This past summer was, more than likely, the last summer that I get to spend at home with my parents. Next year, I will be off to college and so end my summers of family vacations. Lucky for me, I had a family vacation that satisfied the reaches of my imagination! I plan to major in history in college. As a result, we planned a family vacation loaded with history!
I live in Florida and we had a lot of traveling to do. So, the first day of our trip was fourteen hours of driving through five states to reach Williamsburg, Virginia. Williamsburg was very influential during the Revolutionary War. We were able to walk down the colonial main street and view the meeting house where Patrick Henry delivered his famous “Give me liberty, or give me death!” speech!
The next stop on our vacation was Washington D.C.! Before we went to explore all the monuments, we spent an entire day at Mount Vernon, the home and estate of President General George Washington. It was amazing! I learned the history of the estate itself, Washington’s life, and his plans of crop rotation. Washington and Martha’s graves are on the estate as well. I began to see George as a real person instead of a picture in my history book. Let me tell you, our first president was one smart cookie.
After our escapade to Mount Vernon, I finally got to enter and explore the rich volumes of history that encompasses Washington, D.C. My favorite memorial has to be the Thomas Jefferson memorial. Why? I don’t know. There’s just something about Thomas Jefferson that draws me to him. We visited a LOT of memorials. We explored the Smithsonian museums. My personal favorite was the Natural History Museum, but that might be skewed because the Museum of American History was closed for renovation. I saw the capital building and the White House and did my best to spot the secret servicemen hiding in the trees. Arlington Cemetery is also a must see and happens to be the estate of Confederate General Robert E. Lee.
After we left Washington, D.C., we jumped on Sky Line Drive, closer to the west side of Virginia, and took our time driving down to Asheville, North Carolina (once you cross into NC, Sky Line Drive is called the Blue Ridge Parkway). Sky Line Drive rides the top of the mountain ridges, and various stops along the way teach travelers about the lives of mountain settlers. The scenic views and nature stops are breathtaking, such as Linville Falls pictured here.
Our scenic tour on the Blue Ridge Parkway ended in Asheville, North Carolina, which is the home of the Biltmore House. I am in LOVE with the Biltmore House and estate! It was beautiful. The house and estate was officially opened in 1895. Mr. Vanderbilt spared no expense in having the newest technologies, conveniences, and beautiful gardens designed and built by the most influential artisans of his day.
The last stop on our trip was Stone Mountain State Park just outside of Atlanta, Georgia. Stone Mountain is the largest single piece of exposed granite in the world. The mountain and surrounding areas are a memorial honoring the Confederates who served during the Civil War. The figures of Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, and Jefferson Davis were carved onto the side of the mountain.
I really enjoyed the mixture of fun, history, nature, and big-city that this last family vacation entailed. It was a great jumping point as I pursue my future in history.
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