Did you hear the one about the unstamped letter? You wouldn’t get it.
No, I don’t mean postage stamps, I mean stamp cancellations. In a passport. Specifically, the Passport to Our National Parks. It’s a passport containing information and a (nearly) complete list of every National Park in our nation’s system.
I was first introduced to the passport as a kid because no family vacation was complete without at least one stop of historical significance and one National Park. As a kid this was a major drag because it meant seeing a lot of forts and houses belonging to people who were loooong since dead when all I wanted was to hang out with Mickey Mouse.
But as an adult, I find myself going back to my favorite parks, and Bill and I have set a goal to visit every park in the system before we die. This includes locations in Alaska, Hawaii, Guam and the Virgin Islands. This is a bucket list I am willing to stick to!
And while on our recent trip to Cincinnati we of course had to stop and try the fantastic ice cream and chili that Cincy is known for…
… but we were also sure to check and see if there was a National Park nearby. It turns out, a little (should I say BIG?) President, William Howard Taft grew up right in town.
Every national park trip for us starts with the visitor center and stamping the correct page in the correct region. It also gives you the chance to make small talk with the Park Ranger posted at the park. They’re great resources for the park you’re at of course, but many have worked all over the country and can tell you some fantastic stories! (Seriously have considered a career as a Ranger after some of the tales we’ve been told!)
After checking in and recording the stamp in the passport as well as a cheesy stamping pose (see Bill above) then it was off into the mansion for the tour. Taft’s parents moved there with his Grandparents and he spent his parochial years there before attending Yale for undergrad and then Cincinnati Law School. He served as the 27th president and later a Supreme Court Justice, and also helped turn the defunct panama canal project around into the success it ended up being.
It’s a shame really that the only thing I knew about him before was that he got stuck in a bathtub at the White House. Which was FALSE. He knew he would if he tried, so instead he had one built large enough for him. He was an incredibly smart and kind man. I won’t bore you with the full bio, but if you even have the slightest passing interest in the man, or the Victorian era in the United States, I highly recommend a stop while you’re in Cincinnati.
And to balance my gleefully-girly excitement over meeting the Petersiks, I agreed to humor Bill (and honestly myself, but shh don’t tell him!) and stopped at Cabela’s. Bill was like a kid in a candy shop!
They’re an outdoor outfitter that basically has EVERYTHING you could ever think of.
They literally have a mountain with all kinds of animals on it for display, many (of the native) animals were even ‘taken’ locally.
They also have an aquarium stocked with local fish for you to make fish faces at.
And even had their own shooting range to keep the kids both young and old busy!
We had a blast gawking at the many rooms and displays they had…. and the funny hats.
All in all we had a fabulous visit to Cincinnati, and we met the NICEST people everywhere we went! Especially the team at Skyline. BTW, get the 4 way, it’s totally boss.
Have you had any adventures lately? What traditions do you have when you go on vacation?
Check out the first National Park trips we’ve shared with you!