If heaven came to earth for a weekend, it would have been in the beginning of October in Hampton, Virginia…
Fall break couldn’t have come at a more perfect time. At this point in the semester, people, including myself, are in desperate need of a break. Projects are being turned in, studying for exams are consuming every afternoon, and papers are being written until the sun rises the next day.
After much deliberation and planning (a lot of which I was not apart of), four of my friends and I decided to go to Hampton, Virginia for the weekend. The main event would be going to Busch Gardens on that Friday, but besides that it would be a weekend completely away from school, emails, and the craziness of life.
My ideal plan for Thursday would have been to sleep in a little bit, get a good breakfast, pack for the weekend, and then head out to Hampton with everyone. Yeah that didn’t happen. I was up until 3:00am the night before hanging out with friends in the common room because #nocurfew and testing out my new iPad I got earlier that week. Oh…I almost forgot. I also had an appointment at 9:30am with the Career Center Thursday morning to discuss internships. I really like to cut things close sometimes…
I went to my meeting that morning a little groggy and sleepy, but besides that, it went as expected. I rushed home, changed into comfy travel clothes, spent the next 20 minutes packing (I am an over-packer and over-thinker when it comes to travel, so the fact that I got everything packed in 20 minutes is proof that God is real), and then spent the next hour or so cooking meals for the weekend.
I finished cooking not 5 minutes before the rest of the crew showed up at my house to pick me up. I grabbed all 3 (yes 3) of my bags, shoved them in the car, and we began our adventure to Hampton.
The trip to Hampton is just over 3 hours, but we found out on Wednesday that our friend Jack’s house was on the way, so we made a pit stop to go visit him. He lives on a multi-acre farm with his log cabin home overlooking a pond in the back. When we arrived we were welcomed with warms hugs and homemade cookies (in true Jack fashion)! The best part about the stop, in my opinion, was his dog Samson. He is a (very) large yellow lab who is all love and no bark. He will sit on you at every chance he gets and apparently he loves to be big spoon if you lay on the floor. Stopping at Jack’s house was just a taste of the peaceful bliss that awaited us.
We arrived at our Airbnb around 8:00pm that night. The house we were staying at was a quaint beach bungalow that was steps away from the Intracoastal Waterway. After dropping our bags off in our rooms, we headed straight to the dock out back to see the water and the fire pit. We could only see so much because it was night time, but enough light came from the lights under the dock to get an idea of what was ours for the weekend.
After exploring the backyard and the rest of the house, it was time for some food. We all changed into our comfy clothes and began to heat up the quesadillas. A weekend away with all of us would not be complete without music and dancing, so while we were waiting on the quesadillas to finish heating up, we blasted Dear Evan Hansen and danced around the living room and kitchen.
We had only been at the house 2 hours or so, but I felt as though all my cares and stresses had just melted away. Being in the presence of some of my best friends was such a beautiful reminder that God created us for community and there is beauty in togetherness. We finished out the night playing Scantergories, singing, and watching Brooklyn Nine-Nine until 4:00am.
I got up early the next morning, tiptoed out of the house, and took Jonas’ car to Whole Foods to go buy some last minute groceries and ginger shots. Why ginger shots you ask? Well…earlier in the week I had gotten a cold and decided to take a ginger shot in hopes that it would shorten the length of my unfortunate illness. I have never tried a ginger shot before and let’s just say I was not prepared for the torturous burning that followed. After coming back to life, I told my friends that over Fall Break they needed to try ginger shots and feel my pain.
When I got back to the house, Meggie and Greta were awake, but the boys were still asleep. I figured I would start warming up the breakfast burritos so that they would have a hot meal waiting for them when they woke up. The next 2 hours consisted of having breakfast, shotgunning ginger shots (or in Jonas’ case, double shotgunning ginger shots), singing and playing guitar some more, and getting ready to go to Busch Gardens.
I would like to point out that none of us are rollercoaster fans or fanatics. We all were perfectly content with simply walking around the park and doing everything but rollercoasters. Now this may sound boring to some people but it just so happened to be Howl-O-Scream at Busch Gardens. This meant that from 6:00pm to closing, different sections of the park because basically large walk through scare houses. Cast members would dress up and creepily walk around the park to try and scare you. Something you should know is that Greta and I get scared VERY easily, so we both became the entertainment for everyone once the clock struck 6:00pm.
We arrived at Busch Gardens around 3:30 and meet up with Jonas’ roommate Julian and some of his friends (shoutout to Julian for getting all of us free tickets into the park!). We began our adventure with watching a few performances the park puts on, one of which was the Sesame Street show. The great thing about this was that after the show we got to go backstage and meet some of the cast members! Now…you might be thinking, “Lindsey…you are 21 years old. Why would you want to meet Sesame Street characters? That’s for children…” And I am here to ask you why wouldn’t you want to do that?! I grew up on Sesame Street and if I have the opportunity to hug one of my favorite childhood friends then I heckin’ will!
Over the next hour or so everyone except myself decided they would try out some rollercoasters. Like I said, none of us like rollercoasters but Grant, Jonas, Meggie, and eventually Greta all decided that since they were here they would try at least one. I knew my limits and stayed safely on the ground while they all went on these death traps. Me not going on the rides actually worked in our favor because I became the designated mom and held everyone’s phones, hats, and keys. Speaking of keys…After everyone got off the first rollercoaster, we quickly discovered that Jonas’ keys had disappeared. We looked everywhere and even retraced our steps all the way through the park but they were nowhere to be found. We ended up back at the front gate and put in a Lost and Found form. Everyone was a bit stressed about this (Jonas most of all) because…well…that just really sucks, but also because his car was our ride home. And his spare key? Yeah that was back in Lynchburg. We knew there was nothing else we could do at that moment besides pray and hope that they show up before we leave, so we continued back into the park.
