Monday, August 25, 2008

Vacation Wrap-Up

OK, I am really too tired to post right now, but it has been a while and before my dear SIL Joelle sends me an email telling me she has not read anything new on my blog I figured I'd better sit down and let you know about the LaDore's vacation.

We started out on 8/16 heading up to Bennington, Vermont. For those of you not familiar with Bennington, it is in the southwestern corner of Vermont. Robert Frost is buried there. Grandma Moses painted there - she may be buried there too, I forget. It is where my dad was born and raised. It is also home to the Battle of Bennington Monument, which actually took place across the state line in Hoosick, NY. Whatever! Anyhoo, we always go to Bennington around this time of year because it is "Bennington Battle Week". This year I had other ideas, as in Lake George. Scott put the kibbosh on that real quick, telling me it is "tradition", that we have gone to Bennington in August every year since Francesca was born. He's right - she attended her 1st Battle Day parade at the tender age of 3 months. So off we went. The kids were sooooo excited - they love love love Bennington. Not sure why. Maybe it's the clean, fresh-air smell. That's my favorite. Maybe it's the apple cider donuts we get at the Apple Farm. Maybe it's the Hampton Inn pool (a close second). Nooooo, bet you can't guess. I'll tell you. It's the Bennington Monument. Why, you ask, are my kids so fascinated with this Mini-Me version of the Washington Monument? I couldn't begin to tell you! But I do know that as soon as we hit a certain part of VT Rte 7 and they could see the monument they were jumping around in their seats and pointing. Francesca has always loved the monument. In fact, she has a little wooden replica of the monument that she would carry around with her, until we had to confiscate it after she started using it as a weapon against her then-infant brother.

So we stopped at the Monument, walked around the grounds and then went up to the top (it was free that day). Yikes, I did not like it last year and I did not like it any better this year. IT WAS HIGH AND I HATE HEIGHTS!!!! But up we went, and I started to freak out as soon as the elevator door opened. Gavin had his camera and wanted to go right up to the OPEN (but barred) windows and take pictures. I almost started hyperventilating. I kept trying to pull him back towards me but Scott would not let me, trying to tell me that the open (but barred) part was higher than even Gavin could reach. Gavin is like Harry Houdini, he can get out or wiggle his way into, anything! I thought Scott may actually punch me, because once Francesca saw me freaking out she decided to follow suit. We were probably only up there for about 10 minutes but it seemed like a lifetime! I was soooo happy to get down back down on the ground and vowed never ever to go up it again.

Then we went and checked into the Hampton Inn. It is the biggest (but still only 3 floors) and one of only 2 chain, hotels in Bennington. In the past, we have stayed at the Best Western, the Paradise Motor Inn and even Darling Kelly's (when F was a baby - I felt like we were staying in one of the rooms at my grandparents' house). The Hampton Inn has 24-hour fresh coffee (a plus for the parents), afternoon cookies, a hot continental breakfast and most importantly an indoor pool!!!! We CANNOT stay anyplace that does not have a pool! The LaDore children must swim. We ate at Carmody's that night, a local bar and grill where you instantly feel welcome even though it's been a year since you last set foot in the door. The kids and I walked up to the local chocolate/candy store and bought fudge and goodies while we waited for a table.

Sunday morning we got up, ate breakfast, and then went to put our chairs out along the parade route. We can do this in Bennington and not worry that they are going to be stolen, as they would be if we did that at home. In fact, you can kiss a good viewing spot goodbye if you don't put your chairs out by 9 or 10 am the latest! We got ours out by 9:15 or so and then went for a ride. Then they dropped me off at church and Scott and the kids went to the VT state fish hatchery. My parents and grandparents used to take me and my brother there when we were little. For a nickel, you get a handful of stinky fish food pellets to throw in the fish ponds. The kids love this. They go throw several handfuls and watch to see if any fish jump up to ge the treats (the fish always do). Then it was time for the parade.

Oh the parade. We pretty much always sit in the same spot, right near this cute little antiques store called "Junque" and across the street from the big white-trashy family. Granted, there are alot of people who could fall into this category in this town (I still love you Benningtonians but I speak the truth). 3 years ago we sat in front of their house and shared the sidewalk with 1 guy, his 2 girlfriends, a gaggle of kids and someone's mother-in-law. At one point, one of the kids got some red lollipop stickyness on his face. To be nice, I pulled out a wipe and handed to his mom (at least I think it was his mom, it may have been his auntie or his dad's baby momma #2). But I digress....No, she didn't need my wipe, she just took off his tee shirt and wiped his face with it. Ewwwww...Do you see why we sit ACROSS the street from them now??? Anyway, my day isn't complete until I see "our friends" at the parade. Then there is the 35 year old still getting around town on his BMX bike. I should shut up now because if Scott and I ever hit Powerball we are buying land in Bennington and building a log cabin and these people could be my neighbors!!! But the kids love the bands and picking up candy that is thrown and of course the fire trucks, because the parade is sponsored by the fire department.

We swam in the pool Saturday night, Sunday night and Monday morning before we left for the Catskills. Catskills coming up in the next post.

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