Weir Farms National Historic Site


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.


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 🙂


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


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

Stop back for more National Park Service fun!

Rhode Island


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


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!


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.



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




Another State line down.  This is #27 out of 50.  We took our Massachusetts photo at the rest stop coming into Mass leaving from New Hampshire on I-95 at exit 60. An employee actually saw us and came out to take the photo for us. Awesome!

National Park Service sites we visited while in Mass:

Salem Maritime National Historic Site

Saugus Iron Works National Historic Site

We based our Massachusetts stay in Salem on this trip and really enjoyed this town. After spending a couple hours at Salem Maritime National Historic Site we ventured into town to have a look around.  It was very “bewitching”.  Gorgeous houses, museums, fun souvenir shops and tons of fun every “witch” way we went.

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We wandered our way up to the witch museum to check that out. Pretty cool place and we loaded up on souvenirs.

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Witches everywhere….

We headed over to the site of the Salem witch trial and cemetery.  We strolled through here spending about a half hour looking at the stones. This was a very eerie yet interesting place.

While here we headed out to see if we could spot some Hocus Pocus filming locations.  We didn’t have to go too far before we found a few.  Can you figure out “witch” scenes these are from?

The shopping in town was all witch craft related as well. The kids found this awesome wand store that reminded us of the wand shop right out of Harry Potter.  We couldn’t find a wand to match us like Harry did. I guess we will need to keep “wand”ering around.

More walking and more fun things to see.

We had great food here in town and a very entertaining day. However, if you are going to Salem you can’t pass up this place……WTH??? It took the kids a moment before the giggles came.


The husband loaded up on t-shirts and koozies from here (he always keeps it classy).

That concludes our bewitching experience in Salem. Have you been here??  If not, may I suggest giving it a “trial” run??  Until next time.

Saugus Iron Works National Historic Site


Visited: August 2018

Duration: 2 hours

Accommodations: Salem Waterfront Hotel and Suites, Salem, MA

After a fantastic day in Salem we woke up and got this day going at Saugus Iron Works.  When we arrived, we had a hard time finding anyone. Finally a volunteer showed up and opened the visitor center for us.  She didn’t have a ton of knowledge only that all rangers and park officials were in a meeting.  I guess we are on our own here. We went to the park page on my phone and downloaded the self guided tour.  Here is another park that gives you a Jr. Ranger back pack full of goodies to use as you tour the park.


This park is beautiful (and empty at the time), we really enjoyed the peace and tranquility here. We didn’t get to go through the museum because the volunteer couldn’t figure out how to turn the lights on.  Oops. We headed out to the blast furnace. A blast furnace was developed in the 1300’s and introduced the principle behind iron making. The kids really enjoyed learning how this worked, and dad did a great job of explaining it.


Next up The Forge, most of the iron produced was moved over to the forge and then was made into wrought iron, Saugus works’ major product.


The Rolling and slitting mill was our last stop.  The slitting mill produced rods that were cut into nails, also forged here were hinges, hoes, shovels, latches and other handy items.


We ventured into the back area of the park where the blacksmith shop is located.  The pond was nice and as I stated before this is a beautiful park.


We headed back to the visitor center for our cancellations and Junior Ranger badges.

Off to Rhode Island for the rest of the day. Check back for more stops on our National Park Trip Season 3, we aren’t even close to being done yet 🙂

Salem Maritime National Historic Site

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Visited: August 2018

Duration: 2 hours

Accommodations: Salem Waterfront Hotel and Suites, Salem, MA

Our next National Park Service Site visit on this trip was Salem Maritime National Historic Site.  Boy did we have a “Merry time”! This nine acre park has a few things to offer and won’t take up much of your day.  We headed to the Visitor Center to grab our Junior Rangers, this time it was a back pack full of activities to look at while visiting the park.

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We set off to look at the harbor. Salem was a bustling wharf of trade ships exchanging goods such as cod, wine, sugarcane, cotton, textiles, tea and several other items from all over the world. During the Revolution, Salem was the most active American privateering port, capturing nearly 500 British vessels.  Here we learned all about the different kind of boats used and we learned how these boats came to learn how to gauge their speed.  If that does “knot” impress you, I don’t know what will.

