Monday, August 24, 2009

Greetings from the Outer Banks

We are in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina, within walking distance of the Wright Brothers National Memorial and even closer to the beach -- in other words, an ideal location. We arrived here late in the afternoon after driving through Virginia, where we stopped near Richmond to have lunch with Dementordelta at an International House of Pancakes, then stopping at the Yorktown Victory Center, which the kids had visited less than a week ago with my parents, but Paul and I had never seen and didn't want to miss another opportunity. There are terrific exhibits on the causes and events of the American Revolution, the Continental Army's camps, Cornwallis's surrender, and the excavation of the ships scuttled in the James River, but the kids' favorite area is the recreation of a 1780s farm complete with cotton and tobacco crops, fiber crafts, and poultry wandering the grounds.

Adam at the general's camp desk in the central tent of the Continental Army encampment at the Yorktown Victory Center.

There were guides and reenactors available to explain life during the 1700s... well as the causes and effects on family lives in Virginia of the Revolutionary War.

The kids got to try out some colonial-era games...

...and meet animals like this chicken, a turkey, and a guinea fowl on the working farm.

Farmers worked the tobacco fields...

...and talked about the crops and food of the original settlers in the region.

This photo has nothing to do with Yorktown or Virginia history, but I saw the license plate on a car in the parking lot whose roof was painted with a British Red Ensign flag and knew I'd found a fellow Patrick O'Brian fan!

We drove into North Carolina and through Kitty Hawk in the late afternoon, dropped our things off at the hotel so we could go immediately to the beach. The surf was very rough -- we had been warned that it would be, with the after-effects of Hurricane Bill amplified by the seasonal high tides -- so we waded rather than swam in the ocean, but we saw pelicans, sand crabs, seagulls, and little fish in the very clear water near the shore, and at night (after we ran out to K-Mart to buy a bathing suit for Daniel, who somehow failed to pack any) we saw many toads eating the insects gathered under the lamps in the hotel parking lot. The weather has been perfect mid-80s!

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