Last week I threw a couple of bags in the car, buckled up my son, and headed off for the coastal waters of Cape Cod. While driving there, I had some time to think about our family vacation to Niagara Falls. In just a few short weeks, we will be traveling to our destination over six hours…in a car (shudder). I had been driving for two hours at the time of this revelation, and I was already getting antsy in my seat. How are we going to do this?
My mind started to drive along memory lane towards the big social studies cross-country project I had in 9th grade. The class was asked to pretend to take a road trip from California to Connecticut and map out all its details along the way. We had to find and record places to eat, activities to do, and where to sleep all within a budget that the teacher provided us. This was a huge undertaking for us 14-year-olds, who could easily spend all our hard-earned babysitting or paper route money in one evening at the mall, but we accepted the challenge and as I recall, the class did very well when we presented our projects. The best part about the assignment, I felt, was the road trip scrapbook we had to make…that’s it! I’ll make an activity scrapbook for the family!
I flicked on the computer and brought up Google Maps (a luxury I didn’t have back as a freshman creating the first road trip scrapbook) to plug in the route from Simsbury, Connecticut to Grand Island, New York…well, that’s neat. Did you know that if you type in two distant vista points in Google Maps it not only shows the driving route, but it also shows you construction zones and airline flights with their prices?
I then started to pinpoint chunks of travel time (about two hours between) and placed markers on the major towns that were on the map. Here is my list of stops and activities on our road trip up to Niagara Falls!
1st stop: Schenectady
Aside from eating I wanted to enjoy the scenic views of the Mohawk River and the Adirondacks, so I found some outdoor activities (crossing fingers and toes on weather) that I thought we could all enjoy. One option is Plotter Kill Reserve, in Rotterdam. The Mohawk River flows into a gorge with waterfalls and many hiking trails. Another possibility is Central Park, located in Schenectady. This park’s activities include hiking, a playground area called Tiny Tot Land, and ice cream. (I bet I know which one my son will pick!)
A Maybe Stop: Utica
About an hour back on the route is the next possible spot that the hubby really wanted to check out – Saranac Brewery. Last year we went to the Magic Hat Brewery Tour in Vermont, that was really cool, so I think Dave is trying to start a vacation tradition. What’s neat about Saranac Brewery is they also produce soft drinks which will also be part of the tour. So, if Dave is a good boy, we will go (wink).
2nd stop: Oneida Lake
The next two-hour bracket from Schenectady, is Oneida. I really like lakes – there is something serene about them, so any excuse to go see one is fine by me. Sylvan Beach Amusement Park is nestled right along the Oneida Lake, and from what I gather from the web, it has a Coney Island, historic-like, vibe to it. This place looks fun, but not too time consuming which will get us back on the road and to our final stop.
A Maybe Stop: Rochester
The final bracket is over two-hours so depending on how antsy Nathanael is at this point, mama will have one more trick up her sleeve, the Strong Museum in Rochester. This is a big maybe though, because it appears to be quite extensive and we might want to save this attraction for a rainy day, since it is just under an hour from our final destination. I will let you know how it all pans out.
Next thing I thought about was packing (shudder again) oh, how I loath this part. What clothes do we bring? What items do we take? What electronics for the car (blah). It’s nice to have movies and video games for when my son gets really finicky, but I wanted to pull out some old-school options too, and include them in the scrapbook idea!
Road trip car activities:
~ The license plate game worksheets I created (yup, I’m a geek)
~ The alphabet game worksheet (changed the rules a little to fit his age)
~ I printed out the map into sections and we can point out the towns we are going to throughout our road trip!
~ A couple highlighters so he can draw the route on the map, as we go.
~ Coloring pages, activity books and markers for the restaurants and rest stops.
~ A worksheet for each stop and a digital camera for him to take pictures!
~ A backpack for him to keep all the items together.
I will report on how the trip went along with a follow-up on our Niagara Falls vacation. Do you know the New York state area well? Please let me know of any spots that you liked! If you are also going on a road trip and need ideas, suggestions, or just want to read up on our candid experiences – here are some other Runit references you may enjoy! (I typed “road trips” “vacation” and “summer” keywords in the Runitlikeamom.com search bar and got these results)
Other Runit Road Trip References:
A Mom’s Travel Guide: New England Family Vacations – My other post within the “A Mom’s Travel Guide” Series.
Runitlikeamom Summer Pail Of Fun – Great Runitlikeamom blogger recommendations of places to go to, in the summer.
This Summer Take A Road Trip (Or Two Or Three!) – Allison wants you to get out and enjoy those little road trips.
Staying Away From Back In The Day – Jenn calls the critic’s bluff on how kids were entertained, on road trips, back in the day.
Let Yourself Go – Candace tells you to let go of those schedules and let loose, on vacation.
Runit In The Woods – Patty takes her daughter on a hiking adventure.
Finding Extraordinary In The Ordinary – Sarah shares with us about the little things that make summer so sweet.
It’s Getting Hot In Here!!! – Kenna gives out tips on how to hydrate this summer.
Claire’s Garden – Beautiful garden ideas from Michelle and her daughter that will make you smile.
Water Babies – A sweet post by Emily on how her daughters love the water.
Memories That Last A Lifetime – Meg introduces family camping to her sons.
A Family Trip That Pleased All – Smiles all around on Kirsten’s family trip to Washington DC.
How We Run-It With Children At Music Festivals – Ellen shows us how to properly groove with the family at music events.
Boundless, Not Heartless – Playgrounds that are accessible to everyone is what Amy likes to see.
Break Out The Bugspray – Special tips from Saisha on how to stay bug free.
O Canada – Eileen takes a holiday in Canada.
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