The Comfort of the Familiar at Great Wolf Lodge Williamsburg

I’m not quite sure when I became old enough to have a daughter looking at colleges, but here I am.  This past spring break Maggie and I headed out on a Daddy/Daughter road trip for her first college tour.  Over 5 days we drove 1150+ miles and learned a lot about schools, each other, and the power of travel.  By the time we crossed into Virginia we needed serious comfort, and found it – the familiar comfort of Great Wolf Lodge Williamsburg.  But I’m getting ahead of myself, continue reading for a recap of our spring break college tour road trip and the unexpected role Great Wolf Lodge Williamsburg played.

Great Wolf Lodge Williamsburg

We were boldly heading towards a new phase of life – Maggie’s first college tour.  Of course spring break is a perfect time to check out schools, and we planned a southern route of five schools in five days.  Tuesday, March 31st, we left Rochester, New York, and, typical of this winter, a winter weather advisory with white out driving conditions marked our take-off.  Uuugh… we white knuckled it all the way through Pennsylvania’s mountains, but made it on time for our first tour of Gettysburg College where the snow had succumbed to rain.

Gettysburg College

Maggie liked the Gettysburg College environment, but was looking for something a little bigger.  On to Baltimore, Maryland for a visit with my sister and father, and our home base to explore Washington DC schools.  Day two, up at 5:30am to catch a Marta train and DC Metro to visit George Washington University and Georgetown.

George Washington & Georgetown

If Gettysburg was too small, George Washington was too urban, and Georgetown was justtttttt right.  This was starting to sound like the Three Bears.  By Thursday, the colleges and days started to blur together.  Where are we?  What day is it?  What school is this again? American University or Monsters University?

American University

I really expected to see these guys walking across the American University (above) quad…


Monsters University Quad © 2012 Disney/Pixar. All Rights Reserved


And then, like Ulysses S. Grant chasing Lee’s Army back into the south, on to the Commonwealth of Virginia – final stop of the trip, the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg.

College of William and Mary

We were exhausted.  This spring break college tour was physically and emotionally exhausting.  Maggie was grappling with big decisions.  Dad was grappling with his first-born child leaving the nest.  Plus the demands of travel, long hours in the car, navigating DC’s public transportation, early mornings, and late nights were taking their toll.  Our feet were tired, and the dogs were howling.  We needed a good night’s sleep – hello Great Wolf Lodge Williamsburg.

Great Wolf Lodge WilliamsburgGreat Wolf Lodge Williamsburg

It felt a little strange staying at Great Wolf Lodge on what was certainly not a “vacation” trip.  Case in point, Maggie neglected to bring her swimsuit.  “I forgot we were going to Great Wolf Lodge,” she muttered, “and the waterpark’s the best part.”  However, once we checked in, we were both so glad to be surrounded by Great Wolf Lodge’s familiar and comfortable environment.  We had everything we needed (including a swimsuit).

Great Wolf Lodge Williamsburg

Our room was snug and cozy, and we sunk into our beds for the rest we so desperately needed.  We filled up at the all-you-care to eat Loose Moose buffet for breakfast and dinner.  And, yes, we ultimately did take advantage of the waterpark – after purchasing that new swimsuit in the Bear Essentials Swim Shop (for such a reasonable price, even Dad got a new suit).  Soaking in the Great Wolf Lodge Williamsburg wave pool felt so good on our aching legs and feet.  We laughed along as each of us tried the Flowrider surf simulator, and sliding through Howlin’ Tornado was a great way to “unwind” after such a long college tour.

Great Wolf Lodge Howlin' Tornado

Great Wolf Lodge Williamsburg provided the comfort of the familiar on this trip, and that’s exactly what we needed.  With all the promise, novelty, and uncertainty that comes with the college tour, Great Wolf Lodge gave us a constant, an anchor, as well as a fun outlet.  The power of travel brought my daughter and I closer during our spring break college tour, but the comfort of the familiar at Great Wolf Lodge allowed for the bonding and memories to consolidate.

Great Wolf Lodge Williamsburg

Disclosure: Dave Parfitt was hosted by Great Wolf Lodge and received complimentary accommodations and meals at the resort as part of the duties of the Ask-A-Mom Program.  However, all opinions expressed are those of the author.   For more family travel news, reviews, and trip reports, be sure to follow Adventures by Daddy on Twitter and “like” our Facebook page, too.

About Dave Parfitt

Married, father of two girls, and living in the heart of the Finger Lakes. I'm a runner with a PhD in neuroscience and a passion for travel.