The boys did an admirable job of walking all over the town of Newport, Rhode Island. We spent our morning hiking the Cliff Walk and imagining ourselves residing in the mansions along the way. We hopped over the rocks, traveled through tunnels, built (and knocked over) stacks of rocks, and watched crabs scuttle along. We walked over 3 miles, with Henry going the whole way and Elliot being carried for a good portion of the trail. We drove past the mansion-fronts afterward and headed home for a lunch of ice cream and pizza (because vacation).
We rode the ferry from Jamestown back over to Newport for dinner. The boat was packed like sardines because the majority was headed to the Newport Folk Festival at Fort Adams. Since we were not, we snagged a table without a wait at one of Cindy’s favorite places. We keep getting relegated to the corner with the kids, but I like it because it allows for more mischief (and this time a window-seat to people gaze). We capped off our day swimming in Cindy’s neighbor’s pool and hot tub, which was exceedingly kind of Joe. I love hot tubs (and so did the boys)!
A big driving day means saying goodbye to loved ones, but also saying hello to other people we love. Hen had been clamoring to hit up Black’s gift shop the ENTIRE time we were in Wolfeboro so we stopped on our way out. He and Elliot bought treasures: a set of rocks and a red car. The thrill was real, and they still have money to spend the last few days of our trip. We also stopped by the Yum Yum Shop because no one can leave Wolfeboro without first eating a gingerbread cookie from there. Happy to oblige, the kids chose ones with frosting, Keith ordered a gingerbread donut, and I ate a praline cookie (& the rest of El’s).
We had the brilliant plan to drop by Maine on our way to Rhode Island since none of us had ever gone, and we were so close we felt we just had to go. Our plans unexecuted; we didn’t make it to the art museum or the beach in Ogunquit, but we did eat a wonderful lunch and hang out at the library. We made the executive decision to return to Maine and do it up right the next go-around.
After being stuck in Massachusetts traffic for forever, we made it to my cousin Cindy’s home. The wild littles needed to run off their energy so we visited the best park – huge things to climb, a zip line, and tall slides – the kids loved it. And the adults spent so much time catching up that I forgot to take photos. Jamestown is beautiful (I feel like a broken record saying it so much on this trip, but it’s the truth!)
Lake Winnepesaukee’s majestic mountains surround it’s clear waters, which makes for a wonderfully peaceful boat ride across the lake. Except if you have two littles with you. Then it’s still mostly peaceful interspersed with loud kids singing/yelling the lyrics to their favorite songs while dancing on the life jacket bins. Or something like that. We hung out on the third level, and the cool breezes made everything better.
After nap time (especially for “the Bill”), we headed downtown to hear the band practice for its evening performance. The boys danced like no one was watching, except they knew some people were watching so they danced extra wild. My boys really bring everyone in their lives such joy. I know all parents say that, but there’s a light within mine that they can’t help but share it with the world. We ate delicious seafood for dinner (swordfish tacos that made me actually like swordfish, and all of the avocado Elliot could bum off of others). The evening’s magic permeated our hearts.
Elliot woke up this morning wanting to visit the Village Creeme Stand. Immediately. It tasted that amazing. Too bad it doesn’t open until 10am, or we’d be eating it for breakfast.
Our last morning in Bristol was delightfully spent doing the same things we did yesterday. We ate at Snaps, played in the town square (this time at its excellent playground), and visited with Tom and Claire at their home. Elliot and Henry fed the horse (bye bye Lil’ Sebastian) carrots.
Driving through the Green Mountains, Keith and I marveled at their heights and hidden wonders like waterfalls and walkways. We broke for lunch at Rollins State Park in New Hampshire. Henry called it “amazing” and thanked us for taking him to this park. He also said we should come here every time we visit New Hampshire.
We got back on the road, and swiftly made it to the Petersen’s home in the Waumbeck Woods. We love them, including their new puppy, Tucker. We headed to downtown Wolfeboro for dinner, but since there was a long wait we just had to have our dessert first (mom, you’d be so proud). Ice cream as a first course is always a good idea. The Mexican food we had afterwards was also delicious. Wolfeboro looks way different in the summer than the winter, which is the last time we visited. I love it now!
I’m officially chilly. On this rainy, grey day in Bristol, as we take refuge in the town square under the whitewashed gazebo, I feel like I’m in Gilmore Girls. And it’s wonderful. Of course, it would be so much better if the weather was clear, but temperatures in the 60s with a view of the fog rolling in over the mountains is beyond good enough.
We ate breakfast on Main Street at Snap’s and shopped at Art on Main and Recycled Reading. Both shops are packed full of items I want for ourselves. The first contains art created by Vermont artisans including pottery, jewelry, and paintings. I got us some hand printed designs from A Revolutionary Press to decorate our home. I seriously wanted to buy all of them, that’s how cool they were. The second shop was a mix of music store (guitars, ukes, and more), art shop, and bookstore. Its selection of kids’ items was particularly cultivated with LEGO books, picture books, small toys – really anything my kids may want on a rainy vacation day.
So we’re relaxing under the gazebo playing with our newfound treasures and listening to the rain fall. We walked here from cousin Kelly’s home where we are staying in her cute airbnb, and are headed to her mom’s house (cousin Claire) next. It’s delightful walking everywhere seeing robins hop about amidst the spruce and maple trees we never see in Florida.
We spent the remainder of our day being surrounded by cousins! We were taken out to lunch at the Village Creeme Stand, where the cheesesteak was close to Philadelphia standards, the onion rings melted in my mouth, and the kids loved their chicken nuggets and tenders. Cousin Claire’s home was full of beautiful collectibles, including antique toys for the boys to play with. Elliot loved feeding the little horse, Peppi, all the carrots. We rode with Claire on a tour of the Green Mountains, and ate even more at a cookout with a contingent of Wallace cousins (Tom, Claire, Kelly, Lance, Reese, and Piper).
