If you give a grandchild a book with a close location as the setting and promise to take her…that day may come on a very cold one!
Two years ago Jim gave Mary her Christmas Eve book. It is a family tradition to exchange books on Christmas Eve to read after we snuggle under the covers on that magical night. It was time to make good on the promise even though it was cold!
The Guggenheim Mystery by Robin Stevens was the book. The setting is New York City. Two siblings and a cousin are at the Guggenheim when there is a heist! Since the cousin’s mom is arrested for the act, the three hit the ground sleuthing to find the painting and the culprits. A pretty darn readable book for middle grade readers! Not frightening. The younger sibling, Ted has Autism. The portrayal was insightful and affirming; the story is told from his perspective.
Our experience of many, many trips with children have thought us to generally limit our sightseeing to two locations per day. Our destinations were the Statue of Liberty and the Guggenheim Museum of Art. Ellis Island was an unexpected bonus.
Here’s our schedule. Mary spent the night with us so we could leave early the next morning. The drive to the New Jersey side for the State of Liberty boat tour is about 2 1/2 hours. We left at 6 am so we had a full day and missed any traffic. Jim bought our tickets on line earlier. Parking was part of the park at the historic railroad terminal in Liberty State Park in Jersey City, NJ.
Statue Cruises ticket windows in the historic railroad terminal in Liberty State Park in Jersey City, NJ.
Included in our tickets to the Statue of Liberty was a stop at Ellis Island. We almost did not get off! That would have been a mistake. It was an excellent exhibit with audio narration for children and another for adults. The 45 minute stop was not long enough for us; we continued to move on thinking we’ll return.
I have read a lot about the immigration process. seen a few documentaries but I wasn’t quite prepared for the stirring feelings I had as we went through a portion of the exhibits. The main entry room seems cavernous. Imagine over 5000 or more per day crowded into it shrink the space which was crowded with tired people who undoubtedly felt both fear and excitement. There was a mix of languages spoken and different cultural practices.
There is nothing to compare to actually physically being in a location where history happened. Mary is 9 and was soaking up all the history of immigrants that included her own great grandmother’s. Great Grandma was 9 when she arrived with her family.
It was so cold! The sunshine helped warm us up. We even ate our lunch outside without freezing!
Mary and Jim took the steps. I rode the elevator. Tickets are available to go the crown. We opted for just going to the pedestal and walked the base. It makes one feel very small in comparison. The park rangers reminded us to look up to see the incredible engineer feat. G. Eiffel of the Eiffel Tower was one of the group of five who designed, sculpted, build, donated funds and wrote a poem.
The ferries run on a loop of 45 minutes at Ellis Island and 30 at the Statue of Liberty.You can ride any of the ferries for your next stop or return giving the tourists flexibility. We spend over 3 hours here. Also when planning remember these locations are National Parks which are free. However, you have to pay to make the cruise as they are located on islands.
Purchase tickets here: https://www.statuecruises.com/ for either Castle Clinton in Battery Park, NY or at the Statue Cruises ticket windows in the historic railroad terminal in Liberty State Park in Jersey City, NJ. There is convent free parking at Liberty State Park, NJ where we launched from.
The Guggenheim Mystery is available at Barnes and Noble and Amazon.
We could have spend more time on Ellis Island and at the Statue of Liberty! But it was time to move on to the next spot. See Part 2, The Guggenheim.