When we plan little get-away trips we usually get pretty detailed about it, but this trip we were very fly-by-the-seat of our pants -ish. It turned out to be one of the most pleasant and fulfilling trips we've experienced as a family. I don't think it will become the norm, but it was nice this time.
We left Wednesday morning and made our way to NYC - about 4 hours. Actually we parked in Secaucus, New Jersey and trained into NYC. It has been our girls' dream the last couple of years to go to an American Girl Doll store. They worked hard this summer doing our little side business of delivering phone books and saved up money for the trip. So our first stop was at 47th and 5th Avenue. I was expecting the store to be a little more glitzy, but Kate and Sophie thought it was pretty amazing. Kate bought a flute set (she plays the violin but chose the flute set because Amelia has the violin set:)), and Sophia bought a pair of glasses for her doll. They don't have AG dolls, but similar ones from Target which the accessories fit just fine.
We then went to the Museum of Natural History - which is nothing like what is shown on Night at the Museum. It was pretty awesome although we never found Dum Dum. We actually could've spend a couple more hours there but after being in the congestion of the city, the subway transfers, and walking, we were done.
We made our way back to New Jersey, took a breath of fresh air and drove to Stamford, CT to stay the night. Connecticut is such beautiful country. The trees, rolling hills, it's just beautiful.
The next morning we drove to Boston, parked and started on the Freedom Trail. Wes, Kate and Sophia haven't done that since they were three and one, respectively, so it was like an entirely new experience. There was surprisingly little complaining as we followed the red brick line throughout the city. It probably helped that we stopped, read information, and bought cannoli's along the way. We didn't make it all the way to Bunker Hill, but did everything but that and 'Old Iron Sides'. We got back in the van and drove to Scarborough, Maine.
The next morning we drove the last three hours to Acadia National Park. To say that we enjoyed the park would be a huge understatement. In fact, we are seriously considering renting a cottage next year for a week so we can go off-grid, hike, kayak, shop, fish, and everything else that area provides. It's the only place on the East Coast that has cliffs meeting the ocean. Mom/Grandma would've had a heart attack at how close our children were getting to the edge - I had a mini heart attack myself - but it was simply stunning.
Maine rarely gets above 80 degrees during the summer and the humidity wasn't as high as we have in Maryland, so it was like heaven. Matt said he'll start looking for jobs there in the fall. ;)
Our kids loved the rocks. There were trails and look outs everywhere.
John D. Rockefeller funded a lot of Acadia's infrastructure including many stone bridges - most of them are along the roadways which you travel under, but this is an example of one along a trail.
This description is from www.acadiamagic.com ... Thunder Hole is a small inlet, naturally carved out of the rocks, where the waves roll into. At the end of this inlet, down low, is a small cavern where, when the rush of the wave arrives, air and water is forced out like a clap of distant thunder. Water may spout as high as 40 feet with a thunderous roar! Hence the name: Thunder Hole.
We waited for about 45 minutes but the tide and surf didn't create the effect that it will some times, but it was fun anyway.
Above is a picture of one of the visitor's centers that talked about the terrain and wildlife of Maine.
Sunday morning we left at 7:30 and drove in to our old Hartford Ward parking lot at 8:50 for church. Wes and Kate said they recognized it a little, but it was pretty much a new experience for them again. The Bloomfield Ward met at 9 a.m. and since we needed to get on the road we decided to attend their church rather than Hartford's at 11:30.
Matt and I left the last 30 minutes of combined RS/Priesthood (where they were talking about the logistics of volunteering in the temple open house, the cultural celelration the night before the dedication, and other temple details) and sneaked into the back of the chapel to see the first few minutes of Hartford's sacrament meeting. We spotted a lot of old friends and then slipped out to meet our kids coming out of Primary. One of our friends saw us leave and came out to talk with us in the foyer. She told us lots of Hartford news, some of it good and a lot of it really, really sad, but it was good to talk with her.
We ate our sandwiches on the way to see the Hartford temple and were so surprised to see that it's directly across the street where our old pediatrician's office in Farmington is. It's really beautiful! One level, other than a basement I assume, with a huge Angel Moroni on top. Maybe he looks so big because he's usually higher in the air, but it's quite impressive.
After that we drove past our old house in Wethersfield, drove down through Old Wethersfield where General George Washington met with French Lt. Gen. Rochambeau planned the Siege of Yorktown, (thank you Wikipedia). Old Wethersfield's motto is "Ye Most Ancient Towne in Connecticut" and is the state's largest historic district, spanning two square miles and 1,100 buildings, dating back to the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. (again Wikipedia, I can't just spew these facts from memory:))
After that we hit the road Jack, and made it to our house by 9 p.m. We all weighed in that night and had each gained at least a couple of pounds. That's what happens when you have a cooler in the middle of the van full of snacks - even when most of them were healthy. :) We learned how to travel long distance after our mega road trip last summer.