Tuesday, June 23, 2009

East Coast Fun

This summer we decided to go to the East Coast to visit my Sister and her family who live in New Hampshire. We weren't sure at first if we wanted to tackle such a feat with Jayden and Josie not being that old, but thought what the heck might as well give it a try. So, on May 24th, 2009 at we set out at 6:00 in the morning. We didn't make it out of Iowa before the kids already started asking if we were there yet. oh dear!

Our first overnight destination was the Maumee Toledo, OH area. Traffic wasn't bad up to this point despite it being Memorial Day weekend. We traveled from Toledo to visit Hershey Chocolate World in Hershey, Pennsylvania. The kids thought it cool and hadn't seen so much chocolate in their life. From there we traveled to Strasburg, Pennsylvania to visit the Pennsylvania Railroad Museum. Jayden and I could have stayed there a lot longer, but we had to continue on to visit the Crayola Factory in Easton, Pennsylvania. We got to see a mini crayola factory and all things color. We also got to play with some boats and cannals. We survived driving through New York City and Connecticut even though "Carmin" (The Garmin GPS) let us down in a few spots...more on her later.  We managed to arrive at my Sister's place on day three.

It rained the first two days we were in New Hampshire so we decided to do a few things that didn't require us to be outside...shopping and visiting a few places. We went to the Cape Neddick Lighthouse on York Beach, Maine, and shopped at some outlet stores in Kittery, Maine. The following day went Boston to visit the New England Aquarium, and Ikea.

Finally, on May 29th we had no rain! We headed to The Flume Gorge and then up to a fogged in Mt. Washington.

We also made extensive use of Steve's Kawasaki Mule (Red Gaiter) and 4 wheeler. We also visited Hampton Beach a couple of different days. Jayden loved the ocean, but Josie hated it. Karrie and Steve also threw a party for us with Steve's family and their friends. It was fun to meet them all and have kids play/make new friends. Steve also hooked up his leaf blower T-ball machine. It was hard to say goodbye as we had such a good time out there.

On our return visit we stayed overnight at the Wolbrinks' in Liverpool, New York and then made our way to Niagara Falls, New York. We also missed the Supper Nanny, but saw her car. We arrived back at our place on June 4th after another night's stay in Erie, Pennsylvania.

Here are a few tips for anyone taking long road trips. Get your hands on a GPS. That thing saved us so much and let us find places that we normally wouldn't have gone to. Yeah, I can read a map, but this gave us the flexibility to do something at a whim instead of having to plan out the whole trip. I did have the hotels booked for on the way out before we left, but didn't book them for the way back. Garmin along with the Marriott 800 number got us places to stay on the way back. Another thing that I'm glad we got before we left was the iPass/EZPass for tolls. We only found one state that we had to actually pickup a ticket and pay at the end for tolls. The rest of the states we used the iPass. It was so much easier than having to stop and pay someone. We also packed Josie's little porta-potty thing. That saved us a few times. Her bladder really is as small as she is.

All in all, we had a great time and trip. The kids were great and Kim had lots of activities planned for them to do in the van.  She's so organized. We wouldn't have been able to do it had she not had everything setup the way she did. Now we just have to figure out where we're going next summer!

The complete set of pictures can be seen here.