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Archive for Trick Photo

Elf on the Road

Is anyone else bracing for the onslaught of “Elf on the Shelf” photos in their Facebook feeds? I’m all for holiday cheer, but I only have the energy to manufacture one fictional figment per season, and this one belongs to Santa. Still, this year I wanted to put a family travel spin on the Elf buzz. You know we’re always up for a little quirkiness around here, like our Halloween trick photos last year.

So, over the last few months, we’ve taken our still-unnamed Elf off the shelf, and on the road. He’s been to several states, and seen a lot. He tends toward mischief, though.

Elf on the shelf

For a little guy, he’s got a big appetite. At the giant fork in the road in Red Hook, NY. This is Matt’s elf from his childhood. Vintage!

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Halloween: Trick Photos, Day Two!

We received so many responses to our invitation to share “trick” photos in honor of Halloween that we decided to post them over two days. We thought we were the only clever ones out there, but we were wrong. For these imaginative photographers, holding up the Leaning Tower of Pisa is amateur hour!

I don’t really know how she did it, but Sonja from To Europe With Kids managed to make it look like her kids are falling off a cliff at the Grand Canyon. Let me be clear: I wouldn’t be this close to the edge without a double dose of valium.

Grand Canyon

Adrienne  from Albany Kid is getting some help from her daughter in holding up the Washington Monument in DC. Well, someone’s gotta do it.

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Halloween: These Tricks are Treats!

We’re celebrating Halloween more indoors than out this year, thanks to Hurricane Sandy. Our treat for you is a showcase of “trick” photos – not just ours, but a fun selection of images submitted from fellow traveling families from all over the world! Since putting out the call for photos last week, we’ve received a lot of imaginative shots. We’ll spread them out over two days, so check back tomorrow for more!

Here’s our contribution! While we loved the Board Game Art Park in Philadelphia, PA, Matt nearly set off a nasty chain of events.


Lynn O’Rourke Hayes, the editor of FamilyTravel.com, sent us this one to show off her super strength. She and her sister-in-law Betsy are holding up this stone arch in Kentucky!

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PHOTO FRIDAY — Gettin’ tricky with it!

We love trying to take trick photos like this, and so much of what we see — like BIG roadside attractions — work perfectly! We re-visited the Unisphere a few weeks ago in Queens (NY). At 140 feet, it’s the world’s largest globe, but yet…nothing The Girl can’t handle!

Do you have a great trick photo you would like to share with us? (Come on, we know you tried to hold up the Leaning Tower of Pisa!) Next week, in honor of Halloween, we’re choosing tricks instead of treats. We’ll show you our favorite trick photos…and we hope you’ll let us show off yours!

If you’re game, please email your photo to traci (at) gobigorgohomeblog (dot) com. We’ll only use your first name, if you want, or we’ll give you full credit and link to your blog, if you have one. Thanks!

Unisphere globe

Poor girl has the weight of the world on her little shoulders…

See more images at the Photo Friday link-up on DeliciousBaby.com!

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World’s Largest Rubber Stamp, Cleveland, OH

This is a story of love and loss. Well, it’s not really a story; more of an outline. And it’s about The Boy’s love for… his cell phone. And it is – very tenuously – connected to the world’s largest rubber stamp in Cleveland, OH. Still with me?

The Boy turned 12 over Memorial Day weekend, when we took a road trip to Cleveland, OH. We gave up the fight and got him his first cell phone. It was simple model. It was supposed to just be able to make calls and send texts, and yet he tricked it out to the point where I thought he could use it to launch a rocket.

It quickly became an appendage. And just as quickly, was broken after he sat on it while it was in his pocket. Such a sad boy.

The upside was that his hands were then free to take this trick photo “gripping” the world’s largest rubber stamp. (Remember that tenuous connection I mentioned earlier?)

Rubber stamp

Getting a grip on the world’s largest rubber stamp in Cleveland.

