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If you’ve ever wondered what life would have been like for the first English colonists who made America their permanent home, then you simply must stop at the Jamestown Settlement in Virginia.  We made the Jamestown Settlement part of our road trip to historic sites in the eastern part of the United States. Jamestown is one-third of what is known as Virginia’s Historic Triangle.  Just to be clear–this is not the actual site of what is now called Historic Jamestowne.  If you want to visit the actual site of the colony and see archeologists in action, then you’ll want to go to the site that is run by the National Park Service.  If we’d had more time, we probably would’ve checked that area out, too. In the end, we decided to visit the reenactment attraction, the Jamestown Settlement, because we thought that Kristin would learn more there. If you are…

If you were anywhere near the path of totality for Monday’s solar eclipse, you could feel the sense of suspense as people prepared for an event that hasn’t occurred in the U.S. in the continuous 48 states in over 30 years, and even then a total eclipse was only visible in the northwest part of the country.  In 1991, parts of Hawaii were able to see a total solar eclipse.  But this was different.  For about two minutes, a swath across the U.S. from Oregon to South Carolina would be known as the Path of Totality.  With this eclipse being available to so many people across the country, it was inevitable that excitement of the eclipse would grow over the weeks leading up to August 21. To be honest, I wasn’t planning to write about the eclipse.  I was excited to see it, but I didn’t think it would become…

When you think of Norfolk, Virginia, one thing comes to mind–the United States Naval Base.  Norfolk and the Navy just go hand-in-hand.  On our road trip this summer, we planned two nights at Virginia Beach.  As we planned this part of our trip, we soon realized how close we were to Norfolk.  We also discovered the Nauticus, a museum that commemorates shipping in every regard–commercial, scientific, and defensive. Adding to our excitement, we learned that you could take a two-hour cruise of the Navy ships nearby.  In fact, you could buy a combo-ticket to the museum and the cruise.  It was a no-brainer!  We had to do it! After our first night at Virginia Beach, we woke up early enough to head over to Norfolk to be at the museum before opening.  It is about a 30-40 minute drive, depending on traffic.  We also wanted to be early enough to…

I’d like to thank the Clay Cooper Theatre for sponsoring our attendance to the performance of Clay Cooper’s Country Express.  As always, all opinions are honest and my own. When you think of Branson, Missouri, you may think of country music shows lining the 76 Strip, or the main highway through town.  That strip of highway is also known as Country Music Boulevard, and those shows make up Branson’s history.  Add the beautiful Ozark Mountains and attractions like Silver Dollar’s City, and you have the family destination of Branson. Though historically those shows featured country music, nowadays the shows along the strip offer a diverse array of music and entertainment options.  Clay Cooper’s Country Express is a wonderful example of a show that does it all–music, dancing, and comedy.  And the music covers so many genres that there is truly something for everyone; your whole family will love it! Before…

One thing my daughter looks forward to all summer is going boating and camping at Campbell Point on Table Rock Lake near Shell Knob, Missouri, with Grandma and Grandpa.  Can you blame her?  For a seven-year-old, sleeping in the camper is an adventure!  And it doesn’t get much better than riding in the boat with the wind in your hair and the sunshine on your skin.  Going to Table Rock Lake is a family tradition! Campbell Point If you enjoy camping or boating, Table Rock Lake is a great place.  The lake is clean and clear, and the campground is nestled in the Ozark woods. My parents enjoy camping at the Army Corps of Engineers Campground at the Campbell Point Marina.  Some of the sites are even lakeside.  Click here to see a map of the campground.  My parents like to camp in the more wooded area at the full hook-up site.…

Things to Do in Gettysburg Gettysburg is just one of those great historic places that we’ve been wanting to experience for a long time.  We wanted, of course, to learn more about the battle, but we also wanted to make some family memories together.  It’s important for my daughter to learn about the events that shaped our nation, even if she is only seven-years-old.  Though the events in Gettysburg were tragic, I wanted her to have a basic understanding of what happened along with doing some family-friendly activities.  We spent four nights in Gettysburg, but I think you could easily do a shorter trip or spend more time here.  We spent most of our evenings watching the sunset over the battlefield.  Here are our recommendations after experiencing Gettysburg. Take a Tour of the Battlefield We took a tour with the Association of Licensed Battlefield Guides, and it was fantastic! This…

Thank you to Mel’s Hard Luck Diner in Branson, Missouri, for sponsoring this post.  As usual, all opinions are honest and my own. Branson, Missouri, is known for music shows along the main strip and family fun.  What if you could eat somewhere that also combined the best of Branson?  Mel’s Hard Luck Diner does just that!  Not only will you find yummy treats, you will also be treated with musical entertainment. After a busy morning on our recent trip to Branson, we needed to refuel.  We decided to stop for some classic diner food at Mel’s Hard Luck Diner located in the Grand Village Shopping Center on the 76 strip. Once you pull in, Mel’s Hard Luck Diner is towards the front and to the far right of the complex. It is right across the lane from Kringles’ Christmas Shop, which is a pretty large store that you can’t really…

I’m always on the lookout for unique experiences for my family.  I love to be immersed in something, especially something that transports me to another time.  A tavern in Colonial Williamsburg does just that!  During our trip to Colonial Williamsburg, we decided to have dinner at the King’s Arms Tavern, and I am so glad we did! The tavern is on the main street–Duke of Gloucester Street.  From a distance, it looks just like any other home or shop along the road.  It is near a shuttle stop for taverns, and there are other taverns nearby.  I had heard that this place can be impossible to get into for dinner without a reservation, so I made sure to make one a few weeks before our trip.  I am a bit of a planner. To make your reservation, just go to the Colonial Williamsburg website.  You’ll be able to find the…

When I think of summer, I think of cook-outs, fireflies, swimming, and…family trips!  Growing up, I knew that summertime meant my family would go somewhere, often in our pop-up camper.  Now, my family continues the tradition.  As a teacher with a kid in school, our big trips happen during the summer.  We look forward to our destination for many months as we dream and plan.  A summer trip is between one and two weeks for us, so that means there is still a lot of summer left over.  Just because we are home again doesn’t mean that the wanderlust is cured.  So what to do?  For us, it’s little getaways here and there, sometimes during the week and other times for a weekend.  I’ve included very different experiences so you can find what is best for your family. Here are my favorite “getaway for a few days” places for families…

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