One of my plans this summer is to introduce the kids to some free (or cheap) fun and local experiences. Even though we don't live in some exciting city with lots of entertainment, we do live in an area that actually has some pretty cool places to visit and some history as well.
Our first trip was to a place called Friendship Hill.
Friendship Hill is a National Historic Site.
It was the home of Albert Gallatin.
If you are a history buff, then you probably know who he was, if not, then I can tell you that he was Secretary of the Treasury for Presidents Jefferson and Madison. He helped draft the Pennsylvania constitution and was an assemblyman, briefly a U.S. Senator, U.S. Representative, a U.S. Negotiator for the Treaty of Ghent that ended the War of 1812 with Great Britain and U.S. Minister to France and to Great Britain. Gallatin planned the financing of the Louisiana Purchase from France (1803) and funded the Lewis and Clark Expedition.
You can read more about him on the website linked above.
On a more personal note, Gallatin was married twice, his first wife Sophia died within a few months of moving to the house on the hill. She is said to be buried in the woods on the property. He had 3 children with his second wife Hannah (I think they said he had 7 children, but only 3 survived through infancy).
There were several additions made to the house through the years by Gallatin and other owners. Some parts had to be rebuilt due to fires. The house is also surrounded by woods, which the kids were eager to explore, but we took a tour of the house first. There is also a gazebo that overlooks the Monongahela River.
a look at the house as you come up the drive (there is a well to the right of the picture)
The kids were impressed by the history and the huge mansion, which boasts 35 rooms. You can take a self guided tour, but we opted to take one with a volunteer. The house is really cool, it is part stone house and part frame house. The kitchen which is now connected was a separate building back in Gallatin's day.
the stone kitchen, you can see some of the original fire damage on the door frame
the massive kitchen fireplace
a look at some of the bedrooms
After we were done touring the house and looking at the grave marker...we were ready to explore the many trails and hiking paths that run past the river's edge and through the massive 661 acres of woods.
me still smiling despite hiking through 4 miles of woods with cranky tired kids
a few more looks of the house
I guess if they are willing to hold hands and skip away after "dying of thirst and malnutrition" from such a long day, then it was a pretty good adventure ;)