The national parks celebrate July 4th

Looking for things to do today to help celebrate the fourth of July? Then look no further than the U.S. National Parks, many of which are hosting special events to celebrate Independence Day.

For example, Mt. Rushmore has a full schedule of activities set for the day that includes folk dancing, autographs from historical figures, music, and informational talks given by the rangers. In the evening, there will be a lighting ceremony, a film and a patriotic rendition of the national anthem. All of these events will take place in the shadow of one of the best known monuments in the world, in which four former Presidents watch over the region. (Cost: Free!)

Visitors to Morristown National Historic Park, located in New Jersey, can enjoy a live reading of the Declaration of Independence by a park ranger in a traditional historical costume. Prior to the reading, there will be stories, jokes, and riddles delivered by the staff, and an inspection of the Revolutionary era troops as well. After the reading there will be live music provided by historical balladeer Linda Russell too. (Cost: Free!)

Over in Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia, there will be a traditional 1860’s era celebration, with a picnic, band concerts, and patriotic speeches in honor of the founding fathers. There will also be a display of the “Wonders of the World” circa 1860 as well, and visitors can compete in the militia games in such events as tug-of-war and a water bucket brigade. (Cost: $6/car or $4/person on foot or bike)

The 4th of July is celebrated in grand style in the Colorado National Monument where they raise the flag 450 feet above the canyon floor to the top of Independence Monument, the tallest free standing rock formation in the park. That formation will be scaled by 30 rock climbers who will deliver “Old Glory” to its resting place for the day. There will also be guided walks through the park and inspirational stories told as well. (Cost: Free!)

Valley Forge National Park will have an Independence Day celebration of its own with living history demonstrations that include artillery from the Revolutionary War. Vendors will be selling hamburgers and hotdogs, and there will be plenty of games and crafts for the kids to enjoy as well. (Cost: Free!)

This is just a taste of some of the events going on in the National Parks today. Check out to see what your favorite park has planned. Chances are, you’ll be able to celebrate the day with some fun activities.

Happy 4th of July everyone!

[Photo credit:]

Happy 4th of July thanks to 7000 dominos

I was looking for YouTube footage of the 4th of July parade in Hannibal, Missouri, one of my most memorable 4th of July’s ever, when I came across this marvelous effort that worked. Flippy Cat didn’t set up the dominoes, but he makes a comment about them. Very cool.

Here are two other top 4th of July’s.

Sitting in the car in the cemetery in Philipsburg, Montana with my husband and two kids watching fireworks go off from various parts of town. There wasn’t an organized fireworks display, just random people doing their own thing. My son who was four at the time said, “This is a fireworks festival.” About the cemetery. We aren’t morbid. The cemetery is the highest point of the town, thus has the best views.

At Old Sturbridge Village in Sturbridge, Massachusetts with my family and friends on a trip back through time to 1790-1840 for a reading of the Declaration of Independence in the town square. This historic village is one of the best I’ve been to and worth the trip.

Hope your 4th of July is swell. If you can swing it one day, there’s nothing more fun than a small town parade where candy is thrown like confetti.

Celebrate the 4th of July in Boston on the cheap!

The Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel is running a very special … special.

The Marriott-owned South Boston treasure (near Logan International Airport, downtown, and, you know, the waterfront) has announced a great package for you patriots to experience Beantown July 1-10 and celebrate the spirit of ’76!

The independence-themed “Boston Summer Renaissance” deal includes:

  • Rate of $149 per night, based on double occupancy
  • Deluxe overnight accommodations
  • Boston historical attractions and walking map
  • Faneuil Hall Marketplace “Passport of Savings” booklet
  • Use of health club and lap pool

The hotel is within walking distance to Boston’s Children Museum, New England Aquarium, Institute of Contemporary Art — why not take your children to Boston for a little cleverly-masked summer school?

There’s also a terrific restaurant; 606 Congress, run by executive chef Gregory Griffie with the creative direction of celebrity chef Michael Schlow.

To take advantage of the deal, enter the word “BAR” when making online reservations, or call 1-800-HOTELS1 and ask for the “Boston Summer Renaissance” package. The usual taxes and gratuities may apply. Check out the gallery below for more pics — this hotel looks as good as apple pie!

Old Sturbridge Village Takes You Back In Time

One of my most patriotic 4th of Julys was spent at Old Sturbridge Village in Sturbridge, Massachussets two years ago. Old Sturbridge Village is a living history museum that is an entire rural New England town set in the time period 1790 to 1840. Even though the buildings look original, several are reconstructions, but honestly, you won’t be able to tell the difference. All are situated just as they might have looked way back when. My favorites are the buildings where crafts people make their wares like candles and tin lanterns. There is also a working farm that follows the seasons. The whole place has the aura of a time warp since the people who work there are in period costumes and talk to visitors as if they are living way back when. Here’s the on-line tour that highlights the buildings and their purpose.

On the 4th of July, in addition to walking around the town to take in the various homes, business establishments, and the school house, you can gather at the village commons to hear the Declaration of Independence being read by a person dressed like a government official. My experience with the Declaration of Independence before this was reading it in some social studies textbook with a quiz attached. This way was much better. The reading was only part of the day’s activities. There was baseball game, crafts, a fife and drum band that marched around the commons and a hot air balloon.