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The next hot spots we visited were the local merchants and their homes.

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The Hawkes House- Benjamin Hawkes was a ship builder and dates back to 1780.

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The Derby House – Capt. Richard Derby presented this house to his son as a wedding present. Hasket Derby became one of Salem’s wealthiest merchants.

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The Custom House – here you can find artifacts relating to Salem’s history. This is where the US Customs Service held their operations for Salem.


That wraps up our time here. We headed back to the Visitor Center, also known as The Waite & Peirce store. Handed back the back pack and received our Junior Ranger badges. Got all of our cancellations and we had the rest of the day to go enjoy this awesome town.  Check for that on the Massachusetts blog in the next few days. We really enjoyed our time in Salem.

Until our next adventure….

Acadia National Park


Visited: August 2018

Duration: 3 days, 4 nights

Accommodations:  Holiday Inn, Bar Harbor.  Only place I could find with Bunk beds in a separate room.

Acadia National Park!!  We were so excited to get to this park on National Park Trip Season 3. Me, for the views and hiking, kids for beach and whale watch and Chris, my husband for the lobster.

We arrived in Bar Harbor in the afternoon on a Friday, we checked into the hotel, let the kids swim awhile and went down into town for some lobster. It didn’t disappoint, none of our dining options did while here.

Day 1 Acadia

This morning we had a whale watch so we had to be in Bar Harbor at the crack of nobody is up.  This took all morning and if interested I would definitely book a trip through Bar Harbor Whale watch they are the best in the business and we could see why.  Check out our post on Maine for info on our Whale watch here.

We set out after lunch (lobster of course) and headed to the park.  We stopped off at the visitor center for our map of the park, Junior Ranger books and our cancellations.  We drove the park loop road and were able to pull off anywhere and find parking.  This really surprised us for a Saturday and we found out why later that night.  Bar Harbor rents their vacation rentals by the week. They end on Saturday and start on Sunday so people are busy packing up to leave on Saturday and just getting there on Sundays so the park is pretty empty. We lucked out.


First stop Thunder Hole, this place was cool. We climbed on the rocks and walked around here for hours, watching the tide come in, it was awesome!  Relaxing and beautiful views of the ocean and coastline. We sat out on the rocks until we couldn’t anymore.



We cruised past Otter Point which was gorgeous and a must stop for photos. We drove on over to Jordan Pond and Jordan Pond house for the famous popovers.  Guess what, no wait at all! How did that happen?? The popovers were amazing, even my picky 11 year old loved them and asked for more. This is a must stop as well. It’s a gorgeous view of Jordan Pond from here. We also enjoyed shopping here as well, there is a great little gift shop and if your wait is a long one. The hike around Jordan Pond is easy and beautiful.

Off to check out Cadillac Mountain, we stopped and picked up a hitchhiker that had hiked down the mountain with her husband and baby and didn’t want to hike back up. Kids had tons of questions for her and we are sure she was glad to get out at the top 🙂

The view from the top of Cadillac Mountain was another breathe taking site we encountered while here in Acadia (there are lots of these). We walked around here and took pictures until it was turned dark on us.


We headed to Thurston’s for dinner (we hit this place more than once), it was amazing!  You could sit on the deck and watch the boats come in. Everything we ate was delicious, we highly recommend this place for good food.

Day 2

Today we got off to a late start out of the gate, we enjoyed a great breakfast at the hotel and were in no hurry. We started the day with a hike on the bee hive trail, our training for the precipice trail tomorrow. This trail was “buzzing” with exciting views and fun, but thrilling trails up the side of rocks.  I am deathly afraid of heights so of course I signed up for this with no worries.  It really wasn’t that bad, or maybe I’m just not as afraid as I think, use your own judgement. Great photo ops on this trail.  I wish I knew we could swim after that hot hike it looked fantastic.  Heads up pack your suit so you can enjoy a cool dip after this hot hike.

