On The Trail

Homeschool Hiking

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Thomas, George, Grant & Lee plus the Blue Ridge Parkway

Last week we headed off to visit Virginia. Last summer Maddie asked if we could visit Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson. Brian did a lot of research and found a cabin for us at Bear Creek Lake State Park in Virginia. It was located in a central spot so we could also visit Appomattox Court House and the Blue Ridge Parkway as well as being a beautiful spot itself. The cabin had a great room, 2 bedrooms, a bathroom and a lovely wrap around porch.

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This was the view from the porch the first morning we were there. Isn’t it beautiful? The birds were making quite a racket! The night before we had taken a small walk down the path to the lake. We saw a pileated woodpecker, song sparrows and a Great Blue Heron catching a fish for his dinner!

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Monday morning we took a small hike around the lake. We were trying to identify trees and had fun checking out the other plants. We also saw a butterfly and several other insects.

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We used our field guides to identify the butterfly as a red spotted purple. It was really cool…..more on those later! Maddie was very busy with her camera throughout the week. We will put her photos in a post of her own!

In the afternoon we headed to Appomattox Court House National Historic Park. Here we learned, contrary to every class any of us ever took regarding the Civil War (including the history major!) that the surrender didn’t take place in a courthouse but in a private home. Court House in this case is 2 words and means the county seat not a building. We were struck here by the obvious respect Grant accorded Lee. He was given the larger desk and more comfortable chair. Maddie worked very hard on the Junior Ranger booklet. This was easily one of the hardest ones we’ve ever done but she did get it done! Her reward was a special junior ranger badge for the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, some cards with photos of the buildings on the site and a printing made on the old printing press that is a copy of the parole the Southern soldiers received.

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On Tuesday we spent the day at Monticello. We had a special behind the scenes tour. The tour lasted 2 hours and was very enjoyable. The guide was knowledgeable, cheerful and loved Maddie’s story of her first memory of Thomas Jefferson. We told her about it on the way to the kitchen. It was a book called Thomas Jefferson’s Feast and explained how much he enjoyed cooking and that he introduced macaroni and cheese to America. Of course, the more she learned about him the better she liked him until he became her favorite founding father. Our tour took us through the house everyone gets to see plus the upper floors where most people do not get to go. We couldn’t take photos in the house but we were able to take photos on the grounds. Maddie loved every minute of that and was very busy trying to get photos of the house without people around and got her macros lens out when we went around the garden. It was very hot that day…almost 90! We really enjoyed the house and grounds despite the heat. While we didn’t learn anything astounding and new, we did learn little bits that made Jefferson seem a little more real.

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On Wednesday we headed to the Blue Ridge Parkway. We spent time on a short section ending at Peaks of Otter Visitor Center. It was another beautiful day with temperatures in the 70s. We had great visibility at the overlooks and saw more butterflies than we could keep track of! Most of them were red spotted purples and tiger swallowtails. Maddie had her aquascope to check out some of the creeks. Maddie completed the Junior Ranger sheet for the James River visitor center earning a badge for the Blue Ridge Parkway and had a great conversation with the supervisor of rangers at the Peaks of Otter Visitor center. He told Maddie that he became a ranger because he couldn’t sit still in school and this let him be outside all the time. Maddie responded with “I know exactly what you mean!”. Maddie also told Brian and I later on how much she appreciates it when the rangers really check her work on the junior ranger book.

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Thursday we checked out of our cabin. When I made the last walk through I noticed a piece of paper on the desk in Maddie’s room and had to take a picture. I hope whoever checked our cabin and took the laundry enjoyed their note!


After checking out we headed to Mount Vernon.  The house was really neat and the farm had a unique 16 sided barn of George Washington’s own design. We also enjoyed the museum. They did not live up to Monticello however! The staff was not as cheerful and it was so much more crowded it was hard to think!

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We had a great time! Planning may be starting for next year’s trip, once again centered around a national park.On the way home we saw this group headed to Washington DC. Maddie and I particularly enjoyed seeing the one lady in riding her motorcycle in the middle of the men! Happy Memorial Day!




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Rangers, Owls and Shakespeare! What we’ve been up to!

Maddie finished her PASS test on Saturday morning. As a reward for completing it we headed up to the Saratoga National Historic Park to see a program with a wildlife rehabilitator. She brought raptors for everyone to see! Maddie was delighted and took many photos. They were so neat and some of the information the rehabilitator shared was so interesting. Did you know that the barred owl’s hearing is so good that he could hear everyone’s heart beating in the room? I couldn’t imagine the noise inside that poor owls head…the room was packed!

