[Ed.: And with a new school year just days away, I glanced at the blog to realize that I had never hit “publish” on our last, and some might argue, most important blog post of the 2017-2018 year!! So many apologies. Here it is.]
In their own words…
Every year, the 5th/6th groups take overnight trips somewhere. This year, Diane and Mark’s group went to Cooperstown for two nights and three days. Conshohocken to Cooperstown is about four and a half hours by car. Wow! That’s a pretty long drive, even when we split up the drive into a two hour period, two 30 minute periods, and a three hour one, it still felt insanely long. But when you’re with your friends, you always find some way to keep yourself entertained. One of my favorite activities was taking 30 second videos of people being crazy. When you watched them, you would have to try not to laugh, and you would fail. In Diane and Scott’s van, we were constantly playing games, sometimes with the person right next to you, and sometimes with everybody in the van! When we weren’t playing games, we would all quietly listen to music and stare out a window. Sometimes we could do that for an entire hour. Even though the whole trip was incredibly fun, I think everyone had an amazing time in the vans! (Nico)
To go on the trip to Cooperstown, we split into two main groups, which were the groups that we were with if we ever got in the vans for anything. The announcement of the groups was exciting and nerve-wracking. That would be the group you would be with for about half of the trip. My van was pretty fun, too. We played Truth or Dare, MASH (a silly game that predicts who you will marry, where you’ll live, what your job will be, and all that stuff). We had a fun time singing along to music. We were in the van traveling with our groups for two hours to the anthracite coal mine, for 30 minutes to Knoebels, and for 30 minutes to the hotel. The next day was a three hour ride to Cooperstown, and on the third day, it was about a five hour ride back to Miquon [ed.: including a stop for dinner]. Overall, I can say I had a great time with my van group and had the perfect amount of quiet and fun. (James)
The first thing we did at the Pioneer Tunnel Coal Mine was play on the playground. Then we went in the actual mine in a mine car. It was a really bumpy ride, and water droplets were falling from the ceiling so people were getting a little wet. When we got out, we were 800 feet under the top of the mountain in the mine. The guide showed us around the mine. First, we saw a coal vein on the wall of the mine. We also saw the supports for the mine. Next we saw a lamp in a box; the mule drivers could use their whip to blow out its light. We got to press down on a thing that activates lights and makes it look like explosives blew up. We also saw something called a second exit, which is another exit. It was a ladder that took 20 minutes to climb. Sometimes they would bring a canary down into the coal mine to see if the air was safe, because since there were open flames, gases in the air could blow up.
We took a supposed steam train ride, but the engine was in for repair, so we did the same thing except moving the train was a yellow, battery-operated thing. We got to see a beautiful view. We heard about people who illegally dug for coal. The companies sent people who were just coal mine police to bring them in for trial for digging for coal illegally. We also found out that there was a big fire in a coal mine [ed.: Centralia]. If they tried to flood it, the water would just evaporate, and if they tried to smother it, the fire would just disintegrate the stuff that fell on it. So they just have to wait it out. They used to bring people to see the smoke, but you can’t see it any more. (Cian)
When we got to Pioneer Tunnel Coal mine we saw more or less what we thought we would see — a gift shop, the entrance to the mine, some picnic benches, bathrooms, etc. Downhill, we also saw a cinderblock building with big gold lettering saying, “Anthracite Heritage Museum.” Now we made pretty good time getting there, so after touring the mine and taking the train ride, we went down to the building. It was only $1.50 per person, so we decided to spend some spare time there. Even though it only had three rooms, it was full of really cool artifacts, such as old safety goggles that probably protected you less than your average glasses. It also had interesting models of mines and breakers. If you were in the coal group, everything you had been learning all spring and more was right there in front of you. If not, it had all you would ever want to learn in front of you. Even though we spent only about 45 minutes in it, I saw tons of interesting artifacts and information. Even though we didn’t plan to come here, it was a great experience. (Theo)
