Vanderbilt Home, Home of FDR and West Point

Posted by Carmen Ledford on Thursday Jun 30, 2011 Under Claire, Cobey, Homeschool, Kid's Corner, National Parks, Travel

We started to make our way home today. It was going to be rough drive with a hurt shoulder and the radio/CD player broken. Fortunately, after a few hours and prayers I fixed the radio. Cobey was ready to just drive home but I had one surprise left and he changed his mind.  He has been wanting to go to West Point since we went to the Douglas MacArthur Memorial.  I thought he would like a tour.

The first stop we made was the Vanderbilt home in Hyde Park, New York. We had been to two other Vanderbilt homes in Newport, RI so the kids were interested in the family. This mansion is a National Park. It is the first National Park that we have been to that did not have a Junior Ranger program. We had a tour of the house and our guide was very knowledgable and interesting. This was a country estate and was the smallest and least luxurious of the Vanderbilt houses you can tour. I think it was still impressive but it the Breakers and Marble House in Newport were more lavish. And the Biltmore home makes it look like a cottage.

Our next stop was the FDR home, also a National Park and in Hyde Park. This park did have a Junior Ranger program but instead of becoming Junior Rangers they become Secret Service Agents. The program is very good and with the slant of what it takes to be a secret service agent. They earned stars instead the ranger badges.  We had a great guided tour of the grounds and the home. The kids learned a lot about the president. I did have to re-educate them on a few things. The talk was very skewed in how great of a president he was. We then went thru the Presidential Library and Museum. It has some great displays. The kids loved the oval office, the secret map room and his car.  There is also Eleanor Roosevelt’s  home as a National Park in the area.  You could easily spend a day in this area.

The last stop was a tour of West Point. They only take cash for the tour so plan according. (I was getting low for tolls.) You purchase tickets at the West Point visitor center. The tour was great and I highly recommend even if you are not that interested in West Point. It gave some great history and information. This was our last guided tour of the trip. We had lots of guided tours during this trip and all of them had excellent guides. There was not one dud or annoying guide. Cobey liked the story about Paton being a bad student and his excuse being he could not find the library. They now have his statue outside of the library. The campus is absolutely beautiful and has an amazing view of the Hudson

West Point also have a museum there which we did not have time to go to before it closed. We then headed south and made it to Baltimore.

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Rainy Day At Old Sturbridge and Six Flags

Posted by Carmen Ledford on Wednesday Jun 22, 2011 Under Claire, Cobey, Homeschool, Kid's Corner, Travel

Let’s just start off by saying, I have had better days. I slept terrible last night. The hotel just plain gave me the creeps and  the A/C was so loud that every time it kicked on it woke me up. I also spent half the night trying to find a new hotel for tonight. Today, it rained steady all day. I just got home to post this and discovered NO CARD in the camera so NO PHOTOS for today. I went to lots of effort keeping the camera dry today for nothing. I am about to have a breakdown but before I do I need to go back out in the rain and get a brush because somehow it did not make it in the room.

I am back and I am trying to remain calm. My friend Cindy suggest that I go back and do the day all over. Since that can not happen, I am searching the internet for enough photos so that I can at least create a page for their storybooks. I have found a few so maybe all is not lost but it is not the same.

Our first stop today was Old Sturbridge which is a post revolutionary make believe village. They have collected buildings all over New England and brought them there to showcase what a village would have look like. It worked out well that we did Plymouth yesterday and then this village today. The kids could really see the progress that had been made over the years.  One of the  first thing we did was ride the stagecoach which was a bumpy ride indeed. The village is different than Old Salem and Williamsburg. I think it is more interactive those places.  We saw the bank, the carding mill, the barn with a five day calf, the grist mill, the cobbler shop, the saw mill, the shoemaker, the general store, the tin shop, the tavern, the law office, the meeting house, several homes and more. (I took photos at all of them.) The last place we went was a great little area where the kids can dress up in period clothes and pretend. Cobey did a great job running the General Store and Claire was in the house cooking.

After lunch at Friendly’s, we headed for Six Flags New England. We arrived there around three and stayed till seven. The great thing about the rain was there were no lines. They started off in the little kids section and worked their way up. They rode the ride pictured to the left – ten times! It is the Pandemonium and I did not ride even once. The roller coaster cars turn around 360 degrees during the ride and the ride is fast. I did ride Flashback with Cobey once which I did regret. It had loops and Claire would have ridden if they would have let her. She is great at an amusement park now because she loves every ride no matter how small or how big. Despite the steady rain all day, the kids had a fun time. But overall, I think we liked Busch Gardens better last summer.

Tonight’s hotel is much better. I have fixed my camera so that I can’t take photos without a card. I am hoping for a great night sleep and a better tomorrow.

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