Thomas Edison National History Park: Laboratory and Home Tours

I first heard about Thomas Edison’s Laboratory being in the U.S. park service after seeing a picture of it on Mike’s Photo Blog. My eight-year-old son is fascinated by all things chemistry and has dreamed of being an inventor since he learned the term, so I knew one day we’d make it over in that direction.

Before my sister & brother-in-law’s visit, where we hiked Kaaterskill Falls and Sam’s Point in Minnewaska, my stepsister, Allie, came for a visit as well.

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We spent most of the time relaxing, sharing girl talk, and cooking together. After I dropped her off at Newark Airport, I thought I’d check and see how far the Edison Lab would be before returning home. It turns out that that the museum and park are only twenty minutes from EWR!

Please excuse the quality of the following photos; I had only my phone with me and the weather was absolutely miserable on this particular day.

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It was nice that the weather wasn’t that great, because the park wasn’t busy. Not at all. Anti-intellectualism could be the reason that there were only a handful of people at any given time during the hours we were there, but I’d like to think it was the weather.

After paying my $10 entry free (Tobias, and all children under 16 are free), we first made our way over to the lab for a demonstration about chemistry.

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Did you know that Thomas Edison not only made advancements to the light bulb, but he also created a rubber alternative from genetically modified Goldrenrod? How about that he was once known as the Wizard of Menlo Park, because when he invented the phonograph, people were so astonished by hearing recorded voices played back that they deemed it magic?

With all that it takes to impress someone these days, isn’t that just the quaintest thing?! A magician for playing back sounds! Continue reading

Hiking and Ice Climbing the Catskills: Kaaterskill Falls, New York

Before we went hiking in New York on Christmas, the three of us took a different scenic day trip to The Catskills.

It was my brother-in-law, Dennis’ idea to head that way when planning their trip up here. I didn’t know much about the area, other than the name sounded awfully familiar. If you’re not from this part of the U.S. either, and it sounds familiar to you, it’s because it’s where Woodstock happened. And where Dirty Dancing took place. The area is a pretty big deal as far as pop culture goes.

A day trip there wasn’t near enough time to do all of the things that The Catskills has to offer, but we did a gorgeous hike in, and Dennis got to do a little bit of ice climbing.

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As the marker mentions, the area is historic as well. The Hudson River School was the first homegrown art movement in the United States and Kaaterskill Falls is one of the oldest tourist destinations in America. Continue reading