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Vacation

April 20, 2011

We did lots of stuff on vacation! It was a wonderful week, topped off by realizing we really don’t save much money by going to Florida to visit my grandparents. At first this seemed like a bad thing, but then I realized that meant we could take a tropical vacation without breaking the budget. Yay! I’m still focused on spending as much time as possible with my grandpa while he’s still around and in good health, but it’s nice to know that if that ever changes that vacations are not suddenly off the table. (Not that vacations will be my first priority if my grandpa gets sick! But you know, eventually life does go on.) So, what did we do from my 101 list?

#4: We saw a game between the Clearwater Threshers (single-A team for the Phils) and the Daytona Cubs at Jackie Robinson Ballpark. Not a major league park or anything, but it’s still a ballpark I’ve never been to and if I limit this to MLB parks I’ll never cross it off! It was a great game and it was nice to be among baseball fans who were there to watch the game, not socialize with their friends and get drunk. I definitely see more minor league games in our future, starting with my home state Wilmington Blue Rocks this summer.

#22: Again, not a traditional zoo, but we visited St. Augustine Alligator Farm & Zoological Park, and zoo is right there in the name. We saw tons of gators and crocs, and even got to feed them (little food pellets, which surprisingly, they loved. It was sooo much fun watching them pounce on these things!) and we also saw snakes and lizards and lots of birds and a few monkeys. So I’m counting it!

#56: We visited two historical sites, the Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse and The Casements. The lighthouse was a lighthouse. Seriously, is anyone with me on this? They are all the same! Climb a gazillion stairs and see a pretty view of the beach at the top. Done. But, per the list, I had to learn something while here. So, it’s the tallest lighthouse in the state and the second tallest in the country (after Cape Hatteras, another lighthouse I’ve had the joy of climbing). Lighthouses are tall. Check. It is also one of only 10 lighthouses to have the National Historic Landmark designation, primarily because of it’s heavy use, excellent condition, construction (brick) and age (completed in 1887).

The Casements was less interesting than I thought it would be. First, it was only the winter home of John D. Rockefeller and only for the last 19 years of his life (he died in 1937). Then, it became a prep school for girls and then a home for the elderly. After that, it sat empty and in severe disrepair for nearly 15 years until the City of Ormond Beach purchased it with help from the federal government in 1973. The City fixed it up and now it’s a community center — not a museum like I originally thought. So, there are historical artifacts there from the time period of Rockefeller, but as the tour guides are careful to repeat several times, none of the items there are known to have belonged to Rockefeller. And randomly, on the third floor there are a few rooms filled with Boy Scout memorabilia and one room with traditional Ukrainian costumes and dishes. It was interesting, but very odd. If you’re curious about how Rockefeller lived, you’d be better off touring one of his homes in the Hudson Valley or Williamsburg, Virginia.

And that’s all folks! Not too much, but a decent amount. I did not get video of my grandpa talking about the War, but I’ll have another opportunity to do that when they visit us in August. I’m already looking forward to seeing them again!

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