Over the weekend we took the girls to Mankato, MN, to see the childhood home of Maud Hart Lovelace, the author of the Betsy-Tacy series of chapter books for young girls about Maud's ("Betsy's") girlhood adventures with her family and best friends in southern MN in the early 1900s. The Hart home is fictionalized as Betsy's family's home in the stories. Across the street is the home of Maud's real-life best girlhood friend, Frances ("Tacy" in the books). The houses are open for tours, and there are other landmarks in the neighborhood that correspond to places Betsy and Tacy visit on their adventures.
Julia has been an avid Betsy-Tacy fan in recent months, reading the first three books in the series over and over. (There are more, but she only owns books one through three, and beyond that they start to get a little too old for her yet.) Sweetly, book one begins when Betsy and Tacy meet at age five, just the age Julia was when she fell in love with the stories. So it was especially fun to visit these houses and see her in the rooms where Maud and Frances spent their time, at nearly Julia's same age and size, getting into all the mischief and having all the experiences that Maud wrote down as stories in her later years.
Both girls were thrilled to go on this day trip and they had a great time, but of course Genevieve's a little young. Julia was more awestruck and excited. In the bathroom of the Dairy Queen we stopped at on our drive home late in the afternoon, she sighed and said to me, "This was the very best day of my entire life!" Then she paused and amended, "Well, this was the very best day of my entire life that wasn't my birthday."