It was especially fun to read all of the entries for this contest. I actually planned a trip and made wrote it up myself to see what it would be like to enter. It took quite a bit of time, so I can appreciate all that each of those who entered did, and I appreciate their participation. It was hard for the judges to choose the winners, but there they are:
First Place – Carolyn from Alabama
We were not able to format this entry on this blog site at this time, so you will find it in “the town” at www.GingerBrookHollow.com It is in the newspaper office. Please click the link at the very bottom of the page.
Second Place – Sara from Florida
Trip To Florida
This is for 3 day visit with 10 year old niece from Missouri.
Day 1 Trip to Pensacola Beach and Ft. Pickens
8:00 am Rise and prepare for the day.
Breakfast – cold cereal and juice $2.00
9:00am Depart from my home, fill gas tank $40.00. Travel across 2 bridges to Pensacola Beach. Pay $1.00 at Toll booth at Pensacola Beach.
9:30 am – 1:00 pm Suntan, swim, collect seashells, and build sand castles on beach. snack on ice water and Lance crackers. cost $3.00
1:00 pm – 2:00pm Lunch special at Wendy’s – $3.00
2:00pm – 5:00 pm Tour Fr. Pickens National Seashore. (It is on the west end of Pensacola Beach.) Cost: We have a free Pass. Park Rangers give guided tours of the old fort and show visitors where Geronimo was held prisoner.
5:00 pm – 6:00 pm Return home, grill Hamburgers, corn on cob, and serve watermelon for supper.
6:00 pm – 7:00 pm Eat Supper
7:00 pm – 10:00 pm Rest, relax, and read free information about the history of Ft. Pickens.
10:00 pm – 8:00 am Sleep
Day 2 Historical downtown Pensacola Tour
8:00 am Rise and prepare for the day. Breakfast – Cereal and juice $2.00
9:00 am – 12:00 noon Self guided tour of historical downtown Pensacola
12:00 – 1:00 Lunch at McGuires Restaurant
Special Bean soup 18 cents plus Iced tea $1.43
1:00 pm – 4:00 pm Tour of Wall South and Veterans Memorial Park near Pensacola Bay
4:00 pm – 5:00 pm visit Joe Patti’s sea food Market and buy 1 pound of shrimp for Mandy’s supper $5.99
5:00 – 6:00 pm Return Home. Boil shrimp and prepare rest of supper.
6 pm – 7 pm Eat supper
7 pm – 10 pm Rest and read the free information about the history of Pensacola
10 pm – 8 am Sleep
Day 3 Blue Angels and Naval Air Museum
8:00 am Rise and prepare for the day. Eat breakfast bowl and juice $2.00
9 am Leave home for Pensacola Naval Air Station
9:30 am – 11 am Watch the Blue Angel Pilots practice (This is free to spectators.)
11 am – 12 Eat lunch at the Navy Buffet near the lighthouse. Children eat for $4.00
12 – 4 pm Tour the Naval Air Museum at N.A.S. Pensacola (free admission)
4 – 5 pm View the new Baseball park where the double A Baseball team “Pensacola Blue Wahoos” play ball.
5 – 6 pm supper out at Crab Shack – Children eat for $9.00
6-10 pm Return to my home and rest and relax and help Mandy pack for her trip home
Total money spent on Mandy for a 3 day trip to Pensacola = $80.52
Mandy will be able to buy a toy or book at the airport gift shop with the remaining $19.48
Third Place – Paula from Florida
A three-day vacation in a North-East Pensacola Suburb that will prove to be active, interesting and relaxing. This vacation is recommended for Junior Doll Collectors and Adults. BECAUSE OF DAYS THAT ACTIVITIES ARE OFFERED, THIS VACATION IS PLANNED FOR A WEDNESDAY, THURSDAY AND FRIDAY
DAY 1: 9:00 a.m.: You will start with Breakfast at Waffle House.
10:00 a.m.: Next, enjoy a tour of the local suburb– housing areas and commercial areas. Proceed with a tour of the campus of the University of West Florida (UWF) with its beautifully landscaped areas, fantastic library and common areas. (UWF is 3 miles from Home Base)
12:00 noon: Enjoy a picnic lunch, games and relaxation on the UWF campus grounds.
5:00 p.m.: Go to Deluna Lanes Bowling Alley on Nine-Mile Road for dinner in the bowling alley’s café’ and follow with three games of bowling. (Deluna Lanes is 1.5 miles from Home Base)
Expenses: Breakfast: $7.00
Picnic Lunch $6.00
3 games of bowling plus shoe rental $10.00 TOTAL: $32.00
DAY 2: 9:00 a.m.: Begin with breakfast at a local fast food; Burger King, McDonalds, Hardees, etc.
10:00 a.m.: Travel to the Escambia River Boat Slip to view the river, sunbathe nearby and watch the boats and people come and go. (The Boat Slip is 6.5 miles from Home Base)
11:30 a.m.: Have lunch at another fast food. There is no sense in visiting the same place twice; there are plenty of them.
Between 4:00 p.m. and 4:30 p.m., catch a matinee at the CarMike Theatre on Nine-Mile Road. The theatre is usually not too busy and shows all the latest movies. (CarMike is 2.5 miles from Home Base)
7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.: Enjoy dinner and roller skating at Dreamland Skating on Olive Road. Thursdays are their “Old-time Skating Night) enjoyable by all. (Dreamland is 7 miles from Home Base)
(as an alternative, if your vacation is taking place during the first week of the month, there is a meeting of The Pensacola Doll Study Club at 6:30 at the Tryon Library. Attend as guests for a program and refreshments. WARNING:, If you should decide to do this alternative, this is 9.3. Miles away from “home base”)
Expenses: Breakfast: $6.00
Skating: $4.00 plus $2.00 skate rental = $6.00 TOTAL: $36.00
DAY 3: 9:00 a.m. Have breakfast at your favorite fast food.
