Trip #16: New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania

Sometimes there is so much to see that it is impossible to squeeze it all in and such was the case on our trip to explore these three hugely important states. My kids and I could have easily spent an entire week in New York City alone so it was more than a little frustrating to have to pick and choose what would have the most significance on our trip. I think this itinerary worked well for the most part except when … [Read more...]


There’s nothing like standing where our nation's independence was declared or seeing the Liberty Bell to connect to our historic and dynamic American heritage. Pennsylvania is home to so much of our history-some that took place in big cities like Philadelphia and Pittsburgh and some that occurred in the rural farmland that covers so much of the state. Pennsylvania beckons you to get to know Benjamin Franklin … [Read more...]

Abe’s Buggy Rides (Bird In Hand)

So I have to admit when we arrived in Intercourse and then Bird In Hand which are towns next to each other in Pennsylvania Dutch Country my kids were really taken aback to see real buggies on the road with Amish folks, sometimes younger kids "driving". Of course they'd seen photos and stuff on television but somehow it was quite different seeing them in person going about their daily lives.  I think my kids were … [Read more...]

Gettysburg National Military Park (Gettysburg)

There is nothing that can prepare you for the solemnity and enormity of Gettysburg National Military Park. Visiting here was something I had looked forward to ever since taking on our goal of seeing all 50 states 13 years ago. But I could never have imagined what an incredible experience it would be with kids in high school-particularly enrolled in A.P. U.S. History. My kids and I would agree it was the highlight of … [Read more...]

Pennsylvania State Capitol Building (Harrisburg)

I love these cut away shots-isn't this gorgeous? The Pennsylvania state capitol rotunda is a magnificent example a combination of various artistic techniques and mediums working together for a massive impact.  The first thing we noticed after a long and circuitous route to get to the rotunda was the dominant color theme of red, white, and blue. Stunning but not surprising given the role of Pennsylvania in the … [Read more...]

Hershey’s Chocolate World (Hershey)

I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes....folks going nuts for stuff they could buy at the supermarket. Clearly 99% of the population loves chocolate and we count ourselves among that group, in fact we sometimes go a little crazy for it, I'll give you that but not like the people we saw here. It seemed as if we'd had literally walked into a chocolate utopia and honestly it was a little … [Read more...]

Immergut Hand Rolled Soft Pretzels (Intercourse)

Can you resist warm freshly baked doughy goodness slathered in butter and a little salt or cinnamon sugar? We definitely could not. If you want to taste the original authentic Pennsylvania dutch soft pretzel then this is the place. Watch the women in Amish bonnets roll out the dough dip it and place it on the backing rack. 5 minutes later, it's dipped in butter and sprinkled with your choice of topping. If you … [Read more...]

B. Free Post Office (Philadelphia)

  Did you know that the first post office in the United States was established by Benjamin Franklin and was established prior to our nation's founding right in this very building? Don't you just love the name of the post office too? So clever Mr. Franklin! Do what we did and buy some postcards and have them cancelled at the oldest post office in the USA. The cancellation mark is really big so make sure … [Read more...]

Ben Franklin’s Grave (Philadelphia)

After learning so much about Ben Franklin we were compelled to pay our respects at his gravesite which is nearby. You can peer at his gravestone through the fence for free which is what most folks do, often tossing pennies onto his grave for good luck. Or, you can pay the couple of bucks admission to into the graveyard and get a closer look. Feeling like I really need to properly thank old Ben for all he'd done … [Read more...]

Ben Franklin Museum (Philadelphia)

Ben Franklin is one of my heroes. If I had to pick one person in history to meet and spend time with it would either be him or George Washington. I can't even begin to tell you what a treat it was to learn and explore all about him at the Ben Franklin Museum which is adjacent to the grounds of where his house once stood in Philadelphia's historic district. What a fun and interesting museum that enthralled all of us … [Read more...]