New England in July


Travel timeline

-July 2013-
Date
Day
Location 1
Location 2
Notes
7/22
Mon
Southbridge
Boston
Pick up Mom at Airport
7/23
Tues
Southbridge
Sturbridge
Old Sturbridge Village – It RAINED
7/24
Wed
Boston – Freedom Trail with Tour Guide
New England Aquarium – Boston
1.        Amazing Tour
2.       Amazing as usual, love the giant fish tank!! We made it all the way to the top
7/25
Thurs
Southbridge
Newport, RI
Self Guided Mansion “Cottage” Tour
7/26
Fri
Southbridge
Cracker Barrel -Sturbridge
Stayed home most of the day
7/27
Sat
Southbridge
New York City
Dropped Mom off at the Queen Mary 2
7/28
Sun
Southbridge
Stayed home all day
7/29
Mon
Southbridge
Stayed home all day
7/30
Tues
Southbridge
Worcester
The Good Samaritan (see subsequent post)

Day 1

7/22
Mon
Southbridge
Boston
Pick up Mom at Airport

Monday we put the final touches on getting the house ready for my Mom’s visit. In the early afternoon we made our way to the airport to pick up my Mom! The last time we had seen each other in person was on our trip up to New England back in May so it was a nice reunion. We went home and got ourselves to bed. This was going to be a fun week and we would need our rest!

7/23
Tues
Southbridge
Sturbridge
Old Sturbridge Village – It RAINED

So we all woke up Tuesday morning and decided we wanted to stay close to home because  we wanted to alternate from a long distance drive to a close-to-home excursion. So we decided to go to Old Sturbridge Village.  My daughter and I had been there before but we had gone previously with some “seasoned” visitors and they had already seen it all. It really ended up being a chatting visit and I saw very little of the grounds. So this time we sort of went the opposite direction to be sure we covered new ground. In the end we didn’t see it all, but we saw a lot that I hadn’t seen before.

At our home just prior to heading to Old Sturbridge Village. New flowers were in bloom.

The day started out beautifully, the sun was bright and cheery and the birds were singing sweetly. We meandered through the visitor center and took pictures at the little cardboard cutouts at the entrance. They are fun and made us all giggle.


After the visitor center we headed out into the village. We visited the first homestead cottage. It’s very small and had bright blue wallpaper in side with very large-print flowers. The wallpaper was a little overwhelming for me. I think if I had been a colonial peasant I would not have wanted this paper. The house was quite cozy and reminded me of the Pioneer Farms back in Texas, the Krueger cabin was about this size, but lacked the blue wallpaper. I would have preferred the Krueger cabin. I suppose the wallpaper made the Colonial people feel like they were “back home” in England? We visited the first two meeting houses, they felt a lot like some of the old buildings we remembered seeing back when we were living in England. The styles were, naturally, quite similar.

We found a Shoe Cobbler shop and we popped in for a visit just before the “Hoop Races” began. We went down and played in the Hoop Races, my daughter did really well scooting her hoop around the grounds.

 

At this point we noted that there were some clouds floating in to view that looked a little menacing. We took a walk up the forest trails to the hilltop of Old Sturbridge Village. We really enjoyed seeing these forest trails because our home is this very terrain, we began to see the potential of our own property. It could be totally awesome with some elbow grease for sure. The view up from the top of the hilltop is absolutely breathtaking. Back in Texas you had to really work for such a view, the hike up the hill wasn’t much here. It was just as well as I am currently doing a low-cal diet and it is helpful to conserve where I spend my energy. At the top of the hill the clouds really began to roll in. We could hear thunder, but we saw no lighting. We took a couple of quick snap shots and we made a hasty retreat to lower ground.

On the Hill Top… clouds rolling in, breathtaking view!
Hilltop Pasture
Ominous Clouds rolling in!
Our retreat to lower ground…

On the other side of the hill pasture there was a homestead with a barn. We had arrived just in time for the cow milking demonstration. The barn was so cool. It gave us a glimpse of what our own barn might have looked like back in its youth 100+ years ago!

