Friday, July 11, 2008

Mountain Boys

I'm already two vacations behind, so you can imagine what a busy few weeks we've had! Christopher was away at a conference at Dartmouth so I took the boys up to meet him for a long weekend. And boy, did we pack a lot of stuff into three measly days!

Things started slowly on Day 1 when I tried to take the kids to the New England Transportation Museum...only to find out it was in the process of moving that week. Luckily there was an old train for them to play on AND they had fun picking up brochures for a million other adventures that we set out on instead!

The first was a trek up to the Vermont Teddy Bear Company where we toured the factory and Colin got to cuddle with a giant friend!

Liam tries to make bear tracks. Those might be big enough for Grampy to find on one of his legendary bear hunts!

The big boys loved the factory tour, especially the "bear hospital" where they learned all the terrible things that can befall furry friends. Like being melted under a lightbulb, dried in the dryer, caught up in the lawn mower and many more. Colin memorized a litany of bear-related maladies to wow Daddy with when we met up!

Here's my two big teddies. (Eamon was trapped in the stroller and his favorite part of the Factory was when I mollified him with golfish crackers and raisins)

There was a strangely alluring silo just waiting to be explored.

Inside it was FILLED to the top with chalk names and drawings. The boys added their own signatures, but it left me wondering... how exactly DID people get chalk all the way up to the roof?

No trip to Vermont would be complete without a stop at the Ben & Jerry's factory! We took a tour and the boys guzzled down the ice cream of the day: Cake Batter (with chocolate frosting in it, heaven for the Baker Boys!)

Here is a very satiated boy. And with that camouflage shirt on, you can HARDLY see the ridiculous mess he made of himself!

Day 2 started out a little better as Daddy joined in the fun and we found this very bizarre antique toy place. Of course, it had the requisite train which cost a ridiculous amount of money for what it was, but hey, I HAD promised the boys some transportation! And it was in the same complex as a great farmer's diner with amazing home-made bacon and jam so the grown-ups didn't have anything to complain about either!

Some old school, yet still-functional, rides.

Who knew pigs could be so fast?

Our next stop was the Simon Pearce glass-blowing factory. They also make hand-made pottery and had an area for the kids to try their own little hands at fashioning something out of clay.

The boys were enamored with the glass-blowers and stayed still through at least four wine-glasses being made. By the end, they knew all the steps and could PROBABLY have done it themselves. You know, if we let them play with molten glass and ovens...

Colin at the Waterfall at Simon Pearce where we enjoyed a posh and lovely meal (while Liam joyously slept and Eamon stuffed himself with delicious home-made biscuits)

When it became too tiresome to keep their hands off the glass (and too stressful for us to keep them away from the glass), we mosyed on over to the Montshire Science Museum where the kids could touch anything they liked! Including a cool hot air balloon exhibit.

Liam got a ride on the working hovercraft.

And discovers the "magic" of airflow and nurf balls!

Eamon was thrilled to get out of the stroller and have some fun of his own. Mostly by commandeering all of the golf balls in one exhibit so no one else could use them!

Mr. Cogsworth

Bubbles are always a big hit!

The bigger, the better!

As usual, it became clear that all that is needed to keep the boys happy is a pool and some time to swim in it! We could have stayed home and visited Grammy and Grampy and they would have been just as happy!

Day 3 began our trek home which we hoped to do in quick fashion, but the boys had seen a brochure for SantaLand on Day 1 and we decided to stop and check it out. How to describe SantaLand? Kitschy would be a nice way. Also, decrepit, overpriced, tedious and run-down would work. But the kids loved it and the couple who owns it were quite nice and very pleasant.

Here's Colin showing that we'd found the fifth of 12 elves hidden around the park, this one tucked into Santa's boot. We never did find the last two, but it will be a warm day in the North Pole before we go back and try again...

The boys did have fun on the rides and since it was hot as Hades and threatening to storm, there were scant other people there to get in their way!

The big slide was fun, though only two of the shutes actually were fast enough to get them all the way to the bottom!

Engineer Colin directs the way to the train.

One of the only neat things that Chris and I could figure about the whole place were the giant frogs hanging about the pond.

I made all of my boys stop off at the King Arthur Flour store which was a crazy thrill for me. I drool over the catalog all the time and we bought some fun baking supplies. And, we inadvertently tied our trip into our MagicTreehouse books, when we found out upon returning home that Morgan le Fey is going to be central to the books and she just happens to be KING ARTHUR'S SISTER! Good thing Mama forced all of her big and little boys to go see him!

And better yet, it's a good things we bought a mini donut pan there to make yummy baked donut treats!! I wouldn't exactly call them "healthy" but at least they're not fried and they are soooo cute!

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