4th of July Trip

 Sunday, July 13, 2014

*Note: There are over 100 photos in this blog post. This post is mainly a journal for me & my brother Peter because it is a look back into our childhood as James and I explored Mansfield, Sharon, and Boston Massachusetts where we grew up for 9 years. Most of these photos you will not care about. I apologize for the overload, but it is absolutely necessary. Also, please excuse the way I look in most of these pictures. The New England humidity does not look good on me! Enjoy this extremely long post! 

James and I began the drive to Massachusetts on Saturday, June 28th the day after he finished Boards. We drove 800 miles to Knoxville, Tennessee. We ate Subway for lunch and Cracker Barrel for dinner. We were stuck in construction traffic for 1 hour & 15 minutes. We spent the night at a really great Best Western. We listened to Disney songs and James saw his very first sighting of fireflies ever. Yes, for the first time in his life he saw those pretty bugs glowing! He was beyond excited. I quote, "These are the coolest things ever. A bug that can light up? That is so awesome!" 

On Sunday June 29th we ate breakfast at the hotel, drove lots, stopped for lunch at Wendy's, drove through Hershey, Pennsylvania where we explored the Hershey factory Chocolate World. We bought a $6 bag of macadamia chocolate kisses and a Reese's brownie that was to die for. We went on a free tour "ride" that reminded me of It's a Small World at Disneyland but less annoying and filled with Hershey's facts. It was a 15 minute ride and we got free chocolate at the end! After driving another 1.5 hours we arrived in Allentown/Bethlehem, PA where we had Panera Bread for dinner and stayed at another very nice Best Western.
On Monday, June 30th we ate a hot breakfast at the hotel, then drove about 5 hours to a Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives restaurant called Morin's Bar & Grille in Attleboro, MA. We passed by Capron Park where I had my pre-school graduation and drove by the coolest library where I loved to stock up on books as a kid. At the restaurant I tried the French Meat Pie and James tried the Fisherman's stew, both recommended by Guy Fieri on the show...we were not the hugest fans. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't fantastic either. Oh well! 
After that we drove to the World War I Memorial Park in North Attleboro. We walked around the park and saw the goats and peacock and emu just as it was when I was a kid! James thought it was pretty cool, especially for being a free park!
Then we drove to my old beloved house on Gilbert Street (160 Rear Gilbert Street to be exact). We drove down the long driveway (now paved) and creepily snapped a picture. They tore out the bushes and shrubbery, built a shed in the backyard, and the house needs a fresh coat of paint, but it's still there at least! The house looks smaller than I remembered.
Here is the pond by our old house
Then we went to the most amazing place in the world...The Old Country Store & Emporium! Best.Time.Ever. I loved reliving my childhood and seeing the candy, fudge, root beer, trinkets, old playing pianos, and even the train whizzing by on the tracks! We ate a dill pickle and peanut butter chocolate fudge on the porch looking out at the train tracks like Pete and I used to do. There was even an older sister and younger brother who rode their bikes for candy and fudge that reminded me of Peter and I riding our bikes to the Old Country Store. I bought a postcard and an Old Country Store t-shirt as souvenirs.
It looks small on the outside but it's a huge adventure on the inside
 The phrase is so fitting because I have imagined visiting this store for 15 years now!
 The good old Indian statue is still there.
 James browsing the antique merchandise. He loves the grandfather clocks.
 We forgot to put a quarter in to play it!
 The homemade soaps are still there...hopefully newer than from 15 years ago haha.
 Peter's favorite root beer.
 I was a bit disappointed at the candy selection...the shelves used to be filled with penny candy, now the candy is scarce and more expensive and instead of putting it in bags for you they leave little buckets for you to pick yourself...I miss the old way.
 The old telephone booth.
 The fudge selection. The root beer fudge sample was actually really good.
 Remember you can create your own rock collection with these, Pete?
 James standing by the bear statue. The front door still creaks the exact same way!
 Eating his dill pickle by the railroad tracks...he said it was too bittery dill!
 The sister and brother heading toward their bikes just like Pete & I used to do!
 The great big tree near the railroad tracks.
 The great big porch where we ate our candy!
 So incredibly happy.
 Yummy fudge!
I'm just glowing with happiness to be here!

Then we drove to York Rd where my elementary school best friend Annalies lived. We went to the hidden cemetery (behind someone's house in the forest) in her subdivision and visited the graves of our ancestors we discovered years ago. The Skinner family graves were still hard to read but it was cool to take James there.
Then we drove to Main St. and I saw the old chocolate factory (it's been shut down) and the old Chinese restaurant over by there. We saw Sweet-n-Crafty, the White church with the stain glass window, and our Dean St. apartment. That apartment is so old, small, and crappy, and the yard is tiny! The wood wall/fence that's there is so small too, I remembered it being big! The wooden picnic bench is still in the backyard too.

