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The Narrows is one of those popular hikes that lives up to the hype. When I first heard of the hike in Zion National Park a few years ago and realized that it included walking in water, I knew we should give it a try. The scenery is gorgeous, and the cooling water would be welcome in the summer heat of July. Since Zion National Park is popular in the summer, you want to be well-informed about the park. You also have a choice to make when you decide to hike The Narrows–do you rent gear or not? I hope our experience will help you navigate the park and make the best choices for you and your family. Arriving at Springdale and Zion National Park We arrived in Springdale, Utah, in the evening after driving from Tonopah, Nevada, where we stayed a night in te Clown Motel. To read about…

Sequoia National Park and Kings Canyon National Park were stops on one of our epic Missouri to California road trips. As we planned the trip, we couldn’t wait to experience the majesty of the enormous sequoia trees. Like many people, we’d seen the pictures and videos of these amazing trees. Now it was time to experience them for ourselves. Though we only spent two nights in the park, it’s an experience I won’t ever forget. We stayed at the only lodge within Sequoia National Park–Wuksachi Lodge. This one is a little different from some of the classic lodges we’ve stayed in because the check-in building is in a completely separate location from the actual lodges. While the lobby is often in a different building from the actual rooms, this was the first one we’d encounter in which our building was a short drive away from the lobby, gift shop, and…

If you’re heading to the Cleveland area, why not put the A Christmas Story House on your must-do list? Full disclosure: A Christmas Story is not my favorite Christmas movie. I first saw it at a Christmas party at church in middle school. Over the years, the movie found its way to my parents’ TV, especially if my sister was around. She loves this movie, and she made the trek to see the house long before we did. Still, I like the movie enough and it’s found its way into popular culture. When we had the chance, we made the stop. And I’m glad we did. You don’t have to be a super fan to enjoy the nostalgia of Christmas past that is oozing from this place. If you love Christmas like I do, you’ll have a good time. If you’re into cinema history, that’s also a good reason to…

What do you think of when you think of Plymouth Rock? Like everyone else, as a child, I’d heard stories about the Mayflower and the Pilgrims, and I’d imagined this huge rock marking the historic event of when the Pilgrims landed. Over the years, I’d heard that the rock wasn’t all that large. And I’d heard that the site of the rock wasn’t all that amazing. Did that detour us from checking it out? Nope! In July of 2023, we embarked on a huge road trip that started in Missouri, went up to Niagara Falls, then crossed over to Maine. From there, we made our way down the coast to Washington, D.C. This amazing trip took us past many historic sites that shaped the creation of our country. How could we resist Plymouth Rock? The answer is, we couldn’t. When I discovered that you could also visit Plimoth Patuxet, a…

When I realized our summer road trip in 2022 would take us right by the Winchester Mystery House, I knew what we had to do. That’s right. We had to stop. The History of the Winchester Mystery House The Winchester Mystery House is a historic mansion located in San Jose, California. Its construction began in 1884 and continued for almost 38 years until Sarah Winchester, the widow of firearm magnate William Wirt Winchester, passed away in 1922. The house is renowned for its unique architectural features and its intriguing history. Legend has it that after the death of her husband and infant daughter, Sarah Winchester sought solace in the belief that she was haunted by the spirits of those killed by Winchester rifles. To escape their vengeful spirits, she began an extensive and continuous construction project on her family’s unfinished farmhouse. Over the years, the mansion underwent constant renovations, resulting…

The Ritchey Mansion in Newtonia, Missouri, is a treasure! This Civil War-era home is a great artifact in the area. And its paranormal happenings make it all the better. One of our favorite things to do when traveling is to take a ghost tour. You’ll get a dose of history with some spooky on the side. It’s also a great thing to do in the evenings when most historic sites have long been closed for the day. We’ve also discovered the joy of seeking out ghost tours in our area.  We’ve been following Paranormal Science Lab and Dark Ozarks, and they coordinate tours and paranormal investigations of local (to us) historic sites. The proceeds of these tours go to the maintenance and restoration of these sites, so it’s a no-brainer for us. We get to contribute to preserving history while visiting a cool site, known for paranormal activity, as an…

Staying at Sun Outdoors Lake Rudolph RV Resort is one of our favorite Halloween season experiences. We’d wanted to visit Holiday World for some time, and when a long weekend popped up on my teaching schedule, we set our plan into motion. Where to stay in Santa Claus, Indiana, the town that’s home to Holiday World? Why, the adjoining campground, of course! No RV? No problem! Lake Rudolph has several cabin options. I’ll offer a piece of advice here. Book your cabin as far in advance as possible. We booked our cabin in August, and there weren’t many left. During Happy Halloween Weekends, Holiday World is only open for the weekends. The small town of Santa Claus has limited lodging options. Plus, Lake Rudolph offers lots of Halloween fun during the weekends in October. Throw all of these factors together, and you have the perfect storm of selling out the…

We’d like to thank Historic Tours of Boston for sponsoring our visit to the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum. As always, all opinions are honest and our own. If you’ve followed our blog for any time at all, you’d know that we love learning more about history as we travel the United States. Our trip to Boston was no different. Every corner of the city seems to be a location of historic significance. When we discovered there was an interactive museum that focused on the Boston Tea Party, we couldn’t wait to go! We didn’t know what to expect, but it turns out, the whole experience was a lot of fun. Everyone who visits the museum becomes part of the story, and the museum turned out to be a highlight of our family’s visit to Boston. Arriving at the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum Our stop in Boston…

If you’re in the Nashville area, be sure to make a stop at Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage. This home of the seventh president of the United States is a great way to get a glimpse of life in the early 1800s. While Andrew Jackson’s legacy is complicated, I always want to learn more and teach my kids about American history. Make no mistake, Jackson’s views on Black people and American Indians are absolutely abhorrent. My heart breaks when we visit plantations where enslaved people worked and lived. I’m sick to my stomach when learning more about the atrocities committed against American Indians, including Jackson’s removal policies and the Trail of Tears.  But somehow, avoiding the history of what happened doesn’t seem right. We have to learn from the past to move forward. Pretending it didn’t happen or “wasn’t that bad” is not an option. So, we visit historical sites and learn…

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