A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: jwhitehurst

Day 9

Hershey, PA-->Winchester, VA

sunny 81 °F

The hotel didn't have ringing alarms this morning at 4am which was great. We packed, checked out, breakfast and got to Chocolate Factory at 9:30. Luckily we made it to the 9:45 Trolley Tour, which was a blast. A gentlemen/woman/child/old man/farmer/businessman was our guide. Ask, and I'll explain. We learned alot about a great man, Mr. Hershey. We made it back just in time for the chocolate tour to see how chocolate was made. It was a pure Disney ride with the floating boats and everything. I really wanted to sing "It's a Smallworld", but at least I was appeased with the "Daisy, Daisy" duet on the Trolley. Again, ask me about this. Then on to the movie in 4D that scared me still with swishing things under the seats. It was a cute cartoon to keep the kids interested. We made it to our final stop in chocolate making, where each of us designed our own bars (mine was white chocolate with toffee, butterscotch, and almonds wrapped in milk chocolate. Don't know. Don't want to eat it, but the cover was cool. Posted my wrapper earlier on Facebook courtesy of the Hershey electronics. The store was out of this world. Don't worry, Ella, we got plenty of chocolate for you. We stopped at the pizza diner I wanted to eat at last night on the itinerary (extreme vacationer in me), and then we headed to Winchester.

The boys fell asleep, Chris with a snake (another earlier post), and I barely made it wide-eyed to visit Aunt Di and Uncle Harold on their beautiful estate. We were treated to a beautiful pool house and a steak dinner with one of their friends, whom my children adored. Late night one-ups discussions on guns and RVs, and we hit the hay.

Posted by jwhitehurst 21:19 Archived in USA Tagged chocolate winchester factory Comments (0)

Day 8

HersheyPark

all seasons in one day 82 °F

Yes, we extreme travellers did the deed. 10am - 10pm. Crazy. The hilly terrain reminded me of Ghost Town in the sky. Memories. We covered 55 of the 69 rides leaving out ferris wheel, railroad, monorail, and cars, with a few water park activities. The boys had a blast. They even had to go to the arcade to blow more money than we already spent. Watson got 25 tokens from one machine, and Henry couldn't get anything to save his life. That was a hard consolation. I said, "Henry, look, not many people win." And then I proceeded to put in one quarter to one of those machines that the quarters push each other out, and who would have believed it. I won the big jackpot of 100 tokens and ended up with 3500 tickets, enough to buy 4 nice glasses. Henry can't get a break. I don't have many pics for the day but you can see all the rides online, and we did them all, and you wouldn't have seen anything but blurs. We had lunch and dinner in the park that was good but expensive as you can imagine. We even showered everybody off at the hotel, and crashed around 11pm. Phew!!!!!

Posted by jwhitehurst 05:26 Archived in USA Tagged hersheypark Comments (0)

Day 7

Pennsylvania

overcast 79 °F

Yes, we left NYC this morning. I love the city traffic. Exhilarating at 8:00am. The city soon disappeared into flatland New Jersey and then quickly into hilly PA. Easton was just 2 hours off, and WELL worth it. We arrived at Crayola Factory just when it opened. What a fun-filled vacation. It was four floors of art including make your own crayon, digital art on the wall, spin art, crayon molding, two story play house (we lost our children here), and yes, what would a museum, park, or tour be incomplete without, a gift shop. We did this one justice. Hat, shirt, silly puddy, socks, chalk, crayons. It was truly a delight for the adults and children alike. But, to top it off, Two Rivers Brewing served the most scrumptuous meal up the road. My black bean burger, my husband's cheese burger, the children's burgers and chicken. It was all gone, even the fries and grapes. I complemented everyone from the waitress to the cook, to the owner. Great stop on the way to Hershey.

Based on the last hotels I picked in 4-5* glory, this was a bit off track, but it was large, comfy, kind, quiet, and in a great location to Hershey Park, which of course, was the most important decision-making factor. We moved in to a room, just to decide to upgrade to the three beds, so I think it was worth it. We even purchased early park tickets from the hotel, so as to get a preview night of the park.

The preview was great. Two big coasters, couple of little kiddie rides, and then a terrible thunderstorm with wind and rain, but oh no, that didn't stop us from using every paid-for minute until 10:00pm. We got escorted out kindly at 9:55 through a back exit to our car. It was a blast though. Kids in bed at 11, and I don't get this blog done until today, Friday.

