Family Vacation Marathon

Since my brothers had a whole week off school for October Break, my family decided to go on a road trip of the east coast. I, of course, invited myself and it ended up being so much fun! This is going to be an extremely long post because it was a week long vacation.

Monday, October 12th

For the third time in three days, we went to Ithaca Falls. Fortunately they are beautiful and I wouldn't mind going every day. They are so close to our house and it is unbelievable that something so amazing would be right in the middle of town!

We went on a tour of Cornell because Jared (16 years old) had a school project where he needed to research 10 schools he would be interested in attending. This is the second time Sam and I have been on the official tour of Cornell and we enjoyed it this time even more. The tour guide knew a lot more about campus. However, she missed some of the parts we really liked from our first tour.

After we finished the tour, we let for Pennsylvania. We stayed in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. During the drive we came within a few miles of Scranton.
Getting ready to leave.

Tuesday, October 13th

In the morning we started what should have been a very short drive to Valley Forge. But our GPS deceived us and we ended up going on an hour long drive around Pennsylvania. We got on the wrong freeway but the next exit wasn't for fifteen miles so we were kind of stuck for a while. Then we had to turn around and go back to where we were. My parents were driving a rental van and during this adventure, they were rear-ended. They were stopping at a Stop sign when it happened. The cop said that it used to be a Yield sign and there were a lot of accidents so they changed it to a Stop sign. However, now all of the tourists stop and the locals rear-end them. I had a good laugh about that. Everyone was fine though. They were going about 5 MPH so it wasn't a big deal. The cars were not really damaged either. They got the insurance figured out and met us at Valley Forge.
Is it morning already?

A very unhappy George Washington.

Emily, stop making me do stupid things.

Driving around Valley Forge.

Taking tickets at the railroad.


More sleepy pictures of my boys.

Cabins at Valley Forge.

My family drove to set foot in Delaware while Sam, Alex, and I saw a little more of Valley Forge. We then drove to Philadelphia. It was lunch time so we decided to get some Philly Cheesesteaks. During the summer we went to Pat's so this time we decided to try Geno's. We didn't think it was a very fair comparison since we didn't have them at the same time, but if our memories were correct, Pat's was a million times better. We just had to wait until dinner to know for sure!
Choking down Geno's.

Our tour of Independence Hall was interesting but very short and ended abruptly. The tour guide just walked away and we stood there asking each other if that was really the end. It was odd.Independence Hall

Assembly Room

We got to see the Liberty Bell up close this time since the exhibit was still open. It was cool to learn more of the history about the bell. After watching a couple of very poorly made movies and accidentally running through the filming of a commercial and getting a fist shaken at me, we went to Pat's for dinner! My brothers didn't seem to enjoy Philly Cheesesteaks very much but it was worth it for us to know without a doubt that Pat's is better.
Still a powerful symbol.

The family went to Pat's. Much better than Geno's!

Sam and I said goodbye by our cars. Sam's Fall Break was over and he would have to go back to New York for classes on Wednesday and Thursday. Alex and I loaded into the van with my family and drove to New York City.

Wednesday, October 14th

We woke up early and learned to navigate the New York metro. I was awed by how nice everyone was. I was offered seats by four different people on my very first ride. Alex hooks me up! I was expecting everyone to be pushing and rude, but they were so friendly.
Waiting for our ride!

Broadway and 42nd Street.

We kept looking for the Cash Cab. No such luck.

My favorite candy!


I concur.

I didn't even realize it was the temple until we were practically in it!

It is awesome that it is amongst all the crazy buildings and then you walk in and it is quiet!

More buildings.

We saw things in Times Square and Central Park and then made our way to Battery Park so we could get on our 12pm ferry to Liberty Island. After two security clearances, we got to go to the top of the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty. It was beautiful to look across at Manhattan and also to learn more about the construction of the Statue.
Lady Liberty

The original torch.

Looking up her robe. Huh?


Adam is hiding behind David.

