Monday afternoon, after some difficulties getting started in the a.m. we set off for our Smith family '07 road trip. We traveled in a rented minivan, it actually worked out to be quite comfortable. Tara sat in the back with Luke most of the trip, Whitney and I sat in the middle seats, and the parents in the front. Why people hate minivans, I will never know.
All in all the trip was great. 50% of it on the road, 20% of it sleeping, and the other 30, actually seeing the sights. Luckily the east coast provides a beautiful backdrop for a very long drive, lots of trees, lakes, and hills.
This is a very condensed version of what we did. It would take me days to write up posts for every stop, so you will see very brief highlights from them.
We pulled in around 8pm. Since it was late we didn't do much except for drive around trying to find something to eat, which was a very disappointing experience. But we did get up not so early the next day and explored the historic sights.
Highlights included: Joseph Smith's home, the Sacred Grove (it was as beautiful as I imagined it), Hill Cumora, visiting the old General Store and seeing how they bound the first Book of Mormon, a decent hotel with a pretty good continental breakfast, a not great "recommended" diner, Luke's obsession with the fish tank, Tara's migraine (her preventative pills were stolen from her bag while in flight), lots of rain and mud.
NIAGARA FALLS, NY, CANADA
We spent a nice afternoon and evening here. We actually stayed in Buffalo, right outside the falls. I was in suburbia heaven, I somehow talked the family into Mexican food (not enough of that in Utah), JoAnn's, Old Navy, and a movie. The next day we headed to the falls.
Highlights included: trying to figure out the exact location they filmed Superman, getting soaked, the obvious beauty of the falls, being entertained by the Canada side of the falls (very touristy), watching a tight rope walker, taking lots of pictures, paying over $65 dollars in gas, and eating Canadian candy bars.
After Niagara, we cruised into Toronto. It was odd knowing we were driving through another country, yet the only notable difference was the signs were also in French. We hung out in Toronto that night, went to dinner, and then spent the next day of course, shopping.
Highlights included: Yummy gelato, Luke loving the lights all over the trees, a hotel with fish ponds and ducks (Luke's favorite part of the entire trip), the best chicken nuggets I have ever had (at McDonald's), the highest building in the world, driving past the carnival secretly wishing we could stop, Whitney doing a makeover on me, & shopping.
We didn't leave Toronto until after 3pm, and the drive to the campsite was another six. The kids weren't so excited about setting up camp in the dark, but tried to stay positive just for our dad's sake. He finally gave in when it started pouring. So we ended up staying the night in Albany.
Highlights included: Sleeping in a warm dry bed, showering, and a continental breakfast.
Despite Albany not being a destination hot spot for our trip, we didn't manage to actually leave until the early afternoon, putting us in Boston around 3pm. Tom and Justin had already arrived, went to Harvard Square, and ate at Bartley's Burgers. We drove straight to Boston Commons and ate in a food court. We actually only hung out in Boston the rest of that evening, but it was enough to convince everyone that they needed to move there, including my parents.
Highlights included: Boston Commons, H& M (I was able to replace the hair clips I lost from my last trip to Boston), Salt Water Taffy, hanging out with Justin (he left NY last April), Beacon Hill, Luke showing off all of his sign language, actually doing some of the freedom trail, trying to figure out where they filmed the Departed, 7-Eleven's you can walk to,getting lost trying to find the hotel because we were too busy staring at the bridge we were driving over, packing up the car to leave and Whitney locking the keys in the minivan forcing us to wait an extra 3 1/2 hours in the hotel lobby until someone came to unlock it, thanks again Whit!
CAPE COD, MA
Because of our late departure out of Boston, we didn't get into Cape Cod until 5pm. And then most of the evening was spent driving around trying to find a beach. Cape Cod is hard to navigate around, you can't see through the trees.
Highlights included: The adorable cottage homes, restaurants, and churches, all in the same shade of grey. Ice cream, the beach, going out to eat to our first seafood joint, Justin and his lobster, losing our ball in the ocean (it went too far, too quickly), Whitney and Justin throwing my dad into the ocean, rock throwing contests,trying to figure out the location they filmed Splash, driving and driving to find a hotel with vacancy, and finally finding one with a swimming pool.
Overall highlights: Eating more junk food in one week than I have in the past year, spending time with my family, and watching Luke have the time of his life pretending to drive the car.
** Note: I really wished I could have documented this along the way. This post took WAY too long.