The boys loved Reese so much, and started the day asking when they could see her. She walked with us back to the Village Creeme Stand for creemes. We now know that creemes are superior to soft serve, and maple ones are beyond amazing, especially when dipped. Now to figure out a way to bring some with us back to Florida.
I don’t normally take photos during church services, but apparently I do when I’m on vacation and with family friends.
More worship services should have blankets laid out picnic-style for families to sit together.
The kids took turns playing quietly and less than quietly with each other.
Sometimes a kid accidentally tosses a shoe and it hits a drum at a particularly important moment in time. Then, it becomes more impactful.
So. Many. Hugs.
Steve gave a baller sermon. Too bad my brain couldn’t focus up on all of it.
The anointed blessing made the service for me. Henry became part of the family unit of Cora and Belle, and Sarah joined Keith, Elliot, and Me. I felt at peace.
Having Keith sit with us made the service go so much more smoothly than when it’s just me.
Henry is great at unobtrusively getting a dessert sampler during coffee time.
Leaving much-loved friends may be he hardest thing a person can do, even knowing we will see them again in 6 months.
On the Road Thoughts
A pot of coffee does not equal a coffee bar.
E-“The trees are really still.” He wanted to hike longer, but for the bugs.
K is giddy driving though the Old Growth Forest. He keeps talking about the trees and the possibility of seeing animals like bears and moose. Being outside is where he’s most at home.
The plague of flies that attacked us in the woods ruined the view. And made me feel itchy for the rest of the car ride.
Kids fart noises (not real farts) are disgusting and distracting and must be stopped when confined in tight spaces.
I’m kinda in a complaining mood today. I think it stems from leaving the Meyers and being stuck in traffic and having the ride last over an hour longer than it should.
Maybe we should buy a lake house. In upstate New York. For vacations. The lakes are just that beautiful with the giant rocks cut by glaciers.
Entering Vermont, I can’t help but hum “America the Beautiful.” “Purple mountain majesties above the fruited plain” as far as the eye can see. Vermont is gorgeous, and I wish I had better pictures than ones from my car. Can’t wait to spend some time here.
Steve took responsibility for all 5 kids plus others for VBS at his church, Lutheran Church of the Reformation in Rochester. Such a nice surprise to find ourselves with 4 hours of free time downtown. We meandered to a cool coffee shop near Eastman School of Music. Our only goal in exploring the city was to visit the library, because we’d heard it was cool. And it totally was. We read about Stonewall in a clear and well-written exhibit, wandered around admiring the details, perused the bookstore, and read silently above the Genesee River. It was pretty perfect. Without knowing anything about it beforehand, we discovered we really liked downtown Rochester! We ate lunch with Carina and then picked up the wild ones for nap time/reading time.
Playtime and pool time finished up our day. I didn’t swim because I have Floridian standards (the water was just too dang cold for me!) The water should warm up tomorrow because the heat wave puts the temperature here as the same high as Seminole FL (93 degrees!). Where is the cooler weather we deserve for leaving Florida in July? Arriving soon, I hope, with summer rainstorms in the forecast.
When visiting upstate New York, one simply must view Niagara Falls, America’s First State Park. Since we were in the area, we made the trek there today and it mesmerized us all.
Everyone loved the Maid of the Mist! Donning our hot and sticky blue ponchos, we felt part of the waterfall as the mist (and outright splashes) tumbled over us, from a safe distance away. El knew when he had felt enough of the mist and was ready for a break. Henry kept laughing with gleeful delight every time the water splashed over us. We were on the fence about it prior to our trip, but I’m so glad we decided to ride.
Both the Horseshoe Falls and American Falls were bigger than I expected since my encounters with waterfalls primarily stem from trips to North Carolina and Colorado. I can’t imagine anyone wanting to go over them in a barrel. We walked to the Canadian side for a better view and a quick stroll along the Niagara River and Rainbow Gardens across the street. Henry was the first of us to cross the border! By mid-afternoon we were all done with touring the falls and tried to squeeze in one last family picture – it turned out exactly as it should.
After getting sandwiches for dinner from the local Amish store, we headed to simultaneous youth soccer games where kids ran amok in the best way in the sidelines while kids played soccer on the field. I assume they did anyway, because I practiced outdoor Body Flow under the trees. We finished our long, fun day with ice cream from Lugia’s. With sizes ridiculous, the flavors innumerable, and laughter constant, we joyfully wrapped up our night.
Four years ago, the Hen and I were flying together to see his Tía Nesa in DC for his first visit to the Capitol. So it’s fitting that we said goodbye to the Brownes this morning as we head north on our adventure. El was inconsolable at Vanesa leaving for work; he may have thought he was going to work with her to be a Boss Baby and that we were staying longer. Next time, little one.
Continuing the day of seeing Godparents and Godchildren, we briefly stopped by the Costa’s house on our way out of DC, even though we’ll be seeing them again in a week and a half. Totally worth it for the hugs and the kids to see/play with each other.
We got back on the road and drove until lunchtime where we stopped at Kidsgrove Park (247 W Sassafras St) in Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania. A wooden fortress of a playground, it had ladder tires, a wooden train, tunnels, turrets, and swings! Sadly, we didn’t have all day to play or else I think the boys would have tried. We ate lunch at the adjacent Major Anthony Selins Park (241 W Sassafras St), which had a small colorful playground and a shaded pavilion. Keith took a walk in it’s tree museum, kidnapping the Doritos and having a peaceful time up in a tree.
Several hours later, we made it to the Meyer’s house and it’s just so wonderful! Too fantastic to remember to take pictures. I’ll be sure to take plenty in the next few days while we’re here.