As we stood in the barn the sky opened up and poured bucket and buckets. Then when it was done pouring all those buckets it poured some more. In between buckets, we scooted over to the other buildings on this particular homestead. There was a Cooper shop that was really neat, but not at all tidy. We all figured that back in the day it was probably a lot less messy, haha. Not that we knew for sure, but we are assuming that it wasn’t as crazy as the display made it seem.

 

The Cobbler’s… mess 😉

In between the next bucket we made it to the main house. The air in this house smelled very greasy and thick with pig lard. We noticed a slab of pork on the counter and there were quite a few flies zooming around and scuttling about on the table in the kitchen area. This was a working farm house. It was neat to see the way the herbs would have been stored and the kitchen might have looked. We enjoyed this immensely (aside from the sides of pork). We asked to see the smoke house and one of the Villagers took us out, it was still sprinkling, but not enough to dampen our mini lesson on smoke houses. My husband says this will be his own personal project. I told him that I’m certain at some point our own home here must have had a smoke house or two. I can begin to imagine scenes like this at our own place. It used to be quite the hub so I’ve heard.

Finally, the rain subsided and we were able to walk out of this homestead and head down the lane towards the main Village center. We had come in to the homestead through the pasture gate so we came up the back way and had missed out on this view. Apple trees and picket fences lined the path. I loved it so much. We visited a couple of houses on the path and realized the time had passed so quickly and it was almost time for the Village to close to the public so we made our way to the visitor center. We crossed through the covered bridge, it was soooo cool. The only other Covered Bridge I had seen in person before was a very small one at Aquarena Springs in San Marcos, TX. We giggled at the thought of our horses attempting to cross this daunting bridge. The last bridge my horse, Justice and I, tried to cross made me wind up on the ground with my horse scuttling across the veranda…without me! Haha! We passed the Grist Mill. Back in Texas we have a Grist Mill in Gruene, but it was turned into a Restaurant. We didn’t get to go inside this one, there wasn’t time, but it was still so cool to walk by it and see it. This concluded our day at the Village. We’ll be sure to be back for many visits as we decided it would be the best bargain to go ahead and become members! Back in Texas we used to volunteer at the Pioneer Farms in Austin. We are seriously considering doing some work here at this place. It would be too fun! We shall see.

 

7/24
Wed
Boston – Freedom Trail with Tour Guide
New England Aquarium – Boston
     1.   Amazing Tour
.    2.   Amazing as usual, love the giant fish tank!! We made it all the way to the top

After a good rest we awoke Wednesday morning and were ready to take a day trip. We had a few options lined up and we wanted to make the best of our time so we all voted and Boston won. After brunch we headed straight to Boston.

Someone is artistic… a bird riding a Praying Mantis. Clever indeed. 😉
Daytrip to Boston!
We parked near Paramount…

We had two things on our agenda: 1. Freedom Trail; and 2. New England Aquarium. For those of you who followed my blog on our last trip to Boston, you would remember the drama that ensued trying to find a bathroom and parking. So this time we had a plan… we were SURE to stop BEFORE we arrived in the city so the point of desperation could not be reached. The other thing was “we knew now where to park.” Well we drove to the New England Aquarium parking garage and guess what!?!? The parking garage was FULL to capacity! Oh no!! We had not thought of a Plan B concerning parking. Just GREAT! Somehow, we drove around and around until we finally found a decent place to park. Thank Abba for my driving husband. He is a stellar driver and park-er for that matter, and this is one of those times that I appreciate that about him more-so than ever! We parked and we headed over to the Boston Common at Beacon Hill to begin our tour. We got to see the grave sites of Paul Revere and some other patriots buried there in the Old Granary Cemetery. We saw the site of the Boston Massacre, and the names of those whose lives were taken there. We got to see cobblestone roads and a lot of historic architecture. It was truly as amazing as we thought it would be. Our tour guide was a nice young man, he was a little grumpy, but apparently he had had a rough morning and didn’t appreciate having to wear his “costume” or uniform. It was necessary though because he had to stand out from all the other people walking about.

