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Category Archives: churches

Photo Essay: Historic Fredericksburg

Vereins Kirche
Vereins Kirche. Fredericksburg, Texas.

White Elephant Saloon
The former White Elephant Saloon, built in 1888. Downtown Frederickburg.

White Oak School. Fredericksburg, Texas
White Oak School, circa 1920. On the grounds of the Pioneer Museum.

White Oak sign
White Oak Sign. (A modern addition)

Chalkboard, White Oak School
Chalkboard with German phrase. Something about work…

Wagons, Pioneer Museum
Wagons at the Pioneer Museum.

For more information on the Pioneer Museum, Vereins Kirche, and the White Oak School, visit the Pioneer Museum website.

Travel Photos: Boston’s Trinity Church

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I know, I know. I said I was finished talking about Boston. But I just can’t resist sharing these photos of Boston’s beautiful, historically significant Trinity Church.

Designed by architect H. H. Richardson, this builidng is considered an excellent example of the Romanesque revival style, meaning it was influenced by the architecture of 10-12th century Europe. When the church was opened in 1877, its design was unique compared to many American churches–instead of creating a long central aisle (nave), the architect used a Greek cross plan, meaning that the central aisle and transepts are of equal length. In other words, the church is focused around a central core rather than featuring a long aisle that leads to the front of the church.

When we stayed in Boston, our hotel was located near Copley Square, and we walked by Trinity Church almost everyday. It is definitely worth a visit. Guided and self-guided tours are offered for $6 for adults, and children 16 and under are free.

Old South Church in Boston’s Back Bay

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As a fan of architecture, particularly Renaissance and Renaissance-inspired styles, I found plenty of beautiful buildings to explore in Boston. One of my favorites is the Old South Church, which can be found in the Back Bay neighborhood near Trinity Church and the Boston Public Library.


Inspired by the architecture of medieval Venice, architect Charles Amos Cummings began designing the church in 1872. You’ll find many Gothic design elements like round stained glass windows, pointed arches, and multi-colored stonework.



In addition to being a significant building architecturally, Old South Church also has a rich history. This particular building was completed in 1875, but the congregation itself was formed in 1669. Famous members of the church included Benjamin Franklin, Samuel Adams, William Dawes, and Phillis Wheatley.


Like many historic buildings in Boston, Old South Church does not charge an admission fee. I felt very welcomed as I stepped inside the church and was even encouraged by the woman working at the information desk to take as many pictures as I wanted. This is a lovely, quiet place to visit with or without children.



Back from Boston

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We’re back now after spending a week in Boston. I’m tired and a little bewildered to be back to real life, so this will be a very short post.

This trip was different for us since Nick’s primary goal in Boston was to attend a work-related conference. Therefore, E. and I spent most of the days on our own exploring the city. It was quite an adventure exploring an unfamiliar city with a three year old and without another adult.

This week (and possibly next), I’ll be writing all about our adventures in New England. Some of the highlights included a Duck Tour, a visit to Old South Church, and more than one stroll through the Public Garden. Hope you’ll join us.

(By the way, I took this photo from the steps of the Boston Public Library looking towards Trinity Church.)

Mission San Juan: Photos and Friendly Advice

A few tips to keep in mind when you visit Mission San Juan:

–As tempting as it might be, don’t allow kids to climb, walk, or sit on the stone walls. Keep in mind that many of these structures date back to the mid-1700s and need to be protected.

–Bring water and sunscreen. There isn’t much shade near the church, although you will find some along the trail leading to the San Antonio River.

–Definitely take a walk down the Yanaguana Trail, which can be found behind the church. Informative signs along the way make the walk that much more interesting. For instance, did you know that there used to be alligators living near the river? Yikes!

–Don’t forget to visit the other missions that are part of the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park. My favorite is Mission Concepción, the oldest unrestored stone church in the United States.

Guest Post: Off the Beaten Trail in Boston

I’m pleased to introduce Wandering Off’s very first guest post! Sara Keagle writes an outstanding blog called The Flying Pinto, which focuses on her adventures as a flight attendant. Today, she’s sharing her tips on visitng Boston with kids, and she definitely knows her stuff. In fact, she used to serve as a Boston tour guide! Be sure to check out her blog and follow her on Twitter (@theflyingpinto).

When planning a trip to Boston, Massachusetts with kids, there are of course the obvious activities–the Tea Party Ship, the Children’s Museum, and Boston’s fabulous New England Aquarium–but what I would like to offer are some choices slightly off the beaten trail.