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screech owl                                                falcon


Maddie and the barred owl-her favorite!


Snowy owl named Oz. He immediately coughed up an owl pellet much to Maddie’s delight and several groans and “EEEEEUUUU”s from the audience.                                     .


Harry Potter display! Snowy Owl on the right and a European Eagle Owl on the left.


European Eagle Owl which is Draco Malfoy’s owl in the Harry Potter movies! Maddie got shots of him flying across the room to his perch!






Then we headed out to check out a used bookstore and have some dinner at The Farmer’s Daughter. I couldn’t resist this shot!


After that it was back to the park for a walk with the park naturalist. We were supposed to be seeing woodcocks but unfortunately we only heard them. Our big news of the night was spotting a Great Horned Owl sitting in a tree then flying across the field. We were thrilled. Unfortunately we weren’t able to get a good shot of the owl as it was too far away. We did try but really it looks like a blob in the tree! We did see a lot of other birds, heard a symphony of wood frogs and saw 3 deer.

Here are Maddie and Brian before the walk!


Here are some of Maddie’s photos. We were out in the park until 9pm so we got to watch the sun go down while waiting hopefully for a woodcock to “dance”.


Proof that Momma was indeed there!


Can you spy the bird in the tree? It was a yellow bellied sapsucker.


Maddie loves shots of trail or roads leading around the bend. At least they seem to show up often in her photos!


It was a beautiful night. We could see all the way to Vermont!

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The photos above were all taken by Maddie at the Barber’s Wheat Field stop while waiting patiently for the woodcocks to put in an appearance!

We got home late, very tired but happy despite the woodcocks staying hidden!

Tonight we celebrated Shakespeare’s birthday (well, maybe…a best guess is April 23 but we haven’t had time until now). Maddie made some signs to hang up for Daddy when he got home.

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I made shepard’s pie which was the closest thing I could think of that would be easy on a weeknight to make for the time period. It may not have been exactly the right thing but meat pie was at least in the area! I used my new favorite recipe for shepard’s pie from The How Can It Be Gluten Free? cookbook. We also read some questions about Shakespeare’s life and some quotes from the plays to determine what the meaning might be. So many of our phrases and words today come from his plays. We had fun with that! Especially since many of them had some very silly incorrect answers.


I also made cupcakes for dessert. The activity pack I purchased had the cards with questions, the poster and these cupcake wrappers among some other things.

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After dinner Maddie used her finger puppet theater to do parts of A Midsummer Night’s Dream for us. That was a lot of fun to watch!


(yup, I know she spelled his name wrong! We need to work on that I think!)

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I am quite please with how the Shakespeare unit turned out! Maddie is picking up the book by Charles and Mary Lamb to read the stories on her own now. She has read 2 of the plays using No Fear Shakespeare and liked them too. She is asking to read more of the plays so we will keep right on going! Brian was researching some of the plays that were made into movies so we can watch some too.

That has been our busy week! We are looking into more busy fun ahead!

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How is school going??

I just sent in our second quarter report to the school district. I really must say I hate writing those things! They sneak up on me even though I set the dates for the reports. The good part is that it makes Brian and I pause and take stock of where we are in the school year and where we wanted to go! We are always very ambitious in August then the reality of toddlers racing about sort of sets in and we end up scaling things back a bit.

Maddie has transitioned into sixth grade work very well. She is coming along with math, always a difficult subject! Brian is working with her on Life of Fred decimals and we are doing some extra work on word problems. I have also been giving her my change from the grocery store to count. If she counts it correctly she gets to keep it, if not then it stays with Momma. So far she has been getting it right! Its been the best way to practice counting up coins that we’ve come up with so far. Writing with Skill is moving along easier this year as well. Maddie has started viewing the writing assignments as challenges to tackle. We just finished reading some poetry and both of us agree that we love to discuss the meaning of the poem itself but please do not ask us about meter or how many “feet” a line has. Its not our thing at all!! We finished astronomy and started working on Earth Science. Maddie and Brian did a fun experiment with a slinky and a jump rope last week to learn about different types of earthquake waves. History, as always, rolls along with no problems at all. It is, after all, a story of the world and who we all are and Maddie is a girl who loves a good story. We will be doing a unit on the Civil War over the next semester. Maddie loves Spanish quite a bit more than Latin but is doing well with both languages. Logic is another favorite subject. During the election this fall she kept pointing out “red herrings” when politicians came to the front door! Its hard to believe we are half way through the year! Today I sat down to write plans for the week and check some work from Friday. I found this note and have to wonder why on earth I would give this up to someone else.


