The new Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum is a wondrous, amazing place. You should make plans to go there immediately, if you haven't already been. You'll take photos next to wax Lincolns. You'll see two fabulous multi-media presentations about Lincoln's life, either one of which validates the entire trip.
If you have kids with you--and maybe even if you don't--you won't want to miss Abraham's Attic, where you can play with Lincoln Logs--which, BTW, were invented in 1916 by John Lloyd Wright, son of the illustrious architect Frank Lloyd Wright.
In the attic you can also dress up in period costumes, and play with replica toys from Lincoln's day--like a ball on a string attached to a tiny cup on a stick. I don't know what it's called, but the object is to swing the ball so that it lands in the cup. It's harder than it sounds.
We had lunch in the tea room across the street, where, for some reason (five kids at our table?), the waiter felt obliged to warn us that if we picked up the sugar cubes with our fingers, he would break them. Our fingers, not the sugar cubes. Also, he'd have to charge us $25 for the entire contents of the sugar bowl.
A. Peevie's chicken noodle soup was inedibly salty, and when it came time to pay, I asked the cashier to take it off the tab, because I don't believe in paying for unsatisfactory food. She did. I'd probably pick a different place to eat next time because we all left hungry, and it really wasn't terribly kid-friendly, what with the finger-breaking and all.
We walked across town to the Old State Capitol building, where Abraham Lincoln and his peeps legislated and speechified. Lincoln delivered his famous "House Divided" speech here in 1858, which many say lost him the race for the U.S. Senate. "His law partner, William H. Herndon, thought that Lincoln was morally courageous but politically incorrect," according to Abraham Lincoln Online. (The photo also comes from ALO.)
Then we toured the Lincoln Home, where Mary Todd Lincoln, according to the custom of the times, matched wildly patterned wallpaper with garishly patterned carpets.
All in all, it was a great trip: educational, fun, interesting. We all learned tons about Honest Abe that we didn't know before (although my friend Biv had boned up, and really had her Lincoln facts down.)
As I mentioned in an earlier post, the only downside was sleeping in a hotel room with three children, who, when they weren't bickering, were snoring their frickin' brains out. Seriously. You would not think that a skinny 10-year-old and a zaftig seven-year-old would have the capacity for such tremendous volume, not to mention variety--but you would be wrong. C. Peevie did not snore, but he made up for it by ranting and huffing and sheeshing and relocating himself in response to the cacophony of night sounds coming from his sibs.
At 2 in the a.m., lying there next to and partially under my heat-seeking daughter, with her leg flung across my hip, I tried to spell the sounds of her eruptions. "Snoooorrrkhkhkhkhmuhmuhmuhmmm," she said. "Snork, snork, sssshhhhhh."
Meanwhile, A. Peevie, also heat-seeking, had traveled from his own side of the bed to C. Peevie's side; and C. Peevie gave up and buried himself under the comforter on the floor. "Bzzzzzzz-snorkle-honk!" A. Peevie snored. "Bzzzzzz-snort-snort-pssshhhhh."
It was a long night.