Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Midwest Trip Part 2

Narrative to follow when I get time, its late here..... lots more pics on Rob & Melissa's blog

Dorinda at the Houston Museum of Natural Science

Melissa and Luke after watching 'Dinosaur Prophecy' at the planetarium

Fun at Jump n Jungle !

Visit to Bayou Wildlife Park

Up close and personal with Longhorn Steer

Boo on the Boardwalk at Kemah, ferris wheel ride

Train Ride

Merry go round

Dewberry Farm, slide

2006 Autumn Trip

We took a week off and visited Dorinda's uncle Wendall in Rose Hill KS and Melissa's family in League City TX. Saturday morning we took a flight to Wichita. Wendall treated us to a delicious and filling steak dinner that evening. Sunday we stopped at Lowes to buy a new refrigerator for his garage which turns out was not needed as the outlet was just bad, that was discovered when they delivered it on Monday. For those not in the know, you can't plug a refrigerator or freezer into a GFCI outlet! Anyways after stopping at Lowe's on Sunday we watched the Eagles (lose) at Oscars sportsbar in Old Town Wichita. They have a huge TV on one wall (split into 4 games simultaneous while we were there) and many others scattered around with any game you want.

On Monday we drove about an hour to the Tallgrass Prairie Natural Preserve, a really off the beaten path destination. We checked out the prairie house and then took a bus tour with 2 other people and learned about the biological diversity of the prairie.

We then drove into Cottonwood Falls and had delicious cheeseburgers at the Grand Hotel, the only 4 star restaurant in KS. They had to call the chef back in as he had gone home, and it turns out we just missed seeing Bill Murray the actor who had just been in with his brother for dessert a few minutes earlier. They have beautiful rooms for between $150-$180 night and they were booked the night we were there.

Every summer they have the Symphony in the Flint Hills. Suzan Barnes the owner of the Grand Hotel told us about it while we were there. Sounds like a great experience!

Monday night we went back to Old Town in Wichita and saw the movie 'The Departed' at the Warren Theatre. You push a button in your seat and a waiter serves food and beer right at your seat! If there were theatre's like that around us we would probably see more movies. We were too full to eat but enjoyed a few beers while we watched a great movie.

Here is Dorinda and Uncle Wendall at his house.

We left on Tuesday around noon for Houston. That's another post.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Congdon Family Reunion

We drove up to Wallingford VT on Friday for the Congdon family reunion hosted for many years by Lester & Audrey Congdon. Congdon was my grandmother Adelaide's maiden name and they had settled in the Wallingford area back in the late 1800's. Les & Audrey bought some land that had belonged to the family on Sugar Hill Road and built a log home in 1988.

We stayed at Hill Cabin on Elfin Lake just west of town with dad, George, and Barbara.

The cabin is primarily a summer residence as it has zero insulation with the gas heater providing minimal heat, most of it going out the ridge vent in the roof.... but we still had a good time with dad making breakfast every morning. Saturday morning as we were finishing eating a tree fell next to the cabin and pulled down the power line, which fortunately was fixed by that evening! Scary that we were getting used to the temperature after the first night!

The weather couldn't have been better, on Saturday we hiked at the White Rocks Recreation area. The girls in the pic are Jessy & Elizabeth Wightman.

We hiked about 1 mile down to the the ice beds which are rocks which have ice under them year round. It was much cooler there, and a stream runs out with cold water. Here's George & Barbara resting at the ice beds.

Here is Les & Audreys place on Sugar Hill. Great views from the deck although I dont have photo of that...

Here's Les taking Steve and his kids for a ride on Les' new gator.

Sunday morning we went to the Wallingford Congregational Church for a nice service. The sermon was 'Reconnecting with God'. Another beautiful morning as you can see.

Here is our great-great grandmothers home across the street from the church.

After church we drove out towards Tinmouth Pond and stopped at Truman Young's farm for some Vermont Maple Syrup which Grandmom Adelaide had bought for years- now we're keeping the tradition. Their family has had the dairy farm for almost 200 years and Truman made his first syrup on his own at age 12. Now at the age of 88 his one son runs the dairy business but Truman still makes the syrup with the help of his other son who is a carpenter. We talked a bit about what some of the changes that have taken place and then bought some syrup and promised them that as long as they keep making it that we'll keep buying it. They now produce organic milk as it is more profitable not having the price controlled by the federal government as is done with regular milk.

His wife Natalie handles the sales which they do via mail as well as stopping by. They can be reached by mail by writing to them at: 17 Route 140, Tinmouth VT 05773.

We left the Young Farm and continued over to Tinmouth Pond to see Roxane who was doing some work at her family's cabin. So we talked a bit out on the deck and looked at some old family photos that Roxane had.

Then we drove back up to Sugar Hill, took some pics at the famous birch tree, and got a tour of the cemetary just down the hill where many Congdons have been laid to rest.

Clockwise from bottom left- Kelly, Pat Wightman, Barbara Stewart, Jessy Wightman, Les Congdon, Andrew Rumbold, Elizabeth Wightman, Dorinda Rumbold, Grace Kerr, John Rumbold, Steve Wightman, George Rumbold, Roxane Johnson, Bobby Wightman.

We had lunch and dinner at Sugar Hill both days. Lots of good times reconnecting with family members we dont get to see often. Family members present this year: Lester & Audrey Congdon; Grace Kerr, John Kerr; Pat Wightman; Steve, Bobby, Jessy, and Elizabeth Wightman; Andrew & Dorinda Rumbold; John Rumbold; George Rumbold & Barbara Stewart.

Lizzie kept Dimples in good company! She's quite the talker when she's not napping and a real cutie!