Monday, August 29, 2011

Hoffman Family Vacation 2011!

The "Caviest Cave in the USA"
 We had a week of glorious gallivanting-- crossing the borders of 5 different states.  We started with a trip out to see my brother Cameron's troupe, Barely Balanced perform at the Bristol Ren Faire in Wisconsin. We stayed in a suburb of Chicago, and unfortunately, my brother in Chi-town, Ian, was out on tour with his band, Voice of Addiction. We must get back out there to visit him, which seems doable as the boys did pretty well on the ride. We stopped at Seneca Caverns, "the caviest cave in the USA", or as we like to call it, Hell. The caverns were great, don't get me wrong, the staff was wonderful, and the slogan is the best ever, BUT... I had on a dress and flip flops and a big old purse and it was treacherous, and I was responsible for Vladdie and apparently for cutting off any circulation to his hands as I held onto him for dear life.
Here's the pics of that leg of our travels:

Cameron, on stilts
Nothing says "Ren Faire" like food on a stick and giant pickles. So a giant pickle on a stick should merit at least one "Huzzah!"  

Next up was camping out at Mohican.  We stayed at our traditional campground, Camp Toodik. We first stopped at a great Amish restaurant, Des Dutch Essenhaus where even the vegetarians left full and happy.  The boys loved the toy train that runs through it and Wolfie enjoys interviewing any Amish people that he meets and especially enjoys informing them over and over that they are Amish. After refueling at the restaurant, we worked a wee bit of it off on the boys first long hike-- 4 miles of hilly terrain in Mohican State Park-- with almost no complaints from the boys. Jas and Nate on the other hand... just kidding! We camped out, the only campers that night...maybe because the gorgeous weather of the day turned into a 5 hour torrential thunderstorm that flooded most of the campsites and all of our tents. Somehow, after it stopped, clad in a garbage bag, I managed to get the fire started and bake blueberry pies with my toast-tite.  So what I mean to say is, I had completely lost my mind. The day turned into gorgeous 70 degree weather with a light breeze and we took the boys on a 10 mile canoe trip where we had the whole lake fork branch of the river to ourselves and a heron that we seemed to be following. Alas, the weather was set to have more thunderstorms plus hail and damaging winds, so we packed up and headed home.
Here's the Mohican pics:

We survived our hike!

I am a twisted firestarter. In a trash bag.

Next up, a day trip to Pennsylvania's Pymatuning State Park.  We visited the Pymatuning Deer Park for a picnic where we ate like animals (yeah, we stopped by an Amish girl selling little pies and cinnamon rolls on the side of the road. We bought one of each flavor of pie. We ate it all. and yes, Wolfie interrogated her and her Amishness) and then fed the park's animals. Then we stopped by the Linesville Spillway, "Where the ducks walk on the fish" where Wolf fell in love with "squishy mouthed fish" and longed to hug a carp.  Photographic evidence of our journey:

My heroes

A flurry of Carp

     We were able to celebrate my littlest baby, Vladdie turning 4 during a short break at home.  He requested a "Rainbow tornado snake cake".  We obliged.

Vlad and his cake
Vlad's  annual Birthday sign

Lastly, we decided to head back after I got off work on Saturday and revisit the spillway, at the Hoffbros' request. Then we finished off with a trip to Conneaut Lake Park. Mind you, this park had fallen on very hard times. It is not the park of my youth, but there are still so many things to recommend if you like nostalgia. 

A little glimpse into what is left of Conneaut lake and even some of the old houses there in the park:
Devil's Den

The Hotel Conneaut

Many of my favorites from yesteryear were still plugging away, like Devil's Den (with the infamous wall of chewed gum), the jolly caterpillar, the bumper cars, the tumble bugs and the old hotel. After dark, we sat on the  boardwalk and enjoyed fireworks.  It was chilly and everything had that summer fading into autumn quality.  It sort of felt like you knew everyone there and were bidding them goodbye, and for me, all the memories of having been there with my Dad. A good way to end an end-of-summer vacation.
Matt swoops me up in a whip, ala Indiana Jones, and plants one on me, right in front of the whole world. Swoon.

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