It’s Time For A Roadtrip!!

Hi guys, Sophia here!  I’m super excited to show everyone some pictures from a recent trip I went on with Flo and Mr. Flo.  Partially because it’s always nice to get away, but also because where we were going to related to something I’ve been studying in school.

We left on Thursday morning and drove most of the day to get where we were going.  It was cold in the morning when we left though, so I had to bundle up a bit!

After being on the road for about 6 hours, we finally arrived at our hotel. It was really nice to finally get out of the car and stretch our legs!

We had dinner at a Mexican restaurant nearby (yum!) and then settled in to get rested up for what we were doing the next day.

Flo and I split this candy bar for our dessert!

I was all ready to sleep…

But Mr. Flo was flipping through the channels and discovered this:
 

Willy Wonka!  This is one of Flo’s favorite movies, so of course we had to watch it.  It really is a fun movie.  I tease Rebecca that she looks a bit like Veruca Salt, but Rebecca isn’t a spoiled brat, thank heavens!

The next morning we got up early, ate breakfast, and we were off for our destination.  Any ideas of where we were going to???

Sorry Flo, but I love to do photo bombs!!

If you guessed we were going to the Greenbrier resort in West Virginia, you got it right!  But we weren’t there for a spa treatment, or a fancy dinner.  We were there for a very interesting tour.  In case you didn’t know about it, back in the 1960’s, an addition was built on to the Greenbrier that was top secret!!  It was built to be a bunker to house and protect the members of Congress and Senate in the event that Washington DC was to be hit by a nuclear attack.

The building project was named “Project Greek Island” by the US government and was a well kept secret until 1992, when a journalist named Ted Gup wrote a piece about it for The Washington Post.  He had interviewed a lot of people who lived in the area as well as some whose companies worked on the project and deduced (quite accurately) what the project was intended for.  Immediately following the publishing of the article, the bunker was decommissioned by the government and the space was then rented out.  We were unable to take any photos while in the bunker because it’s current tenant uses it to store confidential files.  Here is one of what it would have looked like while it was still set up (Photo courtesy of NPR and The Greenbrier)

It was a very interesting tour and I learned a lot about the project and how it related to United States history and the Cold War.  We are studying that in my school history class, so it was really fun to see how this all tied in to what we are learning.

After we were done with the tour, we checked out the grounds around the Greenbrier.  It’s a very nice resort with a 5 star hotel, several golf courses and tons of different activities.  The hotel has a very interesting history behind it even without the bunker.  Originally built because of the supposed healing properties of the spring water on the grounds, it has been used for various things, including a military hospital during World War II.

Here I am checking out the gardens at the back of the hotel.  Workers were busy trimming the bushes and cleaning out flower beds when we were there.  It all looks very well maintained and manicured.

The chapel on the grounds.

A view of one of the golf courses.

One of many cottages found on the grounds.  Some of these date way back to the early days of the resort.

Perhaps the most important building on the grounds.  Under this dome is the original spring that brought people from near and far to experience the healing properties of the water!

I think it would be really fun to stay at the Greenbrier, but it is very expensive!  They have a big golf tournament here every year in the summer, Flo said she would like to go see it someday.  Last year they had to cancel it because the area was flooded after heavy rains and it was impossible for everything to be repaired in time.

In case you would like to read more about the Cold War bunker at the Greenbrier, I’ve added some links!

http://www.npr.org/2011/03/26/134379296/the-secret-bunker-congress-never-used

http://www.civildefensemuseum.com/greenbriar/index.html

http://www.travelchannel.com/videos/a-secret-under-the-greenbrier-0186110

http://vandaleer.com/the-bunker-at-the-greenbrier/

http://blog.cleveland.com/pdextra/2009/03/ted_gups_disclosure_of_the_gre.html

And this is a link to the article written by Ted Gup that revealed the big secret, hidden for years in the West Virginia mountains!

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/local/daily/july/25/brier1.htm

I hope you’ve enjoyed my post!  I had a great time putting it all together!

–Sophia

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Just a sidenote–as much as we enjoyed our tour, I have to admit that we were all a bit disappointed at all the more we got to see.  The problem is that the government removed everything that wasn’t bolted down and sold it off after the bunker was decommissioned, so you basically get a tour of a lot of empty space!  There were two small rooms with some former furnishings, but that was about it.   Our tour guide was excellent at explaining what the areas we could access were used for, but a lot of the former bunker has been rented out and is inaccessible to the tours.  That said, I think it was still interesting, but the $36 per person price seemed a bit steep! –Flo

Kit’s Trip, Part 3

Our last day on vacation was messed up due to the weather.  It rained and rained, all day long, making outdoor activities less than desirable.  We found a few interesting things to do though.  First we drove to the very small town of Stonington, it’s not far from Mystic.  Lots of pretty colonial style houses, very classic New England.  They also have a lighthouse that was moved a little bit inland, it serves as a museum.

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We were trying to decide what to do in this horrible weather, when Flo made a very strange suggestion. She thought it might be interesting to drive through the cemetery in Mystic, perhaps we might find some very old tombstones. I have to admit I was a little bit creeped out at first, but it ended up being very interesting. You can actually learn a lot from reading the tombstones!

