Jan 22nd
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Orlando to Lake George - I

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 Orlando to Lake George with Robin

    Join homeschoolers Robin, her daughter Alyxandra (age 10) and son Trevor (age 6) as they travel by motorhome from Orlando, Florida to Lake George, New York.  Share their adventure while they walk the decks of a huge air craft carrier, discover the secrets of pregnant blue crabs, and witness the historical vote for independence from England.  Catch back up with them in the next issue.  The kids learn to make their own stone arrowheads at an Indian village and are treated to a tour of Washington D. C. by duck boat.
    Tuesday–Yesterday we drove some 400 miles from Orlando to Charleston, South Carolina.  The Charles Towne Landing was an old plantation that's now a 663-acre park.  We walked about the Settlement Life Park which includes a house and garden, an iron working shop; streams full of turtles; an alligator pond; and ruins of an old plantation house.  
    At the "world's largest maritime museum" we toured the air craft carrier, USS Yorktowne, and a coast guard cutter and submarine. However, we didn’t have time to see the destroyer ship.  
    Downtown historic Charleston is home to the Exchange Building, which was once a customs house and prison.  The old city walls in the basement were only discovered about 10 years ago.  Charleston is a very pretty town–lots of history and things to do!
     Wednesday–Arriving in Myrtle Beach, we shopped at Hartstrings, a great kids' clothing store.  Then it was off for Salt Water Marsh Explorer boat trip, leaving Captain Dick's in Murrell Inlet at 2:30.  We got to hold spider crabs, brittle starfish, and sea urchins from the on-board touch tank.  They dredged the marsh bottom for more small crabs and other marsh life.
    During the nature walk on the beach, we learned that the holes in some clam shells are made by a large snail.  The snail secrets an acidy fluid, which eats a hole in the shell.  It then eats the clam.  We went fishing off the boat - didn't catch anything though.  The guide brought up a crab trap with a bunch of pregnant blue crabs.  Each pregnant crab has 2 million babies and only 2 or 3 survive to adulthood.  The others babies become fish food.  The pregnant female crabs carry their babies in a large pouch on their belly.  Orange bellies indicate the babies are not ready to hatch.  However, a black belly means the the time is very near.  
    After a quick dinner, we headed for Ocean Lakes Family Campground–it was huge! Luckily, we got a spot right across the road from the beach.
    Thursday–This morning's "wake up call" was the quacking of ducks under the back of the motorhome.
    Rather than the original 400-mile route up I-95, stopping at the Science Museum in Durham, NC, we decided on the 325-mile route up Route 17, more toward the shore, and a little more scenic.  We arrived in Williamsburg at 6:45. After dinner we met up with others for the 8:30 p.m Lantern Tour at Colonial Williamsburg.
    The kids had fun holding the candles and lanterns, as we walked about town, stopping at the milliner and silversmith shops.  The kids pointed out that the printing press in the print shop was the same they’d seen on Reading Rainbow's "Ox-Cart Man."
    Friday–Each day of the week at Colonial Williamsburg is a special day in history.  Today is May 15, 1776, when the Virginians declared their independence from the British Crown.  While visiting the capitol building, the delegation was discussing the vote that would take place that afternoon at 5 o’clock–an unanimous vote in favor of independence!  
    We walked into a few shops–saw some great books, cute hats, and fun toys.  The kids liked the military encampment and jail.  A group of “slaves” were discussing the irony of their masters wanting freedom from England, however refusing their own freedom.  They thought they would be better off siding with the English, as they don't have slavery in England.
    After the kids cooled off with a swim in the pool, we headed for Shields Tavern, one of three taverns in the historic area that serves dinner. We enjoyed tasting appetizers and other foods from the Colonial period, while listening to a man perform on the Colonial version of a guitar.  
    Later that night, the kids had fun catching fireflies.

    Saturday–This morning we heard George Washington speak behind the Governor's Palace.  Then we watched a fencing demonstration in the theater.  The kids had a great time in Merchant Square dressing up in period clothing and having their pictures taken.  The next stop, which should have been the first stop during our visit to Colonial Williamsburg was the Visitor Center.  There we found a great book on Williamsburg for families, describing in detail many of the buildings we had seen.  The movie shown about Colonial Williamsburg is very informative and can also be seen on TV at most hotels in the area.  A helpful gentleman in the Educational Resource Center showed us more interesting books and exhibits.
    Riding the bus between attractions was fun for the kids. They enjoyed the breaks in sightseeing.
    The Governor's Palace was surprisingly opulent, considering the time period.  Behind the palace is a cemetery with no markers, just a field where 156 men and 2 women are buried.  
    The historical Episcopal Church on the main street is an actual working church which had many interesting grave sites and headstones in the side yard.  
    We enjoyed four scenes in the "Echoes of Music" tour.  First, a family in the parlor of their home enjoying an evening of singing, playing music, and learning the minuet dance.  Next, a fifer and drummer explained the importance of their roles in communication during a battle.  In another parlor, two men played a flute and harpsichord and discussed music theory.  Out back the slaves were singing folk and gospel songs.
    Chasing lightning bugs seems to be the kids’ favorite activity before bedtime.
Until next time,
                    Robin and kids


Read more of Robin's adventure, Orlando to Lake George II


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