In other news Maddie had a lot of fun at a friend’s birthday sleepover. They did a “paint and sip” and made butterfly paintings.


She also made a fort to read in on one of the icy days here and I loved looking over and seeing her toes peek out!


This weekend was a full one! On Saturday we traveled up to Saratoga National Historic Park for the Frost Faire. We saw a cannon demonstration, Maddie did a colonial craft and we took a walk/hike which ended up being more of an exercise in staying upright on the ice!

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musket demonstration

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sledding next to the musket demonstration!


The fields were beautiful! The chickadees and tufted titmouse were everywhere! They moved too fast for photos though.

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Maddie’s photos

Something fun happened this time while Maddie was taking pictures of the cannon demonstration. A young woman also taking photos with a similar camera accidentally stepped in front of Maddie to get a shot. She heard Maddie’s camera click and was instantly apologetic, making sure that she didn’t get in the way of the shot. Maddie assured her it was fine but I could see the glow that came from an adult recognizing for once that Maddie was working too! That was wonderful. Maddie said “Usually adults look at me like “what are you doing with that camera kid?” so it was nice!”. Our thanks to whomever that was!!




smoke after the cannon was fired!










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Oh My Goodness! She is 11!

I am a bit late…well, maybe a month late with this post! Fall is always a very busy time at our house. Its our favorite time of year! Fall also means Maddie’s birthday followed closely by our anniversary. This year I suggested to Maddie that we do some special things with just one friend. Maddie was willing, her friend was able so that’s exactly what we did! We started off by heading to the Saratoga Battlefield to visit Maddie’s favorite Park Rangers and visit the encampment. We stopped at the visitor center for a while then headed off down the tour road to the American Camp. The girls were able to participate in a lesson in drilling with the drum! We also had a special scavenger hunt to complete so we were busy looking for clues.















Its hard to believe that she is 11! She was having a wonderful time with her new camera from Poppa Bill.


After that we moved on to the British Camp. Here we saw another Ranger friend and met with some interesting people!!





We saw black squirrels 2 times near the visitor center. I managed to catch this one but only just!

The next day we spent having cake and ice cream with all Maddie’s grandparents! On Monday, the actual birthday day, we went to the Adirondack Museum in Blue Mountain Lake. Unlike Maddie’s real birth day it was wet, cold and rainy! We didn’t let it stop us and had a good time checking out the different buildings and displays. We were very happy however to discover they had soup in the cafeteria to go along with our sandwiches from home!

This was taken at 11:30 when Maddie was officially 11! Apparently Momma needs to let those pants down again…we have a lot of sock showing!


The view from the fire tower



Maddie and Smokey!



I can’t help myself, I have to keep taking pictures of her holding that big camera! It looks so big her hands and she does a beautiful job with it.

An Exhibit on camping equipment through the years!

A packbasket picture for Poppa Bill!

Camping by the rich long ago…today we would call it “Glamping”
Flower press in the “Glamping” exhibit. Some of the things they used to take along on these “camping” trips astounded us! There was a pictures of Henry Ford with 2 other famous men. They went camping with something like 40 cars along to carry all the equipment! Phew!





Private Railway Car



We had a great weekend and lots of fun!! I’ll be posting Maddie’s photos in a separate post.

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3 National Parks, 1 House of John James Audubon and 1 Chocolate World in 3 days!

Our beginning of vacation plan was to take Maddie to Valley Forge. What actually happened was a 3 day whirlwind camping trip where we took in Valley Forge plus 2 other National Parks, the home of John James Audubon then came home via Hershey, PA! We had a lot of fun, got “turned around” numerous times and came home with lots of Junior Ranger experience, pins and other things!

We decided to stop at Morristown National Historic Park on our way to our campsite at French Creek State Park in PA to break up the trip. This turned out to be a HUGE National Park and one we will need to visit again soon. Maddie was able to complete the Junior Ranger program at the site despite our short time there. We were really impressed with the way she paid attention to the signage at this park as she worked on the packet. This park is actually a couple of places that string out in Morristown so once you stop at one place you need to get in your car and drive over regular highways to get to the next place. The Revolutionary Army camped here during the winter on more than one occasion. There was a lot about Washington, his officers and the regular army soldiers.