Here are a couple of the ones we thought were very interesting in their design:
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Flo said this one made her think of the ones she has seen on trips to Ireland.
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From the one side of the cemetery you could see the seaport:

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It let up a little bit on the rain, so we went into downtown Mystic to check out some of the unique shops. They had some really neat stuff in them. Flo picked up a shirt and a nice bag that is waterproof, she said it will come in handy when she goes to Coolspring to meet Xyra since it always seems to rain. One of the places we stopped at was a toy store called “Mystical Toys”–I got a couple of things which I’ll share at the end of the post.

We were trying to figure out the best way to go to get to another place when we discovered that we were on the opposite side of the seaport, and we had a really great view of the other side of the Charles W. Morgan!
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The next morning we got up really early to head home. There was a home football game at Penn State that day and we hoped we would get by there before the traffic was backed up. We went through at noon and it was just starting to get clogged at the exit–and the game didn’t start until 3:30! Crazy. The weather was still kind of yucky, so I just hung out in the backseat, did my homework and napped. As nice as it is to get to travel, it is also nice to come home.

Here’s what I got at the toy store:
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Isn’t the Gumby figure I found cool?! I’ll have to find the perfect place to put him in my room. I also got two packages of crayons so that we have plenty when we all want to work on art projects.

One place we stopped at was a thrift store, Mr. Flo got a necktie and Flo found this:
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It’s almost identical to the one Cassandra has in her room now. Flo thinks they will look nice side by side and it will give Cassandra a better place to put her Minion collection.  I have to agree.  Plus she might have some space for some new Minions now!

That’s it for my travel pictures and story!  I hope you enjoyed it.  Thank you so much for stopping by!  I sure hope I get to go on another trip really soon, I had fun, even if the weather didn’t cooperate.

 

Kit’s Trip, Part 2

On day 2 of our trip, Flo said she had a really big surprise for me.  I had no idea what it was, but boy was I surprised!!!

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Yes, we went to the American Girl store near Boston, whooo hoooo!!! I was so excited, I’d never been to the store before. Cassandra told me all about her trip to the one in Columbus, so I couldn’t wait to get inside and see what they had.

First I stopped by and checked out Lea’s house:
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Pretty cool digs Lea!  (doesn’t Lea look a lot like Rebecca’s sister Sophia???)

Then I stopped by the recording studio to say Hi to Melody. I told Flo I thought we needed this, but she said no. Oh well.
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Maryellen looked cute while she was cooking in the diner:
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Wait a second!!! THIS IS SO CONFUSING!!!!!
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The Boston American Girl store is two floors.  On the first floor you’ll find all of the Girl Of The Year, BeForever, Bitty Baby and Wellie Wishers lines.  Upstairs is the bistro and all of the Truly Me goodies.

These girls are all dressed up for Halloween.  I wonder how Coconut would feel about me dressing her up as a ghost?

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These girls were having a slumber party. Unfortunately they were behind glass so I couldn’t join them. 😦
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Looks like these girls are doing some gardening. Good luck ladies!
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I decided to check out the new kitchen.  Wow, it is really fully outfitted.  Unfortunately it won’t fit in our kitchen.

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We picked up a few things while we were there, I’ll show you that at the end of the post. Flo had a nice conversation with the girl that checked us out. Then it was time to continue on our journey.

The plan was to leave the Boston area and drive south to the coast. We were all hoping to get to see some pretty coastline. Wrong! The weather was iffy and for most of the area we were in, there were too many trees between the road and the ocean. Doggone it! We did finally find some areas in Rhode Island though. We drove out to Point Judith to see the lighthouse. Unfortunately it is surrounded by a fence because it is a fully functioning lighthouse.

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We decided to get out and check out the ocean, plus I wanted a photo with it in the background.

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It was a bit windy!!!

Flo snapped these pictures really fast, she was almost blown over by the wind!
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We drove for quite a while before we decided to head back to the hotel. We did drive past the vacation home of someone very famous, but we don’t have any photos of it because there were all kinds of No Tresspassing signs and security stuff. Any ideas as to who the house belonged to? Taylor Swift!!! We didn’t realize it was her house at the time, but then Flo remembered she had a house in Rhode Island, so when we got back to the hotel, she looked it up, and sure enough, it was hers. It was HUGE!

By now I’m sure you are wondering what we picked up at the AG store, right?

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First, two t-shirts, one for the gang here, and one for Evil Twin’s gang of girls.  I love the new design!

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A new outfit for me!  Unfortunately I’m not going to get to wear it very much before I have to put it away for the season, it’s going to be too cold.  But I’ll be ready for next spring!

Flo said we needed to find something that everyone could use, so I decided the Williams-Sonoma cupcake set would be great to have for both the house and at the bakery!

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Despite the wind and rain, we had a lot of fun, and getting to go to the American Girl store near Boston was awesome!  I’ll post one more segment later this week with the rest of what we did.  Thanks for reading!