10:00 a.m.: A day of antiquing—there are two very good antique shops within the travel area- Dixie Antiques on Pensacola Blvd., and Franklin Antiques on Mobile Highway. Follow them by a visit to the “Hello Dolly” shop owned by Glenda Martin, Doll Artist and doll repairer. (Hello Dolly is 7.5 miles from Home Base)
5:30 p.m. Have dinner at Five Flags Race Track in Pensacola and watch the races. Racing is very big in Pensacola, and the Track can boast the start of several famous NASCAR drivers. This is always an exciting event. The Trace offers something different every Friday night. (5 Flags is 6.3 miles from Home Base)
A suggested dinner at the Track would be a Hamburger or Bar-be-que Sandwich, Chips and Soda Pop.
Expenses: Breakfast: $6.00
Races: Usually $10.00 or less TOTAL: $30.00
Additional suggestions: Because of small budget, bring snacks, drinks and earplugs with you
ALSO KNOW THAT HOME BASE OFFERS A NICE SCREENED-IN PORCH WITH PLANTS AND A SMALL FOUNTAIN FOR RELAXATION AND A NICE BACK LAWN FOR SUNBATHING..
Katie from Minnesota
Welcome aboard to an exciting and relaxing 3-day trip plan for the guest family, who I would recommend this for! This plan includes many entertaining things to do, wonderful meals, and it only costs under $100 per person! When they arrive at our home, where they will be staying, they will be welcomed with a scrumptious breakfast picnic in our backyard! We will be serving red velvet pancakes, along with summer fruit salad, scrambled eggs, bacon, milk, and orange juice. Before the picnic, they will have the opportunity to pick flowers and make a bouquet for the center of the blanket! After the picnic, we will help them put their belongings in our basement, where we have ping-pong, air hockey, foosball, a couch, and a few air mattresses. I am sure they will find our basement a lovely, fun, and comfortable place to stay for the whole family! Once they are settled in, we will take them on a “cruise” on my grandpa’s boat on Spring Lake! We will take them tubing, and they can go swimming. After that, they can drink pre-packed smoothies at the “smoothie bar”(the table on the boat) while they relax and enjoy the lake. Later, when they arrive back at our house, we will have a delicious lunch ready for them. We will be serving macaroni and cheese, grilled cheese, watermelon slices, and lemonade. When they are done with lunch, they will have the option to take a relaxing walk at North Park. It is a large park with a playground, soccer fields, a baseball field, and a long walking path. It is the perfect place for the family to relax! Later, they will go to Culver’s, a fun restaurant for dinner. For each person, this cost about $12. After that, they will be able to go to Cold Stone Creamery, an ice cream shop with the best ice cream ever! To go there, it will cost about $5 per person. Once they arrive back at my house , the Guest family will be able to watch a movie on our 3-D TV! We have a wide variety of movies to choose from. After that, they can go to sleep and rest in our cozy basement for the night. On the second day of the trip, when they wake up, they will be drawn to the scent of warm, delicious, fresh baked cinnamon rolls for breakfast. When they are ready, the girls of the family will go to Euro Nails to get a manicure for about $13 per person. While they are doing that, the guys in the family will go play paintball at MN Pro Paintball, for about $35 per person! When everyone gets back, we will serve sloppy joe’s, chips, cole slaw, grapes, and peach iced tea. After that, the family will be able to play games or just relax in the basement. Later, the girls will go into our sewing room and try to make a Ginger Brook Hollow dress out of many materials we have to choose from. While they are busy with that, the guys will head down to North Park to play baseball. When everyone is done, they will enjoy at my house an Italian meal of spaghetti, salad, bread sticks, and soda(is soda Italian?) Last, for a rich, decadent dessert, we will be serving triple chocolate fudge mint brownies. This indulgence will melt your mouth to heaven. When everyone is finished, they will have some time to take a walk and rest before they go to bed. On the last day of the trip, the guests will wake up to the scent of coffee cake and sizzling sausage! We will make frappes in our frappe maker, and serve just plain old brewed coffee(yuck!). After breakfast, we will take family photos for them with my dad’s professional camera stuff because he is a photographer! For lunch, we will serve the Visitors garden salad with their choice of dressing, French fries, cantaloupe, and strawberry lemonade. For an activity, the whole family can go to a movie at Lakeville Theater for about $5 per person. When they arrive at the Our home for dinner, we will serve them pizza and fresh fruit and veggies. When they go home, they will be filled with joy because their trip was totally awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Melissa from Michigan
This trip is a sight-seeing trip to “visit” an out-of-state friend. It’s especially intended for those who are unable to travel. Though, anyone may enjoy it! Everything in this trip will take place right in your own home! It’s especially suited to two people who have never met; or who know little about where the other lives.
Think of someone who lives far away from you, such as a family member or (if you’re lucky enough to have one) a pen pal. This will take a lot of cooperation, commitment, and planning ahead of time, so choose someone who is dependable. To keep with the economy side of things, there are no phone calls or real travel involved, but it does require the ability to ship a packet of supplies and some follow-up materials to your friend.
PREPARE FOR YOUR TRIP
Here are the things you will need to send to her in preparation for your “trip.” Your friend will need to do the same things for you.
* Write a chitchat letter. It should just be lighthearted. Maybe you can share some favorite jokes or riddles. Think of what you would talk about if someone you hadn’t seen in “forever” just came for a visit. Usually, this initial type of conversation is very pleasant and light.
* Collect brochures of area attractions. (In keeping with the Ginger Brook Hollow challenge, try to keep the attractions within an eight mile radius of your home.) Brochures may be available at “tourist trap” businesses, city offices, and libraries. If you are unable to leave the home, look on the official website of your town. It’s possible they will have downloadable brochures or travel guides available to print. This is one of the most important steps. These types of visuals will most make your friend feel like she really traveled, so do the best you can! After gathering your supplies, write comments in present tense directly on the brochures. If there’s not enough room or they’re otherwise tough to write on, use sticky notes. Write these comments in a way that makes them alive–as if you’re really there right at that moment. Example: “Look at the pretty flowers! I like to come here every summer.” Instead of: “This place had nice flowers. I go there
* Come up with a game you both have access to and don’t need to be together to play. One idea for this is Yahtzee. For younger players, Cootie–just keep track of how many turns it takes to build your bug. Tell each other how many times you will play, like three (for a “best two out of three” match).
