Fort Moultrie National Monument

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Visited: March 2019

Duration: 1/2 day

Accommodations: Downtown Charleston

National Park Trip Season 4- Spring Break Edition is on!  The first half will be a Civil War Expedition and will end with the Spanish Inquisition of Florida. Lets hope for some warm weather for these frigid Iowans along our route.

First stop was Fort Moultrie National Monument located in Sullivan’s Island, SC. This place was small but great.  We lucked out as well, they are teaming up with Fort Sumter and the Junior Ranger badges for this place will be non-existent soon.  We grabbed some Junior Ranger booklets and headed out to the fort for a self guided tour.

There are 10 stops along the self-guided tour. Fort Moultrie has been built 3 times; once in 1776 to protect Charleston from the British, once in 1794 then destroyed by a hurricane in 1804 and the final time in 1809 serving as a fort up to the Civil War.

1st stop is World War 2.

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This is the Harbor Entrance Control Post, completed in 1944 it coordinated all of the harbor defenses around Charleston.

Stop #2 Harbor Defense 1898-1939

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Battery Bingham and Battery McCorkie were designed to protect the mine field at the entrance to Charleston harbor and to act in conjunction with other batteries on Sullivans island and at Fort Sumter.

Stop #3

1870’s Modernization- after the Civil War the fort was renovated applying concepts learned during that conflict. These weapons located here represent Fort Moultrie in the period from 1873-1898.

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Stop #4 Civil War

Great technological changes in coastal defense weapons occurred during this era. Canons at this site represent the alterations made here.

Stop #5 Fort Moultrie III

From 1809-1860 the fort changed little. This section represents the 3rd fort from its construction to the eve of the Civil War.

Stop #6 Fort Moultrie II

1794-1801 the fort was built in response to disagreements with France. It was an important as a part of the First American System of seacoast defenses.

Stop #7 Fort Moultrie I

This site represents the beginnings of harbor defense in the United States.

Stop #8 and Stop #9 Cannon Walk and Battery Jasper

Cannon walk has artillery pieces form Civil War and after. Battery Jasper, this battery integrated heavy artillery, mine fields and rapid fire guns.

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Beautiful Visitor Center as seen from the fort

We headed back to the Visitor Center because there were some difficult questions to answer in our Jr. Ranger booklet.  We spent about an hour watching the film and looking through the exhibits.  Great Visitor Center with lots of educational experiences.

Kids received their Jr. Rangers and we were off to the next site 🙂

Junior Ranger badges and Passport Stamps! Also on this trip we earned our Junior Ranger Civil war Historian for earning 3 Civil War area Junior Rangers. Pretty sweet!

Join us on our next stops Charles Pinckney National Historical Park and Fort Sumter!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ohio

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State line sign #21 of 50 for us, obviously we aren’t blogging these in order.  This was a fun one to get, lots of honking and waving at us. We got this one going out on I-90 heading east, Indiana was on the North side of the road and we ran over and got that one in the same stop.  Ohio is a tough one to get, most of the signs are up in the air overhead. We lucked out when we got this one.

National Park Service sites we visited in Ohio on this trip are as follows:

Cuyahoga Valley National Park

We will be back for lots more on other trips, so check out the link above and of course always check back for updates.

This is officially the end to National Park Trip Season 3 Summer edition.  Come on back to see our trip down south on our Civil War Expedition, I will start on that as soon as I can, we had a blast!

 

 

Cuyahoga Valley National Park

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Visited: August 2018

Duration: 1/2 day (could have been 2 days)

Accommodations: Baymont by Wyndham Boston Heights

Cuyahoga Valley National Park was our final destination on National Park Trip Season 3.  We are making the trek back towards home.  I had planned about a day and a half here but we are getting worn out so we finished off an afternoon and evening here and called it good.  There are many things here to do at this park and we missed out on them. This park can easily be revisited by us because it is on the way out east.  If I do venture back I would love to come in the fall and I will definitely add a train ride to the mix.  We saw lots of people that rented bikes and looked miserable, we might even try that too.

