison) / supposed to fly home; spent all day in the airport, went back to Charlottesville and stayed in a Holiday Inn Express
Wednesday: 5am flight out of Virginia --> Chicago, O'hara --> Dallas, Texas --> OKC

So those were scenes from days one and two! I will share pictures from Lexington in an upcoming post, and I also took a bunch of short videos during our trip and want to put together a little vacation recap video. Then, I am putting all my thoughts specifically about traveling/flying with a baby in another post! Thanks for reading!

See also: Part 2 of our trip (plus a vacation video)
Traveling with a Baby: Everything You Need to Know

Have you ever been to Virginia?
What is your favorite United States historical site?
How far in advance would you consider a spur-of-the-moment vacation?

25 comments:

  1. It certainly made for beautiful pictures and backdrops, wow! Glad you guys had a good time. Way to go for being brave enough to travel with R! Hope you guys had easy travels with her!!

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  2. My husband would LOVE this trip. He is also a huge history buff. Looks like y'all had a great getaway together!

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  3. The few times I've visited any of the plains states, I've been SO AMAZED at how flat (even though, duh, I know that) they are, and how organized everything seems to be. Tennessee is so much like Virginia with all of the rolling hills and curvy streets, but it's so normal to me! I've never been motion sick in my life, but a lot of my friends deal with it often. And I just don't see how the can handle living around here.

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  4. Caleb is a HUGE history buff too (may still be a high school history teacher some day, we'll see)! So VA is on our list of places to visit. I'm excited for our July vacation. Our family vacation got cancelled so we're back to square 1 now!

    Is R wearing a hoodie?! Oh my word. She's too cute!!!

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  5. That looks so fun! I often over think what we will do on a trip and if it is worth it and on and on but this made me remember sometimes it just nice to get away.

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  6. My brother's 8th grade class went on a DC trip. Since my dad worked in the school system, we all tagged along for the trip. We extended it a bit and covered several of the nearby President's homes - definitely remember Washington and Jefferson. Looks like you guys had a great time!

    As for spur of the moment trips, I'd probably classify it within the month. If flying maybe a tad further out...six weeks perhaps! We live in the Northeast currently so many of the historical areas are within driving distance. Definitely one advantage to this part of the country...lots to do and see!

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  7. So fun. Next time, fly to Atlanta, so we can hang out! Also, dying to hear about your flight with R! We're flying in June and I have mild anxiety about it all!

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  8. My parents are both huge history buffs so I grew up doing trips like this too. I went to Monticello as a kid, but I honestly don't remember a lot about it. I'm so glad Jordan had such a blast! What fun! :)

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  9. What an amazing trip!!!! Kudos to you for planning and ENJOYING a trip that was more to Jordan's dreams than your own. :) That's awesome!

    I'm allll about planning vacations around historical places. I can't get enough! I've been to VA several times...I love the Jamestown area, but my FAVORITE place is George Washington's Mount Vernon in Alexandria. I could spend A LOT of time there just wandering around.

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  10. Very cool trip! Virginia is somewhere I have not spent much time in at all, other than driving through it on our way to D.C. and then also spending some time in Arlington. I didn't realize how much historical stuff was in the area you went to! Love all your pictures, as usual- that tree towards the end is crazy looking!

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  11. Ughh...you're making me miss Charlottesville so much! Gorgeous. Next time you're in Charlottesville, you should spend a day walking around on UVA's campus. There are so many cool things to see and it's absolutely beautiful. Plus, college town food >>>>. Also, I haven't really commented lately and I have to tell you that R is so very precious.

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  12. I grew up in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia and went to school at Virginia Tech. It has my heart. Truly. I daydream about moving back there one day. So glad you enjoyed it and let me know if you every plan on going back. I can give you all kinds of recommendations. We used to take field trips to DC in school (so nice to have it close) and I highly recommend going in the fall (the cherry blossoms are gorgeous in the spring, but it gets so crowded!). The fall foliage cannot be beat.

    Do you like how I'm giving you my life story in the comment section of your blog this week. Ha!

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    1. Ha! I love hearing your life story :)
      We drive down part of the Shenandoah Valley on our way to Lexington, and it's gorgeous. The pictures don't do it justice at all. Jordan really wants to go back. He was so conflicted about what to see and do because there was so much there. I would love to see DC sometime too. There's just so much to see in the US it's hard to decide what to spend money and vacation time on! We were laughing because our last official vacation was fall of 2014 and we went to Mount Rushmore, so apparently we are making a tour of presidents. lol.

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  13. Those are really nice historical homes. We planned a trip to London in six weeks. Biggest trip that was spur of the moment.

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    1. Oh my goodness! That is spur of the moment especially for such a big trip.

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  14. You got some beautiful pictures! I'd love to see that part of the country one day-so full of history!

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  15. I love Charlottesville! We went to Monticello last spring and it was beautiful! Glad you enjoyed it here!

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  16. How fun! I'm originally from Richmond, VA so I get excited hearing about Virginia! Love Monticello

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    1. It was really fun! We had a good time and thought Virginia was really pretty!

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  17. Being surrounded by all the historical stuff all the time living here I forget that people come for vacation to see it haha. I need to take more advantage of seeing more of it because it is really cool!! Glad you all could enjoy your trip and I hope your next flight home will be less eventful! I hate flying and get motion sickness in the car but knock on wood I haven't thrown up on a flight yet!

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  18. looks like you had a great time :) i don't think i have ever been to virginia, maybe driven through it.. maybe? i don't remember. i know i have been to west virginia. KC would love a trip like this, like you said - historical heaven lol. the most spur of the moment vacation i went on was someone asked us in november if we wanted to go to gatlinburg with them in february. that was in 2011/2012 and the only time something has been planned with so little time. i don't do spur of the moment haha.

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  19. Your baby is soooo adorable!! That little beanie with the flaps over the ears. Slaying it, as the kids are saying these days.

    This seriously sounds like Kevin's dream vacation. I think he and Jordan may be history buff soul brothers.

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  20. We have a lot of family in Virginia so we visit a lot, and it is such a great place! Beautiful and full of so much history! Glad you guys had a nice time!!

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  21. Aww! Looks like a great trip. But that's a pretty crazy flight itinerary home--VA to Chicago to Dallas to Oklahoma? No wonder you guys weren't feeling good. It usually takes 3 flights to get all the way from here to Michigan, for crying out loud! Glad the actual trip was fun and educational, though!
    This kind of vacation sounds a lot like the vacations my family took when we lived in the states. I'm pretty sure I've seen every birthplace and childhood home of Abraham Lincoln and probably a couple other things related to him and various American historical sites, mostly Civil War stuff since we lived in Kentucky.
    My parents decided less than a week in advance that the family ought to take a trip to Singapore during Christmas break since Angel had never been to Singapore, and then it was a flurry of exchanging currency and booking a room and even getting a flight for Angel since he had to return and go to work before the rest of us got home. So 2 months is practically ages. I like to plan ahead a little, which is why our July trip to Japan was booked last month. And it sounds super exotic to go to Japan, but from here, Japan is WAY much more of a budget trip/local trip than a VA trip would be. :P I don't even want to think about buying plane tickets for going back to visit America someday...or sitting on a plane for that long...

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  22. How fun! The scenery and historical buildings are beautiful! My husband really enjoys those types of things as well. I don't really mind it either! We both especially agree that we would like to take trips with our kids to teach them things like this someday! R is just too cute! Love her little hats! :)

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