North Carolina Homeschool Adventures went to Fort Caswell. We had a wonderful time and cannot wait to go back. This year we added a night and had more programming. The first day they did activities in the sound where they fished for crab, caught creatures with nets and more. The second morning they seined in the ocean, learned more about ghost crabs and learned about sea turtles. In the afternoon, they did surf fishing, learned about the water cycle and did gyotaku prints. The first night we went on a ghost crab hunt which the kids loved. The second night we had smores and a bonfire. We ended our day with a tour at the Coast Guard Station which was interesting and informative. We are looking forward to more adventures next year.
When we cancelled our DC trip, we had a few open days. I decided to fill them by trying to go visit some friends. Jennifer Johnson told me about Homeschool Days at Chimney Rock State Park. We signed up at the last minute and we were not disappointed. In the morning, we attended three stations- Raptors, Spiders and Adaptions. The stations were informative and hands on for the kids. It was very well put together. They also had a guided hike after lunch that we did not attend. We went to the Smokehouse in town for lunch and it was very good. After lunch, we went back to the park to hike some of the trails. We asked about the trails at the gift shop. The lady made it sound like it was not so bad. We must have looked in better shape than we were because it was a work out. We took the elevator up. I highly recommend the elevator because you will have plenty walking at the top. We walked up to the rock and then took Skyline Trail up to Exclamation Point. There was also an Opera Box and Devils Head on the way. The kids had a great time playing while the adults were catching their breath. The views were beautiful. We are looking forward to more visit to Chimney Rock Park.
On the way to Charlotte, we saw a garden on the side of the road. We stopped to see what it was about. We stumbled across a gem- Lake Lure Flowering Bridge. A volunteer told us they were scheduled to tear the bridge down when a group got permission from the state to do this project. The beds were just planted this April and the project was completed with volunteers. The bridge is beautiful and worth a stroll if you are in the area. For fall, each bed had pumpkins decorated as people with different themes.
We went to Agape twice this fall, once with NC Homeschool Adventures and once with our church homeschool group. We love that place. We have been going ever year for years and years and we still have not run out of programs. When we went with the church group, the kids talked about the food chain, caught animals around the pond and evaluated three different ecosystems. With NCHSA, the kids learned all about trees, habitats and did tree identification. This is a great place for a hike or for a field trip.
The Hanna family and I had a two day field trip to Staunton, Va. We started with the Woodrow Wilson house. This is the home were he was born and the tour focus on what early life would have looked like in the home. We then went through the museum. They had a great scavenger hunt with four different levels. They were well put together and age appropriate. I highly recommend if you have kids. We then went to the Trinity Episcopal Church. This is a must see if you are in the area. It has beautiful breathe-taking stained glass windows including twelve from Tiffany Studios. I took a few photos but they do not do the place justice. The kids asked to go back to the church the next day. After the church, we went rode the free trolley. It is the public transportation for the town so it had colorful passengers. It is not guided so you don’t get the history of this beautiful town but you did get a nice overview and interesting ride.
The next morning we went to The Frontier Museum. The kids were excited because we rented golf carts. I am glad we ended up getting the carts because of time restraints. This is a very unique museum and I can’t wait to go back. It shows the home life of immigrants before they moved to the area and after. They have an African village, English cottage, Irish home, German home. They then have a Native American village and American homes. They do an excellent job of showing how the different cultures blended together in the pioneer home. They have guides in each home and tons of hands on activities for the house. We spent three hours and we fell in love with this place. I can’t wait to go back.
We had lunch on the grounds and then went to the Shakespeare Center for a tour. They have a reproduction of the Blackfriars Playhouse. It was informative and interesting and we are looking forward to going back for a show. The only disappointing part was we did not get to spend much time in the theatre and did not get to take photos. After the tour, we walked thru downtown. We stopped and went inside a beautiful bank. While we were looking at the architecture, one of the tellers called us over and showed the kids the new 100 dollar bill. Cobey knew all about it and she let him hold the bill for a photo. We then walked back to the church for a second visit.
NC Homeschool Adventures toured the garden and house of the Governor’s Mansion. The tour of the garden was interesting and showed us different areas of the grounds. The head gardener talked about the bee hives and bees. The kids were most interested in the hot peppers because Speaker Tillis had talked about how they were used to make salsa and hot sauce. Claire asked to take one of the peppers to Tillis that were suppose to be hotter than ghost peppers but the gardener would not let her. After the garden tour, we were split into four groups and taken into the house. The house tour was disappointing with little information and history. At least two of the four groups were disappointed in their tour guide but the house is beautiful and a must see.