Well we made it to Boston Common…. we’re in the right place.
Our tour guide who is definitely NOT an actor. He told us himself, quite dramatically!
Spying on my husband in Historical Raptures. 😉
Beacon Hill, they say the top of the gold capped building behind us was the top of Beacon Hill.
 
John Hancock Memorial at the Granary Cemetery.
John Hancock is this man’s hero.
Memorial to the people killed at the Boston Massacre.
Cobblestone Street, so cool!
A Pigeon for each head.

After our Freedom Trail Walk we headed straight over to the Aquarium. We walked there since we had already been walking so much and didn’t want to contend with finding another parking spot.

Hoofing it to The New England Aquarium

We got to the aquarium and it was late in the day. There was only about an hour left to close so we made haste and buzzed through to the top of the Aquarium. Again, we found it best to invest in a family pass so that when our friends/family visit we can take them here on our dime. It was totally worth it.

So this time we knew to go all the way to the top of the cylindrical tank. We took the elevator and went straight up. Although when we got to the very top we realized that last time we didn’t even come to the very top of the tank. It was sooo cool, there were ribbon fish galore and two barracuda! There was a sea turtle in a holding tank, I suppose they were acclimating her to the tank. We stayed there and watched, mesmerized for quite a few moments, but no one wanted to take too many pictures because we were all afraid we would drop our cameras into the tank. I’m certain THAT has happened many, many times over at this place, Sunglasses and what not probably find their way in that tank all the time!  So down the ramp we walked. We loved, once again, to watch all the fish on the different levels. There was a fish that I called a “Frankenstein fish” because of its protruding forehead, I don’t know what kind of fish it is, but one in a school of them had a big chomp on it. I’m thinking a hammerhead shark took a sample bite. The bite really made him look more like Frankenstein than he already did. We found a sea turtle napping with his head on some coral. We enjoyed every inch of the tank and made it to the bottom.

Sea Turtle in Holding Tank
Barracuda
Ribbon Fish

At the bottom, the Penguin exhibit, which had been shut down last time we visited, was up and the penguins were getting “watered.” The rocks in the exhibit are equipped with sprinklers and they were on and spraying the Penguins. The Penguins seemed to thoroughly enjoy this.

With the 15 minutes we had remaining we hurried over to see the sea lions. They seemed to be really itchy for some reason. I wondered if some supplements they had been given were causing them to have allergic reactions, or perhaps they had been recently vaccinated? At any rate, they were extremely itchy and uncomfortable. Many of the Sea Lions sat there and scratched and scratched almost the entire 15 minutes we stood there. Poor little guys!

We left straight after and headed to the truck. We then drove to Waltham and visited our favorite Mexican Restaurant there, Taqueria Mexico, yum! Too bad I was on an apple fast, boo hoo!!

We got home late, took care of the animals, and hit the hay! We had not voted on what we were going to do the next day, but the prospects looked like another possible day trip.

 

7/25
Thurs
Southbridge
Newport, RI
Self Guided Mansion “Cottage” Tour
Thursday morning we woke up with questions. We weren’t certain where we wanted to go. We weren’t certain if we wanted to do a day trip or try and stay local. We were getting a little tired of all the driving, but we only had a few days left of Jason’s vacation and my Mom’s visit would also soon end. Jason had a dental appointment so we determined that we would all think on it, then after the appointment we would have lunch and vote! The outcome of the vote was Newport, RI! We were told there were some cottages by the sea. These so-called “cottages” are gorgeous mansions. It was raining, a lot, and heavy so our trip took us a little longer than expected. By the time we got to the Visitors Center in Newport we were too late to take any tours. So we decided to take ourselves on a driving tour around town. So that’s what we did. The sites and the Town were just gorgeous. We enjoyed it very much, next time we’ll have to be sure to take the tour inside the “cottages.”

We headed back home, but on the way we stopped to eat at Texas Roadhouse. That place sure makes us feel like we were back home. We got home late and our dogs were growing tired at all our traveling so we determined that our last day in town we would stay around the house and take it easy.

