St. Louis Arch – St. Louis, Missouri

John – 13

The St. Louis Arch is the tallest memorial in the United States. It goes up to 630 feet high up. When you first see the arch you may think that it doesn’t look big enough to hold an elevator car, but it does.  When you get up close to the arch you can tell that it  is bigger than you thought it would be.

When you get on the ride I would recommend seeing one of the movies first so that you can either learn more about the arch or about Lewis and Clark.  Both of the movies are in Imax. When we went  to the arch we saw the Lewis and Clark film. It was about the journey Lewis and Clark took to explore the west and get to the Pacific Ocean.  I thought it was one of the best movies made about Lewis and Clark that I have seen yet.  It was very informative, and I learned a lot from that video.

After the movie we went to the little gift shop they had and Dad got our tickets for our ride to the top of the arch. In the little gift shop they had book about Lewis and Clark plus they had collectables for the arch.  On the other side of the underground museum/area there is another shop.  The second shop is full of old candies and other old fashioned stuff.

The next thing we did is wait in line for the ride to the top of the arch. There was stuff to do in line that told about how the arch was made and why it was built.  When we finally did get on the ride, you sit in a pod.  It can fit five people and is a really tight fitting elevator.  There are eight of these pods on one side of the arch and eight in the other area. It took the elevator four minutes to get to the top and three minutes back down.  At the top you have a nice view of the whole city.  We went at night, and I thought it looked better at night than in the day time. On the way down, it took us around three minutes this time to get to the bottom.  I thought that it was a really cool although I am afraid of heights and it was stressful to go up and do it.  So if you are in the area you should definitely try it out.

Hadley-11

Have you ever been in a building that is 630 feet high?  If not the St. Louis Arch is where you need to go.  The arch is downtown right near the Mississippi River.  To get tickets you can call or get them there.  Before you go on the elevator to the arch you will want to see one of the movies.  The two movie they have that you can buy to see are called Lewis and Clark: Great Journey West, and Monument to the Dream: The Making of the Gateway Arch.  We went to see Lewis and Clack and it was good, but we did not see the other.  It it looked good though.

To get to the top of the arch you have to take an elevator.  The elevator is not normal though. The elevator holds 5 people and there are 8 cars at a time that go up together at the same time. On the elevator you set down in  a chair.  The capsule you are in is small, but you do not go very fast.   In  the elevator you do not go side ways or upside down like a roller coaster.  You always stay sitting flat – like a ferris wheel.  Once you get to the top you can stay as long as you want and the view is nice.  To get back down you go in a capsule like you got up. Once you get back down you can go and look in the museum.  Going up in the arch is definitely worth the money. :)

Barnett – 8

I liked the St. Louis arch.  It looks very big from the outside.  It looks like a big U upside down, and it is very shiny.  From far away it looked small, as we were driving up to it.  BUt, up close it is big.

The first thing we did was go to the movie.  The movie was called Lewis and Clark.  Lewis liked to walk along the river with his dog and be alone.  He once slipped and fell as he was trying to pick a plant.  He founds plants and feathers and collected them in a book.  The book kept track of all of the new animals.  Clark ran the boats and was the leader on the boats.  His slave, York, went with him on the trip.  They met Sacagawea, she helped them find food and things to  live.

Then we went up the arch.  We had to get in little pods.  It took almost 4 minutes to get to the top.  The pod was small and hot.  At the top they had very tiny windows.  You could see out of them.  I could see the St. Louis Cardinals playing a baseball game and the Mississippi River.  Coming down took 3 minutes.  When you are done you need to get out quickly so other people can get in and go.

It was fun, so you should do it too.

Canlan Ice Sports – Fort Wayne, Indiana

Hadley – 11

Today we went to the Canlan ice hockey rink which is located inside the Lutheran Sports Facility.  There is a hotel right behind it because of hockey tournaments that they have on the weekends. Inside there are three hockey rinks.  On an open free day you can rent skates – Monday through Friday.  The admission is 5 dollars and to rent skates it is 3 dollars with admission.  When we went on a Monday there was only a couple people on the ice, but you can rent a stick and puck and shoot goals. We only skated we did not shoot goals, but when we looked at the people shooting goals, they were playing a game on another rink.  If you are at a tournament you can sit at the top and look down at all the games while you eat or drink. The ice rink also does many camps.  The camps are offered all year and every season.  When you skate make sure that your skates are straight or your ankles will hurt.  If I were you and haven’t gone ice skating before then Canlan is the place you do it.  The people are really helpful.  Hope you go; it is fun!

Barnett – 8

The ice skating rink at Canlan Sports Complex is really fun.  If you fall down, it is like falling down at a roller skating rink.  You can rent hockey skates or figure skating skates.  I got the figure skating skates.  They are easier to use because they are flat on the bottom.  If you fall down, no one laughs at you.  That is what makes it fun.

