Junior Historians Exhibit at NC History Museum

Posted by Carmen Ledford on Wednesday Jul 18, 2012 Under Claire, Cobey, Homeschool, Kid's Corner, NC History, North Carolina

On Sunday we took Grandma, Pawpaw, and Uncle Jeff to see Claire’s art piece at the North Carolina Museum of Art.  Claire also showed us her favorite gallery and her favorite piece of art.  Then we headed downtown to the North Carolina Museum of History. We wanted to see Cobey’s two contest winners from NC Junior Historians. He had won two first places in the photography category. This exhibit was so impressive and more than we expected. We now understood why it took so long to put together. It was not just projects laying on the tables but it was professionally put together. Cobey’s photos were a printed part of the exhibit.  You could see some projects on computers and others were in glass cases.  After we checked out the  exhibit, we had a nice lunch at Pharaoh’s at the museum. Between all of us we had hotdogs, Cuban sandwich, hamburger,  and salad. Everyone enjoyed their food and  it was priced reasonably. We then went through The Story of North Carolina exhibit. It is a great  exhibit with hands-on parts for the kids. There are plenty of things they can touch that kept them interested. It is a well-put together exhibit that makes you feel you are traveling thru NC history. We then went to the Call to Arms exhibit because Cobey was very interested in that.  The last stop was across the mall to the new wing of the Museum of Natural Sciences. We thought it was way to crowded and decided to come back on a weekday when it would less so. If you have not been downtown to the museums lately, then you should take the time to check them out.

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Carl Sandburg National Park

Posted by Carmen Ledford on Monday Jul 16, 2012 Under Claire, Cobey, Homeschool, Kid's Corner, National Parks, NC History, North Carolina

After we picked up Cobey from Camp Arrowhead  and got a quick bite to eat, we headed a very short ride to Carl Sandburg National Park. All I knew about Carl Sandburg was that he was a famous American Poet but you know we never drive pass a National Park unless we have to. The parking lot was full when we got there but the park did not seem too busy.  You have to take a short hike up to the house and the vistors center which is in the bottom of the house.  We bought tickets for the next tour and got Junior Ranger books. The books are really simple and they did all the activities to get a badge and a patch.  The house is not particular impressive but interesting. It gives a great glimpse into the life of Carl Sandburg and his wife Lillian Steichen.

The first thing we learned was he was a socialist. Glad, I did not know that before.  I really loved the story about not getting into West Point because he failed his entrance exam in grammar.  Despite his failure in passing grammar, he becomes a very successful accomplished writer. I  love stories of overcoming obstacles and not giving up. His wife was very famous in the world of goat breeding. She breed a goat named Jennifer that produced 3 gallons of milk per day. That was a world record that stood for many years. Most of the things in the house are originals. You could almost see him working at his desk.After we had the house tour, we went into another building and had a talk on how to make goat cheese. Claire enjoyed tasting the cheese and liked it. We also visited the barn where we saw goats and an exhibit on processing goat milk.  The kids turned in their books and then we headed home.

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Greensboro Historical Museum

Posted by Carmen Ledford on Tuesday Mar 6, 2012 Under Claire, Cobey, Kid's Corner, NC History, Travel


We had a great time today at the Greensboro Historical Museum. We took a trip to Greensboro around 1900, and visit the Porter School, the Richardson & Fariss Drug Store, Steam Fire Engine Company No.1, Hotel Clegg and the Crystal Theatre. In the school, we learned what life was like in a one room schoolhouse and got to practice on a slate. In the Drug Store, we learned about formulas that the pharmacist would come up with it. In the Fire Station, we learned about the fire station in the early 1900s and got to practice a bucket brigade. In the hotel, we learned about the hotel and about how the phone system worked during that time. In the Crystal Theatre, we watched old movies which was interesting for the kids. This was an awesome hands-on program. It added so much to the museum experience. I highly recommend it to any group. After the program, we walked through the rest of the museum and then headed out.


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Oak Island Lighthouse

Posted by Carmen Ledford on Wednesday Jan 11, 2012 Under Cobey, Homeschool, Kid's Corner, NC History, North Carolina, Travel

We are spending the week at Oak Island. The two weekends are for moms only and the during the week is with the kids. Yesterday, the older kids went to climb the Oak Island Lighthouse. There was an age restriction so I was planning on staying at the house with Claire but a friend volunteered to watch all the little guys. They also convinced me that the lighthouse was a short one. When I drove up, I realized they lied. It was a pretty tall lighthouse. And that was not going to be the ONLY problem.We went into the first landing where we  saw not a nice spiral staircase but a series of ship ladders. That is when it got scary. She told us that 1 out of 10 did not make it to the top. I can understand why because it is intimating.

