National Corvette Museum

The first big event of our recent vacation was a visit to the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, KY, with Ryan’s parents.


I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t know much about cars, but I do love anything vintage, and there is certainly plenty of that at the museum, so I count it as a good tour. Plus, we even saw a little bit of home while we were there…can you spot it?

We also saw the aftermath of the sinkhole that opened up under the museum last year…even for someone like me who doesn’t know much about cars, it was heartbreaking to see the destruction:

They are making the best of it, though, and selling souvenir debris!


What a fun, vintage-inspired start to our vacation!


Stripes and Trains

So far, with my Pinup Girl Clothing Jenny skirts, I’ve played it safe, pairing them with solid-colored tops. I decided that my prized Mary Blair train print skirt deserved something a little more special today, and what goes better with trains than stripes?


I really like how this combination turned out, and I’ll definitely be wearing it again!

Markel Family Summer Vacation–Days Six and Seven

Our last two days of vacation involved a lot of driving. We left (not at all) bright and (very) early on day six to start our journey back to Bowling Green. We stopped at Waffle House for breakfast along the way (a first for me), and it was just as delicious as Ryan had promised.


We drove through Asheville, NC and more mountains, which were beautiful and terrifying, and then drove through Tennessee and Kentucky to get back to Ryan’s parents’ house.


Once we got there, we worked on washing everything we could, and steaming the rest, to make sure we didn’t bring any hitchhikers back from our hotel with us. It was an exhausting way to end a long day of driving for sure!

On day seven, we all went to Ryan’s parent’s church. The children loved having a chance to see Grandma play the organ!


After church, we packed up the car one more time and hit the road AGAIN. Fortunately, the drive from Bowling Green to St. Louis isn’t too long, and we only stopped twice along the way…once to fill up the gas tank, and once for lunch at McDonald’s.


It was an amazing vacation, and we had an awesome time, and made tons of memories, but it was very good to see our house again!

Markel Family Summer Vacation–Day Five

Day five of our summer vacation, which was our second full day in Charleston, was also busy. It got off to a much better start, as we found no evidence of bugs in our new hotel room, so we were feeling a little more calm as we headed across the terrifying Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge, which Moose loved, to the Isle of Palms for our beach morning.


We spent several hours at the beach building sand castles, looking for seashells, and playing in the water. We also saw either a dolphin or a shark…fortunately, it didn’t get close enough to us for us to tell for sure!


We took a walk down Ocean Blvd. on the Isle of Palms after we were done in the water, in a misguided attempt to dry off. It was fun experiencing the laid-back atmosphere of island life along the way, and I discovered that everything they say about island time is true!


After our walk, we headed to the neighboring island, Sullivan’s Island, to visit Fort Moultrie, which served our country from the time of the Revolutionary War through WWII. We got to see a great movie about the history of the fort, and then took a long walk around the fort to see what all the different parts of the installation were.


We then drove back across the scary bridge to visit the Waterfront Park, which is famous for its pineapple fountain. The children loved that they were allowed to wade in it, and I loved seeing it in person!


We had another brief hiccup in our plans when Ryan had to take our car in to have the brakes replaced. It didn’t take too long, though, and the children and I enjoyed watching more cable TV while he was gone. Once he got back, we drove to North Charleston to Holy City Brewing, where I was planning on trying a flight of their beer. The brewery wasn’t as family-friendly as they advertised, however, so we ended up not staying, but it was still fun to see it.


We then drove back downtown, to have the family walk through White Point Garden that we had missed due to the rain the night before. We walked along the harbor and admired the houses on The Battery while we were there. We also saw a Dungeness Crab in the water, which we identified thanks to some kind fishermen who were down there.


We said one last goodbye to downtown Charleston and the ocean before heading back to our hotel to pack up. On the way, we stopped at the grocery store, a Harris Teeter…I enjoyed seeing a new grocery chain, which is weird thing I like to do when I’m in a new place.


Markel Family Summer Vacation–Day Four

We had big plans for summer vacation day four, our first full day in Charleston, but our plans were a bit derailed due to a bedbug incident in our hotel, which was absolutely the worst part of our trip. After freaking out, and leaving the hotel to figure out what we were going to do, we went on our scheduled ferry ride to Fort Sumter. This was a very emotional morning for me, because it was both my first time seeing the ocean, and very humbling setting foot on a place that steeped in history. Both the boat ride (where Turkey and I saw a dolphin), and the fort itself were fantastic, and we had a great time.


After going back to the hotel and switching rooms, which ate up more of our vacation time than I would have liked, we returned to downtown Charleston to walk around in the heat, and explore the Charleston Market.


We also walked around to admire the many, many historic buildings. Since it was so hot, we also stopped to enjoy an Italian ice from one of the many street vendors that had a cart set up along the sidewalk!


After our walk in the heat, we headed out to our one fancy dinner at Fleet Landing. This was one of the most amazing meals I’ve ever enjoyed, and definitely lived up to the hype. We had a table right next to the windows overlooking the water, and we saw a dolphin family playing fairly close to the shore. We also got to see a storm roll in over the harbor while we were dining, which was a fun experience.


No further walking after dinner, because it was still raining, but we did drive around a bit so I could take pictures of Rainbow Row on East Bay, as well as the gorgeous houses on South Battery, and the beautiful White Point Garden.


After I had my fill of photos for the day, we headed back to our (new) hotel room, and went for another swim in the pool. We also indulged in another vacation pleasure…watching cable TV in our hotel room!

The First Illinois State Capital

Today we drove down to Kaskaskia, IL, to check out the site of the first state capital. The town has both a complicated history and geography. It was founded by French Jesuits as a mission to Native Americans, and later became the capital of Upper Louisiana. It remained an important western location in the early years of American colonization and independence, and is known as the home of the “Liberty Bell of the West,” which was a gift from King Louis XV of France (inscribed with the words “For the Church of the Illinois, by gift of the King across the water”), and which was rung after George Rogers Clark and his men liberated the town on July 4, 1778.



Kaskaskia became the capital of the new Illinois Territory, and was briefly the capital of the state of Illinois after it was admitted to the union. The area has always been prone to flooding, however, and in 1881, the Mississippi River changed course, destroying most of the town, and leaving it on the wrong side of the river from the rest of the state. While it is still part of Illinois, despite being west of the river, it is today almost a ghost town, with just about a dozen residents calling it home. There is still a church there, however, which does hold weekly services.