Pennsylvania to Maine

When we left Michigan on Wednesday, May 25th, we headed to Pennsylvania.

Our first place of interest was the Flight 93 Memorial near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.  We saw the crash site of the plane and wandered through the visitor’s center there to read the displays and timeline of the events on September 11, 2001.  Sam and Elise both did the Junior Ranger program there and earned their badges.  It was a sobering place to be.  Even though our kids don’t remember any of what happened that day (I was 6 months pregnant with Joe then), both Lance and I have vivid memories of the terrorist attacks and what we were doing on that morning.


The kids on the overlook at the Flight 93 Memorial.  


This is what you see from the overlook.  The plane crashed in the field behind those two white pillars.


Joe reading the stories from those who remember


Ben looking at some of the very few things recovered from the crash site.


Lance checking out the display dedicated to the military, fire and police personnel who responded that day and in the days afterwards.

That Thursday we also celebrated a very special birthday in our family.  Sam turned 9 and even though we spent a good part of the day driving we still tried to make it special.  He chose to eat at Pizza Hut for supper and a couple of days later the celebration continued with a trip to a drive-in theater with Lance and the other older kids.


Sam is a pretty cool kid who is a great big brother and a super funny guy!  We sure do love him!


Time for some cake!!

We camped near Gettysburg.  With it being Memorial Day weekend the campground was full and it was fun to be around so many other families.  Sam and Elise especially had fun making friends with other kids their age.  We enjoyed the pool, gaga ball pit and outdoor movie that they had that weekend.    On Friday evening we met a college friend of Lance’s and his family at an Amish dinner buffet.  Elise and their daughter hit it off and were chatting like old friends pretty quickly!

On Saturday, May 28th, we went to the Appalachian Trail Museum and park that was only about 10 minutes away from our campground.  The park is pretty much the half-way point of the trail that stretches from Maine to Georgia.  We checked out the small museum and walked a {very tiny} section of the Appalachian Trail.  We also met some hardcore climbers who are chipping away at their goal of hiking the whole thing by doing sections of the trail when they can get the time off work.  They told us that they had already seen a couple of rattlesnakes on the trail that morning….that’s enough to keep me on the pavement!!


Inside the museum at the Appalachian Trail halfway point


See???  We hiked the {tiniest section possible} Appalachian Trail!!

On Sunday we went to Gettysburg to see the battlefields and learn more about the history of that town.  We started with going to the short movie that they show at the visitor’s center about the battle and why it was such an important one in the Civil War.  Then we went to the Cyclorama which was very impressive.  You are in a circular room with the walls being covered by a 40 foot high canvas painting of the battle.  Then they added artifacts and plants to blend with the painting so sometimes you couldn’t even tell where they met.  It really looks like you are in the middle of the battlefield.


Sam checking out the Cyclorama


It was so amazing to see the painting and the artifacts mingled together!


Found this cute little soldier in the gift shop!

After seeing what we wanted to inside of the visitor’s center we headed outside.  We had bought an audio guide to listen to in our car while we drove around the park.  It came with a booklet to follow along with and was really informative about what side was where and how the battle progressed over the three days that it took place.  We would stop the guide whenever we got to an area that we wanted to explore further.  Lance and I were both fascinated with all of the information and sometimes you could almost picture what would have been going on back then.  At first everyone was attentive and interested (except Ben and Rose), but after three hours of driving around  the kids were less than entertained and it was time to get some supper and head home.  If you are ever headed to Gettysburg let us know and you can borrow our disc set if you want to!


Monuments were everywhere to mark the spots where specific regiments fought and where certain battles took place.


The fighting that took place on this hill, Little Round Top, was very important to the battle as a whole.  You can see that whoever held this ground definitely held the high ground.  Here’s Joe and Ben climbing around on the giant boulders.


Here’s Rosemary…..we love taking pictures like this of her, but don’t worry….there’s always someone holding onto her, you just can’t see them!  Someday she will look back at her scrapbook of this trip and think, “Wow!  Did they take any pictures of me when I wasn’t dangerously perched on top of a cliff, on top of a giant rock or up in a tree???”


Ben loved the cannons!

On Monday Lance went into town to have a work day and the kids and I stayed around the campground and enjoyed the pool.  The weather for that weekend was HOT and steamy, low 90s, so the pool felt very refreshing.

