Today is the first day of school… Melissa is starting 8th grade, and Sara is in 1st grade.
Plans are to drop the kids off at school and then head to the movies with Amber to see The Timetraveler’s Wife… and then head to the gym to work out before it’s time to pick up the kids from school.
and yes, the heart and smiley on the grapes are real.
Oh-oh… another teenager! Happy 13th Birthday, Melissa!
I got to upgrade my phone about two weeks ago and chose the LG EnV3… and we added texting to my plan, which I didn’t have before. How FUN! Yes, I’m addicted to texting now! It’s only unlimited to other Verizon customers, so if you have Verizon Wireless, text me anytime 😉
Dalia, you’re going to have to get a new phone now! LOL
Next stop on our vacation was Memphis, Tennessee, on Tuesday, July 7, 2009. We got there around lunch time and out of the many restaurants featured on Diners, Drive-ins & Dives, we decided on Leonard’s BBQ. They had great food, and we ate way too much of it!
What’s a trip through Memphis without at driving past Graceland! Yup, that’s Graceland hidden behind those trees somewhere. I tried to get a picture of the gates, but a tour bus was blocking them. I would have loved to take a tour, but none of the brochures we found mentioned anything about how much it would cost (didn’t want the poor tourists dropping dead from sticker shock?) so we decided to skip it.
We did see Elvis at the visitor’s center near Mud Island… behind him was B.B. King.
We drove to Arkadelphia, Arkansas and spent the night, and on Wednesday, July 8, 2009 we tried our luck at Crater of Diamonds State Park. Any diamond you find is yours to keep! We rented the necessary supplies and picked a spot to dig….
…. and wash. Wish I had gotten a shot of Sara’s very dirty shirt! We found some pretty rocks, but no diamonds.
By lunchtime the girls had ad enough and wanted to leave (it was hot!!!) so we headed to the park restaurant for lunch. In the end, we kept what we found, and called them diamonds 😉
The girls were disappointed that they didn’t find any diamonds, so we headed to the Happy Prospector Gemstone Mine, a nice little tourist trap where you can buy big buckets of sand that have been enhanced with pretty colored glass gem stones, fake arrow heads and shark’s teeth (sharks in Arkansas??). We all had fun washing the sand away and finding all the pretty stones.
After a long day in the hot sun, we stopped at a hotel in Hope Arkansas and cooled off at/in the pool.
On Thursday, July 9, 2009 we only had a short drive home and our busy, fun-filled vacation came to an end.
Taken at Battery Park in NYC
A lucky shot!
We were stopped at the Welcome Center in New Jersey, and she was obviously sick of having the camera in her face!
Mama Bear and Baby Bear
Do you see it?
On Monday, July 6, 2009, we continued through Maryland and went through West Virginia and Kentucky.
We ran into a little bit of fog in the morning, and this first picture reminded me of San Francisco last year.
We made a little detour to Forks of Cheat Winery in West Virginia, because it wasn’t too far away from the highway. It was well worth it, because the view was beautiful and they had a gorgeous garden! We did do some wine tasting first, bought a bottle or two.. or three? I don’t remember… and then walked around the garden for a while. I took plenty of pictures, too!
We ate lunch at another Diners, Drive-ins & Dives restaurant, the Central City Cafe in Huntington, West Virginia. The food was good, but the service wasn’t great. They seemed to care more about the locals/regulars than out-of-towners, they had no kids menus (but did charge us kids prices – which weren’t listed – for the kids’ meals). The kids’ meals came with a small slice of watermelon for dessert, and the owner (at least I think he was the owner) gave us a to-go box with more watermelon pieces for the kids before we left.
Poor Sara was exhausted and took a little nap in the car… how she was able to sleep like this, I don’t know!
West of Lexington, Kentucky, we drove past this castle and I had to take a picture! We didn’t know what it was, but then found an article about it in a magazine in our hotel room. How cool would it be to stay there one day?!!
NO trip to Maryland is complete without buying a bag of crab chips (potato chips with Chesapeake Bay seasoning)!
We decided to go to Hershey, Pennsylvania since it wasn’t too far out of the way, and that’s where we were on Sunday, July 5, 2009.
There wasn’t enough time to go to the amusement park, and we only went to Chocolate World. We took the tour through the “factory” first, and then the girls got to package up their own Hershey Kisses at Hershey’s Factory Works. Of course we browsed through the shops, too, and bought some chocolate!
From there we went on to Baltimore, Maryland where we ate lunch (Greg was dying to eat crabs!! YUCK!) and then visited Greg’s brother for a while. Unfortunately our sister-in-law and nephew were in Maine on vacation and we didn’t get to see them.
Our next stop was Frederick, Maryland. If I could live anywhere in the world, this would be the place! I actually lived there for a little over a year and still miss it.
We stopped at Carroll Creek Park, which was still under construction when we moved to Texas. It’s a really nice park with lots of restaurants and shops, a “river walk” and beautiful bridges and artwork. All the artwork you see here is painted onto the bridge and the walls, even the stones and ivy were painted.