Sunday, August 10, 2014

Stroke survivor travel--Williamsburg

Doris Bixler, a traveler’s guardian angel
Retired teacher Doris Bixler, a volunteer at the Colonial Williamsburg Visitor Center, deserves much credit for this stroke survivor’s delightful day at the Williamsburg historic attraction in June.

Prior to a trip to Virginia for my niece’s wedding, Husband Walter turned planning over to me for a day trip to Colonial Williamsburg. My early efforts online, however, left me overwhelmed and frustrated.

There was so much to see and do, but I had no success ferreting out information that would help me plan for dealing with post-stroke issues of balance and fatigue. 

And visiting many of the historic buildings came with a hefty price tag. That, too, raised more questions as we never know when my energy will evaporate and require us to cut short our day’s activities.   

We eventually decided we would just wing it. Several weeks later we encountered volunteer Doris at the visitor center, our first stop at Williamsburg, Virginia. Doris beat Google to pieces.
Colonial Williamsburg Visitor Center

She quickly grasped what we needed. Her knowledge of Colonial Williamsburg and of people translated into practical options about how to enjoy exploring on our own and at our own pace in our limited time in the historic district.

Doris marked up a map and equipped us with precise information about walking distances and recommendations about shuttle bus strategies, sites we could visit free, and one of her favorite restaurants that was open and serving “authentic” colonial food.

The food recommendation was particularly timely. It can be picnic, fast food, more upscale or “historic,” but three meals a day are a must for us.

We had a great time. And I still had energy for my niece’s bachlorette party that evening.  

Now we are back home again. But 17 days on the road in June and the recent 11 days in July camping in the Smoky Mountains seriously derailed my blogging, especially camping with no electricity or WiFi.

We will head out again in September to meet up with Son #1 and his family for another Smoky Mountain camping experience. Before that trip I hope to be back to posting and visiting blogs on a more regular basis.

But we are learning that we both seem to require more time to get back in gear after travel than we did in our younger days. As a stroke survivor I have to use more energy to accomplish what once was automatic.

And Hubby’s efforts have increased exponentially. He still does all he used to do when we traveled, whether camping or otherwise. But now he spends more effort and energy keeping me safe and helping me cope post-stroke.

We brought home good memories, though, thanks to Doris in Williamsburg and other helpful volunteers and staff serving in parks and businesses from Virginia to Mississippi. I was also blessed with a cast of caring family members who made it possible for me to join wholeheartedly in the wedding festivities in Virginia.

Experiencing wonderful people, whether family or strangers, is one of my favorite aspects of travel that neither stroke nor age has changed.


  1. Doris is an angel!!! I do not care if you are very late posting and visiting...I am just so happy that you are getting out and going places! Bless your heart!

  2. Your blog and our blogs will be here when you aren't able to travel. Get out and enjoy yourselves every chance you get! I'm just glad to know that all is well. When I don't see you on-line for a while, I can't help but wonder.

    Thank heaven for wonderful people like Doris, who make life just a little bit easier for others :)

  3. An interesting place. I visited it many times beginning at age fifteen when my dad and I traveled there while the old areas were being excavated. Made trips with archeology classes, trips with individual kids as they reached fourth grade ( VA history in fourth grade) and special visits with husband and Aunt. Never get tired of it. Thanks for sharing your adventure. Good to see a post from you after the hiatus.

  4. What a blessing Doris was. Too many people in that position just phone in their jobs. I am sure she tackles everything in life so completely.
    I know what you mean about needing a vacation after a vacation.
    September sounds like it will be interesting also. Post when you can. We will be here.

  5. You have more fortitude than I do.

  6. I'm so happy you have had such an eventful and wonderful summer.
    It sounds like you had your own Angel in Williamsburg and your Hubby is definitely an Angel with a capital A.

  7. Goodness, you have certainly been out and about. Williamsburg used to be one of my favorite places. I lived in Yorktown, and traveled the Parkway to work everyday. I'd like to go back as an adult and see the battlefield again, and see where I lived then as an adult.

    Yup, you have been missed.

  8. That sounds like a fun excursion and you have plenty of energy, I can tell, for the touring and then the later event. Good for you two.

  9. What fun and to have a helpful helper from the visitor center. We loved Williamsburg and I especially enjoy talking with Patrick Henry and Martha W. :)