We went to Fulton Pond and took pictures with the geese & ducks. I remember watching outdoor movies there at the park, and I found out they still do that during the summer!
 Next James and I got ice cream at Flint Farms where they sell fresh ice cream that is the quality of the old Crescent Ridge ice cream. I got chocolate peanut butter and cookie dough and James got cookie dough and Reeses peanut butter cup.
Then we went to Jordan/Jackson Elementary where I went to school for grades 1-5. 
We went to the Mansfield Library and saw the mural where we had story time. The library is much smaller than I remember too. Of course the creepy taxidermy case is still by the kids bathrooms and still haunts me. James thought it was awesome. I found my beloved Beatrix Potter books. So tiny and cute and such good stories and pictures.
Next we went to the Memorial Park near the library and rode the teeter-totters. It was a blast! The stone wall that I remember is still there, but they tore out the old playground and built a new one. They used to have huge slides there!
Then we drove by my old preschool, Mansfield Children's School where Connie Pietrafetta teaches and lives. It looks the same! I thought about knocking on the door because a car was in the driveway but I decided not to.
Then James got a hair cut at Great Clips near the Stop and Shop we used to go to. We checked in at the Courtyard Marriott in Foxborough. 
On Tuesday July 1st we went out for breakfast at Cafe on the Common in Mansfield. The breakfast reminded me of when Sweet-n-Crafty used to serve breakfast. 
Then we drove to Woodland Station to catch the T subway. We got off at Park Street to start the Freedom Trail in Boston! We saw the Massachusetts State House, several churches, and the cemetery where Samuel Adams, Mother Goose, and others are buried.
We saw the Old City Hall, the site of the Boston Massacre, Paul Revere's house & grave, and the Old North Church.
Then we walked across the bridge to tour the U.S.S. Constitution ship. We caught a glimpse of Bunker Hill but we were too exhausted to hike all the way there. We headed back at ate lunch at Faneuil Hall/Quincy Market. This is where my parents had their second date. We ate Regina Pizzeria and smoothies from The Monkey Bar as well as chocolate chip cookies from The Boston Chip Yard.
We walked to Boston City Hall where the mayor of Boston was having a World Cup viewing party on the cobblestone streets. James was pretty excited for all the U.S. soccer pride and game. It was extremely hot and humid especially with all the bodies standing for the game. We made it through the first half then left to take the subway back to Woodland Station. It was super packed and even more hot and humid. We were glad to go to the Ninety Nine restaurant for dinner! James had a burger and I ate yummy chicken pot pie!
We checked into Fairfield Inn & Suites in Milford. 
On Wednesday, July 2nd, we ate breakfast and went to Cooks Valley Farm in Wrentham. This is a memory I had in the autumn of New England during Bittersweet Weekend. In the fall the farm is covered with pumpkins, haystacks, and Indian corn. In the heat of the summer this farm looked a lot different but I remember the white barn. We purchased some fresh snap peas and a cucumber to take with us later for a picnic...
Down the road from this farm was The Big Apple, another Bittersweet weekend stop. I remember in the fall all the apples, them making fresh donuts before your eyes, and the smell of apples (Yankee candle has a candle called Macintosh and it smells just like this place). There were no apples because it was summer, but we ate cake donuts.
We then stopped by the Olde Thyme Shoppe in Norton where Nana took me once on a special day. It's the cutest Victorian flower shop. I purchased some stationary that Nana used to get for me and I got it for her this time. The shop is as lovely as ever.
Victorian wedding dress anyone?
Then we went to Shaws grocery store to buy cheese and crackers and fudge graham cookies for our picnic to...Borderland State Park! I have a memory of eating these fudge cookies at the park for Family Home Evening on a summer night. 
Peter and I loved this park because of the historic ruins of the Ames family mansion. There are so many places to have adventures there, including the Ames old swimming pool. There are scheduled tours of the Ames mansion, so we never went through as kids, and unfortunately we couldn't go tour it while we were there either, but we peeked inside. Check out how gorgeous the grounds are!
 The "old" swimming pool
 This flower reminds me of Beatrix Potter...
 Remember this stone bench Pete???
It's like the Secret Garden
 The "new" swimming pool
 Where the Ames family had their picnics probably
It was extremely hot and humid, so we didn't stay too much longer after our picnic, even though there are several hiking and biking trails, frisbee/disc golf, and other recreational things at this awesome park. We also saw a caterpillar, a tick, and a beaver there.
Next we headed to Nana and Grandpa's old house on Harding street in Sharon. It looks different and the yard is very overgrown, but it was nice to revisit it. 
