I started a tradition three summers back by taking my three great-nieces and -nephew on adventures (or field trips--adventure sounds better, don't you think?). Over the last two summers we've done a number of things, but the one they clamor for every summer is our trip to Norton Art Gallery.
Not only is Norton a deposit for art, but it also boasts acres of azaleas of all colors and sizes--a visitor's paradise in the spring when these flowers are in bloom and site for annual picture-taking. Amongst all these flowering shrubs is a lake and man-made stream with little picturesque bridges and rock placements. We walked through this stream until we learned--the embarrassing way--that the water is off-limits to feet!
Inside Norton is the largest privately owned collection of western art in the country, art created by Remington and Russell. However, the collection is much larger than that. In fact, Norton owns one of the few extant elephant folios by Audubon, a book my five-year-old niece remembers viewing almost a year ago.
The last section I want to mention is the children's play section in one of the gallery rooms. It's the only place where items can be touched! Climbed on! Fingers stuck in noses! (see picture for details).
The life-size alligator fascinates little ones! Little Bo Peep and her missing sheep! Wilbur and Charlotte! Red and the Wolf! And a puffed-up frog prince!
My nephew was off on his own adventure with another family the day I took the girls. This summer Cadie, almost three, joined us for the first time. Brag time: she can buckle her own seat-belt but her five-almost-six-year-old sister has to be buckled! She was so hesitant in the art gallery at first--so big and imposing, but by adventure's end, she was ready to gallop through the halls, in need of being quieted. Her 12-year-old sister was so embarrassed!
Oh, notice the blase look of the middle schooler above! And Cadie? That look belonged to the we-first-got-here-hesitant Cadie.
Books on my very ambitious TBR list (*denotes read)
- *Reading Magic: Why Reading Aloud to our Children Will Change Their Lives Forever by Mem Fox
- The Odd Women by George Gissing
- The Zen of Fish by Trevor Corson
- How to Get Your Child to Love Reading by Esme Raji Codell
- The Cod Tale by Mark Kurlansky
- In This House of Brede by Rumer Godden
- *Joan of Arc by Mark Twain
- Dag Hammarskjold by Elizabeth Rider Montgomery
- The Wisdom in the Hebrew Alphabet by Rabbi Michael L. Munk
- Children of Strangers by Lyle Saxon
- Spiritual Writings by Flannery O'Connor
- Nightmares and Visions: Flannery O'Connor and the Catholic Grotesque by Gilbert H. Muller
- The Violent Bear It Away by Flannery O'Connor
- Flannery O'Connor's South by Robert Coles
- Wise Blood by Flannery O'Connor
- Sylvanus Now by Donna Morrissey
- *Vincent de Paul by Margaret Ann Hubbard
- Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi
- A Briefer History of Time by Stephen Hawking
- The Library at Night by Alberto Manguel
- Readicide by Kelly Gallagher
- *Ruined by Paula Morris
- Say You're Not One of Them by Uwem Akpan
- Wandering Star by J.M.G. Le Clezio
- Silence by Shusaku Endo
- *The Assault by Harry Mulisch
- Kari's Saga by Robert Jansson
- *The German Mujahid by Boualem Sansal
- Western Skies by Joseph Conrad
- *The Giver by Lois Lowery
- *Imperium by Ryszard Kapuscinski