Started off a little rocky, LOL


Our first tricky spot


The iron rungs we used to climb up.
This is the trail
Family pic at the top.
The view from atop the Bee Hive Trail
On the way down, great place for a dip.

After working up a big sweat we headed over to Sand Beach for a couple of hours before heading in to Bar Harbor for a late lunch. Kids played here in the water and sand while we sat back and enjoyed. It is gorgeous here, make sure to add this to your stop.


We cruised the park loop road and headed to Bar Harbor for lunch and shopping the rest of the afternoon. The park was filling up quickly and getting crowded.

Day 3

This morning we had a good breakfast at 2 Cats, a must for breakfast in Bar Harbor.  We sat on the porch which was great but for what we got I thought it was a little expensive.  I really wasn’t impressed with this place as much as everyone who claims this place is a must, but don’t let me deter you.

We finished up our Junior Rangers and went to Sieur de Monts to get our Junior Ranger patches.  This is set up as a Junior Ranger station that we wandered around and looked at for most of the morning.  Lots of fun activities for the kids and adults to participate in and learn.  You could choose a patch or a badge, my kids both chose the patch, they are going to sew them onto a backpack when we have all of them.

This afternoon we rented kayaks and kayaked out in seal cove.  This was the highlight of our trip! We rented through National Park Sea Kayak Tours and they were top notch! Fun from the time we walked in the door!  Our guide was terrific and this excursion really “sealed” the deal for us!


What a great trip to Acadia National Park! We did everything we had on our list to do except the Precipice Trail. There were cars for miles and no parking when we showed up each time to do it. Looks like we will be back to enjoy more of those wonderful popovers! ❤

Have you been to Acadia? Did you love it as much as us?? Gunnar says it is his new favorite park. That says a lot.

For our dining choices and whale watch check back for the Maine post.  The food in Bar Harbor is the best so be sure to check it out. Also while you are there do some shopping. I was in heaven here!!



The Maine State Line! This was the “Maine” one we were after on this trip! It made #26 of 50 for us. We are over the half way point.  This State was awesome. We did so many things here and loved everything, especially the food!

National Parks we visited:

Acadia National Park

On our visit to the great state of Maine we stayed in Bar Harbor, and boy was it fantastic.  Our first venture outside of the park was going on a whale and puffin watch.  We were able to see many whales, a puffin and lots of birds. So, I guess you could say it went pretty “whale”.

We went through a company called Bar Harbor Whale watch and they are the best in the business.  The tour guide was very knowledgeable and entertained our children and us very well on the long haul out to the whales and back. What makes this company the best is their guarantee to see whales.  If you don’t see any or enough they give you a voucher to come back that is good for one year.  Not many companies do that.

We also enjoyed some Sea Kayaking and went through National Park Sea Kayaking, you can see that on the Acadia National Park blog here.  This company was amazing as well, but what made us love Bar Harbor was the food and all the shops!!

My husband and kids ate their weight in lobster on this trip!

Our first stop was Stewman’s Lobster Pond within walking distance of the hotel. We ate out on the pier and it was great,  we had no idea how great it can be elsewhere though. Save your time for whats to come. Here we are at Stewman’s.

Next stop was after our whale watch at Paddy’s Irish Pub which was conveniently located across the street from the whale watch. This place was so great we ended up eating lunch here again another day!


The next place was even better, we headed down to Thurston’s Lobster Pound. This is a little out of the way but totally worth it.  We came here twice it was so good! The boys enjoyed picking out their own lobsters and watching the boats come in. We absolutely loved it here. Thank you to all the folks that told us about this place!! Do NOT miss it!


The next great stop we made was because we planned to go mini golfing at Pirate’s Cove so we needed a place close to it. We really lucked out when we found C-Ray Lobster. This place was one of the favorites as well.  Really relaxed atmosphere, so relaxed its like you are eating in a back yard with 6 picnic tables, but it was really cool. We loved it!!  Great food and we talked to the owner for quite a bit, super chill guy!  Stop here as well if you can!! You won’t regret it.

We had a few breakfasts here in town as well. Some good some just okay.  The breakfast bar at the Holiday Inn was pretty good and the view looking out on the ocean was even better.  For $14 this place was good.

