Tag Archives: CT

Four Foto Friday – End of the Road

The big news this week: we’re home! Arrived back in Connecticut on Wednesday after several days of travel through upstate New York. For 22 years, I grew up in  this region, so in many ways, it was a stroll down memory lane. I really loved sharing these places with Jen and the boys, who heard plenty of old stories along the way. It was great final leg to our historic Gold Family Road Trip!

Midvale Road – Home for 20+ years!

Vestal, NY: Our first stop was in my hometown of Vestal. For Jen and I, this was our second visit since my parents moved in 1992, but for Miles and Owen it was their first. Needless to say, we attempted to squeeze in as much as possible. Food was a top priority, and we savored the fine flavors of Little Venice and Mario’s Pizza. We also caught up with a couple of old friends, including longtime next door neighbor Eric G. It was great to see him and his three girls. Touring the neighborhood, we saw the house in which I grew up, former schools, the houses of old friends, the JCC and temple, sports fields, locations of past jobs, and many other storied places from my youth. I even dragged us all through the woods in search of the old tree fort (which has gone to the ages). Overall, it was a very nostalgic visit that brought back great memories. Our tour of America just wouldn’t be complete without a stop in Vestal!

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Owen and Jackie Robinson

Cooperstown, NY: By Monday, we were on our way to Cooperstown. This quaint, lakeside town has so much to offer: scenic farms, old homes, and a vibrant arts community. Our main interest, however, was the Baseball Hall of Fame, where we enjoyed the historic glimpse into our nation’s pastime. They had good exhibits on important figures like Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, and many top players from each of the teams. The Hall of Records was especially interesting, seeing the different ways in which leaders of the sport have achieved their fame. We ended the day with some classic viewing: Abbot and Costello’s Who’s on First and the terrific movie, A League of Their Own. The Hall of Fame got us excited for all things baseball; hopefully we can catch a game or two this summer.

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Miles mining for Herkimer Diamonds

Clinton and Herkimer, NY: On Tuesday, we traveled to my alma mater, Hamilton College in Clinton, NY. It was great to be back again and share this part of my life with Jen and the boys. The campus looked great, with several new buildings and senior students enjoying their last week before graduation. Like Vestal, there was plenty of nostalgia at every turn; fond memories of my time on the Hill (Go Blue!).

Our last stop in New York was the town of Herkimer, which is famous for a unique rock, the Herkimer Diamond. Actually a type of quartz, the Herkimer is the so clear, hard, well-faceted, and sparkly, that it’s valued amongst jewelers and collectors. Mining for Herkimer diamonds was great fun; we attacked the rock ledges with sledge hammers and pick axes in hopes of discovering the next mother lode. The boys kept it up for about an hour, until they were exhausted and learned the simpler method of sifting through the dirt to find stones which has already been dislodged. In all, we came away with several small Herkimers and other cool pieces of crystalized rock. I found the whole experience to be a metaphor for our trip… hard work and a slog at times, but great fun, good memories, and several nice jewels to take home.

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We made it! Whoo-hoo!!

West Hartford, CT: Yes, there’s nothing better than arriving home after a long trip. As much as we loved being on the road, and there are many things we’ll miss about this year of travel and togetherness, it sure is great to be back. Our return to the neighborhood has seen a few friends and family, with more to come this holiday weekend. The RV and truck are back in the driveway, with “For Sale” signs on both coming (please send us any leads!). It’ll be hard to say goodbye to Jake Jr. (the truck) and Harvey (the RV), but they’ve served us well and gotten us home safely. For now, we’re appreciating the comforts of home: soft beds, full-sized bathrooms, free laundry, good wifi, a regular kitchen, and the space of a real house. we’ve reunited with Little Grey Kitty (thanks, David and Marna, for taking care of her!) and are happy to just sit back, relax, and declare, “mission accomplished!”.