We made camp at French Creek State Park which was a wonderful spot. It was quiet, pretty and clean. Maddie discovered a trail off the back of our campsite obviously made by other kids and probably adults since it ended in a small clearing with a fire pit not made by rangers. Maddie loved that spot. It was a perfect place for playing Narnia or King Arthur which she did with abandon while we set up the tent and worked on dinner. Here are some of her photos with her new big hand me down camera from Poppa Bill of the campsite.



The next morning we were up and on our way to Valley Forge! Sort of….the directions were a bit muddled and combined with bad road signs (as in no road signs!) it took a bit of work to get us there but we did indeed make it!



Baldwin was along for the ride so he could report back to the rangers at the Saratoga National Park! We had some fun in the visitors center first and visited the gift shop to get an audio CD tour of the encampment and, of course, some junior ranger pins! There was a Junior Ranger program here as well. Maddie and I sat down in some benches to check what she would need to complete when we overheard a man next to us. He was in wonder that the revolution started before 1776. Maddie looked at me with big round eyes and said “What??” meaning she couldn’t believe an adult wouldn’t know that fact. Later, when we were out of earshot, Brian and I explained that we felt it was a failure of his education (meaning both parents and school) and that we are glad the National Parks are there to help him fill in the missing information. He was reading and paying attention so there isn’t much more we could ask of him! She agreed but was still amazed that someone who appeared to be not much older than her own parents was missing some vital historical facts. After the visitor center we set out on the tour road. The first stop was at the re-created soldier huts. There was an interpretive ranger working there dressed as a soldier. We talked to him about the huts and soldier’s life then asked about his job since I overheard the him tell the people ahead of us that he had been a ranger for 25 years! He talked to Maddie a bit about the job and how it would be hard but not impossible to get a position. He finished up by telling her he hoped she would make it because they need her!

Momma’s photos:



This photo is about 2 steps in from the one up top with Maddie taking her first photo of the day. Notice who is now carrying the bag and tripod! Lucky girl to have an attentive Daddy to help her out!




Maddie’s photos:






Then we went to the Washington Memorial Arch. Such good shots here!

Momma’s photos


Maddie’s photos





Washington’s Headquarters’s was the next stop. This was the house where he lived with Martha while planning strategy with his officers. Hamilton and Lafayette were here as well. We went into the train station first which gave some background about the house and the huts out back. Washington’s bodyguard, an elite force, stayed in these huts.
Momma’s photos






Maddie’s photos




We had a little bird watching there too! Can you find the goldfinches?



We also made a stop at the artillery park before moving on to the Washington Memorial Chapel.
Maddie’s photos



The chapel is beautiful. The stained glass is gorgeous and symbolism is everywhere. Maddie was enthralled with the entire thing! She was having some trouble focusing on her photography skills while trying to take it all in. The chapel is still an active church. I looked down the aisle and told Brian it was hard enough to walk down the aisle at our own church to get married…I can’t imagine walking down that one! Maddie thinks she could do it in a heartbeat…Brian and I told her to win the lottery if she wants that to happen!

Momma’s photos






Maddie’s photos








Looking out from the courtyard next to the chapel with the Washington Monument and flag in the distance


After that stop we went back to the visitor center to turn in Maddie’s Junior Ranger packet and get her badge. We learned a valuable lesson here as well! Usually they just check the packet, tell Maddie she did a great job and hand the badge over. This time a volunteer checked Maddie’s packet (an adorable grandmotherly type woman) and she asked one of the rangers to swear Maddie in as a Junior Ranger. Did Momma have her camera? No. Was Daddy with us? No, he was parked in front of the visitor center wondering what was taking us so long. So from now on, no matter how far away the darn parking lot is or how little time we think we have, we are parking the car and bringing the camera! Major fail on the parentals there… But Maddie loved it and I am thinking it will happen again at another spot. I hope!

We then went around the block and up the road (Pennsylvania has odd traffic patterns I have to say!) to the John James Audubon Home. On the way we passed Freedom’s Foundation and stopped for some pictures of the giant flag and flagpole and statues.
Maddie’s photos





Unfortunately the home of Audubon itself was not open on mondays but we were able to walk the grounds. It was very neat because we suddenly remembered we were in the same place he used to walk and enjoy the outdoors! Bird houses and feeders were everywhere. We heard many but only saw a few plus a woodchuck/groundhog and some deer. There were large black statues of birds as we entered too!

