With temperatures hitting 95 and a heat index of over 100, it was too hot to be outside for long yesterday.
But we went to Monticello anyway, with the hazy sweat-soaked view of Shenandoah. It was worth it to take the family tour of the house and the plantation tour. Guides moved slowly in the heat and the plantation tour especially ambled part of the way down Mulberry Row before disbanding. It was hot.
The family tour of the house is designed for kids to ask questions and have a hands-on experience. They sat on the floor of each room, counted clocks, learned about macaroni (Jefferson brought a macaroni machine back from France) and figured out Jefferson's connection to Lewis&Clark. I highly recommend taking this route if you have kids under 12. The plantation tour was adult oriented and focussed on slave life at Monticello, but since it was outside the kids could play on the lawns as we moved along.
We bought a few souvenirs, but didn't find a full version of the game "Fox and Geese" we played at the Visitors Center. Oh right... at the Visitors Center there is a room for kids/students/teachers to try out board games (Fox&Geese, 9 Men Morris), try their hand at quill writing (messy messy), catching a ball on a cup (I can't do it, Rebecca can), and building with blocks (if all pieces are together right it built Monticello, I believe). Jonathon and I sat down to play the Geese game. As the fox, I quickly wiped out his geese. As the geese... he won. Twice I felt I was a step away from surrounding his fox entirely, twice he escaped through a hole I didn't see. At the gift shop there was a travel peg board version, but I think we'll be ordering the full board game at Greenboardgames.com The store looks like it has loads of great games you won't find in a ToysRUs.
We were roasting by 2:30 and went back to the hotel to swim. One problem we discovered quickly, the hotel has no pool. While it's cool in the hotel room, it's also boring. Ian checked on-line and found Sky High playing at a cinema near us. It's a cute movie, and the kids enjoyed it though Jonathon did ask several times when it would be done. Not exactly geared for the 4yo crowd and we knew that, but the other three thought it was great. One day we'll stop taking the boys to see superhero movies; I'm a little tired of them leaving the theater amidst freeze rays and death punches.
Don't attempt Applebees, Chilis or any family restaurant on a Friday night.
Right by our hotel is the Mellow Mushroom. It's a pizza place with really great pizza. Highly recommended for the yummy crust and great toppings. The sauce is OK, but a medium really is a medium and two of them fed us perfectly. We skipped lunch (we've done nothing but eat continuously on this trip so our constantly full stomachs didn't even notice) and everyone was in bed by 9.