I am blissfully aware that I am a complete nerd. I’m ok with that. I Like being a nerd. There is nothing wrong with being interested in smart things. If there was, the TV show Big Bang Theory would not be so popular. So I embrace my Nerdness. In fact, I would happily accept the Queen of the Nerds crown.
With that in mind, I have been thinking lately about how I would spend an extended vacation if I had unlimited funds. A tropical island? No thank you. A tour of Italy’s famous vineyards? Um, no. A trip through castles in the UK? Well, you’re getting closer.
But the truth is, if I had a few weeks and unlimited funds, I would stay right here in the States. Why? ‘Cause I’m a nerd. And a history buff. And there is So Much to do here. The cool thing is, the Littles would benefit from my dream vacay. In fact, we could count the darn thing as school, it would be so educational. Welcome to my nerdiness.
The trip would start at Green Bank, West Virginia. What could possibly be in Green Bank besides maybe mountains and forests? The National Radio Astronomy Observatory and Science Center. It’s a SETI (Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence) site, where they use the giant radio telescope to search for communication from alien planets/life forms. Um, SETI was started by Carl Sagan, and I think you already know he’s my Dead Science Guy Boyfriend. Green Bank is also home to regular astronomy experiments and data collection, so if you don’t believe in aliens or Carl Sagan, you can still learn about space. They offer tours of the facility, hands-on activities, planetarium sessions and field trip experiences. They even have a cafe and a gift shop. They are open all year. They are my heroes. The best part? It would only cost us $21.50 to get the whole fam inside. I can’t tell you how I squealed when I found all this out.
From Green Bank we would drive roughly 2 hours to my mecca, Monticello. If you have forgotten that Thomas Jefferson is my Dead President Boyfriend, here is where I remind you. Jefferson was a nerd, too. He loved all the same things I do. I’m sure if Tolkien had been born a couple centuries earlier, Jefferson would have loved The Hobbit and The Trilogy as much as I do. He loved books. He loved gardening. He fought for freedom. He loved to write. Yeah. Dead President Boyfriend, for sure. The house and grounds of Monticello are open to the public, including the house, gardens, slave quarters, and cemetery. This one is a bit more expensive, at $74 for a family of 4 (with the kids being in two different age groups), but it would be well worth it. The main problem would be getting me to leave.
East from Monticello to Roanoke Island and Nags Head (about a 4-hour drive). Who wouldn’t want to see the island where the first settlers so mysteriously disappeared long before the pilgrims ever made their way to Plymouth? Well, don’t judge me–I really want to just go sit and soak that in. Besides, if I have a Dead Queen Girlfriend, it is definitely Elizabeth I, and since she permitted the whole Sir Walter Raleigh thing, I kind of Have To Go There someday, if only to see the Elizabethan Gardens. Plus, there’s a really nice aquarium on Roanoke, and several lighthouses in the surrounding area. I have always wanted to see a lighthouse in person. Might sound a little blase to people who live on coasts, but I live in the middle of the country, dammit, and I want to see a lighthouse. Just thinking about getting to visit here makes me start to tear up. I know–Nerd. Total cost for this leg of the trip for the four of us would be $108.62. Um, to do all that? Only $108? Who needs Disney World?
From Roanoke, I want to drive up the east coast to Philadelphia. This would take about 6 hours, but I imagine the scenery will make up for the length of the drive. There are two main things I want to see in Philly (besides an Eagles game). The Liberty Bell and Independence Hall. Are you kidding me? To get to see the place where the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were signed? Oh, and it brings the whole Monticello thing full circle, so how cool is my vacation dream? If you’ve forgotten the bell’s inscription, it says, “Proclaim Liberty Throughout All the Land Unto All the Inhabitants thereof.” Yeah yeah. That. Knowing it inspired abolitionists and women’s suffragists makes me wonder what it could inspire next, if only people will start paying attention again. So I’m going to pay attention. And I’m teaching my Littles to pay attention. So should you. Go see the Liberty Bell.
Back to Nerdsville, because my next stop would be in Mystic, Connecticut, 5 hours away. Come on, ’80s ladies, remember why? I want to have lunch at Mystic Pizza. Yes, it’s real; yes, it’s still there; yes, I will eat there one day. I still own this film, and I do still watch it every few months. Why? Come on… I loved these girls and at different times in my life have been able to relate to each of them in one way or another. That’s classic film-making for you. And I want to know what they put in that pizza. The most expensive pizza on their menu is under $20. So I’m happy. If only I didn’t have to book hotels, this trip would be cheap!
I will leave Mystic and drive to Cape Cod because I’ve been reading about that place in books since practically birth and it’s only an hour away and it has always sounded amazing. I just want to see it once before I die, to see if it lives up to my imagination. I may end up disappointed. I seriously doubt it. Formal tours of the island run about $75 a person, but I am way too frugal for that. So I found a free aquarium there. And a lavender farm you can stroll through for free. And 3 free lighthouse tours. Ah, yes. Loving this vacay. And if you’re looking for even more awesome things to do while in Massachusetts, Your RV Lifestyle has tons.
Next stop: Boston. I want the littles to see the Harvard Campus, to see what they can achieve with hard work. Plus, again, I’ve been reading about the place all my life and I’d like to see it, too. Besides that, I want to walk the streets and imagine Samuel Adams giving his ‘so a man can stand up’ speech, and visit Boston Harbor and all the Revolutionary War sites.
I know. I told you I’m a history nerd. A science nerd. A book nerd. Even a movie nerd. We are almost done. I wonder if anyone can guess where my last stop would be.
Bangor, Maine! Because many of Stephen King’s books are set in the surrounding area and there’s even a tour you can take (which would cost us $130 for 4) to the sites he’s made famous in his books. So yeah, I know I said Monticello was my mecca, but maybe the entire eastern part of the country is? And why haven’t I ever done this vacation or at least parts of it?
Seems to me like all these sites can be seen by a family of four for around $470. And every one of these sites is educational, so it’s good for homeschool, too. I worked it out and it looks like I could do it comfortably in 16 days, if we take a couple days to recuperate once we get home. So all I need is to come up with hotel money for 15 nights and gas and food money. So roughly 3 weeks and $3500. If you, by chance, have that amount lying around in your sock drawer, feel free to send it my way. 🙂
That’s why it’s called a dream.
Croatoan (Love wins),