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more scenes from a vacation, with children

more scenes from a vacation, with children

October 9, 2007


We went on a tour of the USS Constitution, the oldest commissioned ship in the military or something or other. I’d ask my kids but they are in bed pretending to be asleep. When we arrived they decided that they didn’t want a tour, they wanted to look around themselves. We had already done a couple of tours that day. After a couple of minutes, we all noticed that you could only go below deck if you were with a guide. So we ran off the ship and joined in a tour.

The kids loved it. They are such sponges for useless trivial knowledge, such as cannons are not called cannons on a boat, they are called guns. My 6 yr old was sorely disappointed that we wouldn’t be able to shoot the cannonballs out at other ships.

not cannons, guns

On the lowest level we saw where the sailors used to sleep. Rows and rows of hammocks. He picked a couple of my boys out to go stand up with him while he talked about the jobs young boys their ages would have had aboard the ship. I tried to sign my boys up on the spot, but they no longer take minors, no matter how much I insisted that the boys would be great running up and down stairs carrying gun powder.


(I will probably have several more posts going up about our trip. I realize that they are probably interesting to no one but me, but I want to remember it. It brought American history, which we are studying in depth this year, alive for them and made them excited.)

Posted by Chris @ 9:33 am  

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  1. Lori says:

    I think your vacation pictures and stories are fascinating! I love American history. But I’m one of those bumpkins that’s never been anywhere important. Keep them coming!

  2. Sarah G. says:

    Please keep posting about your trip. My mother’s side of the family is from the Boston area and I know the city fairly well.

    My clearest memory of old Ironsides is the name plaques for each of the guns. One of them was “Brother Jonathan” which cracked me up because my brother is named Jonathan. I hope the guns still have their plaques.

  3. Karen Vogel says:

    I recognize that first picture! I was stranded below deck with 5 children on the Constitution while my husband was outside trying to convince the nice security guards not to arrest him. You see, going through security, he realized that they wouldn’t let him on board with his Swiss army knife; nor would they hold it for him until he came back. “Throw it away over there,” they told him. So he put the Swiss army knife in the backpack/diaper bag we had with us, and left the bag in our stroller outside the security gate. Bad decision number one. So, while we were below deck (listening to the tour guide tell us how cannons on ship are called guns, of course), a guard came down and asked if anyone owned the suspicious black bag outside. My husband went with him to claim the bag and never came back. Turns out that they said he had to take the bag with him onto the ship and, completely forgetting that he had just hidden his Swiss army knife in there, he happily submitted it to them for a search. Bad decision number two. The guards decided my husband (a commissioned intelligence officer in the United States Navy, by the way) was a security risk and shouldn’t go back on the ship. They stopped just short of handcuffing him. To this day, I have no idea what they thought he was going to do on that ship with that tiny little knife. See The More, The Messier: Philadelphia Story for another story of overzealous security concerns post-9/11.

  4. Karen Vogel says:

    I’m sorry - here’s a link to the page referenced above (I can’t figure out how to do trackbacks, and anyone who can tell me will be my hero(ine) forever).


  5. Heather's Garden says:

    Please keep posting about your family vacation. It reminds me of when I’d go on trips like this with my family as a kid — which is particularly poignant since I can’t get my kids to go anywhere that even hints of an educational experience.

  6. Kellan says:

    These are wonderful pictures! I’m learning a little about American History myself - thank you very much.

  7. Kasey says:

    and me! I’m interested!! :)

  8. Katie says:

    Can I come along on your next trip? I promise not to bring my 5 kids.

    Oh oh speaking of history type stuff, I do an awesome tour guide impression of Washington DC if you are ever down this way. Including being pulled over and questioned by the Secret Service. (What? My big black van with tinted windows and the license plates on wrong near the White House is suspicious?)

  9. charlie says:

    My husband was an extra on the movie set for Master and Commander and they told them those little boys working on the ships were called “Powder Monkeys”. Isn’t that a great name?