Momma’s photos









Maddie’s photos











The next day we made our way around the corner (really!) to the Hopewell Furnace National Historic Park. We meant to simply check it out and mark it off for later. The rangers talked us into walking through the village and allowing Maddie to complete the simpler of the 2 Junior Ranger booklets they had available. So we ended up being there for 1 1/2 hours. That is actually record time for our family in any type of National Park, Historical Monument or museum! We would love to go back there another time. It was very interesting! The furnace made iron which was then molded into cannon for the revolutionary war and stayed in operation making many items including the Hopewell Furnance line until the 1900s. Maddie got another badge and we were on our way to Hershey, PA!

We had a fun time in Hershey! Street lamps with hershey kiss tops, candy everywhere…who couldn’t have fun right? We spent some time in the gift shop area then we made our own desserts! This was a lot of fun. Maddie and I chose a cookie while Brian chose a cupcake then we headed over to the toppings bar to load up on frosting and candy to put on top of it. While we waited for the baked goods to arrive we got to play with edible paint. Yum!
All photos in Hershey by Momma!



















We also took the Chocolate Factory Tour which is not actually in the chocolate factory but a simulation. While it would’ve been interesting…there were singing cows. Loud singing cows. They drowned out the more interesting information we were trying to glean from the overview we were getting in our little car taking us through the exhibit so that was a bit disappointing. What was not disappointing however was the trolley tour through Hershey. We had excellent seats right in the front and an even better tour guide who truly loved Milton Hershey’s story and made it come alive. Did you know that Milton Hershey and his wife started a school for orphans and poor children? At the end of his life Milton signed over all his holdings in the Hershey company to the school and it is still active today! Any time you purchase a Hershey product part of the proceeds go to supporting the school and the children living there. A wonderful legacy to leave behind!













After leaving Hershey we headed back home….very late! We were tired but happy!! And we still have more vacation left! Yay!!!

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Maddie & Baldwin Visit FDR & Eleanor

After Maddie spent a day with the Rangers at The Saratoga Battlefield she wanted to go to another National Park. Brian and I gave her a list of close by National Historic Sites and Parks, told Maddie to pick one and research how much it would cost to get in, how much the gas would cost (Brian helped her out!), find a close by campsite and print out directions. Her eyes lit up and she was off to work!! She decided she would like to visit the home of FDR and Val-Kill the home of Eleanor Roosevelt.
She found a New York Campsite nearby called Mills-Norrie Campground. So we were off on Friday night for the adventure!

Unfortunately we do not have much good to say about the Mills-Norrie campground. There was a lot of 20-somethings creating a loud ruckus until well into Saturday morning without any supervision or oversight by the rangers/DEC staff like there has been in other campsites we’ve stayed. In fact it was so bad that we packed up Saturday when we got up and left the campsite. However Maddie and Baldwin had a good time for a while in the morning playing around with the camera and other things.





Brian had made a coffee run and saw some deer on his way out of the campsite. So when we left we did try to check out the Environmental Center where we saw some cool things like a snapping turtle in the window! The bird on a log is a cormorant. I honestly do not know what those plants were growing out of the mud but they were very cool. Don’t they look like something dinosaurs would eat?





Maddie’s photos!!


Then Brian drove the road a bit hoping to see the deer again and we were rewarded! First we saw the momma deer eating along the right side of the road. We were so concentrated on watching her we never looked left.


Maddie’s photos (from the backseat, through the windshield….)



We thought Momma was going to cross the road but instead she was calling her baby over! Imagine our surprise when suddenly a little baby was running across the road to get a drink of milk from Momma!!

Photos by Maddie…she got better shots than me!


photo by Momma this time…

Then it was on to the Home of FDR and his presidential library. This was interesting because it was the first presidential library ever created. FDR was born in this house and lived here until his death. He passed away while in office so much of what is in the home relates in some way to the presidency.
We took the tour of the house led by a National Park Ranger then did the self led tour of the library. Here we are walking up to FDR’s home.
From the porch we looked into FDR’s study where he gave some of his “Fireside Chats” and is also where the some of the Manhattan Project meetings were held. Unfortunately we looked through a window so pictures were not going to come out good and we were trying our best to keep up with the ranger! Once inside the home we were able to look around downstairs and see some of the many collections there. Our 2 favorite rooms were “the snuggery” and the library. I think I will start calling the living room the snuggery! Its such an excellent name. The library was filled with small chairs for children, board games, one of FDR’s wheelchairs (we discovered he purposely had them made from wooden dining chairs so no one would pay attention to it) and many books. One of the books, to Maddie’s delight, was The Burgess Bird Book for Children. I read from this book to the kids at snacktime quite often.