We took the ferry to Ellis Island and learned more about the people who came through there. I learned that many families were split up due to sickness. That would be horrible. I cannot imagine having to be separated from Sam just because one of us is sick. That is when I would want to be together the most. But they could not turn down the opportunity for a better life.
Recognize this room from Hitch?

It looks bad but Alex really does like being held this way.

So many people came through this building!

After leaving Ellis Island, we went to see Libby! Libby was one of Rachael's good friends and roommates and she has become a friend of mine and my family as well. We went out to dinner with her at a place called Shake Shack. They had the most amazing burgers I have ever had.
Libby in her itty bitty room that costs over $1000/month.

Shake Shack onesie!

I wanted to see Times Square at night so we took the subway back. It looked like it was day still. There were so many lights!Radio City Music Hall

I spent over $7 on a chocolate covered strawberry! They were about to close so I got a second for free! Yippee!

Anyone watch 30 Rock?

Alex was pretty worn out by the end of the night. I would have been worn out too if I had to walk around all day carrying an extra 12 pounds. Oh wait. He screamed for about 20 minutes while we walked back to the subway. I am sure every New Yorker was thinking, "That's why I don't have kids."

Thursday, October 15th

We drove around Graffiti Park or 5Pointz but no one was painting because it was raining. There were some incredibly realistic paintings. I was impressed.
The only true graffiti I could read.

We saw Shea Stadium (saw where the Mets play), the USTA National Tennis Center (where the US Open is located), and Flushing Meadows Park (where the World's Fair took place). On our way to Boston we went through Rhode Island and Connecticut. Two more states off my list! Yay!
Shea Stadium (or Citi Field I guess). Whatever.

USTA National Tennis Center

Men in Black?

The Unisphere is the "unofficial symbol" of Queens.

We went and visited with my dad's cousin's family. It was really fun to see them and their two boys. But being the dumby I am, I forgot to take a picture!

Friday, October 16th

We took the subway into Boston and went on a tour of part of the Freedom Trail. Alex had the entire subway car mesmerized. Everyone was watching him and smiling. He just makes everyone so happy. Especially us. We love this little guy.
On the subway into Boston.

What is this building? I can't remember, but it looks cool.

Our very political tour guide who bashed Mitt Romney and made me laugh.

Massachusetts State House

Granary burial ground

Adams' headstone

Victims of the Boston Massacre

John Hancock. Apparently big ego = big signature = big headstone.

Paul Revere's headstone.

Another homeless man said to us, "Could you give me some money for no reason at all? I can't think of any more excuses. I'm so broke I can't even think straight." No shame, my friend.

The longest continually running restaurant in the United States.

We had lunch at Durgin Park.
I had some delicious Yankee Pot Roast.

We then went on a tour of some more of the Freedom Trail.
They don't know what this is but people say it is good luck to rub it.

Our crazy British tour guide.


Paul Revere's statue is facing the wrong way because the horses butt used to be facing the Catholic Church so they were forced to turn it around! Now it is running away from the Old North Church!

The pews were crazy! They were boxes and the edges came up so high. Once you sat down you couldn't see anyone in other boxes.

We went on a tour of the U.S.S. Constitution.

Long, cold, windy day.
U.S.S. Constitution

We were the very first people to sign the card for the U.S.S. Constitution's 212th birthday! Adam wrote, "You're old." And I laughed.

We road a ferry across the harbor and then went to dinner at Legal Sea Foods. We all had a bowl of clam chowder. It was delicious but the waitress was a brat! I was kind of angry at her. We then walked to Omni Parker House and bought Boston Cream Pies. $8 for the little thing. But I paid that for a chocolate covered strawberry so I don't know what I'm talking about. It was delicious as well.
On the ferry.

"Good food, bad waitresses." That should be their slogan.

America's longest continuously operating luxury hotel. Also the birth place of the Boston Cream Pie and Parker house rolls.

Amazing. I wanted more.

