Monday, August 24, 2009

balmat trip

I've been waiting for some additional pictures before I posted about my trip to Watertown, NY with my mom at the beginning of August.

Every year, we try to go somewhere together. It usually involves something associated with family history . Three years ago, we went to Cape Cod. That was such a fun trip because my sister, Katie, was able to come along as well.

My great, great + grandfather was John Lothrop. We went to the Sturgis Library, which includes the house that was built in 1645 by him. He was also the minister of the Barnstable church from 1639 to 1653. In the library, we got to see the bible that he brought over from England. It was so interesting to see the burn holes on the pages from the lantern that he used on the ship.

We also visited Greenbriar Nature Center which is where Beatrix Potter lived, as well as trespassed onto a cranberry bog. I think we hit just about every thrift store on the cape, too. We had a ball in Salem learning about the Salem witch trials.

Last year, my mom and I went to upstate New York (near the Canadian border) to tend an old family cemetery.

We decided to do that trip again this year, but to incorporate a few new adventures along the way...

We left Wednesday night, after Brian got home from work, so we could have a jump start on our weekend away. My mom made me a cute goody bag that was jam packed with fun stuff like chap stick, gourmet toothpaste, hand sanitizer, etc...and....these socks!!! Love them! Green and with polka dots...who wouldn't love that, right? I am a huge socks person...(It keeps me from stubbing my long toes all the time)

Unfortunately, the rain was coming down in buckets, so it made it hard for us to listen to our book on tape...THE DAY NO PIGS WOULD DIE.

Little did we know that at the very same time we were driving through the Poconos, there was a tornado that was touching down not far from where we were...

I remember this Amish woman selling things in front of this Walmart last year when we came. This year, we stopped and bought some of her baked goods. They do not allow photos to be taken of them, (which is why you never see faces on the little Amish dolls), but I sneaked this shot from a distance just...well...because I couldn't resist...

Whenever I see an Amish person, I feel like I've stepped back in time about 100 years...

We found this fabulous thrift store in Watertown...
Guess how long we spent in there?--Would you believe 3 1/2 hours?

This was one of the guys who helped us load up our loot. He was such a nice guy, we couldn't pass up the chance to document our new found friendship...

Two thoughts I have about this picture...1) I look like a total dog! and 2) it looks like my mom has known this guy for years!

Our adventure continued with a white water rafting trip...

We had so many laughs about these corny shoes my mom found at Goodwill. We needed sturdy footwear for the rafting trip and she didn't want to ruin her good tennis shoes. They literally arched like this even after she got them on her foot.

We also couldn't stop laughing over the fact that she went the whole day with a body warmed limp stick of string cheese in her pocket in case I got grumpy from being hungry. She offered it a few times to some of the macho (at least they thought they were) guys that were on our raft.

Here was my fashion statement for the day...Fortunately, we were able to rent water booties, which came in handy at the moment I needed almost an entire raft full of men to pull me up out of the water...(We were able to get out of the water at a certain point to swim in the current, and when it came time to get back in, it almost didn't happen for me) It was grossly embarrassing to say the least. I'm not known for my grace...

Here we are hitting the deck!

Good times...

It was an exhilarating day...
My mom was able to check that one off on her "bucket list"...
We had a great time meeting up with our cousins, Maurine and Brian
who both live in Watertown. We met them two years ago when we went up to Balmat to help fix up our family cemetery and represent the Balmat family in a centennial celebration that was going on in the town of Balmat.
We enjoyed Thai food one night and Italian the next...
I was so extremely lame as not to take ONE photo of any of us together or the delicious food we ate...grrrrrrr
Maurine surprised us at dinner one night when she gave us a picture that she had taken of my mom and I whitewater rafting. Apparently, unbeknownst to us, she snuck over to one of the banks and watched for the moment our raft was in view and then snapped a picture...
My mom and I were both in such awe with her thoughtfulness...

I bought this tupperware lunch container at a tag sale just outside of Balmat. When we were trying to get the mulch out of the car at the cemetery, I put the container on the top of my mom's jeep thinking that I'd remember it when we were finished.
About an hour later, as we were leaving, we just happened to take a wrong turn and so had to turn around and head back in a different direction.
We both spotted this familiar looking thing in the road at the same time. It was the funniest thing ever! We couldn't stop laughing...
It appeared to have been run over, but was still in tact! Good ol' tupperware!

This was the family headstone at the entrance of the cemetery...