Boston is a great walking city, but, with kids in tow, I recommend jumping on a sightseeing trolley. As a former Tour Guide, I can tell you the trolleys offer an overview of the city, a rich history lesson and the opportunity to jump on and off at all the major attractions. The “T” is a terrific and affordable way to get around for the remainder of your trip. I do not recommend renting a car as the parking is expensive (the hotels do not own any of the parking lots) and Boston is an extremely stressful city to drive around. Here are some hidden treasures off my must-see list:

Mapparium “This world-famous, three-story, painted glass globe is one of the key attractions at the Library. The Mapparium’s three-dimensional perspective of the world of 1935 is enhanced by A World of Ideas, an original presentation that features a rich orchestration of words, music, and LED lights to illustrate how ideas have traversed time and geography and changed the world,” says the Mary Baker Eddy Library website. It is literally a stained glass globe you walk through! Your children will delight in the fact that if you stand on one end of the bridge and your child stands on the other you can whisper and still be heard because the globe is a perfect sphere.

The Old North Church “The enduring fame of the Old North began on the evening of April 18, 1775, when the church sexton, Robert Newman, climbed the steeple and held high two lanterns as a signal from Paul Revere that the British were marching to Lexington and Concord by sea and not by land. This fateful event ignited the American Revolution.” This quaint church is right in the heart of Boston’s North End or “Little Italy.” The pews are called “box pews” and are like little rooms, the walls being about chest height. Families used to pay rent on them! Why not snuggle into a pew and read Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem about that famous ride by Paul Revere, “The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere?” I know experiencing history always made me appreciate and remember it better!

The U.S.S. Constitution or “Old Iron Sides,” is the oldest commissioned warship in the U.S. Navy. In order to stay commissioned it must set sail at least once a year and that it does. Every fourth of July it heads out into the Boston Harbor for the celebration, and when it returns they dock it in the opposite way it set sail, allowing the ship to weather evenly. Learn more about this famous ship on board. The tour is fabulous and it is free! You probably already had The Constitution on your itinerary, but the hidden treasure is how to get there–an inexpensive harbor ferry. The MBTA, Boston’s subway system, offers a ferry from Boston’s Long Wharf (right next to the New England Aquarium) to Charlestown where the ship is docked for only $1.70. What kid doesn’t like a boat ride?

Granary Burial Ground Call me crazy but I love old cemeteries and Boston has some of the greatest. The Old Granary Burial Ground is on The Freedom Trail, so you probably wouldn’t miss it and its famous residents, Paul Revere, Samuel Adams, John Hancock, Robert Treat Paine, Peter Faneuil, and more. However, older kids might find it interesting that Mother Goose, whose real name was Elizabeth Vergoose, resides here as well.

No Name This restaurant without a name was finally given one by the locals–No Name! Located out on Fish Pier, there are no bells and whistles, just extremely fresh seafood. In 1917, the restaurant opened as a diner for local fisherman returning from sea. In my opinion, it is the best quality seafood for the price, and it has a family-friendly atmosphere.

The Boston Public Garden Of course you probably wouldn’t miss this, it’s where the famous Swan Boat Rides are located. But, what you might miss is that this park is a beautiful arboretum. There are over 100 types of trees, and they are all labeled. The other hidden treasure in this park is the row of duck statues from the famous children’s book, “Make Way for Ducklings.” You can find Jack, Kack, Lack, Mack, Nack, Ouack, Pack, and Quack. At there are some super ideas for incorporating the story into your visit.

Fenway Park Everyone thinks about going to a game, and it’s a real treat inside the “green monster.” But, have you ever thought about taking a tour of Fenway Park? The fifty-minute walking tour is offered throughout the year. Check out their web site for more details: Boston Red Socks

Ok, seriously, I could go on! As you can probably tell, Boston is a city I am passionate about. I always recommend learning about your destination beforehand with your kids to get them excited. The ideas are endless with Boston, and your kids may actually…gasp…learn something!

Historic St. Stanislaus Church

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Built in 1876 of native limestone, St. Stanislaus Church is the second oldest Polish church in the U.S.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves by starting this story in 1876. The real beginning occurred in 1855 when 16 Polish families made the long journey to Bandera to settle. Four years later, they began to construct a small log building that would serve as their first church.

This story reminds me of the first, small St. Louis Church in Castroville. (To learn more about stone churches in Castroville, read my post Churches Big and Small in Castroville, Texas.) It is amazing to think about how much was accomplished in such a short amount of time, how a group of settlers in a foreign land were able to go from humble one-room churches to beautiful stone structures capable of holding larger congregations.

For more information on the history of St. Stanislaus Church, visit the church website.


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