The place is new and big.  If you go you should bring your coat.  It is very cold inside because it is an ice rink.  You should also bring another pair of pants.  When you fall down a lot your pants will get wet.  There are three ice rinks.  There is a restaurant called the Thirsty Penguin in the top floor.  Everything was nice there.  The people are nice because they ask if you had a fun time and want you to have a fun time.  I think you should go.  I had a great time and want to go again.

Arnold’s Country Kitchen — Nashville, TN

John — 13

Arnold’s Country Kitchen is one of the quickest places to eat at.  The restaurant is made to look like a school cafeteria.  But, the food is a lot bettter than school food.  The place is near a rough part of the town of Nashville. The resaturant is small, and you want to be on time when they open or you will be waiting outside for a long time to get your food.  The reasturant’s employees are nice and even carry the tray with the food you bought to a table to sit and eat.  They have a calender that shows all the specials they have for that day.  Today it was Friday and the meats were roast beef, catfish, and shrimp.  When you are picking up your tray they have the prices for what you want to buy.  The pick three sides and one meat was around $7.50; the lowest price was one side and one meat.  The restaurant has one small women’s restroom and one small men’s restroom.  On the wall are all the famous people who have eaten there.  On one wall all alone is the Food Network – Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives symbol.  The restaurant is kid friendly, and they even have a kids menu like the adults but cheaper and has less food on there plate.  The first section of the cafeteria style counter is where you get salads, deserts, cottage cheese, other cold foods. The second section is where you get your appetizers and meat. The last section is where you pick out your drinks ( lemonade or ice tea , sweet or unsweet) and where you pay.  In the restaurant you find all types of the society.  There are the men in suits, families, college students, and all sorts of people.

My favorite thing to eat there was the mac n cheese.  They use a lot of diffrent spices in the mac n cheese.  The mac n cheese is one of the things that they are known for making.  The other is the roast beef.  The roast beef is full of juice and really tender.  For the kids they even cut up the meat for them so that you don’t have to.  My second favorite thing to eat there was the green beans.  They were really spicy but held a lot of good flavers in them.  I couldn’t help myself and ate them really quickly.  My sister (who deosn’t eat much) gave me her plate, and I ate half of her food before we left the restaurant.

I would recommend eating there if you are in the area.  But, be sure to get there early and beat the crowd to eat.  When we got there at 11:1it was a perfect time, but they don’t serve breakfast so don’t go there o early.  I thought that it was a really fun place to ea,t but it was also really easy to eat there too.  So if you are looking for a good place to eat that is a reasonable price, then you go there and try it.

Barnett — 8

We walked in and had to wait just a minute to get our food.  It looked like a lunch cafeteria.  It was not very big, and it was crowded.  It was not very fancy because it was not a sit down restaurant.  The food was good.  The mashed potatoes were even spicy.  They were a good spicy.  I also had the roast beef and green beans.  I didn’t eat the green beans, but I bet they would have been spicy too.  I had too much on my plate, and I was too busy eating my roast beef.  It was really juicy and tender.  I also ate half of a roll.  It was both soft and hard.  Hard on the outside and soft on the inside.  I had sweet tea to drink.  Good sweet!  I would maybe eat there again.  The roast beef was good, and I like the tea.  But, it was crowded.  I would like to try the shrimp and macaroni and cheese.

Hadley-10

Arnold’s is a good place to eat it has good food and all the food is homemade.  When you first walk in the place it is normally crowded and you mitght have to wait to get your food.  When you get to the counter where they serve you, they will ask if you want just meat, or meat and 2 sides, or meat and 3.  The meat can be roast beef and sometimes shrimp or catfish. The sides can be turnup greens, mac and cheese, green beans, mashed potatoes, fried green tomatoes, and scallopped corn.  To get your food you go through a cafeteria  line and you tell the servers what meat and sides you want.  Then they let you pick your drink; I recommend getting the sweet tea; it is really good and sweet. You might want someone to save a seat for you because it gets really crowded. The atmosphere is really cool because a lot of famous people have been there.  I had the shrimp, fried green tomatoes, and macaroni and cheese.  I tried my sister’s roast beef.  The roast beef was good, juicy, and had a lot of flavor.  The fried green tomatoes were not my favorite.  The green tomatoes were very sour.  The macaroni and cheese had a lot of cheese on it.  It was definitely homemade.  Next time I would get the roast beef.  I would also get the mashed potatoes and turnip greens.  I tried my mom’s and they tasted a lot like green beans – and I like green beans.

