In Virginia, history is literally around every corner. The James River, which flows from the Chesapeake Bay to western Virginia, is the “road” along which Virginia’s history, and thereby America’s history, was founded. Beginning with Jamestown in 1607, this river and the land surrounding it has been the site of many significant historical events, including Native American villages, Colonial towns, and battles from 3 wars. A unique and socially-distanced way to view this historical area with your family is to bike or walk along the Virginia Capital Trail. It is the perfect place to have a family-friendly outing, especially during the cooler fall months. Read my new review today! Don't forget to sign up for my new newsletter - follow the "newsletter" link on my website!
One way to learn more about the history of the Civil Rights struggle in America is to visit the moving National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis. The museum is built beside the preserved Lorraine Motel, which was where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spent his last night. The museum is an important and must-see site for families, especially with the current challenges facing our country. Read my new review today!
The little town of Bedford, VA lost the most soldiers proportionally of any town in America during the storming of the beaches at Normandy during World War II. That is why you will find the National D-Day Memorial in this small town that isn’t near an interstate. Thousands of people flock here every year to pay their respects to all of the soldiers who didn’t make it back home from the attacks. The memorial usually has a moving ceremony on June 6th, the anniversary of the attacks, but this year, the celebration will be virtual, which means that you and your children can watch from anywhere! Learn more about it in my new post today!
Fort Monroe in Hampton Roads, VA is a place with a storied history that dates back to the beginning of America. It was on these grounds that the first enslaved African-Americans came to the English colonies in 1619. This site was also known as “Freedom’s Fortress” during the Civil War, as thousands of contraband slaves who made it to its walls were given their freedom by Union Gen. Benjamin Butler. 155 years ago this month, it served as the prison for the former Confederate President, Jefferson Davis. The fort continued to be used by the military for another 140 years before being decommissioned in 2011. Today, the fort’s lovely grounds and buildings are open to visitors, including the Casemate Museum where Davis’ jail cell was located. It makes for a fun day trip, even in the midst of the pandemic closures. Read my new review today!
Right now, we can’t travel to Italy due to the coronavirus pandemic but we can still dream of upcoming trips to Italy! One of the places that is on almost everyone’s must-see list when visiting Italy is the Leaning Tower of Pisa. We visited the tower and the little town of Pisa with our kids, and I encourage you to visit, either in person or virtually! Read my new post today about planning a trip to Pisa with your family.
The sinking of the Titanic happened 108 years ago today, in the frigid waters of the North Atlantic. While you may be familiar with the ship’s first port of call in Southampton or its destination of New York City, a little known fact is that the Titanic’s last port of call in Europe, before it set out to its watery grave, was in Ireland. While we were in Ireland this past summer, we visited the Titanic Experience in Cobh, one of several museums focused on the tragedy worldwide. While you currently can't visit Cobh due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there are several online resources to help your children learn more about the Titanic disaster. Check out my new post today to learn more about Cobh and the other ways to learn about this fascinating event from history!
March ended yesterday and with it ended the celebration of Women’s History Month. This year, the celebration of women’s history has been overshadowed by the current COVID-19 health crisis. While seemingly forgotten, this is an important year to celebrate women’s history as it is the centennial celebration of the 19th amendment, which gave women in all states the right to vote. I had planned to provide you a list of sites to visit to celebrate women’s history all throughout the year but with the travel bans in place, visiting in person is not an option. However many sites have made their exhibits and artifacts available online. Take a look at the many resources and celebrate women’s history all year!
With our current quarantine situation due to the COVID-19 health crisis, no one will be traveling for a while. Hopefully the situation will improve shortly but until then, virtual travel is our best bet. In researching Presidential and First Lady sites for my checklist, I found that many sites have online virtual and video tours. It would be a fun project to tour each site with your kids! We are picking one a day to "tour." If we can’t check off the sites in person, we can at least visit virtually!
Virginia is the birthplace of our nation, and its state library, the Library of Virginia, was created in 1823 as a repository for all of its original documents and manuscripts, dating back to Jamestown’s founding in 1607. Its online resources are vast, and with the current health crisis keeping our kids from attending school, this is the perfect time to explore the documents, artifacts, and manuscripts available. There is even a way for your kids to potentially get their volunteer hours through the Library’s Making History: Transcribe program. Read my new review today about visiting the Library, both in person and virtually!
If you are planning a trip to Dublin, one of the coolest new museums to see is the Irish Emigration Museum (EPIC). It opened in 2016 in a reclaimed 19th century warehouse near the docklands, just east of Dublin’s city center. On the banks of the River Liffey, it tells the unique story of the 10 million Irish citizens who immigrated to other countries and what impact they had on those countries. Not many countries can boast about their cultural influence like Ireland! This museum is a must-see attraction while visiting Dublin, particularly if you have any Irish ancestors!