Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The Johnsons' 2012-13 Holiday Adventure

Cabin fever got the best of us. A trip to the U.S.S. New Jersey on Saturday helped the restlessness a little bit.
Three brave souls marching through a snowy day on the U.S.S. New Jersey. 
Sam at the U.S.S. New Jersey.

But we had to do something more. Therefore, we made a quick decision Monday morning to drive to New York to visit a couple of historical homes, one of them the home of Franklin Roosevelt at Hyde Park.

Sam poses at the entrance to FDR's home.

An aside: I've recently decided that I need a new historical quest (now that the abandoned tunnels of the Pennsylvania Turnpike quest is satisfied). It's time to see the home of every U.S. president, hopefully in order from greatest to worst. I'll go in approximate order, cycling through the greats (now done), then the near-greats, then the average, then the poor. I'll use the Siena survey to help guide this, though I disagree with its ranking of FDR at number 1.

In our nearly seven years of parenthood we've taught Sam and Caroline how to be good travellers. We were able to get out of the house within an hour of deciding to go yesterday morning. We made it to FDR's Hyde Park home by 1 pm. We took part on a 1:30 pm tour there and then got over to the nearby Vanderbilt Mansion for its 4pm tour. Sam and Caroline were really well-behaved for a couple of tours that were aimed more at adults.
Sam and Caroline at Hyde Park standing by the map mosaic.
I'm impressed, however, at good tour guides' ability to speak simultaneously to a wide range of ages, much like pastors have to. The guide at FDR's home was really good at it, even including Sam in a demonstration with a pair of 7-lb. weights meant to show the burn FDR carried on his legs. Though the guide at Vanderbilt wasn't as adept at including the little ones in presentation, she was very pleasant to our kids.

We decided to stay at a Hampton Inn in Poughkeepsie, which was wise given that a three-hour drive home last night would've been miserable. Instead we got to visit a hotel pool. I'm amazed at how wondrous a small, highly chlorinated 3'9" pool can be to a pair of kids.

We returned this morning.

The view from the back deck at FDR's Hyde Park home.

Vanderbilt Mansion at Hyde Park.

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