When our family of 6 recently toured New England, we learned a lot about history, geography, and regional customs, but we also learned a lot about ourselves.
We learned that some of us are like junkies looking for our next hit when it comes to searching for sweet tea at a restaurant. (This especially applies to taverns where George Washington ate.)
We learned that the White Mountains National Forest is impossible to improve upon. It is breath-taking and awe-inspiriting, even without the snow.
Along those same lines, we learned that my husband likes to stop at vistas when driving through beautiful landscapes. There’s something so adorable about how many pictures he took of trees and flowers and distant mountains.
We learned that the highway signs in New Hampshire have a profile of the Old Man of the Mountain, a natural formation that used to jut out the side of Cannon Mountain until it fell off. Apparently they were pretty proud of it.
We learned to fall in love with a cannoli, and we learned that Ezra prefers his meatballs to be bite-sized and not, in his words, “as big as my face.”
We learned that none of us are good at imitating a New England accent. We all come off sounding like a bad impersonation of the guy from the Pepperidge Farm commercials.
We learned that the first week of October is a great time to travel to New England…if you are over 65. We saw very few other children. This wasn’t a deterrent to our fun, and as a side bonus when my kids held the door open for all the grandmas and grandpas they got a lot of “aren’t you a sweetheart?” kind of comments.
We learned that the Newport Cliff Walk is one of the coolest places to take a stroll. On one side it’s pounding waves on a rocky shoreline and on the other side it’s palatial mansions and imposing college buildings and lush green spaces.
We learned that the sand in New England is different from the sand we’re used to in the Gulf. (My son said that when he stepped on the Kennebunkport beach it was like his foot was cracking through a layer of Magic Shell on ice cream.)
We learned that the insides of a lobster can be pretty gross.
We learned that a good tour guide can make anything interesting—burial practices from the Colonial period, how Ben & Jerry clean out their ice cream machinery between flavors, or even baseball.
We learned that walking across a pedestrian bridge with Boston traffic whizzing by is not for the faint of heart.
We learned that when our 6-year old sees sailors from the US Navy in their white uniforms, assuming they are karate ninjas, he bows to them as if he’s just entered their dojo.
We learned that the Trapp family (think The Sound of Music) settled in Vermont and built the cutest Bavarian lodge with just the right amount of schmaltz.
We learned that our son Ezra says “Nemo” instead of “Uno” when he has one card left.
We learned that covering 5 states in one week with 4 kids isn’t easy, but bucket list items are supposed to be a challenge, right?