Accessible by Car


Even though we like buses and trains, having a car can be really nice, especially since we don’t have one very often. It doesn’t matter how comically small it is or how likely it is that the kids will get motion sickness, it opens up options that just don’t exist with public transportation. In between Cornwall and Yorkshire, we visited three locations we wouldn’t have been able to reach otherwise.

We reached Stonehenge not long before the grounds closed. The sky was beautiful and blue and crowds had thinned out so it was easy to take good pictures. I’m not sure what else there is to do but walk around the monument, examining it and taking pictures from all sides and wondering why this thing has been able to survive when so many artifacts of its era, things that could give it context, have disappeared. I’m glad we saw it, but can’t imagine wanting to spend much longer than we did. In 5,000 years will people wonder why there’s another one on the other side of the world, or will the records that we keep today survive until then?

After our day of shopping in London we wanted to have a different kind of experience so we visited the London Temple. Jenny and I each took a turn serving in the temple while the other stayed outside and showed Elena and Roman around the grounds. The peaceful temple environment provided a sharp contrast to the hustle and bustle of the big city.

On the last leg of our drive home we stopped at Woolsthorpe Manor, where Isaac Newton grew up. They had a number of child-friendly activities and displays explaining his work. Elena is still too young to have understood the ideas, but she liked making and shooting a rocket, along with all the spinning, rolling, and throwing of things that was involved in the other displays. Roman also liked rolling and throwing whatever he could find, although the equal and opposite reactions to his actions meant that things generally moved away from where they were supposed to be. The house itself was well-staffed with helpful docents and we had a good time looking for toy mice hidden in each room; by finding all of them Elena earned a sticker! My favorite part of the day was a brief moment of contemplation in front of the famous apple tree (or perhaps its nearest descendant) before the rain started to come down harder, forcing us to retreat to the car. With that last cultural experience under our belts, we headed out and soon found ourselves safely back at home.

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