Grand Adventure

This past summer we hitched up our trusty little Coleman Pop-up camper and headed west for a “Grand Adventure”.

All loaded and ready to go / Google Photos

We spent 16 days traveling and visited 3 National Parks with the camper. Our trip started in Smithtown, NY and headed first to Ohio to camp overnight at Barkcamp State Park.
It was a nice park but the facilities were a bit lacking.

First stop – Barkcamp State Park, OH / Google Photos

Glad we only stayed one night. Then it was up early the next morning to hit the road and make it to Cuba Missouri for our second stop.
We stayed at Meramac Valley Campground for two nights so we could do some sightseeing in St Louis.

Dinner at Meramac Valley Campground / Google Photos
Tour of the Budweiser Factory / Google Photos
St Louis Arch selfie / Google Photos

Then we were back on the road again. This time another long drive to make it to Amarillo, Texas where we stayed at a very nice state park called Palo Duro Canyon.

Stopping for dinner before Palo Duro Canyon State Park / Google Photos
Cadillac Ranch / Google Photos

After a single night at Palo Duro Canyon we hit the road again to drive to Sedona. I wish we could have stayed another day in Palo Duro, it was such a nice park.

We drove a good 10 hours to get to Sedona and stayed at Rancho Sedona RV Park. It was a very nice RV park and we all loved the amenities.
While we were in Sedona we did some hiking and then stopped at Slide Rock State Park and did some swimming in a VERY COLD river that had cut through the red rocks and made some natural slides. It was the highlight of our stay in Sedona.

Camping in Sedona / Google Photos

From Sedona we got back on the road for a short 3 hour drive up to the Grand Canyon. We stayed inside the park at Mather Campground which was pretty nice. The sites were good and the facilities were clean. It was amazing that we were so close to the actual canyon (5 minute drive) and yet you would have no idea that it was there.

We finally made it to the Grand Canyon! / Google Photos

When we arrived at Mather we had enough time to quickly set up camp and then we headed off to take a helicopter tour of the canyon. That was amazing! Everyone had a great time.

Taking off! / Google Photos
Flying high! / Google Photos
Views from the helicopter / Google Photos
Our helicopter / Google Photos

Then we spent another two days exploring the Grand Canyon. We had some great weather and took lots of photos.

Grand Canyon Selfie! / Google Photos
Family shot at the Grand Canyon / Google Photos
Family shot at the Grand Canyon / Google Photos
Relaxing at the campsite / Google Photos
Sunset at the Grand Canyon / Google Photos
Sunset at the Grand Canyon / Google Photos

After our 3 days at the Grand Canyon we packed up and headed up to Zion National Park. While at Zion we hiked the famous Angels Landing Trail. It was a tough 2.5 miles to the top where we stopped for lunch.

Zion National Park – Angels Landing Trail / Google Photos
Zion National Park – Angels Landing Trail / Google Photos

We only got a single day at Zion which was a shame, there seemed like so much to do there. Perhaps one day we will get the chance to go back.

From Zion we drove up and over the Continental Divide and into Rocky Mountain National Park where we stayed for two days in Glacier Basin Campground.
It was amazing the sights we saw, the animals and the scenery. I couldn’t get used to the elevation and how it affected everyone. Just the simplest thing would get you short of breath.

Rocky Mountain – Red Fox / Google Photos
Our campsite at RMNP / Google Photos
Hiking at Rocky Mountain National Park / Google Photos
Rocky Mountain – Elk / Google Photos
Highest Elevation – Rocky Mountain National Park / Google Photos

While in Colorado we took a quick trip down to Boulder to show the boys where we used to live and just check out Pearl St.

We had a great time seeing all the National Parks and camping in our little camper, but now we had to start heading home. It was a long drive and everyone was tired so we ended up spending our last two nights of the trip in hotels, we would drive as far as we could and then just pull off the highway to find a hotel.

It certainly was a “Grand Adventure”! Everyone will have great memories of the trip and we are already planning our next one!

City Sailing Trip

Yesterday we went into Manhattan to take a sailing tour on the Clipper City Tours boat. We visited the 9/11 memorial and walked around Battery Park. Then we finished off the evening with a nice sailboat ride around the Governors Island and past the Statue of Liberty. It was a very nice trip, we all had a great time. Here are some pictures of the trip.

Family Ski Trip

We just got back from a weekend ski trip into the Poconos in PA.  A friend of the family has a house out there that she let us use for the weekend.  It was just 10 minutes from Camel Back Mountain so we took the boys up to check out the skiing and see if we could all learn how to snowboard.  It was fun but being that it was a holiday weekend the place was really crowded. 

All of us took lessons to learn how to snowboard and we gave it a try.  I think Nick got the best lessons and certainly did the best out of all of us.  Overall we had a good time and will definitely want to go try snowboarding again soon.

