Days Seventeen & Eighteen: Old Home Week

25 Jun

This is always the portion of the trip where I fall behind in my blogging. Because staying with friends is not conducive to writing a recap at the end of the day. At the end of the day with friends it’s time to go to bed because you’ve likely stayed up late talking, and/or drinking, and possibly kicking someone’s tail at cornhole. But I’m going to give the brief recap of the past two days. Nothing fancy. And certainly not schmancy.

Tuesday: Went to visit Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. Perhaps that seems a random place to visit, especially when we had to kind of go out of our way to visit it. But, not every kid gets a town with her name in it, and seemed the least I could do to take my daughter, Harper, to visit Harpers Ferry. And I’m so incredibly glad I did! Because the Harpers Ferry National Historic Park was awesome. Truly. The old town (lower village?) is really cool. It’s a combination of an actual working town (shops, restaurants, lodgings), and restored buildings and museum exhibits. We also hiked up the old stone steps to see Jefferson’s Rock (Benjamin Latrobe, designer of the US Capitol building, took a trip with Thomas Jefferson to visit Harpers Ferry, and made a sketch of old TJ next to a double stacked, teetering rock. Since that time they have added supports to keep the rock in place, but still kind of cool to think that we’re seeing the same landscape that Thomas Jefferson saw on his visit. Then we continued up the hill to visit the Harper Cemetery. A beautiful, rolling green space, and strangely, part of the Appalachian Trail. Harper, of course, especially enjoyed the day, because what kid doesn’t enjoy a day where it’s easy to pretend that it’s all about them?

After leaving Harpers Ferry (and an obligatory photo op at the post office), we drove through some of the gorgeous Virginia wine country on our way to the Tapley’s house in Chantilly, VA. Nothing says adventure like staying with a college friend you haven’t seen in 20 years! Honestly. Pete was a dear friend in college, and I have enjoyed rekindling a friendship between the adult versions of ourselves via Facebook, but most of all I appreciate his delightful wife’s willingness to host a random (obviously crazy) woman and her three young children. It was so much fun. Pete’s home is lovely, his wife is delightful, his kids are great, and believe it or not, he is an amazing chef! Seriously. The omelette he made this morning, including leftover grilled veggies from last night, was bar none the best omelette I’ve ever eaten. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Yesterday afternoon, we stopped by their house and picked up their younger son, and I took the four kids to the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. Oh. My. I was in nerd heaven. The Discovery is there. The actual space shuttle. The last one to fly. It was amazing to see it up close, and I found myself getting strangely emotional about being in the same room with it. I tried to explain the significance of the space shuttle during my child hood, but they just couldn’t process the information. The hangar is packed full of other significant bits of aviation history. Such as the Enola Gay. That’s right, the plane that dropped the first atomic bomb. And an Air France Concorde. Might have been the very one that my own grandparents flew on across the Atlantic. Anyway, I was totally dorking out, and I loved this museum, even more than the kids.

The kids loved meeting and playing with the Tapley boys, who, despite being older, were gracious and kind to my younger children. We let them stay up crazy late while the grown-ups talked. It was nice. For all of us. Especially by this point in the trip I need a break from the kids. And let’s face it, they need a break from me. It was nice that a basement game room gave us both the separation we needed. It was fun to discover that Mr. Fitzwell is still up to some of his old shenanigans, and it was a blast meeting the woman that became his wife. They better be careful what they wish for, because Chantilly, Virginia, just became a spot in the permanent rotation for CMRT.

Today was a long driving day, but totally worth it. First, we got a chance to run around the campus of my beloved Washington & Lee University. Our route from Nova to Charlotte, NC took us down I-81 South. And there is absolutely no way I was going to be able to drive by the exits for Lexington and not stop. So, we made a quick stop in Lex Vegas – a brief hello to my friends, a quick snack at Sweet Things Ice Cream Shop, a spin around the bookstore so I could properly empty my wallet, and, of course, some photos on the lawn with Lee Chapel and the Colonnade in the background. Judging by the traffic we ran into later, we should have cut the visit even shorter than we did, but it was worth it. Lexington holds a strange sway over me – though I guess it’s not too strange since I spent 7 years of my life there – and I wouldn’t have been able to stand being so close and not visiting.

Unfortunately we did run into significant traffic in the late afternoon, but eventually we made it through and arrived at the Taylors’ Matthews, NC, home. We went straight to the pool, and despite our late arrival, the kids got a good long time to swim and play together. Which was awesome. The Willim 3 have been missing the Taylor boys since they moved from GCC, and the pool facility in their neighborhood is awesome – a win-win for everyone! Once again the kids got to stay up late playing as the grown-ups talked. Mine should be fairly wrecked for tomorrow, and probably pretty excited about just being lazy, and hanging around at the Taylors conserve energy for a swim meet. But eventually we did chase the kids off to bed – with very little push-back from the exhausted little ones. There may or may not have been an epic battle involving bean bags that ensued post childrens’ bedtimes, but as soldiers who fall valiantly on the field of battle deserve respect, I will report no further on the events that unfolded in the back yard.

And now, as my head is spinning from exhaustion, I will end by saying just this: I’ve had an amazing past two days. Reconnecting with an old college friend. Visiting said college campus. Being awash in nostalgia. Then visiting with friends who have been the cornerstone of my life with kids. It’s like old home week around here. And that is the very best kind of week.


** No editing. Perhaps I’ll catch the typos later, but I. Can’t. Keep. My. Eyes. Open.


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© 2010 Krista Lindsey Willim