The highlight of the day by far was the tour of the Hawkins-Hartness House which is the office of the Lt. Governor Dan Forest. Frances was our tour guide and she was a true blessing. She is a passionate and gifted story teller. She wove a story during the hour tour and kept the kids and adults interested throughout. At the end of the tour, she spoke truth into our children that is so rarely done but was greatly appreciated. We have been on hundreds of tours and she is one of the best guides we have ever head. What a blessing!
The last few years we have really started to enjoy the Lee County fair. The kids love getting the list each year and figuring out what they can enter and then they especially love going to see their ribbons. This year it was especially special for Claire to enter peppers that she grew with Pawpaw. Pawpaw wants to know where his earnings are. They love the rides and who couldn’t love fair food. I was excited to see Smokey this year since we will not be able to go to the State Fair. We had a tradition of taking a photo with Smokey. But I think what makes it fun is going with a bunch of friends and just spend time playing at the fair with friends. We have started a tradition of supporting a candidate also on the day we go by wearing t-shirts and hats. Last year we had Dan Forest Day at the fair who is now our Lt Governor . This year it was Team Tillis Day at the fair for Thom Tillis running for US Senate. Someone came up to me and said who are ya’ll supporting this year because I know they will win. Maybe they are right and that is another reason to love the Lee County Regional Fair because it has a little magic for candidates. We surely hope so. See you at the fair next year.
NC Homeschool Adventures went back to Tyron Palace. It is one of the few places the kids have begged to go back to. They really wanted to go back to the Pepsi Family Center which in the North Carolina History Center. They loved this interactive museum where you can make turpentine, sail a ship, cook and make a quilt. I was afraid they would be disappointed because they were now too old for it or they were remembering it more fondly than it was; but, we started out our visit their and they loved it. I did manage to tear them away for a delicious lunch at the cafe. We ate looking over the water and it was very nice. We then went and toured the Palace where we had a great tour guide. We toured one other house on the property and then back to the Pepsi Family Center. We ended up having dinner at Captain Ratty’s which is downtown New Bern and it was great. We had a great day and it was getting ready to be even better.
We arrived at out hotel the Hampton Inn in New Bern to discover we were the guest of the day. We had a special parking place, breakfast brought to our room and our name in lights. The kids loved it. We have stayed in lots of hotel rooms and it takes a lot to excite the kids now and that did it. What a great idea by that manager that really doesn’t cost them any money but makes a families day. Thumbs up to Hampton Inn of New Bern.
The next day we went to Shackleford Island. We had about a two hour tour of the island with Laura. She is so passionate about the horses and marine life that it is wonderful to learn from her. We got to see the horses up really close which was fun and Claire and Cobey got to snack on pickle grass which they had been talking about to all the kids. We spent another hour just hanging out on the beach and enjoying a great day. I really love it there and Laura makes it even better. When we got off the boat, we went to downtown Beaufort and had a great lunch at Clawson’s and then headed back home.
NC Homeschool Adventures had a tour of the Mordecai House and a trolley tour of downtown Raleigh. Our group went into the house first were we learned a lot about the family of lived there and about how people lived during the time period. We also learned that we had been saying the name wrong. Our tour guide was very informative and knowledgeable. We next went on the trolley ride. The trolley ride was a lot of fun where we learned a lot about the houses and people that lived there.. The kids learned that the prisoners made the bricks in front of the Governor’s mansion and that when they had finished a stack they would put their name on it. They kids remembered and the next week when we walked by the mansion the kids were looking for the names. There are several other houses on the grounds but you can not go into them. Great place to visit and highly recommend it.
On the way home, we stopped at Virginia Safari Park. It is a lot like Lazy 5 Ranch in North Carolina. I have done the wagon at Lazy 5 Ranch but not driven my car thru. The animals coming right up to the car made me a little nervous and there were times that I thought they would not never move out of the way. We had to roll up the windows at times to get them out of the car. Included in admission is a really nice guide of all the animals and information about them. Also included in the price is a part where you walk around and see some animal. In this area, they have a place where you can feed giraffes and birds. It was fun and everyone should drive thru a zoo at least once their life.
We meet some great friends at Six Flags of America. We had a free tickets through the Read to Succeed Program. I had never been to that six Flags but it was very similar to others I have been to. The kids only rode a few rides then they hit the water park for the majority of the day. It was great for the moms because we got to sit and relax while they enjoyed the water park. The park is not one of my favorites but we had a great day and you can’t beat free.