Travel Journal


We saw some really cool things and blogged about it on my tablet. Wanna know what we thought? Look no further!

Travel Journal

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Scout

April 3, 2015 - 1:10pm

I couldn't wait to book it to the Samuel Clemens House and Museum.

Hartford, CT
Connecticut

9 responses to this post
Clueless

Check your guidebook. Mine says that’s the Mark Twain House and Museum.


Tripp

Mark Twain was just one of Mr. Clemens’s pen names. However he signed himself, he was one of the greatest American writers ever. I’ve read The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and my all-time favorite, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, over and over.


Scout

Though he was born in Missouri, Twain wrote many of his now-famous novels during the 17 years he lived in this state, including those two, as well as A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court.


Lark

I remember that one—about a man who goes back in time to the days of King Arthur. Talk about a wrong turn!


Clueless

Twain traveled quite a bit, just like us, Lark. He wrote about his real-life adventures out West in Roughing It, his life as a riverboat pilot in Life on the Mississippi, and his tour of Europe in The Innocents Abroad. Amazingly, he never seemed to get lost.


Tripp

Maybe because he had a strong sense of direction. Even when he wrote about difficult social issues, he did it with humor. Some of his best sayings are on the museum walls, like “Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest.”


Scout

This one made me laugh: “If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.”


Lark

This one made me think: “Travel is fatal to prejudice...” That’s one thing exploring has taught Clueless and me. Meeting different people from different places helps you see how much alike we all are.


Tripp

Some of us just have different pen names.


Tripp

April 2, 2015 - 1:18pm

Whale, ho!

Mystic, CT
Connecticut

9 responses to this post
Clueless

What, who? I don’t see a whale.


Scout

Hey, landlubber, it’s a ship—the Charles W. Morgan, anchored at Mystic Seaport. It’s the last wooden whaleboat in the world. Whaling was a whale of an industry in the United States for hundreds of years.


Clueless

That I did see. I learned that the Morgan is the oldest U.S. commercial ship still afloat, launched in 1841. It’s gone on 38 sea voyages. That’s nearly as many as I’ve made on land.


Tripp

This maritime museum has the largest collection of historic boats in the United States. Some of the awesome seafaring vessels we got to see were the Emma C. Berry, a sleek schooner built in 1866, and the L.A. Dunton, a cool-looking fishing boat from 1921.


Lark

I meant to board the Morgan but ended up on the sailboat Joseph Conrad by mistake. Little did I know it was a training ship, and soon they had me climbing the rigging and singing sea chanteys.


Clueless

Who wouldn’t lose their way with all the things to see here? It’s like a fishing village from the 1800s, with demonstrations of shipbuilding, woodcarving, and barrel-making. I thought the buildings were reproductions, but they were real.


Tripp

Right! They are actual old shops and businesses brought here from places around New England.


Lark

I was so busy exploring the village streets that I never did find the Morgan.


Scout

Too bad. You really missed the boat!


Scout

April 1, 2015 - 1:49pm

No, these prints weren’t made by chicken feet!

Rocky Hill, CT
Connecticut

9 responses to this post
Tripp

Those would be some BIG birds. The tracks are 10 to 16 inches long, some more than four feet apart.


Boris

Perhaps they were the result of a huge hen doing a toe loop, one of the easier jumps in figure skating.


Scout

Not likely. These fossil footprints were made during the Jurassic Period, not the Ice Age. That’s about 200 million years ago.


Ivana

Yes, and it looks like the creature had only three toes. Not so easy to find skates that would fit properly.


Tripp

Around two thousand of these tracks were discovered in 1968 when workmen were doing construction. Dinosaur State Park was created to preserve the prints, and 500 of them are on display. They were smart to bury the rest to keep them safe.


Boris

Did scientists ever discover which prehistoric animal made these marks?


Scout

They never found any other remains, but they believe most of these prints were made by meat-eating dinosaurs similar to the Dilophosaurus.


Scout

The tracks themselves are called Eubrontes—now Connecticut’s official state fossil.


Ivana

So if I leave skate marks, they, too, may become fossils one day and be called Ivanaskates!


