Fort Stanwix National Monument Rome, New York

My family has been on a National Parks “tour” this summer (we’ve been to seven different spots in less than two months), and unintentionally, have been learning a lot about the “birth” of America at each location.. It was only fitting, then, when we drove to upstate New York this week to visit our best friends that we make a stop at Fort Stanwix National Monument. Commissioned by General Stanwix and built in 1758 by the British, with the permission of the Oneida Indians, the fort became known as “the fort that never surrendered.”  Fort Stanwix also has the honor of being the first historic park in the country.  I highly recommend exploring the fort for a couple of hours. Your children will most enjoy:

, , , , ,

Minute Man National Historic Park Lexington & Concord, MA

Concord and Lexington Massachusetts are two towns located northwest of Boston steeped in the history of the “birth” of America. The National Park Service has done a wonderful job of preserving many important sites in these towns associated with the battle of April 19, 1775, when colonial milita fought British troops (called “regulars”) in a battle that began the American Revolution. Collectively, these sites are known as the Minute Man National Historic Park. It’s well worth your family’s time to spend a day (or two or three!) visiting the area. Here are my top picks:

, , , , , , ,

Saratoga National Historic Site, Stillwater NY

This post begins a week long series about my family’s trip to Saratoga Springs, New York.

Most people probably recognize Saratoga Springs as the center of the horse racing world. Indeed, the horses take to the track every July, August, and September. Checking out the races was the catalyst for planning a recent trip to the area, but while researching, I quickly discovered there is a lot more to do than just go to the race track; so much to do that we couldn’t cover it all in one trip. Each day, I’ll share some personal highlights from our adventures.  

Whenever I plan a trip, one of my first points of research is to check my National Parks map to see if any spots are located on our route.  Sure enough, driving to Saratoga Racetrack we passed Saratoga National Historic Park, with five different stops. It was a rainy, dreary morning so we could not take full advantage of the park, but we still learned a lot about the Revolutionary War:

, , , ,

Acadia National Park, Maine

I may not be a huge hiker or camper, but I am a huge fan of the water, especially the ocean water, and love any view that involves water or mountains. I’m also a HUGE fan of the National Parks Service system and have been visiting historic sites, monuments, museums, and parks for years, learning all about our country’s history and collecting stamps for my National Parks Passport. So, it seemed logical to put Acadia National Park in Maine on my bucket list. This summer, I helped to plan a family reunion in York, Maine (post coming next week) and I seized the location and added a visit to Acadia National Park.


Acadia National park is a 47,000 acre park (the only National Park located in New England) It’s located on Mount Desert Island, right next to the beautiful village of Bar Harbor. Acadia is unique in the sense that there is no one, defined entrance and exit site. There are multiple spots to enter and the park weaves in and out of the community. There are sections that require a park pass, which for 2017, was a $25 fee for a week pass for a noncommercial vehicle. Lucky for us, the Every Kid in a Park program allows fourth graders, and their families, to receive entrance to all National Parks all year long, so we got in for free! There is SO much to do in Acadia, it would take days to cover it all. Here are some of my family’s top spots:

, , , , , , ,

President Theodore Roosevelt’s Inaugural National Historic Site

On a recent trip to Toronto, my family made an unplanned stop in Buffalo, New York for the weekend. More on why we needed to stop in Buffalo and why we’re glad we did in an upcoming post. I always bring my Passport to the National Parks on road trips, and I quickly realized that the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historical Site was close by, in the Allentown area of Buffalo.

Theodore Roosevelt, the youngest president in the history of United States, took office after President McKinley was assassinated at the 1901 Pan-American Exposition. At the time, the house was owned by Ansley Wilcox, a prominent local lawyer, and his wife, friends of then vice president Roosevelt.  TR, as he was later referred to, rushed to Buffalo immediately upon hearing the news that McKinley had been shot, and returned to the home a few days later, when McKinley died, to be sworn in as the 26th president of the United States.

The one hour, partially guided tour, has many interactive components. See if your children can “I Spy” our favorite parts:

, , , ,