Our trip to this wonderful park started out at the Boston Visitor Center, we grabbed our Junior Rangers and headed to work.  We watched the short film upstairs. There is a hike here we had to do in the book and also a letter box scavenger hunt that was centered around the visitor center.  It is a beautiful area and a fun junior ranger.

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Boston Store Visitor Center
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Listening for sounds on our hike.
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Antique Garage next to the VC
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We found the letterbox!

 We also stopped in across from the visitor center and enjoyed some ice cream, we sat outside chatting with other park goers while the kids did some of their books.  Lots of people on bikes coming and going.  Once done with the Boston Store area we headed out to see Brandywine Falls.  Short little drive up there and not a long hike to the falls.  It was getting later in the day so we ran into zero people on this hike. Easy hike to see some great falls.

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Brandywine Falls

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Trail on the way to the falls

We went out next to find a Park sign to get the family photo next to. This took us quite awhile and we finally found one at the corner of Valley View Road and Chaffee Road. After our long journey here today and the few hours we spent we are hungry and tired.  We ventured into town for the evening and called it a day.

The next morning we headed back to Visitor Center to get our Junior Ranger badges and patches.  Bought our magnets, stickers and did the cancellation thing.  I can’t believe it but we are National Parked out for the summer, ready to head home to sleep in our own beds, see our dogs and plan next years trip 🙂

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That’s it for National Park Trip Season 3.  Stop back for National Park Trip Season 4 Spring Break edition where we will be going on a Civil War Expedition.

New Jersey

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State line sign #30. New Jersey!  Lucky for us on this trip we visited a National Park Service site right on the border of 2 states.  We ventured over to New Jersey from Delaware Water Gap to get this State photo.  It was really easy!  This state line sign in on Highway 206 just across from Pennsylvania. Low traffic and easy to get to.

We haven’t had the chance to spend much time in New Jersey but check back for updates for future park visits.

Pennsylvania

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State line #31 was Pennsylvania.  We are getting good at these now 🙂  This one was a real easy one to get to. Right off of an exit.  Heading on I80 North from New Jersey (heading past the exit for Delaware River National Rec Area)  take exit 310 and park on the left side of the exit.  It turned out pretty good.

 

National Park Service Sites we visited in the state:

Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area

(Click the link above to read all about it.)

 

This was more or less a drive through state to get to our next park.  We didn’t do much this trip.

Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area

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Visited: August 2018

Duration: 1 full day (spend more if the trails are open)

Accommodations: AirBNB cabin, Bushkill, PA.

Delaware Water Gap NRA was a beautiful place to be, unfortunately the year we decided to visit they had very bad storms.  No trails were open and the Dingman Falls visitor Center was closed.  In fact we had a hard time trying to find the make shift visitor center.  From start to finish at this park was a mild storm.  On our way from Iowa I recieved a phone call from the hotel we had booked a year in advance in Bushkill, they were cancelling our reservation because a group had decided to stay there and rent the whole place out, we were out of luck.  I scrambled to find a decent hotel in the area and came up short.  I went to AirBNB and found a cabin in the woods that would work.  The outdoors around it was the best part, the cabin could use some work.  We did get to enjoy some of nature while at the cabin but zero at the park, unfortunately.

We rested in our hammocks and enjoyed the view above.

We eventually found the make shift Visitor Center and grabbed some Junior Ranger books and an extra Angler Junior Ranger which was even more fun.  We sat on the steps of the Visitor Center and filled them out.  Dad even filled out an Angler one it was so much fun.  First of many of his Junior Rangers to come.

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We had as much fun as we could even though most of the park was closed.  In the morning we drove out and around the park on a gravel road that took us along the river.  We pulled in to Kittatinny Point Visitor Center to have a look around and most of that area was flooded as well, along with a train/oil spill that was heading that way that morning.  What a wreck, pun intended!  We left Pennsylvania and headed for greener pastures.

 

Received our Junior Ranger badges and got our cancellations.  At least there is that 🙂

 

The next stop will be better I promise.  Also we will need to stop back here and check out the falls after damage clean up, it does look like a beautiful place to be.

