Destination: Buena Vista & Williamsburg Virginia
Date: September 2008
A few years ago my sisters and I thought it would be a great idea to take a girls trip. Being one of four girls in my family, it isn’t easy for all of us to get together and have those moments of reprieve from kids, husbands, and everyday life. In our search of where to go we decided it would be fun to take my mom back to her old high school/junior college, all women’s boarding school, that had recently been remodeled and reopened into a private college in Buena Vista Virginia. This school in my mothers day had been called Southern Seminary a private all girls boarding school but under its new ownership it is now a private LDS owned school, called Southern Virginia University.
Making the trip to Buena Vista is no easy task. After flying into the nearest airport, Richmond, it is still a two hour drive through the Blue Ridge mountains of Virginia. (Yes, please cue the John Denver song now…) It is actually a beautiful and scenic drive through this beautiful countryside and with our mini-van packed with my three sisters, my mother, my daughter Bailey, and my new nephew “R” we were in for a fun week,
Over the years my mom has taken us by her old stomping grounds, but I hadn’t been back for twenty years and it had a changed considerably. The school had been fenced off by a chain link fence during my last visit and looked like it was on the verge of being condemned. This time I was pleasantly surprised to see it remodeled into a its current state of remodel. It is now a beautiful university with almost a thousand students. Once we arrived we were greeted not just by anyone… but the president of the university. He was gracious and kind and showed us into his office where he had posted on his walls a picture of every student in attendance. It was a memorable site because I know having attended Brigham Young University back in the early nineties when the enrollment was up around 30,000 students I knew my picture never hung on my university presidents wall. It was neat to see this gesture of concern from this new little university.
Once we explained who we were, and my mother having attended this school back when it was Southern Seminary, we were given the royal treatment. We were given a tour of the university by the Vice President, given a meal card to eat in the cafeteria, and even allowed to stay the night in on campus housing for guests. It was a great privilege. Our trip to Buena Vista couldn’t have been anymore sweet. It was a great way to see my mothers past, see the changing leaves during our drive through the mountains of Virginia, and see this new university with its personalized education and care for the students. I was amazed.
From Buena Vista we traveled over to visit other early settling sights of our forefathers in Virginia. We were excited to see the home of Thomas Jefferson, called Monticello, located in Charlottesville. This was a great stop that took about two hours to see the entire plantation. Visiting the house and the collection of Jefferson was amazing. Equally enthralling were the slaves quarters that are located around the side of the house where all of Jeffersons plantation slaves and house slaves, like Sally Hemmings, lived back in the late seventeenth century. Just the sophistication of how Jefferson lived in this new established country was amazing to see firsthand. He obviously had been very well off. Tickets and reservations can be made online and the adult ticket is about $24 and $8 for children under twelve.
Our next and final visit to this part of Virginia was to Williamsburg. This colonial town has been restored to the original version the pilgrims knew from the early 1500’s. Being situated near the first established town in the New World, Jamestown, we were able to see it all. Williamsburg has many things to see that show how things were done back in colonial times. From, candle-making shops, wig shops, mock court debates in the courthouse, there is much to enjoy in this colonial amusement park.
There are many different passes that can be bought online to see this magnificent part of our country’s history. The website reads that it is the “best trip ever” and though I won’t go as far as saying that, I do think it is very educational for both child and adult. I was grateful to have my ten-year-old daughter Bailey with us so she could learn so much about our nations origin.
Online it does read “Discover Colonial Williamsburg and immerse yourself in the 18th-century capital city of Virginia. Guests of all ages will enjoy exploring the Revolutionary City and meeting residents living in this tumultuous period of our nation’s history. Three world-class museums offer intriguing exhibits, lively lectures, and hands-on activities for kids. Experience one of more than 20 guided and self-guided tours—included in your admission ticket—offered daily. Enter the homes and gardens of Williamsburg’s 18th-century residents, get a firsthand perspective from a museum curator, or see the city by foot on a walking tour. Opportunities for adventure abound, but how you choose to spend your visit is up to you.” Which I think is a pretty accurate description.
So amidst all of this history there is so much to see and do. There are great taverns offering tasty foods from that revolutionary era. The townsfolk talk and dress like they did back then, and there is even great little shops to pick up mementos to take home. Even better there is a Busch Gardens amusement park located nearby so once you have enjoyed the colonial amusement park you can move onto a modern amusement park of today!
Safe and Happy Travels!!!