After we left the Pioneer Tunnel Coal Mine, we drove about 25 minutes to Knoebels Amusement Park. I think it’s safe to say that most of the class had a lot of fun there. Some of the kids went on the really big rides, like the Impulse or Phoenix. I’m not really one for big roller coasters, but even I had a lot of fun on stuff like Skloosh and the Giant Flume. That day we ate both meals at Knoebels. Once was a picnic lunch where we got to Knoebels, got our lunch boxes, sat down, and ate lunch. For the second meal we chose a food place and got some food. I got a burger and my friend got nine pierogies. (Milo)
On our trip, we stayed overnight twice — at the Fairfield Inn and at the Bayside Inn and Marina. On the first night, we stayed in the inn. The girls got one room and the boys got two rooms. (There are more of them.) When we got to the inn, we got changed and went to the pool. The pool was really, really fun. We played lots of games, like Crocodile (a game where you see who can hold their breath the longest), and Moss (a football game). Once we were done, we had a little snack and went to bed. In the morning, we went down to the lobby and had breakfast. After that, we got in the vans and started driving to Cooperstown! (Abby)
On the second day of the trip, after a delicious pizza lunch, we piled into the vans for a short drive to The Farmers’ Museum. We walked through a hall with a few exhibits in a museum space. At the end of the hall we walked through two doors that led outside. The first thing I saw was a beautiful carousel, and behind it there was a bunch of old-fashioned houses. It was like a little village. We didn’t think we could ride the carousel, so we kept on walking. Then the man who operated the carousel went over to Mark and asked if we had registered as a school group, because if we had, we could ride the carousel. Unfortunately, we had not, and Mark told the man sorry, but we didn’t register as a school group. The man said, “Thank you for your honesty,” and since Mark was honest, we could ride the carousel! We were all so excited and grateful. The carousel was fascinating. All the things you could ride on represented some part of New York. My friends and I rode a ride from Coney Island called The Love Tub, and it had a wheel that you could spin to turn the tub around. We spun it really, really fast at first, but slowed down when we got dizzy.
After that, we dispersed into the old-fashioned village. In some of the houses, there were people dressed up in old-fashioned clothes who talked about the job they had that connected to the building they were in. We meandered through the village, and some people got to ride in a cart pulled by horses.
ADD VIDEO OF PRINT SHOP (IF POSSIBLE)
The first house I went into was a broom shop. We learned about how people discovered that while it was not good for feeding animals, broom corn, was excellent for sweeping the floor. Then I went into a general store that was actually a gift shop. They had lots of nice things for sale. There were a few houses with displays that you could walk through. There was a blacksmith, and we watched a demonstration of how to make a nail. My favorite was the print shop, where we got to help using the printing machines. We learned that girls as well as boys could work in a print shop, because they had smaller fingers and could spell better, since they stayed in school longer. There was also a church, a graveyard garden [ed.: kitchen garden], doctor’s house, farmhouse, and more. In the back we saw fields with horses, a barn with chickens, and a pasture with sheep. There were three adorable lambs. It was a fantastic experience. If you ever take a trip to Cooperstown, you should visit The Farmers’ Museum. (Zady)
The second place we stayed was called Bayside Inn and Marina. I thought it was so cute. All the little cottages and the mini-beach really gave the place a nice touch. The girls stayed in a small cottage with two bedrooms and a pullout couch. The boys stayed in a larger house with several bedrooms and two pullout sofas. It was so fun, with so many things we could do. Some people went to the beach, others walked over to the arcade, and some just stayed in their rooms. The girls had a nice location, because when you looked outside you could see the water and the beach and it all felt very relaxing. It was also a good learning experience. The place charged $100 extra for cleaning, so everyone had to make the beds, vacuum, etc. (Naomi)
There was a small beach at the Bayside Inn and Marina with boats for guests. We went kayaking on Otsego Lake. Otsego Lake is in Cooperstown, NY, and is a mile wide and twelve miles long. I went in a one-person kayak, but other people went in a two-person kayak. Some people went two times in a kayak, and two people didn’t even go in a kayak. I only went once, but it was really fun. In the kayak, you have to turn right to go left. If you are in a two-person kayak, don’t splash your partner! (A.J.)
