Escaping the Crowds

Ahhh…. fresh air!  We opted to skip out on the last day of the HOP and spend some time communing with nature. We all needed this, badly! We found Clarence Fahnestock State Park and plotted out a nice 6-7 mile hike. The weather was amazing! We grabbed our bug collecting gear, water and snacks and hit the trail. 

The trail followed along three lakes and was about 6-7 miles long.  Soon we were deep int he woods without anyone else in sight! Our happy places! There were little creeks along the trail that we checked for aquatic animals. The terrain shifted drastically as we wandered the trail. What a break from the craziness of the city. These are honest for forced smiles. It is amazing how nature just makes us happy. Part of the Appalachian Trail. The final stretch was along the road but there weren’t many cars. We enjoyed an ice cream treat from a place Dad went as a kid often. Back at the campground for time on the jumpy pad. I jumped for several hours! I was completely exhausted and ready to go home!

New York City and The Lion King

We toured the Empire State Building early in the morning. It was already crowded. We enjoyed the somewhat breezy conditions up on the top. I was just done with the crowds. Can we leave this New York place yet? B got me smiling again by pointing out buildings that were inthe Percy Jackson stories. Guess what, down from the building… why are there SO many people here??A few quick photos in Time Square before going across the street to see the Lion King. YAY! My happy place. Air conditioning, assigned seats and less people. I absolutely loved the play and got a really nice soft Lion King blanket as a souvenir. Once we left we got right on the bus and I waved goodbye to all the crowds as we slowly made our way back to the campground. The campground was only 30 miles away but it took nearly 2.5 hours to get there! I DON’T love New York! 

CIA and Roosevelt Mansion

We started our second tour day at the CIA — Culinary Institute of America. The grounds of the school were amazing! We quickly discovered the Apple Pie Bakerfy Cafe and got cookies larger than our heads! There were amazing cakes all over! I was in heaven! We had a great student docent who showed us all over. Photos weren’t allowed once we entered inside. Inside we saw the dessert pastry area. One of the head chef instructors came out and gave all the kids in our tour group fresh hot chocolate chip cookies. The adults were very jealous! Up next more bus riding to the Roosevelt Mansion. We enjoyed listening to the young docent. He was very knowledgable! We learned that Roosevelt loved to collect animals and mount them when he was a teenager. We saw some of the chairs and contraptions he used to hide his disability from polio.

My favorite part was the special collection in the museum and the beautiful gardens outside near the gravesite of Roosevelt.  Fala, his dog, was also buried on this site. This was an art carving made from two pieces of the Berlin Wall. Some of the old war era posters were really entertaining and terrifying at the same time. I worked very hard on my Junior Ranger book. But still had time to run around with my new friend, Beckett, and be goofy. I was excited to find Fala!!!

New York City Day 1

Our trip to New York was quite different than our usual trips. We spent a large amount of time on tour buses and waiting in lines. It’s hard to be at someone else pace. We only got to spend 30-35 minutes on Liberty Island. We felt very rushed to explore quickly.  Back on the ferry heading back to Battery Park to get back on another tour bus. Oh, we did manage to get our Junior Ranger badges. We got to SEE Ellis Island but not get off since our tour didn’t include this as a stop. We had lunch with the only nature we could find in downtown before we went to the 9/11 Museum. The 9/11 Memorial and Museum was very interesting. I really didn’t know a lot about the event but I really have a good understanding of what happened and how the world changed from this event.  We opted for a docent lead tour and it was very informative and filled in a lot of information that I needed to understand. It was amazing seeing the severity of the damage in the photos but to see the twisted and melted metals was very impactful. We explored all around the two ground level memorial pools. The new train station had a very unique roof that opens on the memorial date of 9.11 and allows a beam of light to shone outward. We needed to decompress and managed to find some more green space and watched the pigeons wander about. I even found one that was tagged.

Week in Washington, D.C. and 4th of July

We got to D.C. in what may have been the hottest week of the year so far. It was miserably hot. We planned our days bouncing from AC to AC around the mall area. We did do the Botanical Gardens earlier in the day to stay cooler.

The heat was so bad Dad was scoping out more indoor things. We were able to get a last minute tour of Voice of America. It was really neat to see how the whole communication network around the world works.

Up next was the Native American exhibit and lunch with fry bread and honey. We learned to read the khipu. The khipu was an ancient way to keep track of numbers. I loved riding the Metro as always. I passed the time making funny faces with mom.

We took the evenings to cool off in the pool. We enjoyed a few rides around on the campground wagon before hitting the showers.

More riding the Metro. Today I was really into the daily paper. The Natural History Museum had free admission to the butterfly exhibit. We got there early and spent a lot of time talking to the docents.

We extracted our DNA and made little necklace vials.  We have never been to the hands on area before. They have a social collections that is interactive and you can look at items in drawers then take them to microscopes an other tools to explore them. What a really fun way to spend a hot afternoon. We even found the overflow of some of their insect collection. We took a short wander around DC on foot and opted for the Metro back to the campground since we were too hot. The 4th of July was a classic old time holiday! We went to Mt. Vernon and spent the morning exploring and learning. Ben Franklin read the Declaration of Independence. We saw George Washington’s false teeth. It was really creepy. They had daytime fireworks. They were explosive balls of powdery smoke. It was really cool.  IN the evening everyone was tired but B and I wanted to see fireworks. Mom packed us into the car really early and we drove over to the University of Maryland in CollegePark. We found a good spot and settled in for a long afternoon of card games, snacks and waiting.  We had really great seats for the fireworks and no-one in front of us! I met another little boy names Emmerson. We laughed at our names. The next day we went to the National Zoo with Grandma Jo and Grandpa Howie. We were hot and miserable. Grandma’s hip and back were bugging her so we called it an early day and headed back to the campground. I loved all the statues as usual.I got nose to nose with a gorilla. Our last day in town Dad was able to go with us to the Air and Space Museum that isn’t in the National Mall. This may be my new favorite place! I really loved seeing the space shuttle discovery! We saw it launch for the last time many years ago. It was smaller than I thought it would be but it was still HUGE.

I wanted the R2-D2 mailbox for our house! Mom was trying to explain what the Concord was and that Grandpa Howie had flown on it before. I really didn’t get it  and just wanted to go run up and down the stairs. I think I nearly killed Mom with all the stairs!