 

Connecticut

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State line sign #29 for us!  Collecting them fast on this trip.

This was fun state, we are definitely coming back to enjoy its beautiful sites.  On this trip we only stayed one night but it was amazing.  Great time with some great friends.  We met up with a travel buddy of mine that I met in Vietnam, Glen.  Had dinner with him and some of his friends that I later traveled to Morocco with.  It was fabulous.

National Park Service Sites we visited:

Weir Farms National Historic Site

Also, no trip would be complete to this state without stopping at Mystic Pizza in the beautiful town of Mystic, Connecticut.  One of my favorite movies growing up.  I was very excited about this. Even got myself a t-shirt to celebrate.

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If you have any great stops or places in Connecticut we would love to hear about them in the comments.  We are adding this state to the list of returns.  Stop back to see our next adventure.

Weir Farms National Historic Site

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Visited: August 9th, 2018

Duration: 2-3 hours

This was a relaxed and fantastic stop coming through Connecticut.  We met up with a travel buddy of mine that I met while on a trip to Vietnam.  We have traveled to Ecuador, Morocco, the Netherlands and Belgium together now. He has been to Iowa to visit us so we couldn’t pass up this stop since we were so close.  Lucky for him he is 10 minutes away from this park.

We arrived at the park early in the morning.  They have the passport cancellations outside in a box so we did those first thing.  We grabbed our park maps and there were 2 different Junior Rangers to do.  I printed these before our trip in case we arrived before the park opened.

Junior Ranger #1  Pond Pack

This Junior Ranger booklet is an art and nature activity to be completed as you hike around the Weir Pond.  It is directed towards learning about the natural and man made environment using your senses to explore the farm and the forest. It was a gorgeous morning with great views throughout the hike.

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Junior Ranger #2  Letterboxing

This is where it gets to be fun!  I love letterboxing and we learned so much doing it.

This activity is a scavenger hunt, navigation and puzzle solving all rolled in to one book.  Use your detective skills from clues in the booklet to search for hidden containers that contain stamps to be placed in the book (called letterboxes).  Along the way we learned about the 5 important parts of the park: the artists that lived here, the gardens, farming, the stone walls and the National Park Service.

Everyone had fun doing this, even Glen, my travel buddy 🙂

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When finished we headed to the Visitor Center and everyone earned their badges and patches.  What a great park!

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Badges, patches and cancellations.  Off to our next destination.  We loved this place!

Stop back for more National Park Service fun!

Rhode Island

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Rhode Island!  #28 out of 50 state line signs we have taken!  We “Rhode” over here on our way to Connecticut from Massachusetts. This sign was located off of I95 South Exit 2B.  The address I put in my GPS was 1600 Newport Ave, Pawtucket, Rhode Island.  A really safe place to stop. We heard a ton of great things about Rhode Island from some people we hiked with in Acadia, so this will be a return state.

On this trip we visited:

Roger Williams National Memorial

Check out that blog by clicking the link above.  Stay tuned there should be a revisit to this state someday soon.

Thanks for stopping by!

Roger Williams National Memorial

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Visited: August 2018

Duration: 1 hour

We swung by Roger Williams National Memorial on our way from Salem, Mass heading to Connecticut.  Good lunch stop if you are here at that time.  Looked like this was a popular place to hang out at for lunch.  We walked around the small park for a bit and then went into the Visitor Center. Park is very pretty!

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At the Visitor Center we grabbed Junior Ranger books and watched the short film. We walked around a bit and let the boys finish the books (didn’t take long).  Roger Williams and his wife Mary, sailed to the US in 1631.  He became friends with the Native Americans and even learned their language so he could trade with them. Roger was a forward thinking minister who believed that people should be able to choose any religion.  Due to his ideas he was forced out of Massachusetts and headed south where he created a new colony called Providence, where everyone was free to practice any religion.  Providence means “God’s gift”.

What a great little Memorial in the center of Providence.  So glad we stopped in to learn about Roger Williams. Great place.  Kids earned their Junior Rangers and we got our cancellations.

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That is all we have for this place. Off to Connecticut to meet up with a travel buddy!!

 

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