All pictures by Maddie!! You can see Baldwin was having quite a bit of fun..








We also went upstairs but didn’t take a lot of pictures. What was interesting is that Eleanor let the children have a couple things each from the house but otherwise left it as is for the National Park Service to take over so there are clothes in the closet that FDR wore himself and the direct line phone from his bedside to the White House is also still there. Eleanor moved her own things to Val-Kill and lived there until her death.

Maddie asked about the Junior Ranger program which turned out to actually be a Junior Secret Service Agent program! FDR liked to give the Secret Service quite a run for the money apparently. Eleanor would invite anyone she liked to come visit even people they just met! And FDR had a car specially outfitted so he could drive it with hand controls. We saw the car in the library along with some funny quotes by people like Winston Churchill and Queen Elizabeth (the Queen Mum) about riding in the car. Queen Elizabeth said it was rather terrifying and a relief to arrive at the picnic and most of the quotes were along that line! FDR would try to outrun the Secret Service in his car and since he was driving on his own property he could do it more often than not. So a lot of the questions in the book were about how to keep up with the president and keep him safe when everyone in the world was coming to dinner.
Maddie, Brian and Baldwin working on the booklet
We took a lot of pictures of Maddie and Baldwin by the signs!

On our way back to the library we stopped to see the gravesite in the garden.

There was a very interesting statue called “Break Free” in a small space called “Freedom Court”. This was given to the library from the artist and another was given to the Winston Churchill Library in Iowa(of all places…Iowa? doesn’t matter its now on Brian’s to do list!). The cause both men lead their countries to defend in World War II was overshadowed by the “Iron Curtain” (Churchill coined that phrase) coming down. The artist felt that people breaking free of that was a cause to celebrate in both places honoring these men. The statues are made from the Berlin Wall and I was so interested to see it. We had a long discussion with Maddie again about the Berlin Wall, Communism, The Cold War and Ronald Regan. I was surprised by how thick it was. I thought it was very slim all this time because I recall the people knocking it down with whatever they could get their hands on. It just seemed to me that it was probably much slimmer than it actually was!

Statue of Churchill…the sun was just too bright!

Then it was into the library. At the start there are letters from people to FDR when he was president and they included not only “Attaboy” letters (that in fact is all one said…Attaboy!) but also ones from people who were obviously not happy with FDR and his policies (I voted for you and I will always be ashamed of that vote considering what you have done. said one letter). My favorite one however was from a boy 8 years old who wrote to let the president know he was named for FDR and asking for a birthday present! It made me wonder if FDR sent something and what the boy’s parents thought if he did.
As we walked through the library told the story of FDR’s childhood and young adult years, explained a bit about polio and then took us through the Depression and World War II. In several spots there were places to listen to parts of the fireside chat set up like the kitchen or dining room of the time. FDR’s dog Fala was very important to him and he was all over the library as well. Madam President Madeline Grace gave her acceptance speech along with Baldwin.



photo by Maddie!

At the end was a set up of the map room in the White House during World War II. The table actually had interactive activities and when you picked up the phone FDR was talking.


On our way out we got some pictures of Maddie and Baldwin with FDR and Eleanor!

After that we had some lunch and headed out to Val-Kill.

This was a home Eleanor built as her own place. It was comfortable and simple which is what she wanted. There were bookshelves and photos everywhere so it rather felt like our house! Many famous people visited here as well as the FDR home. In fact those terrifying rides to the picnic often ended here at Val Kill. There were a lot of home movies to see and photos of some of those people there. Eleanor didn’t feel there was a lot of historic significance to the home despite all of this so there was nothing in her will to preserve the home. In the end 2 or 3 groups were able to save the building from being made into apartments and handed it over to the National Park Service in 1977. They are still working on locating items that were in the home and putting things back into place so sometimes there was an odd spot obviously crying out for a picture to be on the wall. They have records of what it looked like because the librarian at the FDR library sent a photographer to photo the home when Eleanor passed away. The best part of this home for me was the knitting….
I asked and was told that it is Eleanor’s knitting and her knitting bag. How it managed to stay like this all this time I cannot imagine. How neat to be able to see it though! I just wish I could’ve gotten closer…was it a sweater for a grandchild? And I couldn’t really read the crewelwork on the bag. Ah well…

Once done there we headed for home and, thankfully, a good night’s sleep! This morning Brian made camp breakfast of spam and eggs outside for Maddie.


Now its back to the real world of groceries and house cleaning!!!