2. Announce that the Family Activity will consist of attending the 235th Anniversary Re-enactment of the Battle of Saratoga up at the historic Saratoga Battlefield.
(Allow whining, crying, pleading, and bargaining to commence.)
This is what we did to our helpless children a few weekends ago and actually once we got past the whining, crying, pleading, and bargaining, we actually had a great time. I will tell you that at one point Jenna, who I swear was laying on the kitchen floor moaning and crying about having to go, was so awful that I had this exchange with her:
"Jenna, call your grandmother and see if you can go there for the afternoon if you are so dead set against going to the Battlefield with us."
"NOOOOO!!!! Then we won't be doing this as a FAMILY!!!!!"
That's what I had to deal with.
So we eventually all hopped into the car and drove to the Battlefield. It was a beautiful early fall day, just a hint of coolness in the air, and Dan and I were excited to go: this was something we've talked about doing for a while but never could find a good weekend to do it.
It is a National Park, so there is a really neat Vistor's Center staffed by super excited Park Rangers (I have secretly loved every Park Ranger I have ever encountered), but we skipped the Center and went right for the gusto: hopped on the road that winds around the park (it would make a beautiful bike ride) and stopped at the place where they were having the reenactment. And thankfully we were not the only people there, nor where we the biggest dorks there.
We learned all kinds of interesting info about the war, who was funding the Americans (the French provided uniforms and money to the colonial army) and how difficult it is to ride a horse, draw a sword and actually shift your weight while riding to be able to swing at an approaching soldier on horseback.
Alec thought it was pretty neat. And so did the girls.
This was the inside of a restored tiny farmhouse where the owner of the farm where the battle was fought resided.
I had a long talk with the cook of the encampment and learned all about what they ate and how it was prepared (look at that pork roasting on the left hand side of the fire- brilliant!). Turns out they used some of the French money to buy local vegetables from other farmers to feed the troops. Five men to a tent and each tent got a bucket of food each day that they had to prepare and share. And also a boatload of rum. "They were happy soldiers," we were told.
Firing the muskets, which had a 10% chance of not firing at all.
After the encampment was over, we headed down to the Visitor's Center and breezed through the exhibits, even though I could have spent hours reading every line of every placard. It was a fantastic review of the entire fight for Independence. And even though the girls carried on, I do think they enjoyed seeing the whole reenactment.
If you live anywhere around us, and are looking for a fun afternoon activity, I would highly recommend the Park. Even if you didn't care about the history aspect, the Park's scenery is beautiful and easy to enjoy, with beautiful vistas of the southern Adirondacks. And keep an eye out for our children, who may be there being tortured once again.