We left Connecticut behind and headed for the RV Park and Marina in Jersey City, New Jersey. This is conveniently located just about 20 miles from Tim's daughter, Kristin, and her family and across the harbor from New York City one way and the Statue of Liberty the other. It was definitely a challenge to drive through city traffic with the RV towing our car. When we arrived, we noted, however, that RVs much bigger than ours had made a simlar journey. I honestly don't know how they maneuver in those streets. I must commend Tim for his expertise in handling our vehicle.
That afternoon before the mass exodus from "the city" started, we drove out to see the kids. We spent a quiet afternoon with Graydon (8), Greer (14), Graeme (16) and Kristin (don't worry, I won't divulge it) on their new outdoor living area under beautiful blue skies. We were amazed to see how much they have grown since we last saw them in April. Greer went off baby sitting and Graydon decided to draw pictures for us and keep us entertained with the games he quickly invents. He has a great imagination. After Peter got home, we had dinner and drove back into the RV park. Another testatment to challenging driving (even in just a car) as we are not used to driving at night especially on highways we don't know.
Saturday, September 22nd
Greer played badminton with Pop-Pop. The fall air was decidely crisp and wonderfully refreshing.
We left before dark to avoid any issues with the highways and drove to the dock in Jersey City. From our vantage point, we could see the Twin Towers Memorial building that is still under construction. At the dock there is a 9-11 Memorial and you can't help but wonder how many people stood in that exact spot on 9-11, willing, but unable to help the victims of that terrible day.
We dined at a local Irish pub and made it an early night.
Sunday, September 23rd
We met, Kristin and Peter and their children at Liberty Park so we could take the ferry to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. Fortunately, the thunder storm from late last night was long gone and the blue skies and billowy white clouds promised another wonderful day to spend with the kids. Before the ferry, there is a September 11th Memorial for all of the New Jersey residents who perished on that day. If you look down between the two walls you can see where the Towers were.
|Kristin, Peter, Graeme and Graydon at the New Jersey Towers Memorial|
Since we had been there in 1995, Ellis Island has many more exhibits and we were able to use the headsets for self guided audio tours. From the tour and the pamphlet, we learned that starting in 1892 about twelve million people came through Ellis Island looking for a better life. Two of those people were my paternal grandparents, John and Ellen (nee Keating) Leahy and two of their children. My genealogy information is at home and not with me as I write this, but I have the date that they arrived in America and the name of the boat they came over on from Ireland. Standing in the same rooms, the Registry, the Health Inspection and the major halls, I got a sense of how it must have been extremely intimidating to them and all of the others as they were separated, questioned, examined, poked and prodded before being allowed to enter. My ancestors were allowed to enter with no problems, but, sadly, some were not allowed to enter and were returned to their homeland. Some call this island the "Island of Hope" while others call it "Island of Tears."
|Picture of Eye Examinations with Button Hook|
After lunch, we boarded the ferry taking us to Liberty Island. We didn't go ashore here as the Statue is under going renovations and we wouldn't be allowed to enter it. The history of the Statue of Liberty is that in France in 1865 a group of French intellectuals, led by Edouard de Laboulaye, were unhappy with what they felt was political repression in their own country and decided to make a statement honoring the ideals of freedom and liberty present in America with a symbolic gift. Sculptor, Auguste Bartholdi, completed the "Liberty Enlightening the World" sculpture. The height of the statue is 151 feet and the thickness of the copper skin is 3/32nd of an inch or about the thickness of two pennies. It was dedicated in New York harbor on October 28, 1886. This year they are celebrating the 125th anniversary of this historic event.
|Statue of Liberty|
|Pop-Pop, Graeme and Greer|
|Greer, Peter, Graydon, Kristin, and Graeme|
We settled for excellent views from the water and a wonderful ride around the harbor before landing back at Liberty Park.
|Let the Race Begin|
Reluctantly, we said our goodbyes to Peter, Kristin and the crew with proimises to see them again at Christmas. We enjoyed our three days with them immensely and just love being with the children and seeing how they change and grow each time we venture north.