We decided to put a twist on what’s become an occasional trip to the Pittsburgh area for Christmas to visit my father. With our 9-year-old granddaughter studying colonial history we decided seeing Williamsburg, Virginia between Christmas and New Year’s would be the perfect place to go.
We invited my father who reluctantly agreed along with my sister and her husband. One of our sons agreed he would go and so would our daughters.
Sounded good so we made reservations at the Historic Powhatan Resort in Williamsburg for two, two-bedroom suites. Up to 12 people would fit and we were set for what seemed like a long-distance family reunion until the vacation-goers began to drop like dominoes.
People are complex creatures and we saw that first-hand as our grand vacation party of about 10 backed out. My sister needed to prep for knee surgery, our one son had met a woman in the Toronto, Ontario area and packed his belongings for the colder climate, while our other son said he was tired from travels as an athletic trainer with his university team. Our two girls couldn’t pull themselves away from the holiday cheer of Southern California.
My 83-year-old father was wavering. But after our pleading that we wanted him to go, and urging from my sister and her husband that he needed to get out of the house, he was resigned to travel with us.
The Powhatan is owned and operated by Diamond Resorts and we weren’t able to cancel or modify our reservations. We had four people ready for a space for 12.
Southwest Airlines has been reliable and we had used our points for an inexpensive round trip flight from Los Angeles to Pittsburgh.
We were ready to leave for our Dec. 26 flight at 4pm, leaving from Los Angeles International when Southwest sent a courtesy text saying our flight had been delayed until 6:20pm. That meant we wouldn’t get in to Pittsburgh until after 1:30am.
Dollar Rent a Car would not have personnel at the rental counter after 1:30am and the rental counter wouldn’t open again until 6am.
We were promised a Hyundai Santa Fe for $550 for 10 days. The agency that we rented through agreed to a $300 refund. Okay. The inconvenience was worthwhile.
Our flight left at 6:50 that night, our granddaughter met an 8-year-old girl at the airport who was going to be on the same flight and was being raised by her grandmother. The two hit it off and sat next to each other on the flight. That’s one of travel’s pleasant surprises.
We arrived at 2:15am and camped out on the rental car agency’s floor until 6am. Industrial strength carpeting is do-able when you’re exhausted and you have winter jackets for padding.
Vacationing can be a lot like daily life. You’ve got to be flexible and not be upset by change.
The trip from my father’s house in Ligonier, Pennsylvania to Williamsburg was a six-hour trip with slowdowns on the portion of I-95 that we traveled.
When we arrived in the Williamsburg area I was wondering how we’d find the colonial part. There was too much of the 21st century to peel away.
We checked into the Powhatan Inn amid a long line of people and heard that they would have more people in the week between Christmas and New Year’s than they would during the entire month of January.
My father had his own two-bedroom suite and our granddaughter found another friend at the pool on the evening we arrived who was also being raised by her grandparents.
I missed the first exit off of Route 199 and drove around the eastern edge and I could have sworn that more signs pointing to Colonial Williamsburg kept appearing. I’m great with directions but there were enough turns and going in what seemed like a circle that reaching the visitors center was challenging.
But reach it we did. And our visit let me uncover a subtle discovery that gave me an appreciation for what was accomplished in colonial life.