by Lauren Rubin
Visiting historic cities can be a super fun time with kids. Especially as they get a little older and have had a few lessons in American history. They recognize things they have talked about in school and are able to make interesting observations of their own. But, let’s face it, they are still kids, away from home, which can often descend into a stress-filled experience punctuated by whining, complaining and arguments that leave the adults asking themselves, “Was this really worth it?!”.
My favorite part of touring a new place is drinking in all the new surroundings. Just walking up and down the old streets, sitting in the plazas, eating ice cream and watching locals living their daily lives.
Touring the South over Christmas vacation with my 9 and 11 year olds opened my eyes to a new level of details. We mainly explored Savannah and Charleston, taking in the different types of trees, streets and sidewalk patterns, the cracked uneven steps, and the interesting shapes, colors and patterns on walls and floors.
Some of the details we liked the best:
The sidewalks in Savannah are paved with Oyster shells. Nothing at all like a typical New York City sidewalk!
In Charleston, the texture of the streets is created from large paved stones. There are only a few areas left in New York that have this old cobblestone feel.
The streets down by the Savannah River Walk are paved with historic bricks. The variety of color and texture makes a beautiful pattern and some are still inscribed with the original brick factory brand
In Charleston, where the bricks have been deteriorating off the side of a building and the concrete shows below…. It created a whimsical pattern like a brick camouflage pattern or the skin of a giraffe. We all had our own ideas.
We loved the bright rainbow and pastel colors on window shutters and building facades and the beautiful twisted ironwork railings:
Kids are always drawn to the risky and mine were definitely up to this challenge. “Historic Steps….Use at your own risk” …that detail was a real crowd pleaser…
I love to visit museums, tour historic homes, shop in markets, but my real love is just…to roam. I try to instill this love of wandering in my children. I want them to observe and interpret their environments and the built world around them. What’s the same? What’s different? How does it make them feel? And I have found that – it’s all in the details.
And after all that wandering, when everyone is tired and hungry? There is nothing like delicious local food to put a smile on their faces!