We made a quick trip over to Chattanooga this morning. The girls got to see where Lauren will be going to school (and we turned in her final transcript). Her dorm:

Following the trip up to Look Out Mountain, we went down by the river for a picnic in the park before walking across the foot bridge over the river.

Finally, we ended the day at Clumpies Ice Cream Co.

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Camp Macon, Eclipse Miss, and Peppers

For the 1oth year in a row, Jenna has been to Lake Forest Ranch—either as a camper or working on staff. Lauren has been nine years (she missed one), and Rebekah has been six times. They all went together this year for the mission camp week, along with three other kids from our church. They had, as always, a great week. And they got to see three cousins as well as Emily, Elizabeth, and Daniel were all there. It was a very quiet week here.

From a trip that our youth group took there two years ago, our youth group is trying to duplicate in miniature a mission camp here this year. It will be the second week in August as we put on a day camp for the elementary kids that our church and another ministry in town have been tutoring for the last two years. Jenna, from her experience working at Lake Forest Ranch, is acting as director of our camp here. It’s been good experience for her in organizing, delegating, and communicating.

We hope to make it Chattanooga this week as Jenna and Rebekah have yet to see Covenant College where Lauren is going to school in the fall. And speaking of Covenant. One of Lauren’s roommates is from NC out near Charlotte, one is from Columbia, and one is from Washington via Taiwan. She will have a very multi-cultural year ahead.

Jenna doesn’t have to go back to school until after the solar eclipse (we are in the thin, full eclipse band that runs across the country). Lauren, however, has to go back 3 days before the eclipse, and Chattanooga, while close, will not see a total eclipse.

Finally, we did our first canning of the year tonight: seven pints and 3 half pints. And we are most excited that our first okra is growing. So there will be more of this in the future, of peppers and okra hopefully.

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Texas Visit

We are back from our annual trek to Texas (though this year, we went twice, or actually three times, and for me it’s been four). All that to say it was good to see family—some for the first time in over two years. We got to experience 106° in West Texas (we don’t really do triple digits in the mountains of NC; in fact, it hasn’t even been in the 90’s this summer yet). And we enjoyed lots of good food.

Next week the three girls all go to Camp in Mississippi. It will be very quiet around here!

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The girls are back from Cuba and had a great time. They didn’t take lots of pictures, but lots of other people on the trip did, so we’ll have some more later with more details. But here are Lauren and Rebekah and their friend Becca.

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The youth group (including Lauren and Rebekah) left this morning for a week in Cuba. Prayers would be greatly appreciated.

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We had Lauren’s high school graduation this past weekend. She graduated with four of her friends, and it was a wonderful ceremony.

We are thankful for her hard work over the last 12 years, and we are excited about what God has in store for her in her next phase of life at Covenant College. In the mean time, she’s spending most of the summer with us except for a week in Cuba in June and a week in Mississippi in July.

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Breaking the Law in New Jersey and Other Adventures

Lauren’s Senior trip was a whirlwind tour of fifteen states between here and New England. From hiking the AT in Vermont to seeing Independence Hall in Philly, we enjoyed history and the great outdoors in several places. We also learned that you can’t pump your own gas in New Jersey.

We began our journey with a very long 1st day drive to Philadelphia traveling through parts of North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, and Pennsylvania.

Day two began with an early morning drive into Philly for a little history including Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, Elfreth’s Alley (the oldest continually occupied residential street in America), Betsy Ross’s house (outside only), Carpenter’s Hall (1st Continental Congress Meeting Place), and Christ Church.

We learned this first day that going on vacation when most people are still in school is rather nice—as is getting up before all the school groups arrive (notice that there are very few if any people in our pictures!).

That afternoon, we drove out to Valley Forge and did a quick look through the visitor center and a drive around the grounds, which includes Washington’s Headquarters.

To end day two we drove out to Lancaster into Amish country.

Day three began with a visit to the Green Dragon, a giant Amish flea market/farmer’s market. We sampled some warm apple cider donuts and bought some bread. Then it was time to head north through New Jersey to Albany, stopping in Hyde Park to see Frederick Vanderbilt’s house (the outside only as it was under renovation) and walk around the grounds along the banks of the Hudson.

Day four began with a drive into Bennington, Vermont right across the border from New York. It is a beautiful little town that includes the old Walloomsac Inn, an old hotel whose construction began before the Revolutionary War, and is still occupied today—not by guests but by its owners. Would you live here?

Then out of town a few miles to do some hiking on the Appalachian Trail. We hiked up (a pretty good climb from a bridge across a little creek) to a split rock in the trail before descending again. After that we continued on across Vermont, stopping at an overlook on Hogback Mountain and then on through New Hampshire and up to Bangor, ME.

We ended the day at a hole-in-the-wall diner for seafood.

Day five was our unfortunate weather day. It was a short drive from Bangor to Acadia National Park, but not too far into our day, the rain began. We got a short hike accomplished in some light rain, but the views of the ocean were mostly from the car and some were so fogged in, they were non-existent.

View from Cadilac Mountain

We ended with a rainy drive to southern Maine to spend the night in Portland.

Day six began with a two hour drive into Boston to the Museum of Fine Arts. This is a fabulous museum, and if anyone wants to go, Jenna can get you in free as she has a membership (her getting a membership saved us about $20). So if you want to take her to Boston…

Then we drove downtown and across the Charles River and parked near the USS Constitution (which by the way is closed on Mondays!) to do the Freedom Trail—a walking tour through Boston to see several historic sites.

The USS Constitution

The Old North Church

If you stand in just the right place, you can make Paul Revere cover the window. 

Paul Revere’s House

And Boston Common

We did not stay in Boston that night and watch the Celtics play. That probably would have cost as much as the entire trip. Instead we drove down to Middletown, RI where we would spend two nights.

We spent day seven on Cape Cod. As in most places we went, crowds were non-existent. Notice this beach-side parking lot.

We climbed a tower, visited a light house, hiked a little, ate some seafood, and spent time on the beach for our last day of actual site seeing.

Days eight and nine were travel days back home from Rhode Island, spending the night in Virginia the first night. It was a great adventure as a family before we send Lauren off on her next big adventure starting in the fall.


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