* Write out a story, leaving out some adjectives, nouns, and verbs. When you leave out a word, write a blank line and write underneath the line what your friend should write in the blank. Write two if you can.
* On a piece of computer paper, draw every other part of a person or creature, folding the piece of paper after each feature. (Your friend will later fill in the blanks.) Make sure just a tad of your drawing shows above and below each fold, so she knows where to continue drawing from. The ones with a dash are ones you will draw now. Keep this list handy since you may need it to remember what to fill in later.
– Hair (and outline of head)
Forehead (and outline of head and continuation of hair if desired)
– Eyes (and outline of head and continuation of hair–and glasses if desired)
Nose (and outline of head and continuation of hair if desired)
– Mouth–and a moustache, if you’d like (and outline of head and continuation of hair if desired)
Chin–and a beard, if you’d like (and continuation of hair if desired)
*** Very little space is left for the following. The face is the most fun, and it will look like a caricature.
– Neck, upper torso, arms, and hands
When finished refold so that the section showing is where the forehead will go. Write the word “forehead” along the edge so she knows this is where to start and which way is up. This sounds complicated on paper, but these drawings are a LOT of fun, and easy to do.
* Write a more personal letter to your friend. A heartfelt one, about how special she is to you, or something that’s on your mind.
Things you’ll need (not to send):
Yahtzee (or another game you have come up with)
To make it even more special, you can also try these ideas:
* Share your favorite recipe(s) with your friend so you can each eat what someone would really serve you in her own home.
* Think of a theme to the party. For example, maybe you would like to have a Ginger Brook Hollow theme, or a camping theme. Maybe it will be in honor of one of your birthdays.
* Instead of writing your correspondences, record them to a CD-Rom.
* If you can both go out, come up with a fun idea to do. For example, in keeping with the vintage feel of Ginger Brook Hollow, you can each visit an antique store with a small budget and see what you can buy and exchange for that set price. Antique postcards have beautiful imagery and can be purchased for a small amount, and are inexpensive to send. They also often have interesting letters on them!
* Souvenir time! Another idea is to set a price limit for a souvenir, and find a souvenir to send to one another. You’ll end up with a souvenir to a place you’ve never been before–but feel like you have!
* Swap favorite DVD and/or book ideas ahead of time. Ideally, come up with a title you both already own.
* Come up with a craft to make and swap, like friendship bracelets.
MARK YOUR CALENDAR!
Set a date. Allow at least five days (not counting weekends) for each of your packets to get to one another. Send the packet to your friend. Of course, you don’t really have to do this on the same days, but it might be fun knowing that you and your friend or family member are thinking of one another and doing the same activities during the same three days in a row.
TIME TO GO!
Now it’s all set up! Once the date arrives, it’s time to get started.
Day One (Arrival): If you were really traveling to visit your friend, you would be exhausted from the trip there on the first day. So let’s take it easy. Open up your chitchat letter and read it. Date and write a reply to your friend, responding to the things she wrote, in a similar chatty manner. Save this letter–you can add on other things during the rest of your trip.
Overnight: Time to grab some popcorn and fill in the blanks on the two stories your friend sent you. (If you can, type or write up the finished stories to send her a copy.) If you swapped movie or book ideas, watch the movie or read.
Day Two (Sight-seeing): It’s time to have some fun and see the sights! Look at the brochures and other materials about where your friend lives. If you decided to both go to one place “for real” (like an antique store or souvenir hunting), this is the day to do so.
Overnight: Play Yahtzee three times and keep track of your scores in order. Write down the scores in order of play for your friend. Then, draw on the faces your friend folded up for you, being careful not to look until you’re all done. If you have a scanner or camera, take some photos to show her the finished products!
Day Three (Saying goodbye): You’ve been with your friend so much that you’ve really started to open up with one another. Read your more personal letter from her now, and write a heartfelt response. If you decided to do a craft together, this would be a nice day to wind down with the craft, before it’s time to go “home.” Commit to shipping everything to your friend tomorrow. It can be easy to forget if it’s not done right away. Don’t forget to include a thank you note to your host!
Time to go home! Oh, wait . . . you already are! 🙂
Marti from California
Hello, my name is Marti and I’ll be your hostess for a three day two night visit to the Agoura/Oak Park area of Southern California! We live on the edge of the Santa Monica Mountains that offer a variety of fun activities. This visit will appeal to a family of five with a son and two daughters. Bring your walking shoes and casual clothes to wear so you can enjoy all that nature and our area have to offer.
You’ll be arriving at lunch time so I recommend you try the buffet at the La Paz Sea Food and Mexican Restaurant on Malibu Canyon Road. It’s very reasonable and has a wide variety of the kind of Mexican food that we are well know for here.
Afterward you’ll be checking in to the Hilton Homewood Suites in Agoura. It’s centrally located and is ideal for a family as there is a complimentary hot breakfast each morning and often a snack and mini dinner in the evening. After you get settled you might want to take a relaxing swim in the pool.
To get acquainted with the history of the area you should visit the Chumash Indian Village and Museum on Westlake Village Blvd. There are several exhibits there and then in the back there is a re-creation of a village with round huts the children will enjoy going in to. A walk through the woods beyond might even bring you a glimpse of a deer, as we saw on our visit there. As you drive back you will pass hillside acres that once had cows grazing and were owned by Bob Hope.
For dinner you will enjoy Johnny Rockets, that has a nostalgic diner feel with a juke box to entertain you. Afterward I suggest movies in Chumash Park, where they show G rated shows outdoors that the whole family can appreciate.
After a good night’s sleep you will take a tour of our area, starting with a drive to Malibu Lake, This is a picturesque man-made lake in the local mountains, created in the early 1920’s as a retreat for movie executives.
Beyond the lake you will come to the Peter Strauss Ranch. The actor was the last private owner of the stone house and grounds before it was purchased as a national park. You will want to stroll on the trail past Triunfo Creek where you will see a variety of native plants and animals. I once saw a young mountain lion early in the morning in this area!
