As my husband and I began planning a summer vacation, we weren’t actually sure where we wanted to go. Arizona would be much too hot. We had already visited California and Florida. So we decided to visit New England.
In preparing for our trip, I contacted the Rhode Island Community Foundation to ask for some suggestions on where to go and what to see. The lady I spoke with was very helpful in providing me with ample information for our trip. She even went as far as sending me several maps and tourist guides in the mail.
While talking with her, she cautioned me to book hotels soon. Continuing on, she stated New Englanders take Fourth of July to the next level, noting she is originally from California and saw the difference between New England and the rest of the country.
The more I thought about it, the more I started looking forward to being right where America started on Independence Day. I’m not much of a history buff, but when in New England, I think you have to explore at least some of the sites that hold the beginning and history of America.
So off on vacation we went. First stop Boston. Boston is a city full of history. We were able to see the site of the Boston Tea Party as well as the graves of those killed in the Boston Massacre. We traveled the same streets as Paul Revere as he yelled his famous words, “The British are coming!” We were also able to tour Fenway Park and learn more about America’s pastime. And what would a trip to Boston be without a visit to the Bull and Finch Pub, better known as “Cheers.”
While in Boston, we took a short drive to Salem to explore the town made famous for spells, witches, and ghosts. Although not credited for the beginning of our country, Salem still holds much history of our ancestors and their fight to preserve what they felt was right.
Next stop, Rhode Island. My husband and I spent one day in Newport seeing the sites. One of my favorite places was the Mansions of Newport. We visited two of these mansions made of marble, gold and the finest furniture to fill them. These mansions are enormous by today’s standards so I can’t imagine the attention they received when they were built. The two we toured took approximately five years to build!
When touring the mansions, I just assumed the families who built them were rich and that was all there was to know. However, I found each family had their own stories, but one more interesting to me than the other. The “Marble House,” was home Alva Vanderbilt, a lady who was improper and rebellious for her time. Back then, proper women were always dressed to perfection and were seen and not heard. However, Ms. Vanderbilt was much different. She was instrumental in the women’s suffrage movement, holding secret meetings with other women. Displayed in this house were dishes used for these meetings, fine China engraved with the words “Vote for Women.”
All of these sites hold their own different piece of American history, but they have one thing in common. Each of these now famous sites started with someone believing in a cause, fighting for it, and whether they won or lost, they left a legacy. Their legacies are remembered today and will continue to be remembered for years to come.
Do you have a cause you believe in? Do you want to know how to leave a legacy for years to come? If you answered yes to either of these, the Community Foundation of Grundy County may be able to assist you. The Foundation has several options for you to leave a legacy in the community while helping a cause you believe in. For more information on this, contact the Community Foundation at (815) 941-0852.