7/26
Fri
Southbridge
Cracker Barrel -Sturbridge
Stayed home most of the day
As promised we stayed in town on Friday. Friday is our preparation day for the Sabbath. So we grabbed a bite to eat and we cleaned the house. We were all so exhausted from our travels it was a welcome break. We spent the remainder of the afternoon visiting and kicking back at home. After our delicious Shabbat dinner we had an hour left before sunset so we took my Mom on a nature walk on the back of our property. The dogs enjoyed this immensely. They hadn’t had a chance to really stretch their legs until this point in time. We all enjoyed it, I did not enjoy finding a tick on me later though. Ugh, I detest those horrid little creatures. Good thing I found her before she found a place on me! Yuck! It is an ugly downside to our lovely forest. We got to bed at a decent hour and prepared for our next day trip… this time to New York City.

 

7/27
Sat
Southbridge
New York City
Dropped Mom off at the Queen Mary 2
Saturday morning we rolled out of bed, my husband promised we’d be up at 7AM. YEAH RIGHT! Well ok, so we were up at 8AM, haha! We got chores done and loaded up my Mom’s bags and shoved off to NYC, the Big Apple…in our truck! Are we crazy? Most definitely! We decided to take the truck because, while it might be more difficult to park …true, due to its sheer size! It’s mammoth proportions would hopefully serve as a deterrent and help us to not have need of a Bumper Badger that everyone else in NYC seemed to have on our last drive-through the Big Apple. After a few hours of driving we finally made it to the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal. Then we decided, now that we had found our way, we could let our hair down and find a bite to eat. The only place we could think of in the area was…. IKEA Brooklyn. Well, it is what it is. When in Brooklyn…eat at IKEA? Maybe for next time, you guys can make some recommends. The food was so-so. I had heard so much about the IKEA chocolate cakes and such, I thought for sure it would be “worth it.” It’s nothing to swoon over, I assure you. We also got to watch (sense my sarcasm) in the kid’s section of the IKEA restaurant, Disney’s movie, The Princess and the Frog. We only saw some scenes, as we purposely chose to not watch it, but the little I saw was HORRIBLE! After IKEA we got my Mom back to the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal where we waited for my Step-Father to arrive. Once he got there we bid them Bon Voyage, hugs and kisses.

 

When in NYC and you have only a few minutes to spare we asked Trip Advisor where to go and it sent us to Coney Island. We got to go weirdy watching on the Boardwalk. We took our boots off (we had no idea we would come in contact with the ocean up to this point) and walked down to the beach and played in the water a little. Some of us more than others (staring at my daughter who had cold wet pants and was complaining afterward).

OTW to NYC 😀
Coney Island Beach
Hey! The beach is the beach! I love it!
That salty water can nearly always put a smile on my face! 😀
This guy certainly can put a smile on my face too! ❤

We stood in a tremendously loooonngg line at the New York Aquarium and were told it was going to close in 20 minutes. We estimated that there was no way we would get inside with this super long wait ahead of us so we abandoned project and headed to the truck.

Finally, we fixed our sites on our return trip to and now headed back to Massachusetts.

Acrobatic Teddy Grahams!
Bridge near Hartford, CT
Beach blown hair!
It’s a salty mess, but it’s fine with me!
😀

On the way home we found a Mexican Restaurant in Connecticut near Hartford, “On the Border.” The only other On the Border I’ve been too was in Shreveport, LA if I remember correctly. There may have been one in San Antonio. Again, for me, nothing to swoon over, but the salad was good. After that we visited Cabela’s and then we went home. We would be sure to STAY HOME on Sunday, and we did! We rested! Well, I rested…. My husband chopped down weeds in the pasture, but that’s another story.

Until next time:

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.
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About Maritza

We are a small family of 3 and a bunch of critters.We love God, our Country and it's foundations. We made a BIG move from Texas to Massachusetts in May 2013.This blog captures our 'new' life, there is never a dull moment. There is a lot of charm and character in this place and I plan to unveil it all and bring it to you in the painting presentation of word pictures and more.
This entry was posted in Adventure, Family, farm, farm life, God, Southbridge. Bookmark the permalink.

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