Your next stop will be Paramount Ranch on Cornell Road, near Mulholland Highway. This ranch was purchased by Paramount Pictures in 1927 as a location for making movies and TV shows and many have been made here over the years. Dr Quinn Medicine Woman was filmed here and there is still a western town that visitors can tour at no charge and feel like they have gone back in time. There is a pretty grassy park that is the ideal place to have a picnic lunch, purchased next door to the hotel at Trader Joe’s Market.
After your picnic the guys in the family will go to nearby Troutdale, where everyone is guaranteed at least one fish from the well stocked ponds!
The girls will go to Olivia’s Doll and Tea Room on Thousand Oaks Blvd, where little and big princesses can indulge their fantasies with fun dress up activities and tea and sandwiches are served. They will take a treat back to the guys from the cupcake shop nearby.
Dinner will be at Willy’s BBQ and Grill on Roadside Dr. This has a local unique atmosphere and you may even be entertained by a band and be able to take part in karaoke!
Back at the hotel you’ll be able to relax and share stories about your favorite experiences of the day.
On your final day you can’t miss visiting the Agoura Antique Mart and other vintage shops and antique stores located in a row of Western style stores. You may find a special souvenir of your trip or even a vintage doll to take home. The guys might want to check out the nearby Batting Cage or a sports card outlet.
Before heading home lunch will be at Lamppost Pizza, where they also have delicious salads and good root beer. Their special decor includes trains that run on a track around the perimeter of the restaurant.
For dessert you must try our newest place called Sweets XO. They have bins of every kind of candy and a frozen yogurt bar that must offer at least 100 toppings!
Thanks for letting me be your host in my hometown and all that is offered within an 8 mile radius. I hope you’ll return again so you can also enjoy golf, tennis, horseback riding, good eating and nature at it’s best.
Jerrine from Florida
Meg & Lilly’s Three Day Adventure
Location: New England Seacoast
Time: Early Summer
Adventure: Exploring-Treasure Hunting
Although I really love my new life, I am really missing Ginger Brook Hollow. So, I have been doing a lot of thinking about exactly what I miss from my life in Gingerbrook Hollow and what I can do here to make me feel better. I think that what I miss the most are the “little adventures” that I shared with my sisters.
So, I have decided on the first weekend after the end of school, I will begin my own adventure. I have discussed this idea with my parents and they agree that it is a good idea. They have offered to help in any way that they can. I have told my cousin about my plan and invited her to join me. I told her how much I miss many things from Amber Fields and my sisters. And since she and I are becoming better friends, I would like to share some of the things that we used to do with her.
My plan includes: camping, finding food/cooking outdoors, exploring nature, and having FUN…
I asked my father if he knew very much about camping. He said that he used to go camping when he was a teenager, and he thought his old tent might still be in the attic. I could hardly wait to climb the stairs to look for it. THERE IT WAS! It was very dusty and some of the surface seemed to have little cracks…I wondered if it would protect us if it rained. However, I pulled it down the steps and showed it to mother. She suggested that we set it up in the back yard so that we could check out the exact problems. I ran next door to see if my cousin could help me. It took quite a bit of time and effort, but we finally had it up and stable. It would be just big enough for the two of us to sleep in. There were no holes in the top or sides, but there was a tear in the floor that we showed to Mother. She said not to worry that she had an old oil-cloth tablecloth that we could put over the floor to protect us. She also suggested that we go to the pantry and get an old short candle stub to rub it over the little cracks to seal them from moisture. Now that we had sleeping quarters, we were getting very excited about our adventure together.
Lilly’s mother volunteered a cast iron cooking pot and an old porcelain covered coffee pot for us to use for cooking. My oldest cousin taught us how to make a campfire from twigs and sticks, and gave us some matches in a waterproofed pouch. We got permission to look in my cousin’s attic and found some metal plates and cups, and a two woolen blankets. My aunt said she was glad that we found them. She had been concerned that because our adventure was going to be so early in the summer that the nights could still be quite cold.
Neither Lilly nor I had ever been camping before, so this would be a real adventure for both of us.
Finally, it is Friday morning, just about 6:00 a.m. and the sun has just come up over the horizon. Yesterday was the last day of school, and today is the first day of our adventure. I could hardly sleep all night because I was thinking about all that had to be put in our wagon before we could start down the trail through the woods and follow the path toward the beach. “Let’s see: the tent is already in the wagon, but we still need the blankets, the cooking pot and kettle, extra clothes…and don’t forget the crockery jug of water,” I told myself, “Oh, and my Mother and my Aunt said they would each provide a picnic basket with bread or biscuits, honey and jam. We must not forget those.” I had already jumped out of bed and put on one of the old dresses that had been given to us when we were orphans, and ran next door to see if my cousin was up yet. She was running out her back door before I got half way across the yard.
“I couldn’t sleep either,” she called before I even asked, “ I want us to get an early start. My mother has our picnic basket all ready and waiting on the table. She must have packed it last night because I don’t think she is awake yet. Here are my extra clothes, and some towels. The cooking pot and the kettle are next to the picnic basket. Mother also put an extra crockery jug of water there, too.”
“I saw my mother’s picnic basket on the kitchen table as I was coming to get you,” I replied, “Yesterday, she baked a whole loaf of bread just for us and some oatmeal cookies, too. I think that having two jugs of water is a good idea, I’m glad your mother thought of it. I’ll get my extra clothes and the things from our kitchen, then meet you at the wagon.”
It didn’t take very long for us to get the wagon packed…we even checked that everything was balanced and secure, so that nothing would not fall off when we moved it. Then both of us went to tell our mothers that we were starting on our adventure and would be back in three days. My mother seemed a little concerned about what could happen in three days, but my cousin’s mother had given us a bag of bright colored scraps from some of her old dresses. She had already told us to be sure that we left scraps of cloth tied along the trail and path to mark the route that we were taking and she was planning to have her sons check on us each day. “Tie your scraps of cloth high on a tree branch so that you can see them easily and be sure to keep your campsite and/or marked trail/path within your sight at all times, so that you wouldn’t get lost,” cautioned my mother as we started toward the trail with our wagon.
