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Fun—and Educational—Family Vacations

Deborah Skolnik

July Fourth’s almost here—any plans? Right now, I’m in Charlottesville, Virginia. It’s the perfect place to teach kids about American history in non-boring ways—honest!

First we toured Thomas Jefferson’s home, Monticello, where they’ve opened a cool kids’ center. It was tough to drag my girls (7 and 10) away; they were weaving rugs, trying out a replica of Jefferson’s bed, and learning that he loved ice cream!
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Nearby is colonial-era Michie Tavern. They serve an awesome fried-chicken lunch and give fascinating tours. My kids even dressed in costumes—a nice change from Angry Birds t-shirts.
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And no day’s complete without chocolate, so we visited Charlottesville’s leading chocolatier, Gearhart’s. Tim, the owner, showed us his factory: Think Willy Wonka, except we left still looking normal (well, maybe fatter). It’s all been great.

How do you make your own vacations educational while keeping them fun?

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