Posted by jwhitehurst 05:24 Archived in USA Tagged hershey crayola Comments (0)

Day 6

NYC

sunny 84 °F

Breakfast in the hotel was the kickoff. We then walked 100 feet to Times Square.FFFADEA72219AC6817C663233690D732.jpg
Wow, the lights and the business men and women alike. Chris recognized that everyone dresses up in NYC. We made it down to the Subway and put too much money in the machine (as we figured out later). We rode down to Ground Zero, now with Tower 3.FFFBCA002219AC6817FDB69074F13E17.jpg
We arrived at 9, and it didn't open until 10, so we walked around the block in an elevated sidewalk through many buildings, ending in a palm tree sun room.[*] Made it back to the 911 Memorial at 9:45 and were happy to see that we had purchased tickets early. The Memorial was exactly what Chris and I had come to see. The hardest part was telling the story to my baby boys, whom I hope never know that tragedy.Day6-3.jpg
I had to explain why it was so sad for me even though I didn't know any of the names on the sides. When Chris joined in the tears, we knew it was time to head to the Staten Island Ferry. It was a just a little walk, and then a LARGE crowd.FFFCD85B2219AC6817762B0FB195D476.jpg
I could imagine it being something like that to exit at the Statue of Liberty.Day6-5.jpg
We opted for the free ferry ride to Staten Island past the statue and back to get a great cityscape shot.Day6-6.jpg

I picked a tavern near Wall Street to get lunch.Day6-7.jpg
The meals were huge, but my chicken and bell pepper panini was yummy. The beer just what the afternoon deserved. We jetted up the sidewalk to another metro, Train 2, and ended up back at Times Square. On the way to Toys R Us, I couldn't help myself and bought two of the boys Crazy Nike's. Toys R Us had a ferris wheel inside.FFFF9E002219AC68176CA7F9B1E37894.jpg
It was a sight to see, but the toys purchased were a rip-off. Just ask Henry for the story. Arms loaded we headed back to the hotel for a 20 minute respit (yep, a little off schedule). Rockefeller Center, memories of Chris' childhood ice skating, and a plethera of flags000283F02219AC6817A89F033DCF8287.jpg
was next before the infamous stroll down 5th Avenue just for Mama. It did end at FAO, so the sweet tooth in us all could be satisfied.0003E1AF2219AC68172181E631E46D2F.jpg
Of course, we loaded up on the $8/lb candy before the hot dog stand in Central Park. Yep, Central Park, how cool is that. The boys climbed rocks,Day6-11.jpg
we used the dirtiest restroom in the city, and then we headed all the back this time down Broadway Street. Can't wait to visit the City again with someone interested in seeing a show.0006175A2219AC681730D0AC44D03E2F.jpg

Posted by jwhitehurst 14:56 Archived in USA Tagged city new york Comments (0)

Day 5

Philly to NYC

sunny 83 °F

The day began with a great breakfast downtown Philly at Marathon. My banana's foster french toast was out of this world. Day5-1.jpg
Our weather was beautiful at the zoo as we visited every animal imaginable. The nation's first zoo began with an endangered exhibit where we saw monkeys and moles. A kids zoo that we could have them them all in, and then on to the beautiful tigers.Day5-4.jpg
The camels were cool, but only for $6/ride, no thanks. The hippopotamus was on a run which was cool, and a certain monkey played on a jungle gym. I couldn't get the kids away from that exhibit. I liked the red panda myself and the crazy reptiles including a king python, oohh. Three hours was perfectly complete with the purchase of stuffed animals and candy. The ride to NYC happened to be saved with the WAZE app that routed us around traffic jams, into construction, and eventually over the Verazano Bridge on the way to Aunt Mary's house. Day5-7.jpg
We were welcomed with their neighbors kids who now live in Apex (can you believe that?...Shepherd's Vineyard to boot). The chicken and salad was delicious. The boys wrestled til we thought they were tired (that didn't happen). We left around 8pm and headed into Times' Square. What a sight. The kids loved the lights.90_Day5-5.jpg
Our hotel was on 45th and 7th, just beside the Square. Neato! Tomorrow we take the town.

