Unexpected but not totally surprised when I was asked by my Millennials to spend our Christmas holiday vacation time with our family members who we haven’t seen in a long time. Last year we cut away from all extended family and spent the holiday vacation time with just our family on a holiday cruise. While on the cruise my Millennials mentioned that although they enjoyed the trip what was missing was tradition.The Millennials have significant others in the past year where they have spent considerable time with their family. The fact that our family hasn’t been together in a long time was on the forefront of their minds.
Planning for the road trip was fairly easy. I rented a van through our AAA membership. Bought a storage bag to fasten on top of the rental van for extra storage space. Reserved hotel reservations with an AAA membership rate and Hilton Honors program. Millennial one suggested we rent an apartment using a rental program he uses often which is AirBnB. I’ve previously used VRBO (HomeAway) rental program which has a similar rental model.
Our first stop was to visit my husband’s cousin and his wife near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The landscape around Gettysburg has acres of cleared land used as previous battlefields or farming. Rolling hills, country roads and mostly either colonial or farm style homes. Winding rivers and gorgeous covered bridges make the area very scenic and peaceful. During the day we climbed a high tower overlook to get a breathtaking view of the land and took a 3 mile hike through the battlefields passing artillery artifacts such as cannons, statues and memorials. We visited the center of the town of Gettysburg at night where a lighted beautiful Christmas tree was placed in the middle of a rotary and all restaurants and hotels circling the rotary had lights illuminating their historical colonial architecture.
Second stop on our road trip was to visit my husband’s mother who lives near Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Another area where the landscape is cleared and is used primarily for farming. It is common to see silos, barns, farm animals, farm style homes and even horse drawn carriages used by the Amish or Mennonite people. The memorable place that I’ve seen in this area was a Walmart that had a covered parking shed and tie ups for the horses and carriages amongst the parking lot of modern cars. One of my favorite places I have to visit when I am in this area is the Hershey Visitor Center. Also known to me as Chocolate heaven. Tons of candy is on sale as well as gifts plus they decorate it so nice for Christmas. There is a free ride in the Visitor Center you can go on that gives you the history of Hershey. If you want amusement type rides they have a full amusement park adjacent to the Visitor Center. A stadium is on the property and feature top entertainment and a local sport teams. The town of Hershey is so cute. The lamps in the light posts are in the shape of a Hershey kiss. The main road that has many restaurants and shops is called Chocolate Way. We decided to eat lunch at a fabulous restaurant called Devon’s. Upscale, modern restaurant that has a good menu selection and attentive waitstaff. To start our meal the waitress brought over cheese baked biscuits which were delicious. The entire family ordered their specialty which is the Lobster Mac n Cheese and Shrimp tacos. Hershey, Pennsylvania is a great family vacation place.
Philadelphia was next on our list to visit as a day trip. Of course the history is the main attraction of Philadelphia but if you are a part of my family then food is always at the forefront. If you check out my food/drink section of my blog you’ll see our family is a bit of a foodie which led to our main goal of the visit to try an authentic Philly Cheesesteak sandwich. We researched via Yelp and other sources where to find the best Philly Cheesesteak and found Pat’s was recommended.
Sightseeing is a must as there is so much history in Philadelphia. The Liberty Bell, Independence Hall where the United States Declaration of Independence and the actual written document can be viewed.
We boarded the minivan and headed next to Connecticut to spend Christmas with my husband’s brother and family. I was so excited to have snow on Christmas morning! The Millennials had some quality time with their cousins and Aunt and Uncle as well as the fur babies!
The last leg of our trip we headed to Boston, Massachusetts for some recreation. So much history on this trip! Millenial One was especially excited as this was his first time visiting. The AirBnB apartment that we stayed at was amazing. A classic Bostonian Brownstone style apartment that mixed the old architecture with new appliances, furnishings and decor.
Plenty of sightseeing and visiting historical buildings while walking what is known as the Freedom trail. We must of walked miles that day in the freezing cold. To warm us up we stopped to have lunch at the Sail Loft in the wharf area for a bowl of clam chowder also known to the people of Boston as Chowda. Highly recommend their well known Chowda.
Our last day we decided to visit the home of the New England Patriots football team in Foxborough, Massachusetts. I expected to visit a football stadium but was surprised that there was so much more. Movie theater, outside ice skating ring, shopping mall and a visitors center that housed a museum to showcase the history of the football team as well as their many Super Bowl trophies and rings.
Two full weeks in the Northeast corridor of United States! Headed home just in time before what was referred to as the ‘bomb cyclone’ record winter storm. Goodbye beautiful Acorn Street in Boston! Momma needs to warm up!