We also went to Jordan’s House Restaurant.  The service was impeccable!  The food great and a good price. A quick in and out breakfast joint to fill your belly and be on your way to the park! Highly recommend this place.

The last breakfast place we ate at we saved until the last day because we had heard so many great things about it. 2 Cats in Bar Harbor was really just okay for us. I thought it was awfully expensive for what we got. For a family of 4 it was over $100 for breakfast. I just about choked on my $10 coffee! Food was just great, waiter was super nice, atmosphere on the porch was nice but I would skip and find another place unless you have your heart set on this place. I’m sorry I didn’t like it as much as I wanted to, I tried I really did.


Wonderful food here in Bar Harbor and lots of shopping. We could have easily spent a week here.  Husband wants to come back and visit for sure. Look out poor lobsters!

I hope you enjoyed our stops and recommendations in Bar Harbor, it “shore” is a beautiful place. Have you been there??  We fell in love!

Gunnar wants to come back as an adult, open a hotel and name it The Puff Inn! ha ha get it???

Until next time!!  We are heading to Massachusetts next, can you guess “witch” town we will hit while there?

New Hampshire


New Hampshire, state line sign #25 (we are half way there) for this voyaging family!  We “shire” had a great time in this state. We visited the only National Park Service site in this state and it was beautiful.

National Park Service Site:

Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site

We also enjoyed the beauty of New Hampshire on our drive down the Kancamagus Highway. Check out these beautiful roadside stops.  We even met some folks from Iowa that did a rotation of where I work one summer. What a small world.

Look at these breathtaking views.


And a great get out and stretch your legs short hike to beautiful Glen Ellis Falls.


We stayed overnight in North Conway at The Red Jacket Mountain View Inn, where kids  burned off some energy at the indoor water park. Great stop off in NH for this crew.

Of course no trip through New Hampshire is complete without a drive up and down Mt. Washington. New Hampshire’s highest peak.  We did this on our own and it was really easy, despite the stories we heard from the bartender at our hotel.  My husband was more than capable of not burning up our brakes and taking it easy on the way down. We had a great clear day when we reached the top!


New Hampshire is an awesome state and one not to miss. Lots of fun and exciting things to see and do. We will be back, but for now we are on our way to Maine.  Check back for more state line signs, stops on our National Park trip season 3, Maine and all of our National Park stops.

Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site


Visited: August 2018

Duration: 2-3 hours (including a picnic lunch)

Accommodations:  Leaving Stowe, Vermont, staying in Conway, New Hampshire.


It was lunch time by the time we arrived in New Hampshire. This park has a great little picnic area in the parking lot. We had a bite to eat and then headed to the visitor center. Here we grabbed our goodies including our Junior Ranger packets.  I will say that this Junior Ranger is by far one of the best out there.  We had a blast filling this one out.

This National Historic Site is the home, gardens and studios of one of America’s greatest sculptors, Augustus Saint-Gaudens.  This was the summer residence from 1885 to 1897 and his permanent home from 1900 until he died in 1907. Here you can view all types of his work.  It is an absolutely beautiful area.

We spent most of our time here walking the grounds exploring every piece of artwork.  In the Junior Ranger booklet there were tiny insets of the artwork we had to match to original work, its harder than it sounds.  The grounds were beautiful to walk through and we were the only people here during our visit. A quiet and serene place, we really enjoyed. Below are some of our favorite works of art we found on our visit.


The house was gorgeous as well. We were able to walk around in it and the park ranger on duty was very helpful with questions. She also helped us with our Jr. Ranger booklets on some we couldn’t quite find. The best part, she gave us great hints and not the exact answers 🙂


We headed back to the visitor center to earn our badges. This gal looks skeptical, ha ha.


What a great little stop at New Hampshire’s only National Park Service site.

We are off to Conway, New Hampshire, but first we are going to enjoy the scenery along the Kancamagus Highway on our way and make a pit stop in at Franconia Notch State Park.
Thanks for stopping by, I hope you enjoyed the blog for today. Stop back for more, we are just getting warmed up here on National Park Trip Season 3.

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