Guitars, Guitars, Guitars... really beautiful guitars!
So we are dead smack in the middle of a totally uneventful drive through the middle of Pennsylvania and Michael declares that I need to quickly check and see how far we are from the Martin Guitar Factory. He knew off the top of his head that it was in Nazareth, PA and that they give great tours that are free. It was not on our way... but, it was directly on our path the next week.
We had most of the weekdays free for paperwork, homeschool, and sightseeing, so started looking for a place to stay. I found a little RV resort just 12 miles from the factory. It had an indoor pool, a fast wi-fi connection, and the local grocery store had a sushi-chef that came in daily. SCORE!
We were so excited to have an internet connection that we almost forgot about the Martin tour. Our last day there, we put it on the agenda. The website said that they gave the tour at regular intervals from 11-3 and that the tour lasted an hour. We arrived at 11:45, hoping to sneak in just in time for the noon tour. After all, it was a Thursday in the middle of the school year. We were informed that we could sign-in, and our tour would begin in 90 minutes! There were 3 full groups ahead of us!
We were encouraged to spend the wait perusing the museum and strumming the guitars that were available for play. The museum gave all the history of the Martin family and business beginning with their immigration, following through their business choices during the great depression, right up to present day. They had guitar making instruments, ornate guitars, antiques owned by Mr. Martin, and guitars owned by famous musicians. I was pretty busy making sure the kids didn't destroy any $30,000 guitars, so I did not follow through in proper chronology, but I think Michael got a better look than I did. After a good 45 minutes, I took the kids outside to run.
Soon it was time for our tour! We had to wear headsets so we could hear the tour guide over the factory noise. He showed us the whole process and walked us through the custom shop where they were working on guitars whose price tag started at $17,000! An hour did not seem like quite long enough, as we rushed through a lot. At the end they gave us each a souvenir scrap of wood from a sound hole cut out. They normally laser etch the Martin logo on them. The tour guide was so shocked to see that they etched jack-o-lantern faces on them that he had to go back and get one for his daughter!
All-in-all, worth the visit and we got some great pictures of the kids playing guitar there. Although they all asked if we would get them a Little Martin, they came home and promptly started practicing on Charity's 3-string Loog III.