On Tuesday we packed up and headed to Harrisburg, the capital, to see the capital building.  We were quick about it…our highlight of the day was getting to Hershey which was after the capital.  When we got to Chocolate World we started out by taking a short tour on how the company began and the chocolate making process.  The tour is free and is a fun little introduction to Hershey.  After that we had purchased tickets for the Chocolate Tasting activity.  It was a fun presentation on the cocoa bean and the different kinds of chocolate.  We each had a bag that had four different chocolates in it and a small cup with some raw cocoa bits in it.  They went over how you are supposed to go through four different steps when tasting chocolate.  Look at it, smell it, listen to the sound as you break it (is it a soft break or a hard snap?), then taste it by letting a piece melt on your tongue.  We thought it was fun and definitely had our favorites and not so favorites.  Some of us (Ben and Rose) found the four steps to be too laborious and went right to step number four every time!  Well, after we were done with that we bought some Hershey chocolate from the gift shop and were back on our way.


We were excited to see what was inside this yummy smelling building!


Rose and Joe learning how they make and package the different chocolates at the Hershey factory.


Chocolate tasting….Ben just couldn’t wait any longer!

On Wednesday we entered Vermont.  We were all excited about that because up until this point every state we had been in was one that at least one of us had been in before, even if it was just driving through.  Vermont was a brand new state to all of us!  We thought it was beautiful and couldn’t stop marveling at all of the green….everywhere you looked were just more and more trees.  I can see why it’s a destination in the autumn to see the colors of the leaves as they are changing.  We stopped for a picnic at a park near Bennington and really enjoyed a few hours there.  It was a gorgeous spring day and we had the park to ourselves.  There was a huge playground and acres of thick green grass.  We left the park and started our drive to the campground.  When we were almost there we spotted a Moose grazing just 20 feet or so from the side of the road.  That was pretty exciting!!  We stayed that night at Lake Champagne Campground which is just south of Montpelier, the capital.  We really liked it there, Sam especially.  He loves water and our site wasn’t very far from the large pond they have there.  He spent a good amount of time with his slingshot shooting rocks into the water and just looking around.  After we set up the camper and had a quick supper we went to see the capital building.  It was a very pretty one and a great night to be exploring Vermont.


Willow Park was a beautiful spot to have lunch and to stretch our legs for a while. The giant wooden castle/playground is just down the hill.  The monument in the background is for the Battle of Bennington, which was in the Revolutionary War.


Joe and Rose at Lake Champagne campground.  What a pretty sky!!


A great night for seeing the capital in Vermont….again, that sky….it was such a bright blue, no filter needed!  And look at those three love each other….it does happen occasionally!!


We ended the day with a gorgeous sunset!

On Thursday we had a long day of driving, but it was worth it!  We made our way into Maine (another first for us!) and stopped in Augusta to see the capital.  Then we were back in the car to try to make it to our campground near Acadia before dark.  We just made it and were ready for bed after such a tiring day.  It’s not easy for anyone to keep two toddlers entertained for 7 hours in the car!!  (Disclaimer….we have been using the movie player in the car A LOT more often lately!!)   We stayed at a KOA just a few miles outside of Acadia National Park.  Our campground was right on the bay and was very nice.

On Friday, June 3rd, we spent our first day in Acadia National Park.  We started out by stopping by the visitor’s center so that Sam, Elise and Abby could all pick up their junior ranger booklets.  Then we decided to drive the park loop road until we got to a place we wanted to explore.  We really enjoyed our drive on the curvy road through the forests and along the rocky coast.  We stopped at Jordan Pond and went for a hike near the water.  Then we went to the Jordan Pond restaurant to try some of their famous popovers.  From there we finished the loop and had quite a treat when a doe and two very small fawns came out from the woods to cross the road.  We all oohhed and ahhed as they tentatively walked on their spindly little legs to the road and then changed their minds and turned back to the woods.   After the park we headed into Bar Harbor.  Lance and Joe wanted to try some Maine Lobster so they did that and we got some ice cream at a little place downtown.


All six of them when we were about to begin our hike


Elise loved looking for pretty rocks in the water


It was a foggy day, but still so pretty so see Jordan Pond and the bubble hills


Sam, the tough man!


Crossing back and forth over the rocks…..they loved it!


Our family on one of the many bridges in the park.  John D. Rockefeller Jr. had 45 miles of carriage roads and bridges built between 1913 and 1940.  They are too narrow for vehicles, but perfect for taking walks and riding horses on.