Shipshewana Flea Market — Shipshewana, Indiana

John–12

The  Shipshewana Flea Market is one of the largest flea market in the Midwest.  With a hundred acres full of venders.  It is held every  Tuesday and Wednesday through May to October.  The flea market sells stuff from fresh vegetables and fruit to hand crafted art and furniture.  They also sell fresh Amish cookies, pies, pretzels, and ice cream.  They have hundreds of stands and each and every one sells something different.  They also sell parts for cars, pocket knives, and other stuff that are at a good, reasonable prices.  One of our favorite stands there is a place called C&J’s dips.  They sell dips from appetizers to desserts.  But, just a year ago they came up with soups.  The dips are really easy to make and almost anyone could do it.  The other places that sell dips look good, but once you buy you feel bad that you wasted your money there and not at C&J’s. When my family goes we get to spend about ten dollars each.  So one of my things that I got was a nice pocket knife; I thought it was going to expensive, but it actually only ended up costing three dollars.  So I would recommend going sometime to the Shipshewana Flea Market and spend some money there.  Just be warned it is hot and there are a bunch of people there too.

 

Hadley – 10

The Shipshewana Flea Market is one of the biggest flea markets in the Midwest.  A flea market is a place where stuff is sold at low costs.  It is like an outside mall.  The stores are separate booths and tents set up to sell different things.  They sell food, clothes, music stuff, junk, a lot of toys, and a lot more.  I like to buy that you would not always find in other stores.  I like to buy pocket knives, hats, and interesting stuff.  Today I saw squirt guns that shoot water everywhere.  There was also an IPOD speaker that could be attached to anything and play music.  They have produce there to buy.  The best thing to get to eat are Ben’s pretzels.  They are made by Ben’s Bakery.  They make them there at their booth.  The dough they use is good.  They also have a lot of butter and salt on them.  Another good place to get food is the Ben’s Bakery booth.  We always get cookies there.  The molasses cookies and the monster cookies are really good.  There are over 900 vendors there. Every year there are over a half million visitors there.  The Shipshewana Flea Market is fun to go, even if you don’t buy anything.  But, I recommend you buy a few things!

Barnett – 7

The Shipshewana Flea Market has a ton of things to buy.  I like to look at everything there before I buy anything.  My mom bought me a fake hair ponytail.  It is a long, straight ponytail that clips onto my real hair.  I bought a Webkinz Schnoodle.  It is a half poodle, half schnauzer stuffed animal.  I also got an American Girl doll dress.  It is orange and sparkly.  There is a booth where a lady makes doll clothes and sells them.  I had to think which dress to pick – it was really hard.  There were a ton of dresses to choose from.  I had $10.00 to spend.  We went to Ben’s Bakery.  We bought cookies and a pecan pie.  We went to the soft pretzel stand.  We bought extra pretzels.  My mom dropped one on the ground, but my brother still ate it!  They would eat anything!  We had to buy things for my grandma – calendars, scrubbies, and cookies.  We saw many Amish people.  They were at the flea market.  Afterwards we were going to pick berries, but they had already been picked.  We ate lunch at the Blue Gate Restaurant (that will be in a later post).  You should go there, it is really fun.

Ahwahnee Buffet — Yosemite National Park

John -12

The Ahwahnee Buffet is located in a lodge/hotel in the Yosemite.  The hotel is almost 100 years old and is still working.  The buffet that we went to was for fathers day.  The buffet was during brunch.  They had many diffrent foods to eat like fish and shrimp to omletes and cresonts.  The buffet has two stations where you get to make and pick the type of food you want.  One of the station is and omlete station where you get to pick the type of omlet you want.  The othere station is where you get to pick the type of meat you want and the cut it fresh right there.  The buffet is expensive with prices that are fifty dollars for adults and twenty five for kids.  but the buffet is worth the price.  So if you don’t mind paying then you should really try to go.

 

Hadley-10

The Ahwahnee Buffet is in a lodge/hotel that is almost 100 years old and is still in business. When you get to Yosemite it is located in the valley. You want to make sure that you make reservations becuase the place will get very packed.  You will also have bring your money because it is almost 40 dollars a person for the Sunday buffet. The food there though is definitely worth the money. They have a omelet station that you can pick from toppings to put in your omelet. When you go, you want the brunch meal not just breakfast.  At the brunch there is more than just breakfast you can get shrimp and a lot more lunch stuff.  Plus if you want breakfast stuff, then you can get that too. Those are the reasons we went to the Ahwahnee Buffet.

