Connecticut family travels to Burlingtons in several states

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 29, 2006

BURLINGTON — Vince Jennetta’s wife, Jan, said her husband’s idea for a family vacation this summer was a little crazy, but no more foolish than some of the other schemes he has concocted in the past.

For more than a year, Jennetta has been planning to take his Burlington, Conn., family on a trek to visit several other communities bearing their hometown’s moniker. The Jennettas — Vince, Jan, and their children, Kristy, 16, Catie, 9, and Jack, 8 — hopped in their mini-van Monday morning and made stops in Pennsylvania and West Virginia before stopping in Burlington, Ohio, Wednesday morning.

“It was something I had wanted to do. I thought it would be interesting,” Vince said.

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His wife replied jokingly, “At first I thought it was kind of hokey. He’s always coming up with crazy ideas, but usually he forgets about them.”

A few months ago, Vince started contacting libraries and tourism organizations in each of the Burlingtons he could find to get more information that would help him map out where the family would travel. Locally, the Briggs Lawrence County Public Library pointed the family to local spots such as the historic Burlington jail, The Commons playground and the Burlington-Macedonia Church.

The Jennettas’ hometown is quite a contrast to the small community of Burlington, Ohio. Their town, in central Connecticut, is about 36-square miles and has a population of more than 8,000 people.

“I didn’t want to go to the usual tourism spots,” he said. “I wanted to see real people, not tourists. I wanted to see the real America, like Burlington, Conn.”

Vince said the family has met a lot of interesting people along the way and the experience has been both educational and fun.

The five-member family said things have gone pretty smooth so far. There was a pillow left at a hotel along the way and there was also Catie’s fall from a small cliff in Pennsylvania, but those were just minor glitches. The price of gas has been the biggest headache, Vince said.

The kids say the worst part of the trip has been listening to their parents’ music, including CDs by Yes and Three Dog Night. The entire clan likes The Beatles, but those CDs were unfortunately left at home, Vince said with a smile.

“I get online and talk to my friends at the hotel and they think I’m crazy,” Kristy said of her trip. “They think I should be at an island or something.”

Jack said having everybody in the van together isn’t too bad, except each of them has their own interests that can conflict sometimes.

“I like sports, Catie likes the libraries and Kristy just likes manicures,” he said.

The family is taking about four weeks to travel this summer. After leaving Burlington, Ohio, Wednesday afternoon, they planned to go to a Cincinnati Reds game and then visit their final community of Burlington in Kentucky, just outside Newport. They will then travel south to visit family and friends in Alabama and Texas.