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What do you do when it’s the last week of school and George Washington Carver National Monument is between the school and your home?  You stop by and take a walk, of course! It was a beautiful day, so Kristin and I couldn’t resist making a stop here on the way home from school.  I teach in Diamond where the monument is located.  We make the 25-minute drive home every day to Joplin, so we pass by the turnoff for the monument all the time.  It feels like it is in the middle of nowhere, and I guess it is.  The monument is located where George Washington Carver was born and spent his boyhood.  When you make the turnoff, it isn’t long before you see this. There is ample parking in front of the visitor’s center.  There is also no charge for visiting the center or walking the…

When you visit the Black Hills of South Dakota, there are so many opportunities to get back to nature.  During our trip, we knew we had to make a day of visiting Custer State Park.  Our party of three made Keystone our home base for three days. For Jeff, Kristin and me, it was the perfect little place to call home.  But before we could get to Custer State Park, we drove through the Black Hills National Forest. Our pictures show the cloudy, overcast weather we had during our trip.  It misted rain or poured during our entire trip, but we don’t let the weather get us down! Black Hills National Forest This scenic roadway in Black Hills National Forest has some great scenic views and interesting rock formations. There are also some great tunnels to drive through. Custer State Park After winding around for awhile, we came to…

If you’re looking for beautiful sculptures in a serene setting, then Savannah’s Bonaventure Cemetery is the place for you.  While outside of the city, it is worth the short drive to check it out. We visited Savannah in the hot and humid month of July, but the cemetery is so shaded that the temperature wasn’t so bad.  It was after lunch, so we were visiting in the warmest part of the day. We really didn’t have a plan when we arrived.  I had read about some of the more famous statues, and there are maps available online if you want to find a particular sculpture or grave.  We just decided to wander around. Since John Berendt’s Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil was released, a book I loved, many people want to see the cemetery featured in the story. You can also visit singer/songwriter Johnny Mercer’s grave. One…

This is a report on our second family trip to Walt Disney World. This was before I had a website, but the information may still be helpful, so I keep a record of it here. I originally wrote this trip review on the 1branson.com boards. Disney Trip: Day 1 I hope no one minds, but I thought I would do a trip report of our recent vacation. I could do it on a Disney board, but I like to share here. My travel party included my husband, my six-year-old daughter, and me. We have an 18-year-old, but she has been to Disney twice and doesn’t enjoy traveling as much as we do. In fact, she was quite happy to watch our home this time and have the house to herself. She recently graduated from high school, so she was looking for some time to relax on her own before her…

One of our first family trips was to Pigeon Forge. This happened before I had a website, and Kristin wasn’t even born yet! It’s been a few years ago, and things have changed. But here is our report from that trip in 2007. I originally wrote this trip report for the 1branson.com forum. I am writing this trip report so you can plan your own trip to Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, Tennessee.  We just got back yesterday from a trip to Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg Tennessee. We were always hungry for information, so I thought I would report. I’ll do this in installments. We are a family of three: my husband, me, and a nine-year-old daughter. We live in Joplin, so our trip begins there. . . Day One: Heading to Tennesse We left home on Saturday, June 2 at 4:30 in the morning. My husband works overnights, so we decided…

o If you are a Laura Ingalls Wilder fan you simply must visit the Ingalls Homestead in De Smet, South Dakota.  When my husband suggested a trip to the Black Hills, I immediately knew I wanted to work it into our trip to see the little town on the prairie where Laura came of age and met and married Almanzo.  Plus, I was intrigued with the idea of spending the night in a wagon on the actual Ingalls homestead.  I knew we had to do it.  Visiting De Smet and the Ingalls Homestead is one of my favorite traveling memories! If you’ve read the Little House books, you know that Laura’s time in De Smet begins in By the Shores of Silver Lake. We only spent an afternoon, evening, and morning here, but I could have stayed for days! Since we were on our way to the Black Hills, we didn’t…

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