A Summer Road Trip

I was so happy a few weeks ago when it worked out for us to hit the road and do some exploring as a family. All was quiet in Tulsa after little Lucille was born and it seemed the perfect chance to slip away for a few days. Luckily, we were all able to give her a quick squeeze before we left. She is so dreamy!  We really didn’t start out with specific plans on this trip, besides the fact that we started out in the eastern direction, but as we drove down the road talking about our country’s current events and listening to David McCullough audiobooks, we started thinking about how cool it would be to dig into the early history of the US of A, so we just kept driving east!

Our visit to Jamestown was way more inspirational than I expected. I expected just sort of a landmarker, and there ya go, Jamestown. Well, turns out Jamestown is a part of the National Park Service so they have ranger guided tours of the site. Our ranger guide was so awesome! I think all of us shed a tear at some point listening to him speak about the hardships faced by the colonists and the way they persevered and prospered.  Just so America, ya know?

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When I was seven I attended an event to launch the new American Girl doll, Felicity, in Colonial Williamsburg. Pleasant Rowland, who founded American Girl, spoke at the event and hearing her love of history and storytelling and of teaching young girls made such an impression on me. That trip with my mother is one of my most magical childhood memories and I have always wanted to go back with my own children, so this felt a little bit like a dream come true. We’ve been so close to visiting when we’ve been in the D.C. area but there are always so many friends to see and things to do that we’ve never made it happen. So this trip we did!  It was fun to tour the Governor’s Palace and run though the maze and eat in a tavern and all of that, but what I was really surprised by with Colonial Williamsburg was just how pretty it is! The trees and animals and gardens were all pretty dreamy and we enjoyed just walking through all of that more than anything.

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We also made an after hours stop at Monticello. It was too late to go in, (which was weird because we felt like we knew TJ and the place well thanks again to David McCullough)  but it worked out fine because there are actually several museum areas, a movie on Jefferson and a shop down at the entrance area to Monticello.

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We also made some SUPER fun stops in Tennessee.  We rafted down a river and made a long overdue trip to Dollywood. Big time fans here.

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Inspirational quotes abound at Dollywood!

This whole little trip was just so special to me. My big kids are getting, well, big.  Everyone has more going on which is wonderful and I love seeing them blossom, but when Taylor looked over at me and asked why I was smiling so big, I said “because all my people are locked up in this loud crazy van and it makes me feel so peaceful.”  … Or maybe I was just still high from smelling baby Lucille!! Happy back to school you guys!

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  1. This sounds like such a wonderful family trip! I dream about the day when my family can just hit the road and go. I love exploring new places and I’m doing my best to pass that on to my kids.

  2. Wow Natalie sounded like it was SUPER FUN!! I want to visit Tulsa someday it seems like a nice place! P.S can you tell penny I love her short hair? Okay that’s it hehe

  3. I just want to thank you for sharing your family’s adventures with us! I love reading about new places to consider taking my crew. 3 girls.. 8,3, and 8 months. I’m thinking anything American Girl when the baby is a little older! How do you keep Willa entertained while traveling? We struggle with long trips with our 3 year old. Keep on sharing! I’m lovin it!!

    • Hi April! Yes, keeping little ones entertained on long drives can be tricky! I usually make my bigger kids take turns talking/reading/playing with Willa when she gets restless. Another thing that helps is we pull over when we see an easy rest stop and run some sprints and do some jumping jacks and that is usually enough to settle everybody down for a while! Hope this helps 🙂

  4. What an amazing trip! I’m so hoping to do something like this with my kids before they’re all grown and gone, which isn’t too far off! My kids are all your kids ages and ahhh! I can’t believe how fast they grow!
    Looks like a magical summer!

  5. Lucille <3

    Natalie, your family is so beautiful and you are a great mommy! Love, peace and happiness always! xoxo Pri

  6. I love All your posts i get do excited when i get that e-mail letting me know there is a new post. Homeschooling my kids have been a dream of mine and now you inspire me even more to do it, and give me great ideas on how to do it.
    Thanks, and kisses to the family ?

  7. What a neat trip! So glad you were all able to do that:) I understand your sentiments about the joy of creating memories and being with your family and learning together. Great job!

  8. Love the history trips, too, and David McCullough! I’m reading his Wright Brothers book now. Since you seem to be a history buff and music fan, have you by any chance gotten into “Hamilton” yet? I would love to see it – the soundtrack is amazing.

  9. It sounds like y’all had fun… My girls(2 1/2 & 1years old) would never last that long in a car. If you ever come to Nc come to Mooresville(AKA Race city U.S.A) we have a place called “Lazy 5 Ranch” it’s a Zoo with domestic & exotic animals from 6 continents, with wagon rides & petting areas… Here’s a link to the website http://lazy5ranch.com/… But there is a lot more to do around here other then that… Go carts, nascar shop tours, a small military museum/coffee shop(Richards coffee shop)… And more! Have a very blessed day!

  10. Love every adventure of you and yours, please share more and more and more, and please share tips about maternity i need a lots, 😉

  11. Williamsburg is one of my absolute favorite places! It is so beautiful, especially in October.

    I’m curious– did you wait until your children were of a certain age before making long car trips? I think my 2.5-year-old would do okay, but my 6-month-old will not sleep in the car!

  12. Sometimes, reading your blog posts is like stumbling upon someone writing about my life! I love roadtrips in our big white van with our 6 kiddos (We have 14 yo down to our newest addition Cecily who just arrived 6 weeks ago) and Williamsburg, Va was one of our FAVORITE vacation trips because of the rich history that is presented in such a hands on, kid friendly way. Tennessee is next on our list with Dollywood a must, for our Dolly Parton loving daughter! Keep on writing, as your post have been a blessing to me! It is great to see other families learning and loving it in the day to day things!

  13. There is something so magical about family road trip vacations! I love that you incorporated history, nature and plain ol’ theme park fun into your vacation. Thank you for sharing!

  14. Aww..I live near Dollywood and it is AWESOME..also I am a HUGE history buff so Jamestown is definitely on my bucket list!! Lol Thanks for informing us on these wonderful places!! =)

  15. Glad you enjoyed my state (VA) a little. There is a cute little beach in Yorktown for smaller swimmers by the riverfront. Also, if you ever make it to my hometown of RVA (Richmond), we have a lot of fun and historical landmarks as well. Your pictures reminded me of childhood trips with my three siblings. Glad you all had fun. The “jail” pic is such a trademark VA kid pic 🙂

  16. So jealous of this trip! My dream is to take a trip down the East Coast, hitting all the most historic sites on the way. But we’re in California and my husband hates road trips so for now I have to be content with reading about other people’s adventures. Thanks for sharing!

  17. What a great trip!! I’m only a few hours from Williamsburg/Jamestown! Also have been to Monticello. I’m sorry you didn’t get to go in. It’s truly a beautiful place! I love a good road trip!! Someday I might even make it to Tulsa. Congrats on your newest niece!

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