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This may be our last Four Foto Friday, but the blogs will continue for a few more weeks. Our “school” will wrap up with a bit of reflection, final projects, more books and movies, and a trip to New York City (without the RV). Please stay tuned for more postings and photos. And, as aways, thanks for following us on this great American journey.

Four Foto Friday – Hitting the Road

This past week took a lot of energy… unpacking our shipment from China, getting our home ready for the house-sitters, gearing up with supplies for our first big trip, and learning all that we could about the new RV. That said, we enjoyed a great Labor Day weekend at the Goshen Fair. We’re also looking forward to this coming weekend, as we made it (today) up to Acadia National Park in Maine. Stay posted for more pics from Acadia. Here are four from this past week: Jen and chicken Goshen Fair: This is an annual event for Jen’s family. The agricultural fair in beautiful Litchfield County is a Connecticut tradition that we’ve truly missed each year while overseas. The fair itself is a throwback to much simpler times, when swine judging, tractor pulls, log rolling, and carnival rides all made for a memorable day. I have so many great photos of Jen to choose from – beating Miles in Whack-a-Mole, grinning ear to ear with a steaming bag of fresh apple fritters, competing against a field of much larger women in the “skillet toss” event – it’s too bad I have to pick just one. But this one really captures Jen’s enthusiasm for everything at the Goshen fair, even the chickens. Truth be told, they were pretty amazing chickens.

Hit the Road Thursday, Sept 4: The official start of Gold Family Road Trip. As you can see, the RV is loaded, the truck is hitched up, and the Golds are ready to go. There’s an air of excitement, but also apprehension about driving such a formidable beast. This was taken just seconds before our departure. So glad to finally be hitting the road!

Welcome to MaineWelcome to Maine: Our first drive took about 4 hours and ended at this campground in Old Orchard Beach, just across the border in southern Maine. Getting through traffic and construction in CT and MA was a challenge, but the open road and beautiful scenery of Maine made for an auspicious end to our first day of driving.

IMG_5072 Our new home: This was also our first night in the RV, which will serve as “home” for much of the coming year. We testing out the equipment (with a few quick peeks at the Owner’s Manual), had a simple meal of pasta and veggies, then settled in for a long and much deserved rest from a very exhausting week.

In many ways, it feels like we’ve left our home and stepped into a whole new world. It’ll take some time to adjust to life on the road, but if Acadia is any indication of what’s to come, then I think it’ll all be worth it.

Four Photo Friday

Wow – it’s Friday again already. Boy, the weeks do pass by quickly, don’t they?
It’s been an interesting week this week and here are some photographic highlights…

Monday…our shipment arrived from China. All 173 boxes. You may remember previous posts that refer to all this stuff. While I am thankful that it all arrived safe and sound for the most part (only one broken statue so far), it’s a bit overwhelming to find a place for it all in our furnished home. Sigh. Luckily we cleared out most of our basement with our yard sale earlier this summer and so we have space down there to shove a bunch of boxes.

Who loves packing and unpacking? We do!!

Who loves packing and unpacking? We do!!

Wednesday…we picked up the RV!! Still working on a name for it and the truck. The boys are lobbying for Jabba (truck) and the Hut (RV) or, at the very least, some sort of turd-related name for the RV (if you’ve seen the movie ‘RV’ with Robin Williams you’ll get this reference). Call me crazy but I’m not really sold on either one of those options. So, if you have suggestions, please send them our way!

Bigger than a breadbox!

Bigger than a breadbox!

Wednesday early evening…ok – I’m going to break the rules just a bit an include a very short video (22 sec) to show you one of Rob’s attempts to get the RV into our driveway. Not an easy feat since our driveway is narrow and is flanked on one side by a big tree and on the other side towards the back with our hedges and house. In addition, in order to get both our RV and our car in our driveway (a requirement for the town), the RV has to be backed up almost to the door of the garage. You’ll hear some expert direction giving by me and I’ll leave it up to all of you to guess what Rob was just about to say as the video cuts off.

