Monday morning we went for a hike through the North Grove, described by the website as “a gentle, well-marked loop about 1 1/2miles.” Perfectly ambitious enough for two little kids.
Gavin picked up the 50-cent guide to the trail and regularly stopped us to tell us about the history, significant trees, and so on.
After a morning of hiking, and with temperatures climbing well into the 90s, we packed a picnic lunch and headed to Columbia State Historic Park, an adorable little town, that the website describes as “like traveling back in time to the sights, smells, and sounds of a nineteenth century mining town—merchants dressed in 1850’s attire, a whiff of coal smoke from the blacksmith shop, and the rumble of a stagecoach pulling into town!”
We had a picnic, walked around and explored the town, visited the blacksmith’s shop, several store-front exhibits, and had ice cream. We didn’t pan for gold, or take a stagecoach, but the boys did try their hand a bowling.
Eventually we got back into the car, and as it was still hot, and we were “close enough, why not” we headed onward to Railtown 1897, another historic state park.
We lucked out, there was a volunteer on hand to give us a guided tour, we started as a group of just the four of us, and ended as a group of eight, picking up others a long the way.
Our guide was super-informative, knowledgeable, and going with him meant we were able to go into the buildings that were otherwise off-limits — where the trains are actually housed and worked on, as well as the machine shop. The nearly 2-hour tour may have pushed the boys’ attention span a bit, but over all they did quite well.