A Spring Road Trip

Adam was scheduled for a conference in May in New Jersey and he asked if I wanted to go along. As we looked at options we decided to make it a family trip and weave our way up and back taking in the sights along the way.

We left on a Tuesday evening after the boys’ swim lessons and made it as far as Chattanooga where we stopped to spend the night.  The first hotel we stopped at insisted we would need two rooms for our seven people so we went on to the next one which thankfully didn’t ask how many people we had.  It was late and all our younglings were asleep in the van. We were able to park right outside the room and so unloading the sleeping people was pretty easy. We tucked four of them into the bed sleeping cross-wise and settled the other in the sleeping bag on the yoga mat on the floor and went to bed. IMG_1504IMG_1502

The next morning after dining on hotel breakfast (undoubtably one of the boys’ favorite parts of the trip) we loaded up and headed to Knoxville where we visited a used book store and the McClung Museum of Natural History and Culture.
We drove to Harrisonburg, VA that evening and played a few games of Operation which we had acquired at the book store that afternoon. Adam and the boys watched baseball and the boys snacked on food from the cooler while I went in search of batteries for the game and some italian food for Adam and me.  We went to sleep watching The Weather Channel’s episode of strange weather events.
Thursday morning we visited a fire museum in Harrisonburg which was fun and interesting for all of us. The boys left with fire hats and a bag full of fire-related things.  IMG_1510IMG_1521IMG_1522IMG_1552We then headed to the Valley Brethren-Mennonite Heritage Center to explore for an hour or two before getting back in the car for the remaining trip to New Jersey. We arrived to find a school group there for the day and were allowed to join the schools tour for the demonstrations which included ice-cream making, basket weaving, toys they played with, tools they used, and a visit to the blacksmith’s shop. We peeked in a few of the other buildings while the school was eating their lunch and headed out.  IMG_1547 IMG_1544
IMG_1534 IMG_1533 IMG_1528Accommodations in New Jersey were rather limited due to it being graduation weekend, but we squeezed in the last available room for the night.
After dropping Adam off for his conference the boys and I drove into New  York City to see what we could see. Comic books have given them some familiarity with the city so it was with excitement they recognized the Brooklyn Bridge and The Empire State Building. It was a foggy morning and they were impressed that they couldn’t even see the top of the Empire State Building. I was most impressed by the Holland Tunnel which seemed to go on forever.  We hope to catch a glimpse of the Statue of Liberty, but it was too cloudy for that.  The boys declared they liked New York City because it was very easy to play travel bingo there. Living in Alabaster we don’t often see a taxi and they couldn’t believe how many there were on a single street there. I was quite happy to leave the city and its traffic behind and we headed to the Liberty Science Museum to spend the rest of the afternoon.  It was a big place with lots to do. Unfortunately we discovered they closed at 3:00 so we had to find something to do on the rest of the rainy afternoon.  We opted for IKEA where there was a play place, though Jack must have had a growth spurt because he was too tall to go in.  He was consoled with a free ice cream.  We also picked up new Lego magazines from the Lego Store. We picked Adam up from the conference and headed out-of-town since there were no hotels available. We drove towards Hershey Pennsylvania looking for places to eat and stay, but found little until we were almost to Hershey where we finally found one available room after trying three hotels.
We went to the Hershey place the next morning and took the free simulated tour with the chocolate sample at the end. The line wasn’t long so we rode it three times (and got three pieces of chocolate).  We had promised Gabriel an ice cream treat since he and Sebastian missed their last day at pre-school when they were having ice-cream sundaes, so we indulged ourselves at the Hershey cantina.IMG_6524IMG_6522IMG_6530IMG_6533IMG_6535IMG_6540
We traveled on to Staunton, VA and ate at the Depot downtown. While we waited for a table we walked along the train tracks and over a walking bridge to a park. Our table was ready just as we returned. The next day we visited the Frontier Culture Museum which was fascinating.IMG_6547
Sweeping (or sword fighting) at the African village.

Sweeping (or sword fighting) at the African village.

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Gabriel and the geese.

Gabriel and the geese.

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Playing horse shoes at the English farm.

Playing horse shoes at the English farm.

Examining freshly made cheese.

Examining freshly made cheese.

Adam and Isaac at the English house.

Adam and Isaac at the English house.

Visiting the sheep.

Visiting the sheep.

The grown geese hissed at us as we passed. One more gosling and our families would match, though I don't usually hiss at others.

The grown geese hissed at us as we passed. One more gosling and our families would match, though I don’t usually hiss at others.

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The German house.

The German house.

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Playing double ball at the Native American village

Playing double ball at the Native American village

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Adam at the American settlement.

Stephen at the American settlement.

Sebastian liked the little doorway, and the cat on the bed.

Sebastian liked the little doorway, and the cat on the bed.

Jack and Gabriel at checkers.

Jack and Gabriel at checkers.

Stephen

Stephen

We took some time and traveled along the Blue Ridge Parkway part of the way home and spent a final night in Knoxville.  It was nice to come home again.IMG_6637

A picture on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

A picture on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

 

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About Wendy McCollum

I am a single mom to five wonderful boys. Life is an adventure, with many twists and turns. We live in hope, always, for our great God can redeem all things. There are so many funny and precious moments that slip by too fast. Perhaps here I can save them for when my own memory fails.
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