Scout

March 31, 2015 - 12:49pm

Would you believe that Sherlock Holmes built this 24-room “castle” in 1919?

East Haddam, CT
Connecticut

7 responses to this post
Rabbit

That’s a trick question! Sherlock wasn’t real—he’s a fictional detective.


Tripp

True, but the actor and playwright William Gillette became famous for playing Sherlock Holmes on stage, on the radio, and in a silent movie. The role helped him earn enough to have this home built of fieldstone on a steel frame.


Scout

We learned on the tour that he designed it himself to look like a medieval fortress. He designed the inside, too, including the castle’s 47 wooden doors. Each one was carved to look different.


Cadabra

For me, the best was all the secret passages, hidden compartments, and puzzling locks. Mr. Gillette even dreamed up a sliding table. If only he’d disguised the tracks to make the table seem to move by itself, that would be some hocus pocus!


Rabbit

I heard he also invented stage props and lighting to create different illusions. He was a wizard in many ways!


Scout

And an engineer in more ways than one: He built a small railroad to take his guests around his property. One of its steam engines is on display here.


Tripp

After Mr. Gillette’s death, Connecticut bought his hillside property and—presto chango—turned it into Gillette Castle State Park. Now that’s magical!


Scout

March 30, 2015 - 10:39am

It’s easy to find a parking space in a ghost town.

Austin, NV
Nevada

11 responses to this post
Tripp

Not so easy to find people, though. Settlers came here in the mid-1800s after silver was discovered in Nevada. But by 1911, all the silver was gone and everyone left. Only a few buildings, the cemetery, other artifacts, and the town’s name, Berlin, remain.


Lotta

I think I saw a ghost—picking up its mail at the ghost office.


Huck

The phantom must have left a forwarding address, or else the mail would have wound up in the dead-letter file.


Scout

Good ones, guys. But I noticed you were a little spooked yourselves when we walked through the abandoned mine.


Lotta

The Diana Mine was dug more than 1,200 feet through solid rock. For me, going that far underground is not a minor problem.


Huck

I liked seeing the old mining equipment and mining-car tracks—which, of course, led to a dead end. What’s funny is that they never found much silver ore gold there either.


Tripp

The area had a different kind of treasure. In 1928, fossils were found of an Ichthyosaur, an up-to-fifty-foot-long reptile that used to swim in the waters that once covered Nevada. Think of a prehistoric dolphin!


Scout

And all of this is now part of Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park, which was created to protect these fossils.


Lotta

Is there a ghost of a chance I saw that creature here?


Tripp

Yes. There’s a life-size painting of one at the site.


Huck

What a sight for Ichthyosaur eyes!


Tripp

March 27, 2015 - 9:46am

I was hoping the Extraterrestrial Highway went straight to outer space. But it’s just a 98-mile route through mostly desert.

Rachel, NV
Nevada

8 responses to this post
Scout

Nevada State Highway 375 earned its sci-fi nickname from travelers who claimed they saw strange sights overhead. Lots of people believe the road is a landing strip for alien spaceships.


Tripp

I heard that, since the 1950s, rumors claim one had crashed near here, and the ship and its pilot were taken to the top-secret Air Force base called Area 51. Actually, the government does test aircraft and equipment nearby. Those may be the UFOs—Unidentified Flying Objects—that people have spotted.


Huck

I didn’t see any flying saucers. But I did land a plate carrying the out-of-this-world “alien burger” at the Little A’Le’Inn. The waitperson wouldn’t identify what was in its top-secret Alien Sauce, though.


Lotta

Ha! That inn in the town of Rachel also sells green alien-head cookie jars, Area 51 T-shirts, ET Highway hats, and other souvenirs. It inspired Huck and me to write a space-alien joke book.


Scout

I’m extraterrified to ask what’s in it.


Huck

Here’s one: What do you call an extraterrestrial with three eyes? An aliiien!


Lotta

I’ve got another: What do you call a pan flying through space? An unidentified frying object! Yuck, yuck!


Tripp

I’m not sure if those jokes are extraterrible or extraterrific. I’ll lean toward the second one.


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