This is called Free Stamp, created by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen in 1991. It’s installed in Willard Park outside Cleveland’s City Hall, and a block away from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It’s made of steel and aluminum, and painted with polyurethane enamel. It’s over 28 feet tall, and 49 feet long!

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BIG stuff in Philadelphia, PA

Claes Oldenburg

The world’s largest clothespin! The Girl couldn’t wait to get out of the car. The Boy thinks we’re crazy.

There are roadside attractions in Philadelphia, although most of them are best enjoyed on foot. The public outdoor art installations we saw in Philadelphia thoroughly charmed me, because there are quite a few BIG pieces!


Claes Oldenburg sculpture in Philadelphia, PA

I’ve become a fan of Swedish American sculptor Claes Oldenburg, best known for his public art installations worldwide which feature immense replicas of familiar objects. He thinks BIG!

Of course, our first order of business in Philadelphia was seeing Clothespin — the world’s largest clothespin — created by Oldenburg in 1976. It’s located in Centre Square Plaza on Market Street across from the City Hall, which happens to be the largest municipal building in the U.S. The 45-ft. tall clothespin was made from 10 tons of Cor-Ten and stainless steel.

The Paint Torch is Oldenburg’s most recent work in Philly, and was just installed on Cherry Street last year. This four-ton brush is five stories tall! It looks like an artist has jammed it at a 60 degree angle into the sidewalk, leaving a blob of paint on the ground. We didn’t get to see it at night, but the paint on the brush and the paint blob are lit from within by synchronized LEDs.

We also didn’t get to see the other oversized Oldenburg piece in Philadelphia — the 16-foot Split Button in Levy Park on the University of Pennsylvania campus. Next time!

Claes Oldenburg

The Paint Torch by Claes Oldenburg

The Board Game Art Park, Philadelphia, PA

We had no choice but to visit Municipal Services Building Plaza at 15th Street and John F. Kennedy Boulevard on a rainy morning. But we still enjoyed visiting the Board Game Art Park, home to the multi-piece installation, “Your Move,” created in 1997 by artists Daniel Martinez, Renee Petropoulis, and Roger White.

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The Big E: World’s Largest Traveling Amusement Park

North American Midway

The North American Midway is the world's largest traveling amusement park

There is a treadmill in our house. It does—occasionally—get used for something other than a laundry rack. So finding Matt running on it last week was not as much shocking as it was…suspect. In hindsight, I realized he was preparing for the Craz-E burger, the culinary creation born at The Big E, or the Eastern States Exposition. It’s the state fair of Massachusetts and several other New England states, and it’s where you’ll find the world’s largest traveling amusement park, the North American Midway.

Where we went, and who was coerced into going:

The four of us went to The Big E this past weekend, and brought along our appetites. After a few days cooped up inside with incessant rain, the sun shone on a clear, cool autumn day, and we happily hit the road.

WHY did you go there, exactly?

With a name like the “Big” E, we had to go. We wouldn’t be living up to the Blogocratic Oath (no such thing) if we missed it.

I learned about the Craz-E burger while doing my research, and that pretty much sealed the deal. Matt has never met a burger he didn’t like. The more beef, the better. He’s been known to eat the triple patty Baconator at Wendy’s, but has stopped short at the quadruple BK Stacker at Burger King. He prefers food which could seal his arteries in under ten minutes.

Yes, his life insurance policy is up-to-date.

Worlds largest corn dog

I've read an unsubstantiated claim that this is the world's largest corn dog!

So when I reported that the Craz-E burger is a bacon cheeseburger sandwiched between two halves of a glazed doughnut, he got a glint in his eye I haven’t seen since our first date. “Lustful” is an apt description.

Okay, what was so cool about it?

The Big E lives up to its name. It’s massive, and we walked miles that day. There’s a lot to do and see, and I’m sure we missed most of it. Of course we hit the expanse of midway rides. We also saw out first horse show, and visited some of the 4H pavilions. The Girl made friends with Doug the Llama.