The trail through the woods was a little longer than we thought it would be. And the wagon was so heavy that we took turns pulling and pushing it. By the time we reached the place where the trail and the path met, we decided that we needed a break. “I’m really glad that we have oatmeal cookies,” we both said at the same time. We found our cups and poured some cool water into them to drink with our cookies.
From the position of the sun’s rays, it seemed like it was nearly 9:00 a.m., and we wanted to have our tent set-up by noon, so we hurried down the path through the sea oats until we found a small clearing. The sea oats sheltered the area from the wind, and although there was a good view of the sea, the area was far enough above the beach that we would not have to worry about getting wet during high tide.
Putting up the tent took us less than an hour, we were glad that we had set it up once before in my backyard before our adventure. After the tent was up, we gathered some twigs and sticks so that we could make a fire later to cook our supper. As we were gathering firewood, we found some patches of wild strawberries and blueberries, a hickory tree, a walnut tree, and a sassafras tree. We marked the area with some of our cloth strips and carried the wood back to our camp. Then we put all of our picnic food into one basket and went back for the berries, nuts, and sassafras bark with the other basket. The berries would be a nice addition to our biscuits and jam breakfast, and we could use the sassafras bark to make sun-tea, and would save the nuts to have with our supper.
“What shall we do next?” I asked. “Shh, listen…what kind of bird is that singing? Is it a robin?” asked my cousin, Lilly. “It’s too early for robins to be here yet,” I replied, “maybe if we sit very still, but look around, we might see which bird it is.” Sitting still sounded like a great idea…getting our wagon to here and setting up the tent had left both of us feeling rather tired. We watched the sky and peered into the spring leaves of the trees in the woods as we nibbled on our berries and biscuits. “There it is!” I whispered, not wanting to scare it, “see that red patch in that sycamore tree? I think it is a cardinal.” “I think you are right. I saw a picture of one in library book,” responded Lilly, “I have an idea: as part of our adventure, we can write down how many different birds that we see. I brought along some paper and a pencil.”
After our rest, we put some of the sassafras bark and some water into a clear jar and set it in the sun, and then we were ready to do some exploring. We wandered into the woods to look for other birds. We soon realized that we needed to stand still for a few minutes and look up into the treetops if we wanted to be able to get a good look at the birds. If we moved too quickly, the birds would fly away before we had a chance to identify them. By the time we decided that we were getting hungry and it was time for lunch, we had seen several different kinds of sparrows, blue jays, and a downy woodpecker, as well as group of squirrels that kept throwing acorns at us.
After a lunch of bread with honey and some more berries, we decided that unless we wanted to keep eating the same thing for the next two days, we had better find another source of food. When we were in the woods, we had each found a tall stick that we used for walking sticks. We had brought them back to our camp with us. “I think we can use our walking sticks for fishing poles,” I suggested, “I have some extra string that I used to tie-up my bundle of extra clothes.” “ My brothers gave me a couple of their fishing hooks to take along, but they laughed at me and said that we would never catch any fish,” Lilly said. “ Well, we will just have to show them!!!” I laughed. Neither one of us had ever been fishing before, but we were not going to let that stop us. “What will we use for bait?” she asked, “I don’t want to dig for squirmy worms.” “We don’t have to dig for worms, there should be some under those old logs that were at the edge of the woods,” I told her. “But they are still SQUIRMY WORMS!” she exclaimed. “Do you want your brothers to laugh at us again?!!” “Well, no, I don’t, but WORMS? Well, okay, if that’s the only way,” she conceded. While Lilly did agree to pick the worms up, she insisted that I put them onto the fishhooks.
We walked down to the water’s edge. The blue water was clear and somewhat shallow for 6 or 8 feet from the shore, and we could see some fish swimming in that area. So, we put our fishhooks in the water and hoped for the best. It was a good thing that I had put several extra worms in my pocket, because the fish kept eating our worms before we could catch them. While I was watching our fishing poles, my cousin was watching some shorebirds scurrying along the tide-line, occasionally poking their beaks into the wet sand. “Look,” she said, “they seem to be fishing, too. I am going to see what they are catching.” As she walked down the beach, I swung my fishing pole into the water again. But before the worm even hit the water, I heard a splash and felt a strong pull. There it was…a sea bass had jumped out of the water and was now caught on the end of my fishing line. “We are going to have fish for supper!!!” I shouted.
While I prepared the fish for cooking, Lilly prepared our campfire. Her brother had given her specific instructions on how to build it: dig a hole and place some stones in the bottom, put some moist sand on top of the stones, then put more stones around this in a wider circle, place some of twigs and sticks on top of the moist sand, and light the fire, then remember to add larger pieces of wood later to keep the fire going. Next she went to the edge of the woods and picked young dandelion greens. She also found a few wild morel mushrooms (her mother had taught her how to identify them for non-edible mushrooms). I cooked the fish by laying it on a flat rock that had been heated over the fire. Using a couple of rocks, Lilly had cracked open the hickory and walnuts that we had found earlier. She made a very interesting salad of dandelion greens, mushrooms, berries, and nuts drizzled with a little bit of honey. We had oatmeal cookies for dessert with warm sassafras sun-tea that we sweetened with a little honey.