When we left Lost and Found it was exactly 6:00pm which is when all the spooky scary cast members start to emerge from the shadows to try and scare people. The first section of the park we went through was set in Spain so all the cast members were dressed like it was Day of the Dead. The part that really scared me were the fans that the women had. They would whip them open and it sounded like a gunshot was going off! They were so incredibly loud! Jonas, Grant, Meggie, and Julian were all pretty calm during all this, but Greta and I were already screaming at this point and it was only 5 past 6:00.
The next section of the park we traveled through didn’t have much of a theme besides the fact that there were men with chainsaws chasing after you. Julian picked up very quickly that Greta and I were extremely jumpy so while I was walking next to Grant, Julian told one of the scary chainsaw guys to come up behind me and scare me. The cast member immediately ran up behind me and turned his chainsaw on so that it sounded as though he was about to cut my legs off! Thanks to this scary chainsaw man, I can now officially say that I have had the pee scared out of me…
I will spare you every detail of me getting scared over the next 5 hours because there are MANY, but I will leave you with this story. We were deep into the park, it was completely dark outside, and we were passing through a very ominous section of the park. There was smoke hanging close to the ground and many of the cast members were wearing black so you couldn’t see them very well. I was too distracted by the cast members next to me to notice what was ahead of me, but unlucky for me, Grant saw exactly what was ahead. Unbeknownst to me, there was a cast member off to the left in what only could be described as a flying death trap. He is attached to a harness which is connected to some sort of cable, and when there is an innocent human being walking by, he releases the cable and appears as though he is going to fly into you before the bungee catches him. To be honest, he kind of looks like a flying squirrel. Anyways…Grant saw this guy scare the people ahead of us and thought “Oh this is going to be good.” He sped walked far enough ahead so he could turn around and watch the horror that was about to unfold. I was walking down the hill, still recovering from the previous scare and I just so happened to notice Grant walking backwards. I began to think, “Why is Grant walking bac-“, but before I could finish my thought, this black mass of a man came flying out of nowhere and scared me. Due to shear panic and fear, I not only screamed bloody murder (I wouldn’t be surprised if people in the opposite side of the park heard me), but I immediately leaped into Grant’s arms. I got tunnel vision and all I could see was Grant (laughing) ahead of me so I took off towards him. After catching my breath for a second, I turned around to find not only my friends rolling on the floor but also the people around us laughing at me as well. Looking back, I would pay big bucks for a recording of that whole event.
The rest of the night at the park consisted of more rollercoaster rides, a million more screams, 4 scare houses, me loosing my voice, stumbling across a random rave, and Jonas finding his keys at Lost and Found right as the park was closing. Before heading back to Hampton, we stopped at Cookout for dinner and reminisced on the memories that were made.
We got back to the house and decided to end the night with dying Grant’s hair and, again, some more singing. I asked if I could dye Grant’s hair ages ago and we decided what better time to do it then on vacation. I thought I followed the directions correctly, but when he washed his hair out afterwards, you couldn’t see any of the purple dye. Even though the hair dying was a flop, the singing definitely didn’t disappoint. Jonas and Grant have always been the ones in the group to initiate some form of music whether that be singing, blasting music, or playing guitar. Thursday night’s jam session consisted mostly of our favorite songs from Broadway musicals or movies. Friday night’s jam session consisted of worship. It was so fitting for the mood because we were all exhausted but also didn’t want to go to bed. It was such a peaceful moment to not only witness but also be a part of.
We had to be out of our Airbnb by 10:30am Saturday morning. We ate what was left of the breakfast burritos, packed up our things, left a note to thank our hosts, and said our goodbyes. I didn’t want to leave our little paradise of a home. The whole time I was there I was so enveloped by the people and the moments created that I forgot that the outside world even existed. I was almost completely off of social media; not because I chose to but because I simply forgot my phone was a thing. I didn’t care about grades or what emails were waiting for me in my inbox. I felt like my truest self in Hampton. No facade. Just…me.
Because we left Hampton so early, we decided we would make a quick stop in Colonial Williamsburg. We walked around the historic town and even got to see the farmer’s market they had that day. It was filled with beautiful paintings, delicious food, and handcrafted furniture. I have never been to Colonial Williamsburg before but 10/10 recommend if you want to do something fun and a little educational!
After Williamsburg, we finally made our way back to Lynchburg. When we arrived back on campus, we all just stood around because none of us wanted the weekend to end. We couldn’t have such a beautiful trip end with a goodbye. After some deliberation, we decided to head to my house and just talk about everything that happened over the past 48 hours. The conversations that happened while sitting in my living room were ones I will never forget. Everyone there, myself included, opened up and shared what was on their hearts. The good, the bad, and the ugly…it was all talked about. I am such an open person and love deep conversations and I was a little disappointed that we didn’t get to have any while in Hampton. But God knew ahead of time that the very conversation I wanted to have could only happen after the trip was over.
I fully believe that going to Hampton was the very thing we all needed to bring us closer together. We were already good friends before this, but this trip took our friendships from good to great. I cannot speak for the others in the group, but I know without a doubt that this trip changed me as a person. It gave me a glimpse of what beautiful things life will bring not only in college but after college as well. Hampton you have my heart.
If you want to see everything I wrote about put in a video, check out my YouTube channel! We vlogged the whole trip so you guys could see everything. Here’s the link: https://youtu.be/y1dWWrupDjA