Posted by jwhitehurst 13:16 Archived in USA Tagged city new york Comments (0)

Day 4

Just Philly

sunny 84 °F

Early to rise at 6:30. Really wanted to eat at Honey Restaurant, which unfortunately doesn't adhere to its posted hours on Sundays. Ended up at Dunkin' Donuts just to sugar the kids up for a nice crash later in the middle of the tours :) We did manage to knock out a picture by the Liberty Bell in the early hours without entering the buildingDay4-1.jpg
and a not-so-professional pic by Independence Hall.Day4-2.jpg
I did like the 25 minute free tour of the hall where we saw George Washington's 1/2 sun chair in the room where the Declaration of Independence and later the Constitution were both signed.Day4-3.jpg
With just enough time before the FREE walking tour, we jetted into the Bell and got an up-close and personal.Day4-4.jpg

The FREE TOURS BY FOOT was really cool. The guys voice had far projection over the crowd, bus', etc. We walked, stopped, listened, and walked some more. We charted 9 miles on foot today in total. I'm eating well enough to have that not make a darn bit of difference. We started with the signer's walk of plaques just like the Hollywood Stars,Day4-5.jpg
stopped inside the Carpenter's Hall (boarding house for many signers, one of whom the boys met,Day4-6.jpg
and met a building that was just like a mullet (business in the front and party in the back).Day4-7.jpg
It being Sunday we got to hear just the ending of an organ solo in Christ's Church (hasn't missed a service since the 1800's and has seated all dignitaries that passed through Philadelphia).Day4-8.jpg
It was Betsy Ross' house (or not) that was much less a tale of the times that no one is still sure of.Day4-9.jpg
My favorite and last stop of the tour was the resting place of Benjamin Franklin. Boy do we owe a lot to that guy. His biography(auto or not) is on my list of next to read. The boys and I tossed pennies for good luck upon his grave.Day4-10.jpg
Head's up good luck for us; heads down good for him.

Lunch was a little walking distance away. Sunday kept the crowds away at Mac's Tavern.Day4-11.jpg
I had the Buffalo 'Scuitto Sandwich which was different from anything I'd ever tasted. Flavorful! Next was the agenda was the RiverLink Interpretive Cruise (fancy name for ferry with taped soundtrack down to one bridge and back). It was just what our tired feet needed. The battleships, steamboats, and ports were documented as we sailed between Pennsylvania and New Jersey.Day4-12.jpg
Upon docking Daddy spotted paddleboats which he took Watson on (shape of large Swan..crazy). The little boys and I headed to our hotel across the street and wified for an hour in the lobby with free fruit. When they were all together, Chris took them swimming and I took a drive downtown to Redbox to prepare for the long journed to NYC tomorrow.

I, believe it or not, went against the itinerary when I returned so as not to go out again, so we walked literally across the street to dinner at City Tavern (old fashioned with candles, costumes, pewter cups, and runners).Day4-13.jpg
The boys had turkey pot pie that was scrumptuous, and Chris enjoyed two locally brewed beers with age-old recipes from the founding fathers. What a great way to end the night.

Posted by jwhitehurst 17:31 Archived in USA Tagged philadelphia Comments (0)

Day 3

Baltimore -> Philly

rain 75 °F

A rainy morning with bagels from a hole-in-the-wall. It was perfect. The ride was just an hour as I suspected. We met Steevenson, his two youngest, and his newest, at the sAquarium in Baltimore. With the rain, there were only inside pictures. Funny story, though. On the drive up, Jessup asks us how long we're going to be there. We reply, "3 hours." He was so upset by that he cried. He only remembers the looong tours from yesterday. I couldn't help laugh, but responded with, "OK, how long do you want to stay?" He answered, "30 minutes." I promised him that I'd ask at 30 minutes if he were ready to go, and I would oblige with his decision. He was content, smiling again, and you can finish the story for yourselves :) The tank was enormous with lots of little sharks.Day3-1.jpg
The coral reef was engaging; Day3-2.jpg
I spotted Nemo's dad in their anenome (the boys were tickled;;Day3-3.jpg
I visited the roaming parrots,Day3-4.jpg
walked across to the dolphin show that the boys were over the top for,Day3-5.jpg
and lastly saw beautiful jellyfish (even so to me whose been stung her fair share)Day3-6.jpg
(b/w). Trey would be impressed with my use of photo blends (negative).Day3-7.jpg
Lunch was soon upon us at 1, where my children were crowned royally by Dick's waitors. Day3-8.jpg
Steevo and Chris bondedDay3-9.jpg
and we soon parted ways.