We made up our own "purple yellow house" because the purple house and the yellow house are both painted different colors, but this random house we saw had both colors on it!
Nana and Grandpa's beloved house (they no longer live there):
 The front
The side
Peeking into the backyard from the road.
 We saw the old Jewish temple synagogue where I learned to ride my bike in the parking lot.
And where I first went to preschool at Come and Play.
We drove by the Ames Street playground. 
Time for lunch! We had the best pizza around at Town Spa!!! We loved the cheese pizza and James also had pepperoni. They still have the kids activity sheet that looks the exact same. We played tic tac toe like I used to. Same decorations too with the huge swordfish and big TV.
We then went to Crescent Ridge for ice cream! Apparently they don't sell the same ice cream that they used to, but we still enjoyed our Extreme Chocolate and Moose Tracks ice cream!
Then we went to the Christmas Tree Shoppe (no Christmas decor though), and Bass Pro Shop (James educated me about the elk, deer, caribou, and moose heads on the walls). It was nice to escape the heat and walk around indoors for a change.
Then we visited Gillette stadium where the New England Patriots and New England Revolution play football and soccer. James look so cute in the window display.
We returned to the hotel and watched So You Think You Can Dance and Dual Survival and found a Book of Mormon in the Marriott hotel drawer.
On Thursday, July 3rd we ate our leftover Town Spa pizza for breakfast and went to Roger Williams Park and Zoo in Rhode Island. I have amazing memories here. We were surprised when we got there to see that it was not very busy at all. We rode the carousel (the best part) and rode the swan paddle boats. They took out the mini golf course though and put in a playground. I used to love the mini golf! They still offer pony rides, but we weren't sure where...Here are several photos we took while there.
 Statue of Roger Williams
 Fun ride
 Look how cute he is strapped in.
 The gumball machine that Pete and Chan loved.
 My horse that I rode, so pretty.
 It was so hot and humid. 
 A crane!
 A lillypad
 The temple of music
 Abraham Lincoln statue
Then we headed to Friendly's for lunch and more ice cream. James got a burger and I got the BBQ chicken ranch melt. But who cares because everyone knows that the best part about Friendly's are the awesome ice cream sundaes. As a kid I loved to get the Cone Head Sundae and the Monster Mash Sundae. So that's what we got.
And guess what?
A million Reeses pieces at the bottom just like always!
That night we went back to Sharon to watch fireworks on the lake. Our family friend Holly let us park in her driveway across from Nana & Grandpa's old house and she let us borrow her chairs, blanket, and bug spray. Thank you! 
We walked down to the beach area where they had carnival games and food trucks. James got a fish taco and I had the carnitas taco. Then we had cookies and ice cream from The Cookie Monstah truck.
We got a spot on the shore of the lake and hid ourselves between some bushes so it felt very private. The fireworks started at 9:30 and were absolutely amazing. They lived up to my expectations 100% and blew my mind just as they did as a kid. The only thing that was missing was the rest of my family. After 30 minutes of fireworks, we packed up and went back to the hotel.
You must watch this video, it is the 2 minute firework finale. I especially love the last 30 seconds. I get goosebumps when I watch it and grin from ear to ear.
On Friday, the 4th of July, it was pouring rain all day. There were warnings going off on my phone buzzing Emergency Warning Flash Floods!!! We ate breakfast at Cracker Barrel, then we got poured on when we went to Walmart to get some snacks: Twizzlers, baby Goldfish crackers, Berry Blast Mike n Ikes, Rice Krispies Treats, and Reeses. It was raining so hard that our plans to go to Newport, Rhode Island to see the mansions and the cliff walk were ruined. We layed in bed all day watching Criminal Minds at the hotel and eating our snacks. At least we got to cuddle! That was our Happy Fourth.
On Saturday, July 5, we tried not to be sad. Not only was this vacation coming to an end for us, but this was the last day that James and I would see each other for 4 months (unless I can take time off work to visit him). His Warwick rotation would start on Monday, then he is driving to his other rotations in Ohio, New Jersey, Missouri, and Oklahoma, then back to Texas. We went to Cracker Barrel for breakfast again (we love that place), and then we explored the area where James will be staying in East Greenwich. We saw Kent hospital in Warwick as well. Here is a house that is right behind the hospital that looks extremely run down. I joked that this might be our new home haha.
We saw the movie Maleficent (loved) and walked around Target and the Warwick Mall. We had Subway for lunch.
We drove 5 minutes to the airport and both cried when we hugged goodbye. I miss my sweetheart already.
I had a layover in Newark and this is the view when we were landing...
 Hello New York City!
Hello tiny Statue of Liberty!
I made it safely to Dallas late that night. 
That concludes our amazing vacation and trip down my memory lane!


Blog template by simplyfabulousbloggertemplates.com

Back to TOP