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Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Last Mother’s day my family took me to Kitty Hawk, NC for the weekend.  It was a great trip!  We were living only about an hour and a half away so it was a nice short drive.  We stayed on the beach, bought some snacks, played cards before bed, just completely relaxing 🙂

Kitty Hawk is located on the Outer Banks of NC.  A beautiful place to visit!  Home of the  Wright Bros National Memorial.  We spent a morning there checking out the park.  It was amazing to think that they chose that place to test their planes.  The dunes afforded them a soft landing place, and the breeze and hill was certainly a help in take off 🙂  There is an indoor museum with models and a curator speaking about them.  Outside there is a monument on the hill that you can walk up to and view the entire area.  Definitely worth the walk.  They have small monuments set up indicating how far the first flights were from the top of the hill.  You can walk along this path reading the statistics as you go.  There is also a model of the plane on the other side of the large monument.  We really enjoyed the museum.

We then went to the nearby dunes in Kill Devil Hills.  These are amazing!  I had never seen anything like it.  I expected small sand dunes similar to what I had seen in Florida.  These were a workout to walk up! 🙂  And the view from the top was amazing!  At the base there is a store that sells kites.  We of course had to get a couple kites.  They flew beautifully and were so well made we still have them.  We watched people taking hang gliding lessons, which was awesome.  We stayed  there for a couple hours enjoying the view, the breeze and the kites.

Here are a couple photos I took.  I’d definitely go back and stay there again.  Totally relaxing! 🙂  And my youngest affectionately calls it Meow _____ (inserting spitting sound here!)  🙂  You’d have to know her to get her sense of humor!

View from our hotel room

The monument

Model of the plane

Pretending to fly 🙂

View from the bottom

So thirsty 🙂

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Mount Washington

I personally love overnight trips.  Trips that don’t require a lot of preplanning, packing, preparation or $ 🙂  Throw an outfit in a bag, pack your toothbrush and bathing suit and away you go!  No major worries about keeping the kids occupied in the car, long drives, suitcases packed for each day of the trip.  Just your family and some fun.

For me and overnight is about getting away and enjoying your family.  We haven’t taken many vacations that were vacations for the sake of relaxing.  Vacations usually involve traveling to see extended family, which is great but not always relaxing.  Trying to fit in visits with everyone, splitting your time to try to be fair, usually upsetting someone, not getting great sleep.  A weekend away or an overnight eliminates all of that and allows me to just enjoy my family.

When we lived in NH we enjoyed visiting the White Mountains.  We loved to drive on the Kangamagus Highway and stop along the road at the many pull-offs to enjoy God’s creation.  Beautiful scenic overlooks, paths back into the woods where there were waterfalls, or “otter rocks” or “devil’s washbasin“.  (this link has amazing photos of even more beautiful places in NH) The power of water is very evident in those mountains.  Otter rocks is an area where the granite has been worn smooth from thousands of years of snow melts.  We visited there with friends and the kids had a fabulous time “sliding” on the rocks.  The water is ice cold!  Beautiful views, trees with roots wrapped around rocks holding on.  Absolutely amazing!  Definitely worth the drive and taking your camera 🙂  I lost some of those photos in a computer mishap, or I would gladly share them with you.  😦

Also in NH, Mount Washington.  The second highest peak on the East Coast, over 6000 ft above sea level. Home of the worst weather in the world!  A great lesson in science as you drive up the mountain and witness the changes in vegetation and temperature!  We have visited there multiple times.  The best time was in August, when the weather was perfectly clear and the temperature was 20 degrees different from bottom to top.  We have visited in Sept and not been able to travel all the way up due to snow on top!  We went another time in Sept when it was raining and the winds were 75 mph at the summit!  After the  8 mile drive up though, the ladies and children needed the rest room, so we linked arms held on to grandparents and children and braved the winds and clouds to enter the observation building.  The buildings are literally chained down!  It is the wildest thing to see.  They have wonderful pictures and statistics in the building as well and bathrooms, snacks and gift items.  A must see if you visit NH! 🙂

Another NH favorite is Lost River Gorge and Boulder Caves.  Our children loved walking through these caves and hiking up the gorge.  I can’t describe how beautiful the mountains, trees and waterfalls are in this area of the country.  You stand in awe of God’s creation before you.  The massive granite boulders, the evidence of how incredible the flow of water is during spring thaws, and the gentle flow of the streams mid summer.  I could sit and look at these places for hours.  A photographers heaven!  🙂

The Flume Gorge is another must see!  It was discovered by a 93 year old woman when she was fishing in the early 1800’s.  They have built a stairway up so you can walk inside enjoying the view of the waterfall as you go.  Beautiful photos inside showing you the history of the flume.  This is a bit of uphill walking for those with health issues but your children will love it!  And sleep well that night 🙂  There is a letterbox here that adds to the fun.