Saturday, October 17th

Sam, Alex, and I searched for a place to find Red Sox stuff and we ended up at the Pro Shop across from Fenway. Expensive! Sam bought two hats and a hoodie for a grand total of $110. I walked away feeling very poor and Sam walked away grinning.
Sam and Alex

The Green Monster

On our way to the Minute Man Visitor's Center we saw Nathaniel Hawthorne's house and the house where Louisa May Alcott wrote Little Women! The visitor's center had a really good movie and it helped me picture the geography of the battles and Paul Revere's midnight ride. I learned that Revere got captured and Prescott and Dawes finished spreading the news of the British. Where is their fame? They got gipped.
Emerson wrote "Nature" here in the 1830s. Hawthorne wrote here in the 1840s.

The North Bridge

Walden Pond. Thoreau anyone?

It was so big! I would call it Walden Lake.

We began our drive to Maine and we got to see a lighthouse there!
It was freezing.

Pretty calm water. And then it hit the rocks.

Shipwrecking here would not be fun.

Alex looks hilarious.

A freezing little family.

Sunday, October 18th

We went to church in Maine and then drove through New Hampshire and Vermont to see all the pretty colors. It snowed. We had a small cockroach incident. There was a cockroach in Sam's car. That was the very first cockroach I had seen since we moved out here and I could not figure out where it came from. I was screaming and freaking out. There are a few places cockroaches should not be. One of them is my life.

We said goodbye to my family and they began their drive back to Boston to catch their flight to Arizona the next morning. We got back to Ithaca around 9pm and I slept as well as Alex would let me.
We took this picture in our hotel in Maine. I smile every time I see it.

This was pretty much the coolest vacation ever because everything was so new! I had never been to any of those places (except Philly) and I loved seeing it all and getting to hear more about the things that happened there.


collette crew said...

what a great trip! new york is my favorite! do you just love being a mom? you have such a cute baby. so yes, you would love to have a nice camera to take pictures of him! so, I have a nikon d90. I love it, especially because it's one of the first SLR's with video (and sound). the key to taking great pictures (and I have a ways to go myself) is to really know your manual settings and all about light. I also have some nice lenses that are upgraded from the ones they sell. but start with the kit (costco sells it) and if you start taking classes or learning more I'd love to tell you about lenses :) photography is so fun, especially to keep those family memories. let me know if I can help you with anything else or if you have more questions! good luck

Buck and Whitni Watkins said...

I am so sad I missed you. NYC was so much fun. Your son is adorable. He makes me smile and reminds me alot of adam (your brother) when adam was little. He has the best facial expressions. :-) Feel glad you had $110 to spend on red sox stuff, we just got footed a bill for $945 for some mishaps with my work. I sent you a letter I hope you got it. i love you

Jeff and Rachael Downs said...

It looked like you guys had so much fun! I'm really glad you share all your adventures and take lots of pictures...I love to see all the beautiful places you've been to. And your commentary is hilarious! :) Alex is getting so big and so handsome!! Is he just perfect where ever you go?? We'll be taking a trip to Utah once Wyatt is born, and I'm hoping it won't be deathly hard...I guess we'll just have to see what kind of baby he is :) I miss you so much and I hope all is going well with you and your beautiful family. I love you!

danielle said...

Can I just tell you, I too had a cockroach incident this week and "One of those places is my life," couldn'tn be a truer statement. I love you. You crack me up.

I am taking a colonial literature class this semester, so I'm pretty jealous of all the cool historical places you were able to see. I think we get gypped out in the west. Our collective historical memory goes back to like... the 1930s. We fail. A friend of mine grew up in Virginia and knows SOO much more about American history than I do because of all the field trips and things they went on in elementary school.

Gah, I'm so jealous. R and I are going to Vegas this weekend, but somehow I don't think it compares. Ball v. Waterfalls and pretty autumn colors. I think you know where I would rather be. I love you! I'm glad you had such a good time.

And yes, I would be one of the NYers on the train. "omg. small children cause such a disturbance." :) But I still love you--and Alex.

Seth and Brittney said...

Wow, way cool! I LOVE the graffiti!

The Harker's said...

We visited most of these places this summer when we lived in CT. It was fun seeing them again in your pictures! We missed on Wednesday, but glad you were out doing fun things with your family!

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