Jul 172012


This is the post where you discover what true geeks we are.

Ten years ago my husband had an idea. He thought we should visit all the counties in our state, North Carolina. But he didn’t want to just visit all the counties, but the county seats. As we pondered the idea, we decided that we needed something that we could do in all the county seats. So we decided to visit what every county seat has – a county courthouse.

So just over 10 years ago, we began our journey. We made rapid progress at first because we could go for a Saturday drive and get some of the counties close to us. Then our trips had to get longer. There were some counties that were too far to get to and back in a one-day trip, so we planned our beach vacations on different parts of the coast to ensure that we could go to different counties.

But 2 years ago, we finished our quest. We visited all 100 county seats in North Carolina. And sadly it has taken me this long to blog about it. In my defense I was pregnant with the baby (number 5) when we finished. And it took a while to finalize all the pictures. Then my oldest son decided to put together a video of the project, and that took a while.  (Not 2 years. My sporadic blogging was a big part of the problem.)

But I’m sharing the video now anyway. I love the way my son coordinated the county map to the county courthouse that is pictures. Truthfully, the video gets a little long. He made it as short as possible covering all the counties without making them go by so fast that it makes people dizzy. (Although, it’s still borderline.) So if you get bored in the middle, skip to the end and you can hear my husband’s goofy speech at our 100th courthouse.


One of the big reasons that I’m sharing this now is so that you’ll understand a little better about our new quest.

Visiting all 50 State Capitol Buildings!



Feb 032009

Last night my family made up a fun geography game.  All you need is a map of the United States and at least 3 people to play.  You can assign one person to be the judge and use the map to check the others’ answers.  Or, if you are playing with someone who is fairly confident about U.S. geography, you can just have someone check the map when there’s a dispute.

Here’s how to play the game. (All this is done without the players looking at a map.)

  1. The first person picks a state. 
  2. The next person picks a state that borders the first state. 
  3. The next person then picks a state that borders the second state, but cannot reuse the first state. 
  4. If you pick a state that is incorrect (i.e. doesn’t border the state or has already been called.)  you’re out. 
  5. Play continues until you run out of states. (You either have named all the states or get to a point where all the bordering states have already been called.)
  6. The last person to be able to name a correct state wins the game.

An example game might go like this:

  1. North Carolina
  2. South Carolina
  3. Georgia (this is the only choice because SC only borders 2 states and NC was already named.)
  4. Alabama
  5. Mississippi
  6. Tennessee
  7. Missouri
  8. Kansas
  9. Colorado
  10. Utah
  11. Nevada
  12. California
  13. Arizona
  14. New Mexico
  15. Texas
  16. Oklahoma
  17. Arkansas
  18. Louisiana

That would be the end of this sample game because all the states that border Louisiana have already been named.  This is a great game for exercising your memory 🙂 You could try to see how many states your family can name without getting stuck.  You could also add saying the capital when you said the state.  There are lots of possibilities with it.

We had a great time playing this game.  The older kids (5th and 3rd) were quite competitive.  Even my 1st grader was able to play on some of the states. I think this may inspire the kids to study their maps more.