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Posts Tagged ‘Fun Family Trips with Kids’

We visited the Herkimer Diamond Mines in Herkimer, New York last summer. Herkimer Diamonds are quartz crystals.  For $26 ($10 for adults & $8 for kids) we spent hours with our hammers cracking rocks and we found many “diamonds”.  The boys had so much fun getting dusty and looking for hidden treasures.  There is also a campground, museum, and a restaurant adjacent to the mines.  This was a fun day trip or it could be an add-on to a weekend visit to Cooperstown National Baseball Hall of Fame.  If you are ever in the area, I highly recommend making the visit.  Don’t be surprised if your kids leave saying they want to be a geologist when they grow up!

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Anyone who has read The House of  Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne would enjoy touring the house that inspired his gothic novel.  The house, one time owned by Hawthorne’s cousin Susanna Ingersol is in Salem, Massachusetts.  It is said that childhood stories from his cousin inspired him to write the famous novel, but he was adamant about the novel being a work of fiction.

We toured the house  which was led by a professional guide.  The best part was the secret staircase.  Another place to visit on this national historic site was the house that Hawthorne was born.  The house was originally on Union street, a few blocks away but was moved in 1958. The seaside garden is another spectacular feature.

Nathaniel Hawthorne's home

If you visit during October make sure you see  the live performances are the Spirits of the Gables which brings Hawthorne’s novel alive.  Make sure you make reservations because this is a busy time which coincides with Salem’s Haunted Happenings.

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On Memorial Day weekend last year, we headed to Gettysburg since my son was learning about the Civil War in school.  This was such a fun weekend!  We started at the Gettysburg Museum and Visitor Center.  We purchased the Gettysburg value ticket which included a licensed battlefield guide bus tour and the cyclorama, film and museum.  We decided to also add-on a tour of the Eisenhower National Historic Site which was the President Eisenhower’s only house he ever owed and was his temporary white house and weekend retreat.

President Eisenhower’s Home

We spent about two hours in the museum.  Their were twelve galleries and many of the exhibits had interactive stations and videos that made it fun for the boys.  There was a collection of artifacts that gave us a glimpse into the days of  from  President Lincoln, and the Confederate President, Jefferson Davis.  In addition there was a wealth of information in the exhibits that focused  on George Gordon Meade and Robert E. Lee and their soldiers.

The Cyclorama was amazing.  It was a circular oil painting portraying  the charge of Confederate infantry led by Gen. George Pickett on July 3, 1863 during the Battle of Gettysburg.

There were several options to tour the battlefield, but I am so glad we chose the bus tour.  Our guide was great and we made several stops where we were able to step out and check out areas of the battlefield like Little Round top and where “Pickett’s Charge” took place.  We also enjoyed learning about the many monuments that were throughout the battlefield.

After we finished with the tours, we headed into the town of Gettysburg where we checked out the Gettysburg Lincoln Railroad station.  After we toured The David Willis house which was where Abraham Lincoln stayed before delivering his most famous speech. We ended our trip by visiting the National Cemetery where Lincoln delivered The Gettysburg address.

 

 

Visiting Gettysburg is one of my favorite trips I have made with my son.  I recommend that if you visit that you purchase tickets on-line for the tours and plan on spending a full weekend because there is so much to do.  The town is filled with many shops on Main Street and great places to eat and additional tours.  Have fun learning the history of this great town that was transformed during the Civil War battle.

 

 

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