We caught a hysterical show by Hilby, the Skinny German Juggle Boy. We’ve also—purely by chance–seen him at the Woodloch Resort and the Dutchess County Fair this year. So now we’re juggler groupies, I guess.

And of course, there’s the fair food, which never disappoints. Matt’s 1,500-calorie Craz-E burger held him over most of the afternoon, until it was time for the other specialty, the Big E Cream Puff, and its cousin, the E-Clair. We also made room for hot dogs, pierogi, samosas, and overpriced ($5.00!) milk shakes.

You’re dying to find out how the Craz-E burger tasted, aren’t you?

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World’s Largest Rotating Globe, Yarmouth, ME

Where we went, and who was coerced into going:

I couldn’t wait to try out our new, matching Go BIG or Go Home T-shirts, which I purchased in a frenzy of blind gooberness while ordering business cards on Vista Print.  It didn’t matter where we went, so long as we could wear the coordinated attire which would brand us fools.


Our gooberifically matching Go BIG T-shirts. I still owe The Boy $2.00 for agreeing to wear it.

The shirts arrived just in time for our trip to Maine, both to attend a college reunion and to see “Eartha,” the world’s largest rotating and revolving globe in Yarmouth. As an added BIG bonus, we also went to the L.L.Bean flagship store in neighboring Freeport. Outside the store stands a 17-foot boot.

Happily, no coercion was necessary to get the four of us psyched for the trip. Matt got to take the new family roadster, a Mazda CX-9, on the open road for a little zoom, zoom, zoom. The Boy got to miss a day of school. The Girl was very excited to stay in a “soyal.” This is the word she’s decided to use instead of the widely-accepted “hotel.” We don’t know how and where she picked this up, but she’s quite certain that this noun describes a place offering overnight lodging.

Our trip to a “soyal” actually became a nifty bargaining chip the week before the trip, as in “If you don’t let me brush your teeth, we’re not going to the soyal.” She’s three. There’s a lot of negotiation happening in the course of a normal day.

WHY did you go there, exactly?

I attended Bates College in Lewiston, ME, and my 20th reunion gave us the perfect opportunity to visit the “Vacationland” state together as a family. As well as distract me from the unsettling fact that it’s been two freakin’ decades since I was a college-aged student.

Conveniently, Yarmouth is on the way to Lewiston, and is also the home to the DeLorme Map Company. The 41-foot globe sits in the company’s glass-enclosed lobby.

Okay, what was so cool about it?


Eartha is immense, so regardless of your age, your first reaction is “Wow!”  To even see the northern hemisphere, you have to take the stairs or elevator to the second and third floor observation balconies.

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World’s Largest Light Bulb, Edison, NJ AND World’s Tallest Water Sphere, Union, NJ

Where we went, and who was coerced into going:

Sometimes a little persuasion (okay, bribery) is needed to convince the kids that a day trip to see one of these sites is worth their while.  When I planned a NJ day trip to see the World’s Largest Light Bulb and the World’s Tallest Water Sphere, I told The Girl we would stop at the IKEA in Elizabeth to get her “big girl” bed.  She was nearly three, and while we loved the containment her crib offered, it was time to “Go BIG.”

WHY did you go there, exactly?

World's Largest Light Bulb

Light bulb:

It was a doable day trip to the Thomas Edison Center at Menlo Park, and the photos of the light bulb intrigued me. A monumental replica of Edison’s first practical incandescent bulb, it’s nearly 14 feet of Pyrex glass segments. It sits on top of the 117-foot concrete Memorial Tower, which was built in 1937 by Edison’s employees. It’s an homage to both the light bulb and another key Edison invention, the phonograph.

Any grade schooler can attribute the invention of the light bulb to Edison, but did you know he also invented the phonograph, motion picture camera, dictaphone, mimeograph, storage battery and much, much more? I guess I missed that day of school. Visiting the adjoining museum set me straight.

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