Tag Archives: Travel with kids

WORLD WAR II, The Garden District & Baseball: Day 7

We took a stroll from our hotel to the National WWII Museum. Why the museum is in New Orleans and not Washington, DC is beyond me.  But after its founding, it was officially sanctioned by Congress as the National WWII museum.

It was such an engaging museum that even The Captain had a good time– and, he is notoriously difficult to please!

The family took advantage of a special interactive submarine exhibit called The Final Mission.  Each guest is given an identity and an assignment on board a sub.  The Captain and Cinco were in charge of loading and launching the torpedos.  The Princess and I were tracking targets.  (Pretty good assignments in my opinion.)

The facility was also wall to wall with retired equipment: bomber & fighter planes, artillery & tanks, and uniforms galore.  The museum makes use of many short oral histories to make the war more personal and focuses on major battles that were turning points in the war.

Hands on elements included a post where you could inspect a medic’s equipment and take an up close look at a German Officer’s get up— right down to the small gun cleaning tool kit he would have brought to the front with him. Guests were encouraged to try on costumes and pose as posters–  like the unforgettable Rosey the Reviter. 

And, each guest is issued a Dog Tag registered to a solider. Randomly, I got actor Jimmy Stewart. I assumed he spent the war in Hollywood making movies.  Instead, Stewart enlisted as a private and worked his way up earning wartime promotions. He flew planes in the Europen Field.

I’d been to NOLA twice before, I’d never seen the famous Garden District and decided this visit I needed to make that happen. After lunch, we walked around the area looked at the houses and snuck a peak in the cemetery.  I didn’t do enough pre-search to realize the only way into the cemeteries is with a tour guide.  They are locked up otherwise.

Next up, it was tourist time on the trolley. The kids have no ridden both the San Fransisco trolley cars and the New Orleans street cars.  The ride was a nice way to the 19th century houses of the Garden District with two kids who were bit tired of walking and traveling.

After a brief rest at the hotel it was time to get in the car and drive on out to Zephyer Field.  Who plays at Zephyer Field you ask? Why none other than the New Orleans Zephyer’s the farm team for the Mariners.

We, however, were not there to see the Zephyer’s.  Cinco was interested in the visiting team — The Omaha StormChasers.  They are the farm team for the Kansas City Royals, his favorite team. We went to see the Royals in spring training in AZ this spring and now we have seen their farm team.

We met the Zephyer’s mascot which happens to be a RAT! No joke! It makes the Las Vegas 51s Alien look like an fantastic mascot!!!!  Love the ALIEN.

Cosmo the 51s Alien

What made the game even better was that both kids go balls from the players.  Sitting behind the dugout has it’s advantages. And, in keeping with the New Orleans Mardi Gras theme the rat threw beads into the crowd.  The kids gathered quite a few because the game attendance was pretty low.

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Filed under Mom Camp 2016, Travel with kids

Mom Camp Hits the Beach: Days 2-4

img_3441-1First of all, I must give credit for this photo to my amazing uncle– The Dutchman.

Second, you must understand I grew up along the ocean in Conneticut where the beaches tend to be rocky and the sand is NOT fine grain. I moved to San Diego and well, let’s be honest their beaches are cold. And, The Princess and Cinco are growing up in the desert. Fine grain sand, YES. Water, NO.

So I am not the biggest fan of beaches. But these were amazing. We started out with a little cloudy weather, but being from the ever sunny desert the clouds were a welcome change.

Day 2 

The Princess is an expert shell hunter.  You may call last summer when she found a giant scallop shell on Inich Beach in Ireland.  And, amazingly we managed to get the shell home without breaking it!!!

As for finding shells at Orange Beach,  we were very successful.  I found a shell page on a Florida travel site and circled the shells we found as we went along.

DAY 3 

One of the day’s The Professor and The Dutchman rented a pontoon boat complete with a second level slide. We puttered around Ono Island and slid into the water quite a few times. The Princess even managed to spot a pod of about 4 or 5 dolphins.

We also explored the sand bars and small islands in the area and meet some more sea creatures.  We encountered a good number of salt water hermit crabs and I managed to find a few inhabited shells for the kids to take home!

