June 9th - Cleveland, OH
As I have learned from previous summer trips, the first day is full of energy. Usually the kids sleep less than 3 hours in anticipation for the first day. It took about 4.5 hours for us to arrive in Cleveland, however the Cleveland Street Department had other plans. It seems that every street in Cleveland was being worked on simultaneously. Because of that we were a little delayed in arriving at the Great Lakes Science Center. As with most things, the wait was worth it. The museum was full of hands on exhibits that left even the adults amazed. It also had cool displays that dealt the NASA. To top it off we all watched an IMAX movie about polar bears in the arctic. Our campground at Punderson State Park was a pleasant surprise. Secluded off the beaten path, our tent area was surrounded by woods and on the other side of the park was a heated pool!
June 10th - Niagara Falls, NY
The journey from Ohio to New York saw the landscape change from farm land to wooded hilly terrain. As the highway took us close to Niagara Falls we could see Lake Erie. We traveled along the lake for at least 30 miles and ended up following the Niagara River. We could see mist in the background and realized that Niagara Falls were close. After two bridges and crazy parking lots we were greeted with magnificent views of falling water. It got even better after that. We had a chance to travel down 175 feet to the base of the falls. There we went up to the hurricane deck where the mist of the falls travels as fast as an actual hurricane. It literally knocks you backwards. We learned that the falls are actually moving. Because of the force of water cuts the rock away at a tremendous rate the base of the falls is moving. In the future the falls will reach the base of Lake Erie and empty it at a very fast rate.
June 11 - 13, Lake Placid, NY
Lake Placid was the host of the 1932 and 1980 winter Olympics. Our campground, Meadowbrook, run by the NY state parks department was right off the main highway. Just to the left of the campground was a BBQ restaurant that played music until about midnight every night. When we arrived at the campground the kids had a competition to see who could put up their tents the fastest, with the winning team free from doing dishes the next time around. The next day we hiked up Cascade Mountain, about 4900 feet in total elevation. Our hike to the summit was only around 2000 feet of elevation gain. The view from the top was astounding, a 360 degree view of the surrounding lands. We could even see into Vermont. We also had a chance to visit the Wild Center, a place devoted to the ecology of the Adirondacks. We saw native plants and animals from the region. We also went into the town of Lake Placid to visit the Olympic venues. We toured the bobsled, luge and skeleton track that was used in the Olympics and is still utilized today for competition. What's even better is that we actually walked down the track from beginning to end just as a bobsled would travel. An unexpected surprise came about when we visited downtown Lake Placid and ate pizza: we tried getting into the hockey arena figuring it was locked, however to our surprise it was open and we walked in and saw the ice where the famous miracle on ice took place.
June 14th - Gorham, NH
On our way to Moosebrook State Park in New Hampshire we stopped by Ben and Jerry's ice cream factory in Waterbury Vermont for a tour and a small sampling of ice cream. By small sampling I mean some kids purchased the Vermonster (a huge tub of ice cream with bunches of toppings, only sold at this location). Lets just say that some kids got their fill of ice cream for a couple of days. The tour itself was short. They took us into the room where they make their ice cream and explained that the company only buys from local farms. We watched from above as the workers and machines made the flavor of the day. No pictures were allowed on the tour. I guess they don't want their secrets getting out.
June 15 - 17, Acadia National Park, ME
As unexpected as the shoreline was to early ships entering the harbor, so was the weather in Acadia for our trip. 3 sunny days in a row is something very rare for the Maine coast. We took full advantage of the beautiful weather. We hiked up Cadillac Mountain, looked in tidepools during low tide, went on a lobster boat, and swam in the ocean (even though it was cold)! Our group got to see how the people of Maine live their lives along the coast. On the way up to Acadia we ate a traditional northeast favorite: Lobsta!
June 18th - Portland, ME
Today we drove down to Portland to see an observatory. The observatory was used to signal ships in the harbor, telling them when it was OK to come into port and unload their supplies. It was build in the 1700's and after many renovations it still stands today. Our tour also took us into a graveyard so we could discus some important people in the history of Portland. After the tour we headed to Sebago Lake State Park to set up camp. The park was awesome! Our site sat right on the water and the view was outstanding. Even swimming in the lake was refreshing considering how cold the ocean water was the day before.
June 19th - Salem, MA
Today we headed down to Salem to learn about the witch trials that took place there in the 1600's. While walking around the town before the tour we discovered that Salem is an eclectic bunch of shops and restaurants that would only fit in a place like Salem. We also learned that there are no public bathrooms open past 6 p.m. We eventually found one but it was far off the beaten path. The "haunted history" tour took us past the most haunted houses in Salem. As we stopped at each one, our guide would tell us why each particular place was haunted. Since the tour took place as the sun was going down the stories became even more exciting. Our sleeping accommodations were a little strange as well. We slept in these little concrete bunkers called igloos that were used during World War II.
June 20th - Charlemont, MA
Today the word was: zipline! We went through the canopy on 7 different ziplines. One in particular was around 800 feet long, the longest zipline anchored to a tree in the USA. Our campground was at the DAR (daughters of the American Revolution) State Forest. The site was secluded but the lake was nice for swimming. Unfortunately I was not able to be take any pictures while on the zipline course.
June 21 - 22, Williamsport, PA
Our next stop is the home to Little League Baseball around the world and a place that many kids dream of getting to. Our tour guide led us around the museum and even to the fields where they play the world series in August. It was amazing to see all the work that goes into maintaining the fields. Our campsite, Little Pine Creek State Park was one of my favorites. It had a nice combination of scenery, seclusion, and activities.
June 23rd - Pittsburgh, PA
The last day of our amazing adventure we went to Sandcastle, a water park just outside of Pittsburgh. What a great trip! We experienced many things in such a short amount of time and I am very proud of our students and they way they represented Wabash Middle School.