In the evening of the second day, we had a sneak preview visit to the town of Cooperstown itself and to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
The next morning, it was time for breakfast. When we were planning the trip we noticed that Bayside Inn and Marina does not provide breakfast, so we decided that we were going to make our own. Here are some things we ate: pancakes, eggs, bananas, and orange juice. Everything was very tasty and we all had a fun time preparing, eating, and cleaning up after breakfast. (Naomi)
On the third day of the trip, we went to the Fenimore Art Museum in Cooperstown. This museum is famous for its rich history as well as its famous collections of fine and folk art. The main building that serves as the inside art area of the museum has three levels. There is a ground level that serves as an entry/admission area as well as a place where you can find collections of folk and fine art. There is also a sub-level or basement to the museum that has photo galleries [ed.: and galleries of local Native American art]. I am not sure what is on the second floor because we had only a short stay at the museum. [ed.: It contained an exhibit about Alexander Hamilton and also costumes from Eugene Berman’s re-imagined Barber of Seville.] The Fenimore Art Museum has a cafe that has a beautiful, outside sitting area that looked particularly pretty on the day our class was there, because of the perfect weather conditions.
One of my favorite parts of the experience was the stand they had set up in the folk art exhibit that had rainbow scratch pads and instructions, like: Make sure to give back the stick when you are done. What you were supposed to do — or recommended to do at least — was to draw something based on something you see in the exhibit. It was really cool to see different people’s interpretations of these famous pieces.
Even though the class didn’t spend much time at the museum, it was one of my favorite parts of the trip. I would recommend going to the Fenimore Art Museum next time you’re going through Cooperstown. The building is beautiful, the staff is helpful, the art is incredible, and there’s a place to eat inside the building. There are indoor and outdoor attractions, and it is right by the edge of Otsego Lake, which is beautiful no matter the time of year. It is conveniently located by other museums, such as The Farmers’ Museum, which is also a really great place.
There are some restraints and less fun aspects of The Fenimore. For example, unless you are at the Fenimore Cafe, there is no food or drink allowed, which means you can’t bring your lunch or other meal to the museum. Juniors (13-18) pay the full price of adults (13 dollars USD) and there isn’t a student discount, so if you are doing a class trip, it could add up if the students are past the age of 12. There is also no photography in some locations at the museum. I understand all the things are for the best of the museum and the art. The good things outnumber the bad, and if I had to rate the museum and the experience I would give it a ten out of ten. (Caleb)
Once we finished the inside of the art museum, we went out to the big outside porch and down onto a field. Even though we weren’t studying Native Americans, we visited two different people in two areas of the backyard, and both told us about Native American. I guess it was a school thing. The first person we visited told us about Native American stories and how they were used to communicate news to different tribes. Then we did a fun dance for some reason. The next person told us about athletic games like lacrosse. We even got to play lacrosse and another game like lacrosse, called double ball (my personal favorite part). After that, we walked around the museum, got into our vans, and drove to the next place. (Maia)
Pioneer Patio was one of the many places we could eat on the trip. Each student got twenty-five dollars to spend on any food they want (lunch and dinner), If there was any money left over, it was yours to spend on whatever you want. Every student got to choose from any restaurant on the main street in Cooperstown. A majority of students went to Pioneer Patio for lunch on the last day. Every student ordered their own food. At the end, after everyone ate their food, everyone had to pitch in the money for their meal, including tip. Some of the kids who ate there left too early and the kids who paid had to pay some extra. [ed.: There was also some confusion because the tip had already been added to the check.] At the end, everyone was happy with their food. (Dove)
When we had the opportunity to go in groups to any restaurant, two people went to the Cooperstown Diner. (Some people who had gone the night before did not like it too much because it was inexpensive and had only four or five tables.) But we loved it!
Earlier that day, we had received Hall of Fame tickets that our teacher warned us we could not lose. But after a delicious burger at the diner, we were walking to the Hall of Fame and I realized — I forgot my ticket!! We ran back to the diner and looked everywhere, but we could not find it. Out of the blue (or the back of the diner) a strange man came with a knife! He was cutting bread. He said, “I’ll let you into the Hall of Fame.” We were wondering how and why he would do that. As were were walking down to the Hall of Fame, he said he is the Vice President of the Hall of Fame. He just walked up to the front desk where you show your tickets, and said, “Let these fellas in.” It was so cool! I am sort of glad I lost my ticket. The Hall of Fame was amazing. (James)
Our last meal of the trip was at a Panera Bread in Wilkes-Barre, on our way back home. When we got there, we all got in line to order. Normally, when you order they give you trackers that light up and vibrate when your food is ready. The trackers did not light up or vibrate there; instead, a worker brought all the food to the tables. Some people got sandwiches, but most people got a soup or mac and cheese. A couple of people also got a pastry for the long ride back to Miquon. (Leah)