Cinco and The Princess also really wanted to get some hermit crabs… And somehow I talked into going to the Mexican swap meet when get home to buy hermit crabs.  I truly hoping this kids forget about this by the time the vacation ends.

I strayed from the group for awhile and had a face off with a rather large blue crab.  He was hanging out in a tidal pool.  I didn’t have my phone, so I couldn’t get a photo.  But as we circled around each other I noticed he refused to turn his back on me. And, at no point did he try to make a run for it.  He stood his ground throughout our encounter.

Day 4 

It was another day spent at the beach. The amazing thing about this day were a huge cluster of starfish that were drifting back and forth in the low tide. We spent quite a bit of time examining the starfish and we throw a good number back in deeper water to save them.

We also found a number of rather small sand dollars.  We later learned that sand dollars are a type of sea urchin– news to me!  But I guess they are losely related to the starfish.

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June 14, 2016 · 3:50 pm

Mom Camp Goes Down South…. Day 1

In childhood, summer was an endless playground, an excuse to eat Italian Ice, play endlessly in the back and to exist in a kind of fairy never-never land. Never a homework assignment, never a bedtime, never any pressure. It was akin to the best time of day—twilight— when anything is possible and fairies very well might cast a magic spell leaving us young forever. Capturing that feeling may never happen again— but leaving town as soon as school ends does create a ‘page break’ from everyday life. It relieves the stress of the daily grind and sets up a summer break that is truly alien from our normal life.  

For this year’s vacation, we decided to take Mom Camp on location with a trip to New Orleans and the Alabama Gulf Cost– AKA: The Redneck Riveria (my Aunt’s term, not mine).  By the way, my aunt’s code name from here on out will be The Professor.  

You see The Professor and her hubs, The Dutchman (not to be confused with the Flying Dutchman —  because actually he doesn’t fly at all) have a lovely condo on the water in Orange Beach Alambama. They were kind enough to invite us for a stay to enjoy some truly lovely beaches.  

We packed up and headed down south.  All the flights were fine and of course I filled the children’s carry on bags with plenty of snacks and crafts all related to the journey.  And, I was back at it with my personalized travel journals. After landing in New Orleans, it was time to drive out to Orange Beach.

The adventure began with a stop at The Shed, a barbecue joint off the highway in Mississippi.  The place was built from junk the owner had collected over several years of dumpster diving.  Odd to be sure.   Still, a little live music and BBQ hit the spot after our flight across the country. 

Everyone tumbled into Orange Beach well feed but tired. 

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Filed under Books, Mom Camp 2016, Travel with kids

Ashford Castle: MCD 9

This would prove to be an especially exciting day!  We awoke in the castle and headed down to the formal dining room to have our breakfast complete with hot chocolate for the kiddos.  At breakfest we met the boat captain who offers tours of the lake and he talked us into a delighful one hour boat tour.  We had to be back on shore by noon sharp because we had a special appointment at 12:30.

Castle View from the Boat

  The tour lasted an hour and The Princess even got a chance to steer the ship.  Those of you who have watched John Ford and John Wayne’s Quite Man will recognize the name Inisfree! 

The next stop was the school of falconry.

The Captain it would be cool if we scheduled our own falconry lesson for the family. While I personally wouldn’t have chosen this activity, I wasn’t against the idea and booked it.  It turned out to be one of the best experiences of the whole trip.

We worked with Red Tail Hawks, not Falcons.   It seems these hocks do better with people they don’t know because unlike

Just a little something the birds caught

Just a little something the birds caught

Falcons and most other birds of prey the Red Tails hunt in groups.  Another funny thing about this bird, is that it’s from the American Southwest not Ireland. And when we got home to America and we’re visiting the Las Vegas Springs preserve we actually saw a plaque about the Redtailed Hawk!

Our guide was delightful and gave us an almost 90 minute course on the Hawks, other birds, and falconry in general. He was truly passionate about the subject and a delight with which to work.

me and the hawk

Everyone (both Cinco and The Princess) held the hawks and took a turn sending them out to hunt.  I think the kiddos were a little nervous at first, but they never shied away from the birds even one.  The hawks were named after famous Irish writers– Wilde and Stoker.  Our guide told them apart based on the color of their claws (something I never really got the hang of in our 90 minute lesson.)