Camp Yawgoog

Alex and I spent last week up in Rhode Island at a Boy Scout Camp called Camp Yawgoog. It was a great experience for the both of us. Alex got to work on some Merit Badges for Scouts and he got to enjoy the outdoors with his friends. The camp was really amazing, each scout troop had their own camp site with either tents or lean-to’s or a combination of both. The boys were assigned daily chores and responsibilities. For example one day Alex was in charge of cleaning the latrines for our troop. Another day he was the waiter at the table in the mess hall. The Merit Badges he worked on were, Environmental Science, Rifle Shooting, Small Boat Sailing and Fishing. Each day he had a to attend a class session for each badge and in some cases he actually had homework to do back at camp. One day he and I got to take a sailing dinghy out on the water to do some sailing. We both had a great time and can’t wait to get the chance to go back next year.

Happy Holidays

I hope everyone has a great Christmas and a Happy New Year!  We’ll be spending some time up at Newport between the holidays.  Paula and I really want to get to see some of the mansions decorated for Christmas.  Plus it will be nice to get away. 

Newport, RI at the Fo’c’sle

This Labor Day weekend we took a ride up to visit Loren and Peter at their house in Newport, RI. The house is aptly named “Fo’c’sle” and it was built in the 1800’s. It is within walking distance of the main area of town and all the shops and restaurants. It was really nice getting to see their house and spend time with Peter and Loren. We took a walk (4.93 miles) down along the cliff in front of the huge mansions. You can see the track here on Google Maps (Cliff Walk). On Sunday we spent the day driving around and seeing more of the island. We also visited Fort Adams and got to tour the inside of the fort. It was really amazing to see all the interesting defenses that were built. We even got to go down into tunnels under the fort that were used for listening for invaders trying to tunnel under the fort. And then on Monday we took a tour of the mansion called “The Breakers”, which was owned by the Vanderbilt’s.
We really had a great time and are looking forward to when we can go back again.

 

Montauk Trip

The family took a trip to Montauk for the day to see all the sights and to sort of celebrate Paula’s birthday.  We climbed the Montauk Point Lighthouse and spent some time on the beach.  It was a long day but everyone had a good time.

Washington DC trip

We spent the July 4th holiday vacationing in Washington D.C. We got to see a lot of sights and enjoyed learning about our Nation’s capital. We toured the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, and went to the top of the Washington Monument. We tried to get a tour of the White House but unfortunately you need to arrange that at least 6 months in advance. We watched the fireworks display visited all the Smithsonian museums. But my favorite part of the trip was when we went to Mount Vernon and got to tour General Washington’s residence.


Family Cruise Vacation

The entire family just returned from a nice cruise in the Caribbean. We left out of Port Liberty, NJ which is in Bayonne and spent nine days enjoying the warm weather and the activities on and off the ship. Our cruise ship was the Explorer of the Seas from Royal Caribbean Cruises and our first port was San Juan, Puerto Rico.
The first two days we were at sea which gave us time to explore the ship and take advantage of all it had to offer. It was amazing, they had a nine hole mini golf course, ice skating, a movie theater, a rock wall and of course four pools and just as many hot tubs. Alex and Nicholas really liked the ice skating rink. I enjoyed the rock climbing and the pools. Paula liked the hot tubs and the fitness center. So, basically there was something for everyone.
Our second port was St Thomas, USVI where we got to visit and swim with dolphins. It was so much fun to actually be up close with the dolphins. They gave us rides and we each got a kiss from them. Even Grandma, who is afraid to swim, got in on the act and got a ride too. It was something we all will remember fondly.
After St Thomas we headed to Samana in the Dominican Republic where we got to spend the day at the most beautiful beach, Cayo Levantado. The water was warm and the scenery was breathtaking. The whole family swam and snorkeled in the ocean. I found a huge star fish and brought it in to show everyone. I think that was one of the best days of the entire cruise.
The final port was Labadee, Hati which is a private resort that Royal Caribbean owns. The resort was nice and had lots to do, but we chose to just relax by the water and enjoy the sun.
The return trip home was another two days at sea. As the weather started getting cooler we spent more time inside on the ship, but that was OK because we already knew the best places to hang out and have fun.
We were sad to have to leave the cruising life behind and return to school and work but we’re already planning our next trip and have plenty to look forward to.

 

Metropolitan Museum of Art

Yesterday we visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It was a great day to spend in the museum and the whole family had a good time. I was amazed at how much there was to see, we didn’t even get through half of the place before it closed for the day. My favorite part was the American Wing with the Early American Architecture. We wandered through rooms that were actually taken out of period homes and reconstructed onsite at the museum.