The moon appeared on the horizon of the twilight sky. We stretched out our blankets near the warmth of our campfire and watched as the stars began to shine in the darkness. We could only identify a few constellations like the Big and Little Dippers and Orion before the night’s sea breeze became too cool. We picked up our blankets and crawled into our tent. It had been a wonderful day…the first day of our adventure…
We were awakened early the next morning by the sound of seagulls calling to each other. “My Goodness, those seagulls are awfully noisy this morning, I wonder why they are so excited, “ I said as I peaked out the tent doorway. The gulls were flying around in circles, diving into the water, and circling some more. A few of them seemed to have something in their beaks after diving. Other gulls had landed and were pecking at shells in the sand. “They’ve found clams or oysters, or maybe a school of fish,” Lilly said as she ran down toward the beach. Sure enough, the high tide had caused a bunch of clams to be washed up near the shore and the gulls were having a feast. “Save some for us!!!” I yelled, running and waving my arms at the circling gulls. They circled a few more times and then began flying off. My cousin and I gathered up the front of our skirts and carried as many clam shells as we could back to our campsite. We placed them in our cooking pot and carried them back down to the edge of the water. One by one, we washed the sand off of them, and laid them on a towel. When they were clean, we put them back into the cooking pot and carried it back to our camp. We were glad that there were still some warm coals from last night’s fire. We stirred the coals, added some more wood to build up the fire, covered the clams with fresh water, covered the cooking pot and placed it on the campfire. Steamed clams may not have been our first choice for breakfast, but with some of Mother’s homemade bread, they really did taste very good.
My cousin had added two different kinds of seagulls, as well as a plover and a sandpiper to the list of birds that we had seen so far on our adventure. “What will we do today?” she asked. “Well, since we have already found clam shells, why don’t we search for different kinds of shells today?” I suggested. “Remember my pet hermit crab? Maybe we can find another one.” We took off our shoes and socks and left them near the warmth of the campfire to dry (they had gotten rather wet when we were cleaning the clams). We tied up our skirts on the sides to help keep them dry, and walked barefoot down to the beach. We took the picnic basket that we had used yesterday (we had eaten all the berries and nuts), so that we would have something to put our “shell treasures” into.
The sun felt especially warm today, and the cool water felt good on our barefeet as we splashed through the receding tide. The tide had left lots of shells for us to choose from. One area had so many that we sat down on the sand and sorted through them, making small piles by shape or color. Tiny little spirals, lumpy oyster shells, smooth mussels, fan-shaped scallops, and small conch shells that hermit crabs like to use for homes were among our morning finds. As the sun rose in the sky, we realized that we had wandered quite a way from our campsite. We were glad that we had brought our bag of bright colored scraps and had tied some to driftwood along our way. We were getting hungry and had not thought to bring along something to snack on.
Once we got back to camp, we enjoyed the rest of our biscuits and jam, the last oatmeal cookies, and the rest of our sassafras sun-tea. After lunch, we walked into the woods to search for more sassafras bark; if we made the tea right away, the sun would still be warm enough for it to brew. We also wanted to gather more berries and nuts. Lilly thought it would be better to wait until later to pick the dandelion greens and mushrooms so that they would be fresh for our supper salad.
By early afternoon, the sun was getting very hot, and although we wanted to search for more shells, we also just wanted to be cool. We decided to wade a little farther beyond the very shallow water into the waves. Neither of us knew how to swim, so we had to stay close to each other and be very careful. It was so much fun to hold hands and try to jump over each wave as it made its way to shore. The seagulls seemed to enjoy watching us from their resting positions on the sand. A beautiful blue heron flew above us, and after landing on the beach, he strutted back and forth as he watched us for quite a while. I think that the sight of two girls acting so silly was very confusing to him. We played in the waves for a while longer until one big wave came up behind us and knocked us both down. The large wave had startled us and we decided it was time to go back to camp and put on dry clothes. As we strolled back along the shore, we noticed that a pair of the seagulls was sitting on something unusual. When we walked towards them and they flew away, we discovered they had been sitting on two beautiful large conch shells. We picked them up and to take back to our campsite. What an exciting treasures of the sea for us to find!!!
As we approach our campsite, we heard the voices of her brothers calling for us. We quickly untied the sides of our skirts so they would cover our knees. We hid our new seashell treasures, our basket of other shells, and our bag of brightly colored scrap fabric among the sea oats. We didn’t want them to know what we had been up to. As soon as they saw us, they began to laugh. “Where are your fishing poles? Looks like the fish must have been catching you instead of you catching them,” they mocked. “Our fishing poles are next to the tent,” their sister told them promptly, “and we caught a fish yesterday and ate it for supper.”
“Likely story,” they mocked again, “anyway, mother wanted us to check on you and she sent another loaf of fresh bread and an apple pie. She was afraid that you might starve. We have to get back and tell her that when we saw you, both of you were both soaking wet. Ha! Ha! Ha!” “Don’t scare her like that or I will tell her that I saw you smoking behind the neighbor’s barn!” Lilly threatened. “All right, we’ll just tell her that you are both okay,” they conceded.
When they were gone, we changed into dry clothes and hung our wet dresses on low tree branches to dry. Then we retrieved our shells and other things, gathered more berries, nuts, mushrooms, and dandelion greens, and brought more firewood back to camp. Among the shells we had picked-up from the shallow water were mussels, oysters, and clams that we could steam for our supper. We completed our meal with another salad, slices of fresh bread with jam, pieces of apple pie, and warm sassafras tea.
After supper, we laid our spread our blankets out near the fire, and lay down to watch the stars again. Tonight, we were able to recognize the constellation of Cassiopeia, as well as the ones we saw last night. It was so peaceful, lying under the stars that I fell asleep and Lilly had to wake me up before the night got too cold.
The next morning, we were awaken by “tap, tap, tap…” We peeked out of the tent to see a red-headed woodpecker pecking at a tall evergreen tree at the edge of the woods. “Guess he is looking for his breakfast,” I commented. “Since this is our last breakfast on our adventure, can we have apple pie for breakfast? You don’t think we should save it for our supper, do you?” Lilly inquired with a pleading look. “ I think there is enough apple pie left that we can have it for breakfast and for supper. That way we can enjoy it twice!” I replied.