  10. Kathy from NJ says:

    Please keep the stories & pictures coming. My husband was in the Merchant Marines (4F in regular military) in WW2 - they took young men out of school at age 17 & gave them a diploma anyway. People that young had no fear, they felt invincible. Rich steered a ship through a hurricane off the coast of Madagascar, I probably heard that story 50 times and would give a lot to hear it again.

  11. Esme says:

    Please keep posting! It’s a great virtual vacation for the rest of us! :)

  12. Jean says:

    This sounds like a great vacation! We love historical tours. American history is on the schedule for next year for us, and I can’t wait!!

  13. Jessica says:

    Please keep posting–I haven’t been to these places since I was a kid (I grew up in and around Boston). Love the pictures!

  14. nan says:

    Now, THAT’s the way to study history!! For the rest of us too! Why not let the older boys write a factual post, with all of the right dates and names, for all the other little boys out here?

  15. Fina says:

    I too was on that ship, on that same level and saw those same hammocks. Then my claustrophobia kicked in and I bolted. Boston is one of my all-time favorite cities so thank you for the pictures. Great pictures by the way. You must be loving your new camera!!

  16. Shaylind Standing says:

    I love that you have so many great ideas for homeschooling.
    I am taking mental notes. :)

  17. tanya says:

    If they like learning about life on board the ship they would enjoy Stowaway by Karen Hesse. We listened to the audio book while on vacation. Based on the real 1767 voyage of Captain James Cook’s “Endeavour”, it is told from the perspective of 11-year-old Nicholas Young a stowed away who ends up working on the ship.

  18. Jennifer says:

    I love your vacation pictures and covet your camera. That sounds like a WONDERFUL vacation. We went on board ships in San Francisco this summer with Jack, and it was so much fun. He is only two and will never remember it, but at least I will.

  19. falwyn says:

    I was just there! Well, a couple months ago. I have a few similar pics on the Constitution, but most of yours are better. And especially the one with the seal two days ago. Sadly, I DO have a rockin camera (D50) so I’m afraid I will have to attribute mine to user error…. :) I love seeing your photos.

  20. Elizabeth says:

    Psst, they are interesting to me. Some people take their kids to historical sites, some read to their kids about them, and some people just read about them on other people’s blogs and think they might maybe possibly mention some of it to their kids some time. Ayup.

  21. Joy H says:

    Beautiful photos — share MORE!

  22. Tricia says:

    I just keep staring at those hammocks and wondering just how filthy they were when they were in use, for real…

  23. Divrchk says:

    Keep telling us the stories. I grew up in Hingham (20 minutes south of Boston) and I miss the city.

  24. Mary W says:

    The monastary and convents no longer take minors either. I tried. The wouldn’t trade wine for the children either. Go figure. They wouldn’t let me stay and help make the wine - and send the children home.

  25. Dana says:

    Very interesting. More. More. I love your pictures. I am still trying to figure out how to do the watermark on mine..I have a ton of pics I want to post, but I want to put my watermark on them so nobody steals them!!!

    What program do you use to do it? Photoshop?
    sunshinedaily4me@cableone.net if you have time to tell me


  26. Angela says:

    I love your posts about American history! My parents used to take me and my sister around to historical sites for vacations– Boston, Gettysburg, Signal Mountain, Jamestown, Williamsburg, you name it. Now we’ll go out of our way on road trips to stop at historical battlegrounds. May you be blessed to have children as nerdy as my parents do ; )

  27. carrie says:

    Those are VERY interesting photos. I especially like that last one. Glad you had a good trip!

  28. Bronnie says:

    Learning about your country’s history is great!
    these are some awesome photos too :)

  29. Carolynn from Western Australia says:

    I Love History no matter where it is. My TV is almost always set on The History Channel.


  30. Jazz says:

    Hey there! I wish I had known you were headed this way. Lots to do and see i this great area. I hope you had a great time and that the kids learned lots. Did you get to fo the Freedom Trail? Did you get to eat in the North End? What about the Children’s or Science Museums?

    oh, and…

    Again, I hope it was great!