Saturday, May 21, 2011

Vacation Wrap-Up

I feel like I have to apologize every year when I come back from vacation because its impossible for me to not post a ton of pictures. I just can't cut it down more than this! So deal. Or don't. I won't know.

This was the third year Will and I went out to see Britta and Tom and kids in Pennsylvania. They are great hosts and I always appreciate being welcomed into their home.

Thursday we went out to do some shopping with the Mennonite farmer where they got all the meat last year, and get things like raw milk, eggs and yogurt. I can verify that the raw milk is delish. And its a very pretty, peaceful little farm.

After that we headed out to the little man-made beach that they have gone to a few times. Except our luck would have it that they had drained the lake to clean it. So no water fun, but the kids still had a great time playing in the sand.

Sand castles are not complete without cannons

Afterward while walking down by the water Britta showed us the sign teaching you about all the snakes in the area, commenting that they had never seen any. So of course just then we see two snakes right at the edge of the water. We weren't too sad to not be in the water anymore. And with this as the view, I had no problems just spending some time on the beach.

Friday we made Will and I's first visit to Gettysburg. Although I was interested in going on past trips, I didn't think it would hold much interest for Will. That was before the army bug hit. We went at Will's pace since we were there for him, which meant we had the fastest time through the museum that Britta had experienced with guests. Mostly because Will's end goal was the gift shop. Where he did leave with a Civil War army guy set. But we did still get to see lots of weapons and cool army gear.

And then a short trip out to some of the battlefields and monuments. It was a cool misty rain day, seemed very fitting for the surroundings.

That night we drove into New York where my cousin Ruth very graciously let us stay while they were out of town. My first visit to Harlem. She lives on 5th Avenue and I heard she loves being able to tell people that, even if it is Harlem. (they live in the white building)

The next morning we met another cousin Rachel at the Central Park Zoo. While waiting we walked into the park a little ways and let the kids get some wiggles out on a large rock that overlooks a pond.

And of course Will found its crevices useful as barricades.

We had planned on coming back to the park to explore more on Sunday, but rain sent us home early instead. So it ended up that this was the only view I got of the park outside the zoo, but what a nice view. And I WILL make sure I get to see more in the future.

The first animals we saw ended up being some of the favorite, the sea lions. This guy was there to entertain. He posed up on the rock the entire time we were there while the others just swam around. How boring. Every once in awhile he would tilt his head, just so you knew he wasn't a statue, but it seemed very obvious he was playing it up for the crowd.

The next favorite for all the kids were the penguins. I wish I would have gotten a better shot, but again there were a few that were very good at entertaining the crowd. This one little guy kept swimming back and forth in front of Will playing with him behind the glass. Will lost track of him right before we left and left sulking that he couldn't say goodbye to his friend.

After the zoo we walked over to take the tram back to Rachel's house. They live on Roosevelt Island which I had never heard of. It's two miles long, 800 feet wide in the middle of the East River in between Manhattan and Queens. And it was really cool. Rachel said that she loves living there and that it feels like you are living in a small town, in the middle of a huge city. So onto the tram we go.

View of the island from the tram

View from the top of their apt building which has a really nice roof top patio

After Rachel graciously made us lunch, we went down and played at the park across the street. Back in Central Park while waiting to go into the zoo, Will and I had fashioned a sniper rifle out of sticks using long pieces of grass to tie it all together. Rachel had given us some string to make it more official and it immediately became a prize possession for Will. While at the park, he set it down on a bench and we later noticed that someone had taken it. Will was crushed. It was pretty sweet to see him giving his sob story to several kids at the park venting that he couldn't believe someone would take his rifle. So that is Will's first experience with New York. Even though we were on the very safe island, he still had his gun stolen. Lesson learned.

Later that night Britta and I went out to meet my friend Marty which I already wrote about. And thanks again, it really was a highlight of the trip!

Like I mentioned, Sunday's plan was to go back to Central Park, but a forecast of mostly rain had us pack things up. We did stop for lunch before leaving though to get one more taste of the city. Pizza. Ruth had suggested Patsy's, so off we went. It was a nice little restaurant which has a lot of New York history (one of the first pizzerias in the city) and one of the few remaining coal ovens.

The last two days of the trip ended up with a change of plans, but for a very delightful reason. Another sister Keeley had been working on a small island off of Virginia helping with a cat problem. This is an article about their project and she had some great stories. Along with lots of cat pee on her stuff. She had a few days before her flight back so Britta went and picked her up at the train station and she joined in on the fun.

We went down to Lancaster and visited the shop where Britta has been selling some of her craftiness.

We had yummy crepes for lunch and then walked around downtown and got some freshly made ice cream.

We were in Pennsylvania so of course I had to try the pretzel cone. The ice cream was wonderful.

The next day involved a lot of running around and driving for Britta who had two sisters leaving an hour apart at two different airports. I appreciate her extra effort for the mini family reunion. Thanks to everyone for making this a great vacation.

And yes there are more pictures on flickr. Because I have a photo problem.


Anonymous said...

great chronicle and shots of your vacation...thanks for sharin'...KOC


Kari said...

thanks for reading rr

Britta said...

I think we did pretty well in NYC despite my worries about the kiddos - maybe next year we can make the Central Park exploration more of a reality. It was really fun having you guys here!

Kari said...

Yeah I should say that the kids did well for how much they were dragged around.

Wade The Rascal said...

That looks like the most amazing trip. It's a goal of mine to make it out to NY and New England and tour for a week or so. Britta: can I sleep on your couch? And will you be my tour guide?
Love the pics Kari. You're much more natural at capturing stuff than am I.

Britta said...

Forget the couch - we have a DE-LUXE air-mattress! I'd feel privileged to be your tour guide, Wade - any time!

Marty Wombacher said...

Great photos and I'm happy to have been part of your vacation!

Ruth said...

You forgot to mention how I very graciously left my apartment a complete mess for you. Though it wasn't me. Alan can testify that the apartment was clean when I left and that I gave him strict instructions to tidy up when he left. Sigh. Inside he left his laundry all over the apartment and also left out all the suitcases he'd dragged from their hiding places... Come back again soon!

Kari said...

Ruth, after hearing the story, it was just pretty funny :) In no way took away from our appreciation for the free place to stay! And next time hopefully I'll be able to see you guys on the visit.

Ruth said...

We would like that...