We were really surprised with how good everything looked. We weren't sure how our plantings and mulching from last year would hold up, but with the exception of a bit of munching from the deer, it looked great!

The cemetery is in such a pretty location. It's set back in the woods and is shaded with bits of filtered light that shine through.
Unfortunately, the house that is in front of the cemetery is a total dump and the people who live there, (although nice enough in their backwards kind of way), appear to have been extras on the movie "Deliverance."

We bought this bird bath last year and planted some hostas and ferns around it...
My mom added her signature touch...half buried china plates...

I'm so glad that we have this tradition to get to do something together every year.
It's nice to be able to incorporate something meaningful like learning about our family history...
I always come back from these trips feeling recharged...
Thanks for such a great trip, mom! I'm pretty sure you and I could go anywhere together and have a wonderful time...

***Have you ever visited the place where your ancestors are from?
***Are you facinated by Amish people?
***Have you ever been white water rafting?


  1. I can't believe you went white water rafting with your mom!! That is so NOT anything my mom and I would ever do...

    I want to go to that thrift store!!

  2. You are so brave- first the colon cleanse & now this! I couldn't go white water rafting... oh no... not unless I was drugged.

    I hope my daughters want to go do things with me someday- what an inspiration you two are- love it!

  3. What a fun trip! I love the amish picture! I am so jealous over the thrift store I wish we had some better ones here.

  4. I love it that your mom made you a goodie bag for the trip! That photo of your new socks on the dashboard is great, especially since the little calendar is next to your feet.

    Wow, 3.5 hours in the thrift store, what did you buy? Hopefully that will be another post.

    It's so great that you went white water rafting together! I can't imagine going on a trip alone with my mom ever, but especially not rafting!

    The family cemetery is beautiful! It's so nice that you two go up there to take care of it so well.

  5. John Lothrop is my great, great, great + grandfather too!

    I've been to some family places. But not that many. The places where my great grandparents lived in LA are now bad areas of town. It’s really sad how that can happen in the span of a few decades. They went from lovely little suburbs to areas you probably shouldn’t wander into if you are white. How sad.
    There are some family places in Utah. My parents have been to them. I haven’t. I’ve heard about them and seen a few pictures. And then, if you go way back, we have ancestry in Penn. That’s where my relatives came from and lived when they converted to the church. Then they migrated out to Utah. I think there is some historical houses or something. Shows what I know. I hope my parents wrote down all the information because I really haven’t looked into it much. I think everyone else pretty much comes from abroad and I have not been there.

    I think the Amish are very interesting. And will probably survive if everything else in the world falls apart.

    I almost went white water rafting this summer. But my kids had a dentist appointment that morning. And rather than reschedule 5 dentist appointments I skipped the white water rafting trip. I had always wanted to go whitewater rafting until recently when someone died the last time my husband went and a neighbor of my step-daughter's Mom became a quadriplegic after a whitewater trip gone awry. Obviously, most people do fine on these white water trips but if we drive down the highway along the river there are always little white crosses where people didn't make it. So that makes me nervous. You got some good pictures though. I think it would be hard to get pictures while you are doing it and it is very cool that you have some.

  6. i am totally intreagued by the amish people. i just admire their strength i guess, i could never hack it with no electricity!

    i love the photo of the socks - how cute is your fun mom!? she must really like you.

    white whater rafting makes me feel nervous. i think at some point i will, but not today. :) i'm so glad you took the opportunity! what a great story for you both to tell your kids! and by the way, i can't even get into the regular sized innertubes and the water park without a crane - so no more shame!

  7. i wrote last night, but never hit the "post comment" key! :o( what a great time we had- hopefully next year some of the other girls can go. you did a great job on this one.

  8. I have been whitewater rafting several times. Twice with my youth group as a kid and once as an adult. Very fun!

    When we moved to Maryland many years ago, we pulled in to the area about 7:00 am. The only vehicles we saw on the road were the Amish buggies. Needless to say, I was worried about what we had gotten ourselves in to.

  9. That was quite the trip! It sound like fun and exhausting all at the same time! Whew!

    It's so nice to have a fun mom who is a friend as well. My mother is one of my best friends too!

    Thanks for the virtual trip! (And, I'm glad to know that Michelle and I are thinking the same thing about the whitewater rafting!!!)

  10. i seriously think they need to make a reality show about you two. you are hilarious. such characters & do good-ers. impressed with the trip to improve a grave yard, talk about creating some good karma. amish are interesting, funny that 1/2 the world confuses them with mormons! ;)