“What new adventure will we do today?” Lilly inquired, as she savored a bite of her breakfast apple pie. “Do you remember that our teacher said we could earn extra credit if we did a summer project?” I asked. Lilly thought for a minute and then responded: “I think we have already started our summer project with our bird list that we have been keeping on this adventure. We can continue to write down all the different birds and when we see them throughout the summer.” “The bird list was your idea,” I said, “and it is a good project for you that I can help you with, but I would like a different project for me that you could help me with,” I explained. “Do you remember the reason that I wanted us to share these adventure days?” I continued, “I had been doing a lot of thinking about exactly what I miss from my life in Gingerbrook Hollow, and what I could do here to make me feel better. I decided that what I missed the most are the “little adventures” that I shared with my sisters.” “So, what does that have to do with your summer project,” my cousin asked. “Well, one of my sisters, Louisa, loved flowers, and we all used to help her take care of a little flower garden. I think I would like my summer project to be about wild flowers,” I answered, “and we could start today. I saw some unusual wildflowers in the woods yesterday when we were picking berries.” “Yes, I saw some tiny white ones and purple ones, too, when I was gathering dandelion greens,” acknowledged Lilly, “That sounds like a good project for you.”
We empty yesterday’s shells out of our basket and grabbed our bag of bright fabric scraps, then started towards the woods. It wasn’t very long before we had found wildflowers in a rainbow of colors: purple violets, pink phlox, yellow dandelions and buttercups, white mayflowers, even orange trumpet vine. “Do dogwood blossoms and redbud flower branches count as wild flowers or are they blooms on trees?” asked Lilly. “I’m not sure, but we can look-up that information in the library next week,” I replied. With our basket of wildflowers in hand, we walked back to our camp. “Oh, no, look at our wildflowers, they are beginning to wilt and their edges are curling,” I said, rather dismayed. “Don’t worry, I think we can save most of them,” said Lilly, “ We can put the ones with stems in a container of water tonight and wrap them in wet scraps of cloth when we take them home. The ones that are just blossoms, we can press under and between flat rocks until they dry.” I searched for some flat rocks while Lilly put several bunches of wildflowers into our empty jam jar that she had filled with water.
While we were eating our bread and honey sandwiches for lunch and drinking our sassafras tea, Lilly said, “There is one special thing that I would like to do while we are on our adventure…I would like to build a sandcastle.” “A sandcastle! Wow, that’s a great idea! I’m surprised that I did not think of that,” I responded, excitedly.
We chose a few of our shells from yesterday and a few of our wildflowers from this morning to take down to the beach to use to decorate our sandcastle. Lilly found a semi-hollow piece of driftwood to use as a vase for our wildflowers so they wouldn’t wilt before we needed them. We used a couple of scooped shells to dig the mote for our castle. We carried seawater in our kettle to wet the sand so that we could mold it into shapes for our castle. We were having so much fun building the castle that we did not notice that we had an audience. A group of seagulls, several sandpipers, a pair of plovers had all taken up seats in the sand to watch us. Even the woodpecker flew overhead several times to see what we were doing. We had just filled the mote with water and were adding the final decorations of shells and wildflowers, when the heron that had watched us yesterday came right up to the castle’s mote and got a drink. He nodded his head and flew away. A few minutes later, he came back and dropped a large starfish at our feet, and flew away again. We placed the starfish over the mote to be the “bridge.”
Lilly and I realized that it was getting late and that we had not even thought about what we were going to have for supper. Shadows were forming in the woods, so it was too late to go look for dandelion greens, mushrooms, etc. The evening tide was beginning to come in, so we didn’t dare to look for shellfish to steam for our meal. There was still two pieces of apple pie and a couple of slices of bread, but no jam or honey. We wouldn’t starve, but it wouldn’t be a feast either. The early evening was cooler tonight then it had been before, so we started our campfire as soon as we returned from the beach. We were both a bit chilly and decided to use the towels that we had brought with us as shawls. When I reached for my towel, I knocked over the picnic basket that my mother had packed. A brown paper bag fell to the ground. A note on it read: “Do not open until your last night.” I showed the note to Lilly and we opened the bag. Inside, there were two round potatoes, and another note telling us to bury them in the hot sand under the campfire coals for them to bake.
It would take quite a while for the potatoes to get soft enough to stab with a stick, but we didn’t mind. We sat around the campfire watching the embers glow and the flames flicker as the last rays of sunlight drifted below the horizon. “What’s that noise?” Lilly asked. We listened carefully…it sounded like someone walking towards us. “Maybe it’s your brothers?” I said hopefully. “I don’t think so,” replied my cousin, “ they couldn’t walk that quietly no matter how hard they tried.” “Maybe it’s a wild animal,” I commented. Before either of us could say even one more word, the blue heron stepped out of the sea oats and looked straight at us. He had a large fish in his mouth. He took a few more steps and dropped the fish at our feet, nodded his head, and flew away.
Lilly carefully place the flat rock over the coals so it would get hot while I prepared the fish so it could be cooked. We were going to have a feast after all: fried fish, baked potatoes, and apple pie…what more could any adventure camper hope for!!!
After our delicious meal, we laid our blankets on the sand, with our towel-shawls wrapped around us and watched the stars twinkle and blink. Tomorrow we would be pulling and pushing our wagon up the path to the trail and back home again, but tonight we were just thinking about the three days of fun and adventure that we had shared as cousins, and more importantly as friends…
Cheri from Utah (Not eligible for contest)
Three Days for Adventure in Alpine, Utah
Alpine is located in the central part of Utah. It is placed up against the mountains in the very north east corner of Utah county. It was settled by pioneers in 1849 – 1850 and most of the original families made up the population until about 1960 at which time “commers” began to move in and many farmers sold their property to make way for development. People from all over the United States were attracted by the beauty of the mountains, and it became a home to many artists as it started to expand. Now it is a very nice residential community and the population has increased more than 10 times in the last 50 years. Although it is much different than the small town its early settler’s knew, the surrounding mountains still give it a charm of its own.
This trip or vacation is for a group of 5 girls ages 8-12. Ideally it would be for granddaughters. It is best for mid-summer.
Day 1 – Pioneer Day
9:00am Arrival time – We will gather in the “home kitchen” where we will have a greeting time. Pinwheel pastries and milk will be served while we discuss plans for the day.