Trying Popovers at the restaurant near Jordan Pond


Another treat in downtown Bar Harbor

On Saturday we went back into the park and saw quite a bit more.  Our first stop was Thunder Bay.  It’s a very rocky part of the coast where there is a cave at the water level and when the tide gets to a certain point the water going in and out of the cave sounds like thunder and can spray water up to 40 feet.  It was very neat to watch the water swirling around there even though the waves weren’t big enough that day for the thunder sound.  After that we went to a ranger program where they had some spotting scopes set up so that you could try to see the Peregrine Falcons and their four babies.  When we were there the adults were out looking for food and the babies must have settled into the nest, we couldn’t see them.  From there we drove to Otter Cove in the park.  The day before, when we had gone past it, the tide had been out and it had looked like a really fun place to explore, but we couldn’t find parking so we had kept going.  On Saturday when we stopped the tide was much higher than the day before, but it was still a great place to look around.  Sam loved climbing the rocks and looking for pretty shells and stones.  Our last stop that day was the visitor’s center so that Abby, Sam and Elise could turn in their books and get their junior ranger badges.


Rose, Ben, Abby and Elise watching the water swirling in Thunder Hole


Elise, our little rock climber


Trying to get a glimpse of the falcons with the spotting scopes


Sam ready to explore Otter Cove

Back at the campground our kids were having a blast too!  With the sites going right up to the bay, there was a lot to explore, especially when the tide was out.  Sam, Elise, Ben and Rose loved taking some buckets down by the water and looking for crabs and any other little creatures they could find.  They even made some friends from another campsite who shared their passion for crab hunting!  Sam spent hours with the other two boys climbing the rocks and filling their buckets with crabs.  Then they would pick them up and one after another and marvel at their finds.  They were showing me the crabs and telling me all about them….which ones were boys, which ones were girls, which girls were laying eggs, which ones might pinch me, and so on and so on!  It was fun to see them having such a great time!


Ben and Rose playing on the stony beach with their sand toys


Ben was so excited about the shells he found


Sam was pretty excited about his finds too…here he is with a big lobster shell

Sunday is when our trip took a little detour from the plans we had made.  We packed up in the morning and prepared to drive to New Hampshire, but when we were all in the car and ready to pull away the camper wouldn’t budge.  After looking things over Lance found that a metal bracket that’s part of the frame under the camper had broken.  Well, it’s hard to find an available welder on Sunday so we settled back into our site and waited for Monday.  God sent a very interesting man our way on Monday who fixed the camper pretty quickly……but then when we went to pick it up we stopped to put gas in the car and guess what!?!?  The gas just sprayed all over the pavement!  Yep, that’s right…our gas tank was busted!  So we picked up the camper to bring it back to the campground and then on Tuesday morning Lance brought the car back and that same man fixed it up for us.  We had a couple days of frustration, but were once again reminded that God has perfect timing.  If that bracket had broken while going down the highway, it could have been dangerous and with the gas tank….at least we already had a guy we now knew who could fix it.  So that’s the bright side!!  Along with the fact that there are definitely worse places to be stranded than the beautiful coast of Maine!!

On our last night in Maine we went for a family walk along the rocky coast.  The tide was out so we all had a great time venturing out to places that you normally don’t see since they are under water.  We explored the tide pools and turned over rock after rock.  Then we watched the beautiful sunset and headed back to our camper.  We finally ended up leaving Maine on Tuesday, June 7th.


Joe and Rosemary


Sam holding a small crab he found under a rock


Lance and Rose 


Joe, Abby, Sam, Elise and Ben are all in this picture.  They loved exploring!


Elise found this tiny starfish on the side of a rock.  I put my finger by it so we could remember how small it really was.


No stone left unturned….or at least it felt that way!


Our last sunset in Maine


3 thoughts on “Pennsylvania to Maine”

  1. Thanks for another great chapter in the life of the Kornoeljes. When do you ever have the time to write and organize the pictures? Just want you to know how much I enjoy feeling like I am traveling the road with you?

    1. Hi Carol,
      Thank you, I’m glad you are enjoying reading it. It can be a bit time consuming to put together, but I’m always so glad when I get another post done. It’s a wonderful way for me to journal about our trip so that when I put a scrapbook together later it will be much easier! I hope you continue to “travel along” with us 🙂

  2. Oh my goodness, that tiny starfish! So cute. And I love the picture of all of you on the bridge. I’ve been to all those places in Pennsylvania, it was neat to see a bit of what you all got to explore. Have a beautiful last few weeks!

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