The drive to Philly was ridiculous. What should have been 1 1/2 hours turned out to be almost 3. We jumped the cool bus on my itinerary, but did manage to park right across the street from the Comcast Center right on schedule. The boys and I were mesmerized for quite a whileDay3-10.jpg
as the wall turned into video. Amazing! Just like the Arc de Triumph at the celebratory end of the Tour de France. Chris dropped some dough for street parking, and we walked to the Reading Terminal Market by way of City HallDay3-11.jpg
and we ended up at LOVEDay3-12.jpg
after a market faire to satiate. The skyline was a perfect end to the night as we rode to the old side of town (cobblestone and all) to the Sheraton, to the pool, and to the bed.Day3-13.jpg

Posted by jwhitehurst 03:47 Archived in USA Tagged philadelphia baltimore Comments (0)

Day 2

In DC

84 °F

Last night's milk and cookies was just the beginning. We began with a gourmet breakfast at Urbana, restaurant in the hotel. The waitor was great to our boys. Cereal & Eggs to prepare for the taxi van ride to the City Tours awning. 3 hours with Jessup in tandem Day2-1__1_.jpg
and Henry with a broken arm riding solo. First pitstop at the white house (my first sight that I recall).Day2-2.jpg
We biked in single file through traffic (scary if I only told my Mom). Stopped at the capitolDay2-3.jpg
to catch a glimpse of all the reflection pools. Our tour guide had some humor delivery issues, but it would do for my kids. We toured down the mall and finally to the Lincoln MemorialDay2-4.jpg
(yep, saw remnants of the green paint) and the Vietnam MemorialDay2-5.jpg
(almost made it through without a tear - the names got to me). When we finished we grabbed another taxi to the back to the Capitol. I can't believe it but we paid $60 for the free nachos. We had to leave and our food didn't come after 40 minutes, but to be proactive we paid early. Had to dine and dash, Day2-6.jpg
but this time paid for no food cause we were going to be late for, what turned out to be, the most boring tour of all - the inside of the Rotunda.Day2-7.jpg
The biggest highlight was a Waterford Crystal chandelier. Day2-8.jpg
We couldn't get out of the middle of DC Day2-9.jpg
fast enough, really. I did get to see the HoR chambers, but not in session, and the lines were ridiculous. We left there by Subway to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing (no pics possible). The money factory as the kids called it was cool. It was followed by some interesting pizzaDay2-10.jpg
and finally a great shower with yet again milk and cookies.

Posted by jwhitehurst 13:11 Archived in USA Tagged dc Comments (0)

Day 1

To DC

semi-overcast 76 °F

The drive was a bit rainy, but good flowing traffic day1-1.jpg
until 2 miles from our exit to Harold & Cathy's cafe . The meal was just like the Airport Drive-In. We were just on schedule to the UDVAR Air & Space Museum.day1-2.jpg
Seeing the Space Shuttle was one of my highlights.day1-3.jpg
The big boys preferred the rotating simulator for a couple more dollars. Our drive to Arlington proved that my printed maps don't touch a GPS. We met Dr. Mike and went to a BBQ joint where you order by the tub and eat 'til your stuffed.Day1-5__1_.jpg
We walked there from his apartment that was 18th out of 19 floors. The rooftop was were the boys let off steam shooting the water pools off the furniture onto one another.Day1-6.jpg
We said our goodbyes, drove across the Potomac, into the National Cathedral's driveway [7], down a bit of Embassy Row, and then to the Palomar Hotel on DuPont circle. What a great first day in my book.

Posted by jwhitehurst 18:36 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Itinerary Set

10 Days from Sunrise to Sunset

sunny 80 °F

Excel and TripAdvisor helped me out, along with several phone calls, emails, and websearches. We have our work cut out for us, but I know the kids are going to love it. Something for everyone and not much downtime.
itinerary.png

Posted by jwhitehurst 17:57 Archived in USA Comments (0)

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