9:30am Leave for Cedar Hills Wal-Mart (approx. 6.5 miles) where each girl will choose a calico print from the $2.00 – 2.50 prints. We will purchase approximately 1 ¼ yards of fabric for each girl. We will also purchase a package of men’s handkerchiefs. Then we will return back “home” where we will all work together to make pioneer sun bonnets, skirts, handkerchief dolls, and a picnic lunch. Then we will pack a handcart with supplies for a pioneer trek and change into skirts and sunbonnets.
12:00pm Handcarts and girls leave for a 2 mile walk to Moyle Pioneer Park. While at the park we will eat a picnic lunch, tour the old stone home, log cabins, and round Indian fort tower. We will also play some games of horseshoes, hoop catch, and hide and seek in the paths though the oak trees. If the creek is not too full we will take time to wade in the cold mountain water and look at the variety of rocks. We will also take pictures of all the girls in their costumes by the old root cellar, pioneer cabins, and antique farm equipment that lines the entrance road.
*Moyle Park was established to preserve the home, Indian tower, and surrounding land that was left by early settler John Roe Moyle. One of the first settlers to move out of the Alpine Fort, he built a home and a round tower of stone in case of an Indian attack on his homestead. John was a stone cutter from England and was well known for his dedication to his work on the LDS temple in Salt Lake City. Perhaps the most impressive part of his story is the fact that after he was kicked by his cow his leg became infected and was amputated. After he recovered from the infection and amputation, as soon as he was able, he fashioned himself a wooden leg and still walked over 20 miles in the early hours of the morning to continue his voluntary work on the temple. He would return home to help his family care for the farm. He made this journey countless times to finish what he had started. His family never had to use the tower.
4:00pm Trek back home with handcart. Upon arrival, there will be a snack of vegetables with dip and water
5:00pm Everyone will help prepare a Dutch oven dinner of stew, corn bread, and garden salad – While the dinner is cooking we’ll set a table outside on the back porch and the girls can play with their handkerchief dolls. (There will be enough scraps from the morning’s sewing project to make tiny blankets for them.)
6:30pm Dinner is served and dishes are done.
7:30pm Make beds and settle “gear” in the attic
8:00pm Taffy pull, short fiddle concert
9:00pm All girls get ready for bed. Skirts and bonnets are folded and ready to take home. We end the day with stories from pioneer journals. Each girl is given a pen and her own journal and some time to record her feelings and ideas about the day.
10:00pm Lights out
Day 2 – Camp Day
The Wasatch Mountains that surround Alpine are high, steep and rocky. Besides being a natural fortress and a source of beauty they provide water for the valley below as the winter snow melt takes much of the summer to find its way down in steams. Utah is a dessert region, but because of irrigation systems and water storage there has been enough water to sustain farms and now beautiful yards and thriving communities along the Wasatch Mountains. These mountains are not only important to the people who live along them, but they are also home to many wild animals and favorite vacation spots for skiers and those seeking outdoor recreation and hunting. Camping is a favorite summer past time in the mountains. Utah, because of its dry climate, does not have fleas, chiggers, or fire ants. However, it also does not have fireflies.
7:00am Wake up
7:30 Breakfast – Bacon, eggs, pancakes Then pack daypack for hike with: casting kit, snack, water bottle
8:15am Leave for 3 mile drive to trailhead where we will begin a 2 mile hike to Horsetail Falls. On the hike to the falls we will watch for clear animal tracks which we will cast in plaster casting kits. We will eat the snack at the falls and come back.
12.00pm Return to car for drive back to home
12:30pm Lunch that includes a rollup sandwich, vegies, and yogurt (Clean out daypack and fill it with towel, water bottle, and sunscreen)
1:00pm Leave to drive 1 mile to trailhead and start a mile hike to “Sliding Rock” a small waterfall that ends in a pool and is fun to slide down in a sitting position. It is approximately 1 easy mile to reach the sliding spot itself where we will engage in water play.
3:00pm Leave Sliding Rock to return to car and return home. Upon return home everyone will need to change into dry clothes and hang their wet clothes up to dry. Once that is done there will be a few minutes to collect small leaves and flowers and press them.
4:00pm Meet for a treasure hunt and craft activity
6:30pm Dinner of roasted hot dogs, chips, watermelon, and smores
7:30pm Set up a tent in the backyard. All campers will move bedrolls and personal items needed for the night into the tent. Then they will get ready for bed.
8:30pm There will be a pillow fight, followed by session of camp song singing and the presentation of camp teddy bears. There will be some time for quiet talking and journaling
10:00pm Lights out and quiet time
Day 3 – Art Day
Because of the beauty created by the close mountains and the privacy of an “out of the way” community, Alpine has become the home of many artists. It now boasts a well- known and highly reputable bronze foundry and art center just as you enter the town. There is a park next to the art gallery and center that features many bronze statues and works of art by talented and famous artists.
8:00am Wake up call – Time for personal hygiene, getting dressed, and taking down the tent
9:00am Breakfast with boiled eggs, muffins, and fruit bowl
10:00am Leave for a 2 ½ mile drive to Alpine Arts Center and tour of Adonis Bronze where we will tour the bronze foundry to see how artists sculpt and then how those sculpts are cast into bronze statues. Following the tour we will go through the gallery of paintings and sculpts. Last, we will explore the park outside with all of its bronze statuary.
12:00pm Return home for a lunch of chicken nuggets, macaroni and cheese, and tomato cucumber salad
1:00pm Time will be spent in sculpting with water-based clay, watercolor, and creating shadow puppets for an evening show.
5:00pm Campers will help set up displays of all art projects and other projects from day 1 and 2
6:00pm there will be a “tea” with little sandwiches, fruit, vegetables, and small pastries for family and friends to see the shadow puppet shows and all works of art.
8:00pm Guests will depart for home. They will have a skirt and bonnet, a pillow with cute case, a pen and journal, a teddy bear, a simple day pack, a plaster cast of an animal track, their camp craft, their art projects, and I will mail pictures and a laminated bookmark with the flowers and leaves they pressed.
*Shopping list for this trip may be seen upon request. (Due to the size of this post it has been left off) The total expenditure for each guest was well below $100 even with the things they were able to take home.