We had a long day of driving from Lexington across Virginia; but the scenery through the mountains was spectacular, and we broke for a stop at the outlet mall near Williamsburg.
I took the Hooligans with me so Diamondqueen could wander unprovoked through the offerings of the Dooney & Bourke shop. As a reward for them reasonably behaving themselves while I looked at the Villeroy & Boch store and the Fossil store, I took the Hooligans to the KB Toy outlet and let them each pick out something. S.Hooligan immediately chose a pink “princess” magic wand (the battery- operated kind that makes an annoying magical sound when a heart-shaped button is pushed, which made me regret that purchase in short order). J.Hooligan, who’d been emitting a teenager level of sarcasm and discontent since we’d left Ohio, stated he already had everything imaginable and wouldn’t be able to find anything in the store anyhow. He changed his tune when we uncovered a blow gun with suction cup-tipped foam darts. Here was something he’d NEVER had, and it was like the blow darts the natives used in Raiders of the Lost Ark. (Of course, J. also made me regret my purchase by spending the rest of our vacation using my torso for target practice.)
When we approached the Dooney store, I motioned for the Hooligans to come peer in the front window with me. To my gratification, I spotted their mother with two Dooney bags in her possession. We went inside, where Diamondqueen asked which bag she should get. The one she was hesitating about was the one I thought was a no-brainer, so she purchased both purses. That alone made the trip a success (for Diamondqueen, anyhow).
Hot, tired, delayed by a long wait on the Chesapeake bridge, we finally rolled into Virginia Beach around 5:30 in the evening. Diamondqueen found an ideal parking space in the cramped hotel lot and vowed we would not be driving the van until we were packed to go home again.
A lot of our weariness lifted when we finally entered our room (see photo above). It was simple and attractive and had a killer view of the beach! Both Hooligans were thrilled and started stripping off their clothes before we’d gotten all the bags out of the van. Diamondqueen and I distracted them with Cartoon Network and Nickolodeon while we rested for awhile. At last, we slathered on the sunscreen and trudged down to the beach — and I do mean “trudge” as it was quite a hike across that sandy expanse.
The waves were a lot rougher than I remembered. J.Hooligan, who’s been swimming less than a year, was discouraged at first that he couldn’t scamper into the waves without being knocked flat and dunked. Eventually he adjusted and spent a lot of time with his Spiderman boogie board in hand as a kind of security blanket, wading up to his knees, then dashing back up the beach when a wave seemed too threatening. (A few times he disconsolately tossed the boogie board into the surf as though casting it to the angry sea gods; finally he realized we weren’t kidding when we said it was just going to wash up again.)
S.Hooligan squealed and ran around in the shallowest tide, but mostly contented herself with playing in the sand and picking up interesting bits of shells as they appeared.
I tired out first and went back to the hotel room. This gave me a jump on getting a shower, plus an opportunity to try to snap some pictures from the hotel balcony. I was even able to focus on Diamondqueen and the Hooligans in the distance enjoying their time by the sea. It was a very happy, successful first visit to the ocean for the kids — and I, and even Diamondqueen enjoyed it as well.