This is what holidays, travels, vacations are about. It is not really rest or even leisure we chase. We strain to renew our capacity for wonder, to shock ourselves into astonishment once again.”
–Shana Alexander, “The Roman Astonishment,” in Life (1967)
Shana Alexander has named something so essential to not only travel but to life itself: our capacity for wonder and astonishment. How much of life would we miss if we looked, but did not see, the amazement right before our eyes? What would our lives be if we lost our capacity for wonder and astonishment?
My family and I just completed an opportunity to enrich these capacities within ourselves. Rick, our son Brendon, and I traveled together to the northeastern states of Pennsylvania and New York and then crossed the border into Ontario, Canada. We traveled along the rolling hills and mountains of Pennsylvania, witnessed past accomplishments of talented baseball players at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, visited the home of one I have long admired, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, who tirelessly pursued justice for women, and experienced the life-force, and yes wonder, of Niagara Falls in Ontario.
Of course, the best part is that we traveled as family, which for me increased the depth, meaning, and joy of all that we experienced. How could I not return home full of gratitude for this venture?
Here is a photo journey that outlines the points and pleasures of our travel together:
Our first stop was to “the sweetest place on earth,” Hershey, Pennsylvania, where Milton Hershey perfected the process of producing milk chocolate. A great story of innovation and vision.
Flytes of chocolate, from dark bitter to milk chocolate sweet! My favorite? Always dark chocolate. We were told there’s a little over 1,000 calories in these six flytes!
Cooperstown, New York — Baseball Hall of Fame
I was taken by this quote because of my family history. On many an evening my parents sat on their front porch, listening to a Cubs game on the radio. I am certain they “saw” every play!
One of the Twins great players honored in the Hall of Fame.
Brendon at the Baseball Hall of Fame, Cooperstown, NY.
Seneca Falls, New York — The Home of Elizabeth Cady Stanton
The home of Elizabeth Cady Stanton
A statue of Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton being introduced by a mutual friend. It was a lifelong friendship, based on a passion for women’s rights, especially the right to vote. The nineteenth amendment to allow women the vote was passed in 1920. Neither woman lived to see it happen.
Niagara Falls–Ontario, Canada
Niagara Falls, where we shocked ourselves “into astonishment once again.”
We spent our last evening in Canada at a casino, where a delicious buffet meal of various ethnic dishes was served. Rick won eleven Canadian dollars!