And if you haven’t tried letterboxing or geocaching this is the place to do it!  NH has some very fun historical places on their list.  We enjoyed quite a few journeys to find a lost cemetery or homestead when we lived there.  One of our favorites near Hanover, NH was to a cemetery where Revolutionary war generals were buried alongside their slaves!  And further along the same road there was our infamous valleyquest to a 200 year old farm house foundation.  We went with friends in the fall and saw plenty of bear skat, which required lots of singing and noise making on our part!  Two moms + five children=an adventure! 🙂  At local bookstores and libraries you can find books filled with local letterboxing adventures.

I can’t end without mentioning a museum. I LOVE museums!  When we were in NH we absolutely loved visiting the Montshire Museum.  It is actually located in Norwich, VT, but is literally on the river that separates NH and VT so it is not far at all.  And worth crossing the bridge 🙂  Full of fun hands on science activities, it was a fun in all four seasons and especially on rainy days.

So plan a day, plan a weekend but get out and enjoy a fun filled day with your family this summer!  🙂  And please share fun local trips and hidden treasures in your area.

Mount Washington in winter!

Flume Gorge

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We visited a very cool place on Friday in Hobe Sound, FL-Blowing Rocks Preserve.  Now if you’ve been to FL you know the beaches are beautiful and sandy.  It is rare to have a rocky beach anywhere in the state.  Some of the nicest beaches in the world are found here in Florida, and that’s not just my opinion but travel experts agree 🙂

This beach on Jupiter Island was amazing.  We were there just after low tide but can’t wait to go back and experience high tide.  It is located in a 73 acre preserve, where you can follow trails through native plants and trees, walk along the shore in search of sea turtle nests, or climb the limestone rocks found there.

Speaking of the rocks, if you have studied marine life you will love these.  My youngest was completely fascinated by all the different creatures clinging to the sides of the rocks.  She marveled at how tiny some of them were, and the beautiful colors on their shells.  She of course, added to her shell collection 🙂

I would encourage you to wear shoes if you are planning on walking on the rocks.  Some have been worn smooth by the water, others are sharper and a bit painful to walk on.

My children really enjoyed walking along the ocean side and being splashed by the waves as they came in against the rocks.  At high tide the water is forced up through the holes in the rock and can reach heights up to 50 feet!  I would love to visit when a storm was approaching to see the waves and rocks then!

I can’t believe we lived here for 12 years and never went to visit this amazing place.  My photos won’t do it justice but maybe it will give you an idea of how cool it was.  You can find more info here.  The facility does ask for a $2 donation for anyone over the age of 12, and restrooms are located across the street in an education center.  Definitely worth the trip!  We will be visiting again.

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Road Trip!

Not planning one anytime soon, but I was thinking about a vacation this morning 🙂  We would rather fly than drive any day!  We are not patient people, we do not enjoy the “journey”.  Maybe if we were driving somewhere new when we drove, but our drives are always East Coast drives.  We have been to every state on the East Coast but Rhode Island, and frankly, it is really like a big city.  No offense RI’ers 😉

Maybe if we felt like we actually went somewhere the first day, but it takes 5 hours to get out of FL!  All that driving and you are still in the same state you were in when you left!  Maybe we are spoiled by the New England states-in a 3.5 hour trip we would pass from NH, to VT, to MA, to CT, to NY.  You feel like you are making progress that way!

One thing I do to make road trips easier though is in the area of packing.  I learned a long time ago to pack one suitcase per night on the road.  So if we are going for a week but we will spend the first two nights in hotels, I pack everyone’s outfits for those two nights in separate suitcases so when we arrive at a hotel we only have to bring in one bag.  Necessity is the mother of invention right?  🙂  Back in the days of diaper bags, infant carriers, portable cribs, etc this was the only way to survive!  Now it is just so convenient.  Then when we pack to leave again, I repack those suitcases for the trip home.

When the kids were little I put their individual outfits in ziploc bags.  Each day’s bag had socks, underwear, shirt and  pants. That way I didn’t have to paw through the suitcase to find their underclothes, or that matching sock!  They could pick up a bag and get themselves dressed, all matching and clean without any hassle.

This works for packing two children in one suitcase also.  Put their underclothes in clearly marked bags and then there is no confusion about whose is whose.  And no major repacking for mom, after they have torn the suitcase apart!  When you have 3 girls, just a couple years apart, everyone socks and underwear seem the same!

Really I am not an organized person at all.  These are lessons learned just to keep my sanity 🙂  Happy Trails!

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