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Life's a beach

Phoebe Teter, below, lives in Virginia, USA. She teaches at Braddock elementary school. Renata Rubnikowicz finds out what she does in her spare time

Where do you go when you have time off?

We have family in Virginia Beach, a little provincial beach town; it's lovely - relaxed though not super-exciting. But right here you find the history of the beginning of the United States. And next year there will be events to mark the 400th anniversary of the first landing of the English settlers.

What should we see?

The First Landing Cross (, where the first permanent English settlers staked their claim. It'll be the focus of the April 2007 celebration.

What can we do?

Biking and hiking are good at any time - it's very flat. Or you can hire a boogie board and get into the ocean. There's a one-day surf camp for people who want to learn (, and parasailing for the even more adventurous (

Our family went kayaking through the Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge (www.fws.govbackbay) - that was a lot of fun. My sister-in-law had polio and has difficulty walking, but they accommodated her. The guide was marvellous.

What shouldn't we miss?

Colonial Williamsburg and the nearby Jamestown Settlement. Here, in fourth grade, the children study their home state and we took my youngest son to see the reconstructed fort at Jamestown, which was in a swamp - the first settlers were high-class Englishmen who didn't know anything. Later they built Williamsburg.

The whole town is restored to how it was in the 18th century. What's fun is that everyone is in character. Spend a whole day there at least. I've spent a couple of days there many times. Make a reservation and eat a colonial meal, with peanut soup, stews and cured hams, in one of the original taverns Renata Rubnikowicz


How to get there

Cosmos Holidays offers flight-only (on Monarch Airlines from Kent International Airport to Norfolk, Virginia) and holidays with or without accommodation or car hire. A two-centre package, which includes three nights in Williamsburg and four nights at Virginia Beach during the summer holidays, costs pound;789 per adult and pound;649 per child, based on two adults and two children sharing a family room, car hire extra (0870 787 9588,

Climate cost

Offset the climate cost of a return flight to Virgina for pound;12.34 per adult (

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