Saturday, June 18, 2011

Vacation overview!

The Monkey Household has returned from our voyage to New York and back.  We covered 13 states and 3745 miles in about a week and a half.  Overall it was a really great trip.  We all had a good time and the kids did really well, considering all the driving and late nights. I plan to post a few different vacation photo posts, but will outline our trip here.

We left South Dakota on Saturday, June 4th, drove through Minnesota, and headed to Iowa to attend a wedding.

These first two photos were taken in our own town.  The kids wasted no time breaking in to their activity bags. 

M.G. and M2 had a blast on the dance floor that night!

The next morning, after Mass in Waterloo, IA, we headed through Illinois,

and stopped to hike in Indiana at the Indiana Dunes State Park, getting our toes wet in Lake Michigan and having a quick picnic.

We took scenic highway 12 into Michigan and made an unexpected stop at Oink's Dutch Treat.  We saw a small building covered in wild pig paraphernalia and surrounded by a crowd and it was just what we needed to finish off that leg of the trip.

We spent that night in Ohio and got a fairly early start the next morning.  We drove so that the kids tended to fall asleep in the car each night.  This prevented any wild hotel room bedtime scenes or super early wake-ups.  Being able to get up before the kids is really different than our regular routine!

June 6th was M3's first birthday!

We headed through Pennsylvania and in to New York! The kids were really very upbeat about all the driving (at least until the final two or three days when M2 was just ready to be done!)

We spent that afternoon exploring Niagara Falls.  I had never been before and found it amazing!  Papa caught this photo while we were on the boat tour.

We were so very glad to spend June 7th - 9th staying with good friends in Albany, NY.  We were able to see quite a few people from the time we lived there and toured around to see the old sights as well.

The kids really enjoyed just relaxing and playing at our friends' house.

We drove around a bit pointing out important places to the kids and stopped by our favorite bakery for a treat.

We spent part of the next day in downtown Albany exploring the view from the Corning tower, running on the Plaza, and playing in the museum.

We were a bit sad to leave Albany, but we still had adventures awaiting us.  The next morning we set off through Massachusetts (picking up some delicious strawberries at a toll road travel center)  

and arrived in Newport, Rhode Island to spend the afternoon and night with family there.  We hit the beach, had great seafood from a clam shack, explored the docks for starfish, and had a nice walk around that evening.

Saturday, June 11th, we got an early start and drove through Connecticut, with a stop for breakfast sandwiches,

on our way to our favorite train station back in New York.
We spent that afternoon and early evening exploring NYC and meeting up with a friend from our grad school years.

We spent that evening in Pennsylvania and on the 12th headed toward home.  The mountains of Pennsylvania and a small sliver of West Virginia were beautiful and had us wishing we could spend more time in this area.

This day was when M2 started having enough of the small confines of the back seat.  I think M.G. read her way through 5 states.  But, we had a lot of fun running and blowing bubbles at a rest stop in Ohio
and we had a really lovely picnic and hike at a MetroPark near Dayton, OH.
That evening Papa drove us through Indiana and we stayed the night in our grad school town in Illinois.

The next morning we walked around campus and drove around so that M.G. could see where we lived and what we did when she was a baby.  It was a really beautiful day for walking around.
We hopped in the car and drove up to Madison, Wisconsin for lunch.  Papa and I went to college in Madison and had not been back in several years.  It was great to be back!
We had hoped to get all the way home late that night, but it was a rough trip through Wisconsin.  We ended up spending one more night in a hotel.  This time we arrived a little earlier than we had been and it was a fun "watch TV and dance around on the bed" party.
 We did make it home the next day, traveling back through Minnesota to South Dakota again.

This post feels almost as long as the vacation!  I can't wait to share a few more photos of specific spots along our way!


Erica said...

Wow, what an impressive trip! It was great seeing you guys - and thanks for the UIUC postcard - I haven't been back in ages.

Jo said...

I still stand in awe of your road-tripping abilities with 3 children, no DVD player and no mini-van! Make no mistake that you and Monkey Dad are the Queen and King of all roadtrippers! Looks like a great trip and I'm so glad we got to see you. The dunes in IN look really neat and I definitely want to check out RI now.