Our recent vacation to Williamsburg Virginia included several days of historic bus tours with Oleta Coach Lines and their fabulous tour guide, Matt. It was without a doubt one of the highlights of our trip.
We had been considering this 12 hour trip to Williamsburg Virginia for quite some time. It was a first visit to the state for both of us and we were excited for the adventure. We knew there was a lot to see and we planned to find a historic bus tour after we reached Williamsburg.
Although neither of us would consider ourselves to be history buffs, we do love our country and enjoy visiting historic places. Visiting Colonial Williamsburg and Yorktown to see where the original English settlers landed was an exciting adventure. This trip proved to be much more than we anticipated because of the expertise and knowledge of our Oleta tour guide, Matt.
About to board that very nice bus for a full day of touring Washington DC
We selected two of Oleta Coach Lines tours which were a bus tour to Washington DC and their Historic Triangle tour. I am sharing our experiences with both of those days but I can go ahead and tell you now, we had a wonderful time
WASHINGTON DC BUS TOUR
The ride to Washington DC from Williamsburg was about 3 hours but they went by really quick. My hubby and I chose to sit in the very front seat so we had too good of a view of the busy highway with all the terrible traffic. Matt, our tour guide is easily one of, if not THE best bus driver in the world. He drove splendidly through narrow lanes in DC and even parallel parked that bus at one point!
Our first stop for breakfast was in Virginia at the Pentagon Center Mall which is called Fashion Center At Pentagon City. Only a few of the restaurants were open for breakfast but it was a good selection.
We entered the Mall through the escalators which apparently go to a subway system. Even though we were there rather early before the Mall opened, there was still a lot of people already. Folks seem to be in quite the hurry. You need to stand to the side on the escalator if you intend to actually ride it down because the locals want to walk quickly down passed you.
After breakfast we visited Arlington National Cemetery. We were there on a very hot July day. The humidity in the area is worse than what we have in Georgia and that is saying a lot!
HOW TO PREPARE FOR VISITING ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY IN THE SUMMER
Wear comfortable walking shoes and keep in mind you will be in full sun walking uphill most of the time.
Don’t forget to apply sunscreen.
Wear a big hat to protect your face and neck from the sun.
Carry an umbrella to keep the sun off.
Bring a bottle of water. There are outdoor fountains where you can refill it.
If you tend to perspire, you may want to stick a handkerchief in your pocket.
Don’t bring heavy bags. It’s mostly uphill.
There is a great deal of history at Arlington National Cemetery. The highlights for us were seeing The Changing of the Guard, JFK’s grave and learning that the big beautiful house at the top of the hill once belonged to Robert E. Lee. Named The Arlington House it is currently undergoing renovations hence the scaffolding. Expected to reopen in 2020. There are 650,000 visitors per year to Arlington House making it the most visited house in the National Park system.
We learned the flag is flown at half staff on days when funerals are taking place. Typically the flag is lowered 30 minutes before and after the funeral. However there are on average about 30 funerals per day so the flag is pretty much always at half staff.
Being there to witness the Change of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was another highlight of our vacation.
Walking down the street to see the White House in person was a big deal for us. There is a lot of activity going on in the street which is blocked off. It’s mostly protesters but also street vendors selling a variety of things. Armed guards are placed at intervals along the fence line. I talked to one of them just for the fun of it and he was quite friendly.
YORKTOWN SETTLEMENT AND YORKTOWN VICTORY CENTER
Yorktown was probably a bigger deal to us than Colonial Williamsburg. Not that we didn’t enjoy Colonial Williamsburg but there is more hands on history experience available at Yorktown Settlement.
Visitors are allowed to board the all of the three ships which are similar to the one’s the first English settlers came over on. You wouldn’t believe how small the living area is on these ships!
Fun story. While we were in this building watching a cooking demonstration there was a big black snake crawling up outside of the door. It became quite entertaining really. Chickens roam free on the the settlement which means they lay their eggs anywhere. Ol’ sneaky snake prowls around looking for grub.
OUR LAST STOP ON THE TOUR
Our last stop for the day was the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown. It is a very beautiful place with tons of information to digest. Our tour guide, Matt shared so many interesting facts about so many different people from history. My husband and I were looking up things online to read more about after we got on the road to home from our vacation.
One of the things we wanted to know more about is pictured above. Pictured above is Redoubt 10 where the British army was defeated at Yorktown. Neither of us knew what the word ‘redoubt’ meant but seeing it in person and hearing our tour guide describe it’s use put it in perspective for us.
According to dictionary.com the definition for Redoubt is “Fortification.