Thursday…Owen’s 10th birthday! Double Digits – woo hoo! One thing we did to celebrate was to go tubing on the Farmington River. We could totally relax while floating along on the calm bits of the river and had some exciting moments while shooting the rapids. Later in the day we all enjoyed Owen’s choice of a sushi dinner at Umi in West Hartford – where the food passes by on a conveyor belt and you grab what you like.

Tubing down the Farmington River in CT

Tubing down the Farmington River in CT

 

 

Four Photo Friday – Still in CT

Wow, this week went by quickly! We continue to stay really busy gearing up for our travels, but we’re also managing to squeeze in some fun. The extra time in Connecticut has been great. Here are some highlights:

Pequot Museum

The Pequot Museum: This week, we began easing ourselves into “school” work. Jen started the boys on a personalized Math program using Ten Marks, and I’ve got them looking into the topic of Native Americans of the northeast. The academic highlight of the week was a trip to the Mashantucket Pequot Museum. A product of casino revenues, the museum is really amazing for its vivid and realistic portrayals of Native American life prior to European contact. We especially enjoyed the village area where life-sized figures engage in various aspects of daily life. A hidden gem for anyone visiting Connecticut!

Owen Hotdog

Baseball and Hotdogs: You can’t get more American than this! On Wednesday night, we took in a game with the Rock Cats, our local minor league team. It was a beautiful late summer’s night with plenty of action (two grand slam home runs). Owen has recently discovered chili dogs (his Grammy would be proud) and this one had the added benefit of melted Velveeta cheese. Nom nom nom nom.

Trampoline Time: Another fun activity for the boys was their first visit to Flight, a new trampoline gym they found not far from our neighborhood. The place was filled with trampolines, obstacles, dunking nets, and a foam pit. Miles and Owen exhausted themselves with an hour of bouncing, flips, and a bit of parkour.  I’m breaking my own rules by showing a video instead of a photo, but it’s really the best way to see what it’s like.

Chore Sticks

Chore Sticks: Well, it’s not all just fun and games around here. We’ve also needed to figure out a way to take care of all the house work. Jen has devised a plan that gets everyone involved. We pick sticks out of a jar at the beginning of the week and keep those  jobs until the the weekend. The colors represent whether it’s a daily, weekly, or every-other-week kind of chore. Trades are allowed as long as you keep the same number of sticks. We hope to keep this going when we’re in the RV, too. Day 1 went well and the house is tidy and clean. Thanks for the help, boys!

 

 

Camp Woodstock

Last week I left this awesome camp called Camp Woodstock. It’s really fun because you get to do fun things like playing in the lake, activities, and nighttime activities. Playing in the lake is fun because they have a cool water trampoline and it has a rope swing and a slide connected. Another thing that’s cool about the lake is called red section fishing. Red section fishing is where you get a musselshell and the fish come to it and then you just grab the fish, but it’s really hard.

At Camp Woodstock we do a lot of activities. I did Navy Seals, BB Gunnery, Archery, Outdoor Cooking, and Ultimate Frisbee. In Navy Seals we do things like play camouflage. In camouflage we have to be very stealthy and sneak up behind one person without getting caught. In BB’s we just shoot BB guns. In Archery we shoot arrows and play Mafia. In Mafia there is a god and everyone put’s their heads down then he chooses a Mafia and an angel. Then the Mafia kills someone and the angel saves someone. Then we try and guess who the Mafia is.

There are activities called night games and they’re at night of course. “What you do at night games?” I hear you shout at me. Well, I will tell you. At night games everyone at camp plays and there is always a skit to go with it and the skits are usually funny but sometimes they are scary. In a night game called Chaos we run around like crazy trying to get points. To get point’s we have to catch the counselors who are dressed as scary characters. Chaos is fun and scary at the same time.

Here is a video from my session at Camp Woodstock. Can you find me and Miles in it?

I really love Camp Woodstock and think you would like it too.