Ohio has been left behind and we are continuing on our westward journey. Today and tomorrow we are in Grand Rapids, MI, visiting my college roommate from the fall of 1999 and her wife and sons. It has been sixteen years since we’ve seen each other, but we picked up right where we left off, and it was so great to meet her family! The best part, as most parents might agree, is that our kids hit it off from the very first moment!
We spent the afternoon at Frederick Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park enjoying each other’s company and the beautifully designed gardens and art installations. (Photo above with The American Horse).
Beautiful girls in Grandmother Wood’s lovely garden.
The girls had a fun day with Grandma and Grandpa today, capped off with a Pizza Picnic with lots of “almost cousins”. The Carter kids taught the Wood girls a new game, “Give Me a Wiggle!” It is a variation on hide and seek that had all the kids shouting and laughing and having a grand old time.
The photo above was taken mostly to catch these two cuties shouting “give me a wiggle” from jail:
By happy coincidence, I also captured Caleb having a little trouble with the wagon.
And then, way in the back, Uncle Steve jumping out from his hiding spot behind the car to give a wiggle.
All in all, a great night at Chestnut Cottage!
80% of our drive today was on I-80 through Pennsylvania and into Ohio. A preliminary look at the route confirmed my memory that there was very little to see or do along the highway. We hopped on the road and just a short ways out we saw a sign for the Patterson Great Falls National History Park.
A quick swerve into the exit lane and three minutes later we were in the parking lot. It was too early to get into the Visitor Center, so we have no stamps in our passports, but the view of the falls was really nice. We read the pamphlet and the outdoor information boards and made some great comparisons to the Lowell NHS.
I am so glad we stopped there, as the rest of the drive was 100% tree lined highway and periodic construction zones. We made good time to Grandma and Grandpa’s and arrived just as the dinner bell rang!
Esme, filling out her ‘Jr Secret Service’ booklet with some help from her friends FDR and Eleanor Roosevelt, at Springwood in Hyde Park, NY.
It was an emotional start to our big, round the country road trip. After a life time of dreaming, 18 months of planning and a week of packing, it was hard to believe that the day was finally here. We made our way through MA and into New York, stopping in Hyde Park just after lunch. We visited both the Home of FDR NHS and the Eleanor Roosevelt NHS at Val-Kill, Eleanor’s cottage. We also made a quick visit to the Vanderbilt Mansion exterior and visitor center since we pulled into the property by accident! All three were fantastic and worth the stop.
A swim, dinner and ice cream in New Jersey with Jenn and family rounded out a lovely first day on the road!
Bumper sticker number 2 for this gal who’s not terribly fond of them.
Jumped on the buff bandwagon with my girls. Decided to put a bird on it!
We had a great time watching the eclipse with friends at the Salem Maritime National Historic Site. Thanks to Erin for getting a pic of the three of us!
A common sight this week, Peter doing car repairs. He’s become fairly adept!
Testing out a new bit of camp gear. We saved and sprang for the fancy bunk cots. Let’s hope they prove themselves worthy of the cost!