Post hawking it was time for a walk of the grounds.  IMG_1881  Including a number of hidden gardens.

Next stop was a stroll into town for a little something to eat.  A pretty good day, I’d say

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Filed under Mom camp 2015, Mom Camp International

ASHFORD CASTLE: MCD 8

Leaving Galway we decided to make a stop by Athenry before heading to Ashford Castle.  Like any good Irish family, we are fans of the song Fields of Athenry.  The Captain and The Princess often play the song on the guitar and sing together.  With a little extra time on our hands we decided a trip to Athenry was in order.

Athenry Castle

We toured the castle… Which really wasn’t much compared to other castles in England and Ireland. And we tried to go to the Athenry priory.  But, it was closed.

Then it was on to Cong home of Ashford Castle and the town were some of the John Ford film The Quite Man was filmed.

In Cong there are a number of deep caves and caverns.  We decided on a nature walk before checking in at the castle.  Our first stop was Pigeonhole Cave.

view looking up from the bottom of the cave

We also took the Pigeonhole Cave walking loop–without the actually researching how long the loop was!  It seemed to simply never end.  It was alively walk in the woods along a stream, but the kiddos started to get a bit grousey after the 1st 45 minutes.

One bonus was the path lead us to Cong Abbey. It was located right on the river and the ruins included an old stone fishing house the monks used.

Cong Abbey cloister ruins

When we finally made it back to our car it was time to head out to Ahford Castle!

The castle welcomed us with personalized cookies and tour.  After discovering welcome gifts for the kids (a bear for The Princess and a sword for Cinco), we set work exploring…

   

The Billard Room

  

watching Ben Hur in the movie room

 
After dinner in the Dungeon it was bedtime for all!

 

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Filed under Mom camp 2015, Mom Camp International, Travel with kids

Ireland Day 4: Things go sideways

Mom Camp Day 4: This was one of those days when things just seem to go sideways on you. We spent the night at a rather odd hotel in New Ross (a town founded by the Marshal) and we overslept.  We had a full day’s agenda that had to be majorly altered.  We skipped the Dunbrody Famine Ship as well as Waterford and made our way to the Irish Tintern Abbey.  

We made a trip the parent Abbey in Wales last year, (for those interested in the original Abbey).  For those of you who don’t know, the Irish Tintern Abbey was founded by the Marshal.  He had a pretty rough sea crossing to Ireland.  He pledged to found a new Abbey if he made it to shore.  Thankfully he made it and he was as good as his word and founded the Abbey.

Personally, having been to both, I prefer the Irish Abbey.  The grounds at the Irish Tintern are far more lush and evocative of the past.   Unlike it’s parent abbey in Wales, the Irish Tintern is surrounded by lovely forests and walking paths.  It also features a lovely bridge that crosses over a small river near the abbey.  It is very picturesque!  My only complaint was that we didn’t have more time to spend there!

inside the abbey 

Next, it was off to Kilkenny another Anglo-Norman city. In Kilkenny we stayed in the castle’s old carriage house that has been converted to a hotel.  Very nice.  It had an English style garden between the carriage house and the castle across the way.

Kilkenny also prides itself on maintaining a lot of its medieval history.  They have the medieval mile you can walk and imagine what the city might have looked it. In town there is also a pub that date backs to the 1300s.  Back in the day it was run by a witch!  Of course it’s a tourist trap.  But with two kids, who could skip it?  We were treated to an Irish drum circle lesson.

The Captain also discovered Kilkenny is where Smithwick’s Beer is brewed.  So we stopped into the shop for a t-shirt.

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Filed under Mom Camp 2013, Mom camp 2015, Mom Camp International, Travel with kids

Mom Camp Day 26: A Day at the Beach

Having made it to Long Island we are all about the beach and living the ocean life.

We organized a beach combing trip to collect shells. Cinco and The Princess collected a number of interesting items. We also played with the hermit crabs.

Dinner included clams. What do you do with a bunch of leftover clam shells? 20140715-125124.jpgWell, The Cutie Cousin (as I will now call my niece) came up with the idea of making google-eyed clam shells! Awesome…

 

 

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