After visiting more than half the state capitols in America, we still felt a sense of awe when we walked into the Pennsylvania state house in Harrisburg. It is a large majestic government building and the dome is green. That alone made everyone in our family pause as we admired the architecture. Inside the building is just as spectacular and grand, with stained glass, gold, and paintings. The female artists who painted all the murals did a great job and we just gawked at all the unique works of art. Miles was happy that the senate was in session and we were able to sit in the gallery while watching the inner workings of the state government. He quickly realized that sometimes things take forever in government and all we actually saw was the senate recognizing guests, commercial speeches promoting businesses, and a few senators putting up motions to make awareness months for various issues. Then they broke for lunch and although he has a lot of interest and patience, we didn’t want to sit in the empty chamber for a few hours till the senators reconvened. Of course by we I mean our five year old who finds the inner workings of government to be boring like most young kids. It was great to visit a lovely capitol building with a welcome center for the kids to learn at, but the best part was what we found outside the capitol building. We usually try to walk around the state capitols we visit so we can see all the statues and get lots of good pictures and often we find some great shots at different angles. Well outside the capitol building in Harrisburg they have a fountain that shoots water in a pattern and our kids sat transfixed by the show. It was a great end to a wonderful capitol visit and the capitol at Harrisburg became ours kids favorite, until we find another cool one of course.
Visiting state capital’s and national parks has become a huge part of our lives in the last year. So what could be better for us than combining these two things into one great experience? While visiting the capital city of Maryland we stayed in Greenbelt National Park, which has an awesome location. It is also a great place to camp right near the city. We are still amazed at how many cool places there are to go and see in this country, no matter where we go there seems to be an endless amount of places we want to check out. State capitol buildings provide opportunities to learn about history while national parks provide us with experiences in nature. What I like about these places is that they are free or very inexpensive to visit. So read on and I will tell you about our family’s adventure to the wonderful capital city of Maryland.
I can honestly say that I never thought I would go to Delaware and wasn’t even sure what we would do while visiting the state. Well like every other state we have visited so far, Delaware didn’t disappoint us and we had a blast while visiting the nation’s very first state. We decided to stay at a state park that was south of Dover, since we knew we would be heading to Annapolis when we left. Killen’s Pond was almost full when we arrived and we took the last spot in the camp that our trailer could fit into. I was a bit worried over the camp because it was so full and the campsites were pretty close, but the next day was a Monday and we quickly had the entire loop to ourselves. The camp ground was not the best we have stayed out, which is ironic since they have signs saying Delaware state parks are the best in the United States. There was quite a lot of trash in our site though and we never saw anyone picking up the sites the entire time we stayed there. Every time I needed help at the entrance station it was a fiasco and the workers were struggling. The bathrooms were decent, but were operated with push buttons and anyone who has used this style of shower knows how annoying they are (especially when you have three kids to shower off). The location for seeing the capitol was very convenient being just a twenty minute trip into the city.
We loved our visit to the USS Texas in Houston and when we saw the USS Wisconsin was on the ASTC museum list we were excited to visit it. Unfortunately there was just too much to see in what is known as the Historic Triangle and we ran out of time. Our first trip out of camp found us at the NASA Air and Space Museum in Hampton, VA. We had wanted to visit a space museum in Texas and in Florida, but they were pretty expensive and we had to pass on them. Since it was on the ASTC list we decided that it would be our first stop, especially when the weather report showed rain everywhere else in the area except in Hampton. Well it turned out to be a great day to be at the museum. I was really impressed by the Apollo 12 Capsule on display and yes it is the actual capsule that went to the moon! Everyone really enjoyed the flight simulators and now we know that landing a spaceship is exceptionally difficult to do. The plane simulator was cool because it had a dozen rows of seats plus the windows were hooked into the computer program, so they showed what the pilot was doing, making it more realistic. Of course the kids really liked the cockpit with the thousand switches and buttons you would expect in an airplane. During our visit we also went to Mars in a simulation and got to see the inflatable structures that NASA is designing to build habitats on the red planet. From the Wright Brothers Flyer to Rockets this museum had everything you could imagine about space and flight. After half a day of learning though we were getting hungry, so we walked over to the marina and had a picnic where we could look at the yachts and sailboats. Journey wants to go sailing after we visit every state in the country, but that is a long way off.
So first off many apologies for not having some pictures of our great camp near Winston-Salem, NC. When we pulled into the camp it was raining for the first two days and the nice days saw us so busy that we simply forgot to snap any photos. The reason I bring this up is because we stayed at a lovely spot called Tanglewood RV. When we left the freeway and Sarah said it was only a few turns to get to the camp, I must admit that I was worried about road noise. Two turns later and a drive into the camp didn’t do much to ease my worries. We checked in and headed to camp, which was down another long driveway to even enter the camp. After we set up camp I perked up my ear to see if I was going to be bothered by road noise and to my surprise I heard nothing. It turned out to be a wonderful quiet camp in the woods. The sites were not very level, but we have dealt with that so many times over the last year that it didn’t matter especially with our new slide supports (yes I really do love those things). Best of all the park had good Wi-Fi which allowed us to post some articles and send family pictures, which is something we always love.