Caleb, sitting in the back seat of the van, played "New York, New York" by Frank Sinatra (and cut a little dance move) as we pulled out of the driveway Monday, September 22nd.
He had been without a real vacation all summer and was ready for a big-city experience. Thanks to Airstream friends that had been before us last year, we knew exactly where we needed to stay – and we used the usual assortment of maps, tour guides, and internet searches to plan what we wanted to see. Here is how it all played out:
The trip to Jersey City logged 609 miles, driven in 11 hours with several pit stops along the way. Traffic was not a problem, and there was still enough light to feel comfortable as we approached Liberty Harbor RV Park in Jersey City at 6:00 p.m. From our assigned campsite (parking lot) beside the harbor we had a view of the New York Skyline (just starting to light up for the evening,) Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and Liberty Island. As dark descended on the asphalt RV park, we cooked up some burgers, studied our plan for the next day, and headed early to bed.
Before venturing out in the morning, we did a perimeter walk of our RV park. It was worth it at $80 a night (plus a few surcharges) with all the amenities and good security.
Liberty Harbor RV Park scored a #10 on our touring meter for convenience: A 10 minute walk from our campsite led to the NY Waterway Ferry, and a 5 minute ride took us across the harbor where we loaded onto another ferry for a quick ride to Ellis Island to tour the Immigration Museum, followed by another brief jaunt over to Liberty Island to view the Lady in the Harbor. It couldn’t be easier – or cheaper – than that!
Ellis Island was the gateway through which 12 million passed between 1892-1954, and it is now under the Statue of Liberty National Monument umbrella. The gemstone of Ellis Island is the Immigration Museum which is devoted to the history of the Island and the populating of America. With our usual quick pace we didn’t linger, but we did come away with a deep sense of the history of immigration in the USA.
We jumped back on the ferry for a cruise to Liberty Island to see the 151' tall, 225 tons of copper and steel, 89' tall granite pedestal of Lady Liberty. Unveiled in October of 1886, she was a gift to the United States from France -- a lasting memorial to independence and human liberty.
Admittance to the Island and up onto the pedestal is free, and garners a wonderful 360 view of the NYC Skyline. The base of the statue has details of the statue's origin and construction and evolution into a world symbol of freedom.
We got back on the ferry . . . this time with a drop-off on the streets of lower Manhattan where we were instantly caught up in the push and prod of the big-city circulation. Our first destination was easy to find – the highest building construction in the United States -- an unparalleled monument to heroism – The World Trade Center and “ground zero” memorial. The memorial waterfalls, called the Reflecting Absence, are on the site of the former Twin Towers, with the erection of the New World Trade Center Freedom Tower just beyond. The museum just opened in May, 2014.
Showers were in order followed by a quick review of tomorrow's plan -- and bed!
33 miles from our house, nuzzled next to Fort Wayne’s Coliseum along the St. Joseph River is a little-known urban campground -- Johnny Appleseed Park. Our little rendezvous had been planned as a shared celebration between me and birthday buddy Gail, with Cindy, Lois, and Bitsy all showing up for the girls-only night.
Gail, Cindy, and I had our campers positioned as the nerve center for three days of comings and goings beginning with Thursday night’s BD bash – no men allowed. Friday, after girl shopping and a movie, the guys were allowed to join us for dinner out! We arranged a meet & eat with teacher friend Kevin and wife Linda, and Lois and Sharon came from Van Wert to join us for an Italian meal! The boys got to spend the night! Saturday started with a breakfast of: homemade brisket hash, egg omelets made-to-order, bacon, and pancakes! The rest of the day was a mix of goings-on with a trip to Fresh Market and Gander Mountain. Saturday the heat broke, making Saturday afternoon and evening perfect weather for a sit-session around the campfire. Tom drove home to watch the Buckeyes game on TV. Sunday morning it was all over.
The only picture-proof I have to back up the whole weekend is one of the stellar breakfast on Saturday morning. But, I swear that everything I posted here . . . is the truth!
We don’t go camping any more . . . we go ‘streamin’ ! The “SIlvermine and His” is our 2016 23' Airstream, and ‘streamin’ is the name we use to describe our adventures. Stream along as we document everything from weekend trips to longer summer excursions and full-blown vacations. You know what they say: if you’re not in an Airstream – you’re just camping!
Tom & Ella Brown