Up and Down Jennings Street

It was the Zucchini 500 at the Historic Newburgh Farmer’s Market that got my attention this morning. Who wouldn’t want to convert a squash into their own mobile and then send it careening down a race track? Alas, I was a day too late to sign my kids up to build their own, but I was undeterred. It was just over 70 degrees and not a drop of humidity to be felt. In my jubilant mood, I announced my plans of the Farmer’s Market to the kids. Per usual, they answered with varying tones of argument, some flat out rejecting it. But I’d already opened five windows and felt the cool morning air in my hair. We were GOING, zucchini or no zucchini!zucchini-500

I marched kid after kid out of the kitchen to find something to wear with jovial “this will be awesomes” and “can’t you waits?!” They would eventually get excited, right? As they moaned and groaned, images of our typical Farmer’s Market’s trips began coming to mind.

Me bombarding person after person with my stroller.

Quinn lying face down in the gravel, despondent because he didn’t have whatever.

The kids and I in a sweaty pile outside the Market.

Me attempting to attack dozens of sticky fingers with half a baby wipe.

Older kids emitting a collective whine.

My memories could easily become perilous predictions…How could I head off the natural clamor and chaos they caused?

So I thought…maybe if I let the kids choose where to go, what to do, how and when….

Then there it was. The idea. “Let’s do a scavenger hunt!” I cried. The kids, now enthusiastic, helped me create the list, buzzing with ideas of what we could find (I vetoed Diet Coke and Ben and Penny’s as neither technically were at the Market). Once our list was finished, I added emoticons so that the kids who couldn’t read could still enjoy searching for what we’d found or what was next in our search.

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With each note slipped into a ziploc bag, we were off! Audi was at Grandma and Grandpa’s in Indianapolis, but the boys were great companions to Anni and me!

Lucas found it absolutely hilarious to take pictures of me while I wasn’t paying attention to what he was doing, but he did capture Anni trying to walk just like her brothers on the stone retaining walls up and down Jennings Street. And that was fun!

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This particular trip “to the downtown river” as Quinn calls it, was more exciting than usual for me, as just yesterday I picked up an easy, interesting read from the library, Rivertown Tales: Newburgh Stories from Days Gone ByI have now been acquainted with the Fuquay family, the Sprinkles, the Hopkinses, the Garwoods, and the Newburgh Presbyterian Church, not to mention the dangers of Cave-in-Rock and tragedies of drownings that plagued the Ohio River as well. Being riveted to that book last night primed me for perfect receptiveness of the town’s visual history today!

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Rivertown Tales: Newburgh Stories from Days Gone By by MaryBelle Hopkins Estes, 1997

I enjoyed an overwhelming, new fondness for the river that has shaped this town and its history, and perhaps I felt slightly more connected to its people too.

In this peaceful, reflective mood, I directed the pursuit of the items on our list.

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The first things we came upon were historic houses and giant leaves. Quinn and Lucas fished through an assortment of dead and dying greenery while Alex read to us from each landmark plate.

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Although I didn’t recognize some of the names he read, many of them I did–which only further expanded my feelings of being in touch with the town’s history.

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Further down the way we stopped to play some corn hole in front of the Refinery. The kids, even Anni, enjoyed that!

We quite easily made our way into the Farmer’s Market too. Arriving before 10 was a fantastic idea. There were still plenty of monster oatmeal creme pies and chocolate zucchini bread in the booths. And we had our choice picks of eucalyptus and goat milk and spearmint and orange soaps to purchase. The kids marveled at the bars, and Alex chimed in, “I’m not sure how to use that, but I think I’ll learn,” which later proved to be true.

After checking off all our items, we finished our hunt with Engelbrecht Orchard‘s apple cider slushies and Lolly’s Pop Bar‘s fruit and creme popsicles–a fresh peach one for me and an old fashioned chocolate for Quinn. I savored every piece of peach that surfaced in that pop, thinking about the history penned in Rivertown Tales of homemade peach ice cream right here in Newburgh. How many women’s events and socials and homecomings and picnics had the cool treat been a part of!

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We tied up our adventure with a quick peak into Newburgh’s four Feather Your Nest antique/consignment shops, me browsing through frames of all sizes for my latest dream of finding an old flatboat or steamboat on the Ohio. I had no luck, but rewarded the kids for not breaking anything and walking so nicely with me to a trip to a children’s boutique and Melissa and Doug-lover’s dream shop, Hooray! We found a few knights and a princess to add to our Medieval Castle.

We wandered once more through the Farmer’s Market and picked up the last of the Be Happy Pie Company‘s monster creme cookies (this thing is chockful of Reese’s pieces, chocolate chips, macadamia nuts and mini M&M’s, plus the creme stuffed inside). We found ourselves parched after all the sugar and finished our adventure with some ice cold lemonade from solo cups. Anni was delighted to have her own, and didn’t miss a beat, drinking straight from the cup like a pro.

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The end of the trip for me was slicing up one of my Amish-grown tomatoes and piling high with avocado and bacon on a toasted piece of Dave’s Killer Bread!

Now, how can I possibly top this adventure? I suppose we will all have to wait a week and see.

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