It’s always nice pulling into a new camp. Getting there means we’re home (since we take our house wherever we go) and it’s nice to feel at home no matter where we are. Some of the places we stay are definitely better than others and the Holly Point Recreation Area on Falls Lake, near Raleigh, NC, was a welcome site when we arrived. The sites were all pretty long, lots of trees made them very private, we had water and power hook-ups plus a nice walking trail to the playground which the kids loved. The campground was very quiet and the bathrooms were maintained. We liked that we could collect the dead wood here and have a campfire. I prefer staying in sites that are on the rustic side and have some privacy even if it means not having some amenities. Occasionally, we have to stay at places that are a little less camping and more on the resort side like when we need some amenities such as laundry or Wi-Fi. It was nice staying at Holly Point for its rustic camping feel as well as its proximity to the city. Once we arrive at our site, get the trailer set up, and the slides out, I always like to welcome everyone home.
Our stops in Raleigh included a visit to the capitol building of course, a wonderful children’s museum, and our son Miles’ tenth birthday which we spent at his favorite place, the library! After visiting seventeen of our nation’s capitol buildings we have seen many differences among them. The capitol building in Raleigh was small, but had some pretty cool history inside and out. Inside was not as ornate as some of the others we have seen, but they still had quite a bit of art in the way of statues and paintings. They only do guided tours on Saturdays and we visited on a Monday, so we were on our own to explore. There were three floors with exhibits open to the public. In both the senate and house chambers they had a desk set up like it probably would have appeared in the early days of North Carolina’s government. One of them contained an old coat and hat that a politician of that era would have worn, a partially burned candle, a stack of books, an ink well and quill pen, and a spittoon sat on the floor. The stairs were worn and chipped in some places. This was explained by having a wheelbarrow stacked with wood displayed at the bottom with a sign by it explaining that they had to cart the wood up the stairs for the fire places. You can lift the wheelbarrow yourself to see how you would have fared at this job! The top level contained the first gem and mineral museum in the state. Many of the first state capitol buildings burned down and North Carolina’s also suffered this fate, caught in the flames were all of the books that had been housed in the building. They received many donations of books afterward, many of which are housed in the state capitol library and it is set up to look as it would have in its early days. The grounds around the capitol were also small but very nice. There were many statues depicting important historical figures for North Carolina, my favorite was the statue dedicated to the three men from North Carolina that became presidents, James Polk, Andrew Johnson, and Andrew Jackson. Another neat feature that they had was an old drinking fountain, which of course the kids had to try out and no it did not work, but it is still cool. It is always fun to visit state capitol buildings and see what unique things they will teach us. We learned some interesting facts along with some North Carolina history and we look forward to visiting the next one.
Children’s museums are always fun, even for us parents. I love that the kids are learning things without even realizing it. Marbles was really great, we spent hours exploring it and as usual we found some pretty cool stuff we hadn’t done at any of the other museums we have been to (which is a lot). When you first walk in they have a big open area with hula hoops and jump ropes. Right behind that they had a big truck with a slide that led into the next area (a gate is available for parents). This section was dedicated to imaginative play. My kids enjoyed the farm section where they could milk a cow and plant some crops. Our oldest found a weather reporting station where he could “turn invisible” using green screen technology. We also found some games to play along the way. Around the corner was the ocean section where the kids got to dress up like sea life and put on a show, watch the fish get fed, drive a submarine, and pirate the high seas. It was very cool. They had an outdoor garden and an outdoor music section too. Upstairs we found all kinds of cool stuff to do. There was a section for sports where they played some hockey with Daddy and lifted weights. In another area they learned about electricity by flipping switches and pushing buttons! Something we found that we hadn’t done before was the area where they got to work with real tools. The kids loved that they got to use saws, screwdrivers, hand drills, and pliers on all kind of various materials. We helped the younger two make their creations which they just had to take home, but our oldest was left to build on his own. His didn’t quite turn out, but he had fun anyway. He didn’t mind much when he found the giant Lego’s which he used to make a giant castle. The other section of this museum that was a little different than others we have been to was the money section. It had a big armored truck with money in it which they could use to pay themselves to do the various jobs available. These included working at a pizza restaurant, selling lemonade from a lemonade stand, and taking care of pets. The kids enjoyed making pizzas and lemonade for us, and it was fun to watch them interacting with the other kids. They have fun doing all of these activities and they learn so many things which is what I love about taking them to so many of these awesome places. No matter how many we visit we still find new things to explore.
Yes, my oldest son turned ten while we were in Raleigh (sniff, sniff); we have now celebrated every family member’s birthday on the road. We took him to a gem mine earlier in the month, but we still had a small celebration for him. One of his favorite things to do is read which is why we spent his birthday at the library! The library is probably what we miss the most on our travels because while we can visit many different libraries, we have not found any that will let us check out books, being that we are from out of state. He spent hours reading Harry Potter and probably would have finished the entire book if it had not been for our stomachs. So after we got a bite to eat we went back to the trailer where we enjoyed some delicious chocolate cake with chocolate frosting (which he helped to make) and ice cream. Then he opened the few present he received and enjoyed the rest of his tenth birthday with his family! We love that we can give our children experiences for their birthdays, it is better than stuff that they really don’t miss.
No matter where we go we are home. No matter where we are we’re together. A life of travel and experiences is what we have chosen and we have no regrets about it. We have been in so many states and seen so many places I never even imagined I would experience and we still have so much to see. I hope that if you are reading this perhaps you will get a chance to visit some of the amazing places this country has to offer and that if you don’t get the chance to travel you will enjoy at least getting to read about our experiences on the road.
Here are the links to some of the places we visited:
Holly Point at Falls Lake State Recreation Area
Here are the kids playing at the playground located in the campground
Touring the State Capitol Building in Raleigh North Carolina
More Pictures of the Capitol Building
Marbles Kids Museum in Raleigh, NC
Here we are having some fun learning
Here is Miles opening a birthday present that Journey spent her money on.and the other picture is what she had gotten him. She had me drive her twenty minutes to a store to get a good deal on something for her brother and I was happy to oblige her.