 

Barnett-7

The Ahwahnee Lodge is in Yosemite National Park.  We did not stay there.  We just ate breakfast there.  The Lodge is beautiful.  It has a ton of fireplaces and is really old.  They served hot chocolate and coffee in the lobby – near the restroom.  I went to the bathroom twice just to get more hot chocolate.  They had a big ice sculpture at the buffet.  First in the buffet, you could make an omelet with all of your favorite foods.  Then, there was a butcher.  He would cut off meat for you to eat.  I did not like the roast beef, but the ham was really good.  Then there were fresh foods, veggies, shrimp, oysters, probably everything you could ever ask for.  It was all good.  Biscuits, gravy, and eggs were on another table.  Cereal and desserts were on other tables.  The service was good, we had a nice waitress.  You should try to eat there.

Fireplace

The Buffet

The Ahwahnee Dining Room

Tenaya Lodge — Yosemite National Park

John-12

Tenaya Lodge is a hotel that is just outside Yosemite National park.  Tenya Lodge has regular hotel rooms, and they also have cottages in a different location next to the hotel.  The cottages have three apartments in each building.  The cottages are a little bit more expensive then the regular hotel rooms.  Tenaya Lodge has two restaurants in the main hotel.  The first one is called Jackalopes – it’s a place that sells burgers and fish and chips.  They also have a restaurant called Embers, but it is really expensive from food that cost ten dollars to food that cost forty-two dollars.  They have three pools and one splash pad.  One of the pools is in the cottage area so only people who stay at the cottages can swim there.  The pool at the cottage area is smaller than the others and the walk over to the hotel is worth it.  The outdoor pool they have is connected to the splash pad.  The pool is outside and has many toys like foam balls and noodles.  The splash pad has sprinklers and water shooters.  The splash pad is more for little kids than older kids.  The indoor pool has toys like footballs and frisbees.  There are also three hot tubs – one in the outdoor pool and two in the indoor pool.  If you don’t mind paying a little bit more than you should really try to stay in the cottage area, but the hotel rooms are good too.  So, if you are in the area then you really should try to stay there.

Hadley-10

Tenaya Lodge is a hotel that is just outside Yosemite National Park. Tenaya Lodge has a lot of rooms for guests, but there are different rooms you can stay in. One is a house that is cut into three.  That has the most room, and that is what we stayed in.  It was really nice.  Also there they have 2 restaurants.   One is for adults and one for families; the food at the family restaurant has pretty good food, so I would eat there because there are not a lot of restaurants in the area.  Also if you go in the summer or winter they have a pool  – one indoor and one outdoors.  There are hot tubs indoors and outdoors too.  If you stay near the cottages then they have a restaurant there.  It is a pizzeria.  Tenaya Lodge is definitely worth the stay.

Barnett-7

Tenaya Lodge has a ton of cottages.  Every cottage has three rooms in it.  The rooms are have a separate bedroom and bathroom from a living room.  In the cottages, one room is on the second floor up high.  The rooms are nice and big.  The rooms are clean and have a fireplace.  They have a pool outdoors and indoors.  The outdoor pool is a zero entry pool.  If babies go in the pool they can stand in the zero entry water.  The pool is nice because they have toys in it to play with.  There is also music playing for you to listen to while you swim.  The indoor pool has two hot tubs with it.  One is for adults and one is for everybody.  We even snuck into the adult hot tub – no one else was in it.  They have pool toys inside too.  There are noodles and footballs.  It is a good place, and I would stay there again.

Chinatown – San Francisco, California

John – 12

Chinatown located in San Francisco is the largest Chinatown in the United States.  It is the oldest Chinatown in America too.  Chinatown is 1 mile long by 1.34 miles wide. Chinatown was founded in 1848.  In 2000 the census said that an average of 100,574 people lived in Chinatown.  Chinatown is a city within a city.  The town has over 300 restaurants and just as many shops.  One of the places we ate at was a dim sum restaurant.  It was called City View Dim Sum.  (We will be doing another blog on City View – so watch for it!)  Chinatown compared to other places is really huge with an area of 24 square blocks.  My family and I tried to walk all around all it, but we didn’t get done in the amount of time we had.  We went into one of the shops located there.  It was three stories tall and had over one thousand trinkets and gizmos.  Chinatown is a fun place to visit and to walk around.

 

Hadley-10

Chinatown in San Fransisco is the biggest Chinatown in the world except China.  In Chinatown the best place to eat is a Dim Sum restaurant.  There are dozens to choose from. When we were there, we walked around in a bunch of stores.  The one we went in is three stories tall with stuff.  You can also buy clothes from China.  They also have a bunch of restaurants that have unique and interesting food.  I recommend going for a long time to see every thing and be prepared to spend a lot because there are a lot of fun things to buy.  Chinatown is definitely worth going to if you are in San Fransisco.

Barnett – 7

 

Store in Chinatown

Chinatown Cable Car

Chinatown Shops