30 October 2014

Trip to Massachusetts and Rhode Island

In our continuing effort to see as many of the sights in the North East United States as we can, Kent and I took a five day trip to see Massachusetts and Rhode Island. We were very fortunate that my sister and her family live outside of Boston, and they made our trip very comfortable and inexpensive

DAY ONE: Thursday, October 23rd --Lexington and Concord.
We landed in Boston at about 10:30am, and took a shuttle bus from the airport to the city of Wayland, where my sister-in-law, Jennifer, picked us up. She fed us a tasty lunch (she's a great cook and was working from home that day), then let us borrow their car. We drove to Lexington and Concord, which was about a 40 minute drive from Wayland. 
It was a very rainy day, but we were undeterred as we visited the historic sites and drove along the route of the beginning battles of the Revolutionary War.
Besides the Revolutionary War sites, the other place I wanted to see was the home of Louisa May Alcott. It was neat because the home has been left pretty much as it was when the Alcotts lived in it.

DAY TWO:  Friday, October 24th.--Newport, Rhode Island
When we were in New York in August touring the Vanderbilt Mansion, our tour guide mentioned that some of the best examples of mansions of the "Gilded Age" (from the late 1880's to the early 1900's) could be found in Newport, Rhode Island. I did a bit of research and discovered Newport was only about an hour and a half's drive from Wayland, MA.

So our second day on the trip was off to Newport. It was the off-season, so not as many of the mansions were open to the public as there are during the summer months. Our first stop was to go along the coast on a "Cliff Walk". It was a pretty walk and we saw many of the mansions from the back.
Most of the path was paved road, but there was a stretch where we were just climbing across some very large boulders.
We visited the largest and most famous mansion first. It was also owned by a Vanderbilt, and is called "The Breakers." It was a medium sized Vanderbilt Mansion--not as large as Biltmore, which is in North Carolina, and larger than the mansion we toured in New York.

We also toured Rose Cliff, which was owned by a Nevada silver heiress.
My second favorite mansion we toured was also owned by a member of the Vanderbilt family, and was called the "Marble House", since most of the interior was of European marble. It was as magnificent inside as any of the palaces in Europe we visited.
The last mansion we visited was called the Elms, and I don't remember too much about it. In all the homes were were given headsets to listen to with information about the home and the people who had built it.
Both Kent and I agreed that our day touring the Newport Mansions  was one of our favorite days of the whole trip.

DAY THREE: Saturday, October 25th-- Adams National park, Plymouth and Cape Cod

Since it was Saturday, my sister, Jill, who is a school teacher, had the day off and accompanied us on our trip to Quincy, MA to visit the Adams National Historic Park. She's lived in the Boston area many years and had never visited this national park.
We saw the birthplaces of both John Adams and John Quincy Adams, as well as the home below, which they built once they had come up in  the world. The other homes were pretty humble.
Our next stop was in Plymouth, where we stopped to see the National Monument to the Founding Fathers. I hadn't heard about this statue until earlier this year, when we were given a movie entitled "Monumental." It was built in the 1880's and was very impressive.
Of course we had to see Plymouth Rock, which I remember seeing when I was little girl and our family was traveling along the East coast.
It doesn't really look like much.

There was also  replica of the Mayflower, but we didn't go inside it. You can see it was a pretty nice day.
We ate some lobster rolls at a seafood place, but they weren't as good as the ones we'd had in Maine.
I'd wanted to go to the National Seashore at Cape Cod, but it was getting to be late afternoon and we didn't want to drive another hour just to say we'd been there, so instead we stopped in Hyannis.
There was a memorial park to John F. Kennedy in Hyannis, so we got out and walked around a bit, then went out to the beach and saw some of the sailboats.

DAY FOUR: Sunday, October 26th.--Salem and Boston Temple

Kent and I got up bright and early to attend Sacrament Meeting at 9:00am. We came home and changed, then drove to Salem to look around there.
Our first stop was the House of Seven Gables, made famous by Nathaniel Hawthorne's book,
It's amazing that these wooden homes have remained intact for hundreds of years.
Next we visited the Salem Maritime National Historic site.
There was a replica of a tall ship, and we were able to go on board and look around.
Afterwards we went to the National Park Service visitor's center and watched a film about the Salem Witch trials. We saw a memorial to the victims of the witch trials, and walked around the town a bit.
It was pretty crowded with people since it was so close to Halloween, but we weren't interested in most of the things going on, so we left.
On the way home from Salem we passed by the area where the Boston Temple is located, so we stopped in to take some pictures.
It reminded us of the Houston Temple, and they may have been built about the same time. There was a much better spirit at the temple than there was in the city of Salem!!

DAY FIVE: Monday, October 27th- City of Boston

Jennifer dropped us off near the subway on the outskirts of Boston on her way to work, and we took the subway to the area of Bunker Hill. That's where we started walking along the "Freedom Trail", to see the historic sites from the Revolutionary War.We took the water bus to get us from one part of Boston Harbor to the other side.
We toured Paul Revere's House.
 That's it behind us.
We also went to the Old North Church
Faneuil Hall is another historic gathering place in Boston.
This is what the inside looked like.
That's Benjamin Franklin on the statue behind us, but I can't remember what the building was.
Our last stop of the day was in the Boston Park where we saw the "Make Way for Ducklings" statue. I like that you can see Kent's shadow as he's taking my picture.
I saw this sign in the subway as we were getting on one of the trains, and thought it was cool.
The weather got better every day while we were in Massachusetts. That's why we left seeing Boston until our last day, since the forecast was for good weather and we knew we'd be doing lots of walking.

We flew out of Boston that evening and felt we had an awesome vacation and were reminded of lots of history that we probably learned about many years ago and have forgotten.

10 October 2014

Celebrating Makayla's 2nd Birthday on my Last Visit to Minot

In July I flew from Houston directly to Minot so I could be there in time to celebrate Makayla's 2nd birthday. The day I flew in we went on a family walk/bike ride. Daniel can ride by himself, but Makayla still needs some help to push her along.

Krystal had the idea to make a hot air balloon cake, and it turned out so cute!
 You can see from the pictures that Makayla was excited to have her birthday.
 Big brother Daniel helped her blow out the candles,

 but she had no problem eating the cake by herself!! Baby brother Adam slept through the party.
Another thing we did while I was there was to go to the Minot zoo.
 Adam was easy-going and enjoyed his ride through the zoo.
 Daniel and Makayla liked seeing the animals.

Here are some pictures we took before we went to church.
 Not sure why Daniel and Makayla are making faces in the photo below, which is why I put the photo above in to show them looking cute.
 These are such adorable and sweet children!
The kids LOVE to listen to books. The book I'm reading is one Makayla received for her birthday, and I must have read it to the kids about 20 times in the five days I was there.
 Here are Makayla and Daniel with the teddy bears their great-grandma Christensen made for them.
 Since the family would be moving soon, I took a picture of the whole family in from of the Minot Air Force Base sign.