I was had thoughts myself. Our host gave us a brief history of the lighthouse and then guided us to the top. It is 160 feet above the water and it is 131 steps to the top. That is ladder steps not stair steps by the way. It was completed in 1958 for 110,000. It use to be the second brightest lighthouse in the world but they have since changed the bulbs twice and is no longer the second brightest. We had two that decided not to climb and several that were nervous about climbing including myself. The rest of us made it to the top and back down. I really felt like I had accomplished something when I finished.  We conquered our fear and the ladders. The view is great from top and would have been much better if we had a clear sky. I don’t think I will go and find out. If you have not climbed the Oak Island Lighthouse, put it on your bucket list. You have to be seven to enter the lighthouse and nine to climb. All the moms said they would not question age restrictions again. You have to make an apt during off season to make the climb. During summer season they have tours on Wednesdays and Saturdays. You can find more information about tours and the history of the lighthouse at  http://oakislandlighthouse.org.


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Bennett Place

Posted by Carmen Ledford on Monday Nov 7, 2011 Under Civil War Sites, Claire, Cobey, Homeschool, Kid's Corner, NC History, Travel, Uncategorized

Last week, we took a field trip to Bennett Place in Durham. This is the site of the largest surrender of troops during the Civil War. I really did not know much about the site and had never been. We started out looking at the small visitor center and then watching the movie. The movie was gave a great background of what was going on during the time period and the significance of the site. We then took a tour of the site where they have rebuilt the home, kitchen and smokehouse that once stood there. The tour was mostly about how the family would have lived during that time. The last part of our visit was when a Civil War solider taught the children how to march. I have never seen that group stand so straight and be so quite. The parents decided they all need military school. The solider showed the kids how to load and shot a musket to end his part. The field trip was free and very well put together. It is an interesting part of NC history and recommend you check it out.


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The kids and I had an awesome day today in New Bern. We spent eight hours at Tryon Palace and could have spent more.  The only complaint was it was a little unclear where to go. We parked near the Governor’s Palace parking lot and then after trial and error found the Visitor Center. It would have been better to have parked at the parking lot at the Visitor Center. There is not a sign and it is not on the website but they do have a AAA discount so ask. Even without the discount the price is reasonable for what you get.

We started with the orientation film and honestly I can’t remember much about it. I usually say always start with the film but in this case maybe not. We then took photos at the picture booth which is really cool. You can change the background and then e-mail the photos to yourself. The kids could have spent lot of time here but we made them move on. I am a little worried because I have not gotten an e-mail yet. We next went into the Regional History Museum. I really like this museum. It had lots of exhibits where you could press a button and they would tell you a story about different people. The kids loved where you could design your own store sign.

The next stop was the Pepsi Family Center. This was the kids favorite part and ended up spending hours here.  You went into a time machine that took you back in time to 1834. When you got out of the time machine you went to town square where the mayor addressed you and told you about jobs you needed to do. You could be hands on a ship, work at printing press, work in a store, help cook a recipe by finding ingredients, make quilt squares or make turpentine. It was hands-on interactive and the kids loved it!

Yes, we did get to the Governor’s Palace which is what we came for. We had a guided tour of the house where the guide did a great job of telling about the history of the palace and about life during the time period. We also went to the stables and thru part of the gardens. I found Claire praying by the foundation and I had to take this photo. The kitchen was separate and there were guides in this two story building to give you more information and answer questions. There are also two houses that you get to see- the Dixon House and the Stanley House. They say they are not guided tours but they do have staff in the homes to tell you a little about the house. One house is a Federal style and the other is Georgian so it is nice to see the difference in styles.

We took a break for lunch and went to the Cow Cafe. They have a kids menu, sandwiches, and salads. It is a cute atmosphere with a cow motif . It is very reasonably priced and the food was good. I had a salad. Cobey devoured a hot dog and Claire had macaroni and cheese. They are famous for their ice cream which if you are lucky enough you can watch them make. I had pumpkin pie ice cream and it was wonderful. It is nothing fancy but a fun place to go with the kids for lunch.

After lunch and more time at the Pepsi Family Center, we found a few more bears to take photos of. Claire wants to come back and find all the bears in town and take photos. If I had to do it over, I would have spent two days in New Bern and paid for the two days Tyron Palace pass. (It is not much more.) If you don’t have kid’s the right age for the Pepsi Family Museum which I would say 6-11, then you could do it in a day. I would like to try the navigator which comes with the two day pass if we make it back. It is a great trip if you are doing NC History or Revolutionary History .



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Duke Homestead

Posted by Carmen Ledford on Wednesday Sep 21, 2011 Under Claire, Cobey, Homeschool, Kid's Corner, NC History, North Carolina, Travel

Last week our field trip was to Duke Homestead. It is very close to downtown Durham which was unexpected. I also did not expect to learn that Mr. Washington Duke did not grow tobacco long and made his money from manufacturing. When we arrived we had a few minutes to look around the museum. Some of the interactive exhibits  were not working properly but the museum had some interesting exhibits. I liked the large collection of spittoons in a great variety. There was also a movie in the visitor center which we did not see.

We then had a guided tour  of the outbuildings and house which I found interesting.  In the warehouse, we got to see how they manufactured the tobacco into products.  We learned how Mr. Duke made his millions which was later endowed to Duke University. The house is small but an example of houses in the time period.

The highlight of the trip was when the kids got to play town ball which is an early form of baseball. After the game, they compared town ball to baseball and analyzed why they would have made the changes.  It was a fun game and I think it will be what they remember most about the trip.


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