• gnome houses on a bike trail
    travel

    I Spy Gnome Houses on a Bike Trail

    Of all the gloriously random things in the world to discuss, today I want to talk about gnome houses on a bike trail. Why? Because it’s pretty much the most amazing thing ever. Okay. Not EVER ever, but it is pretty fantastic. Hear me out. Imagine a beautiful summer day. The temperature is warm, but not too hot. It is the perfect day for going on a bike ride (or walk) on a path through a lush forest and being able to play an epic game of I Spy. And, no. You’re not too old to play I Spy. Perish the thought! Why are there gnome houses on a bike…

  • travel,  learning

    You Should Tour a Mine at Least Once

    Everyone should tour a mine at least once in their lifetime. It is a tangible and interesting way to understand the effort, danger and environmental impact that goes into extracting natural resources from the ground that are used in everyday items we find indispensable. Your cell phone alone contains many natural resources that come out of the ground such as copper, gold, silver, palladium, crude oil, and lithium. Now, I’m not encouraging you to tour an active mine or to get lost in an abandoned mine. No, no, no. There are plenty of tourism opportunities all around the country and world to take a guided tour of an inactive mine.…

  • Franklin D Roosevelt Presidential Library
    travel

    Travel: Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library

    History is fun to learn about! Especially if it involves a bit of travel, so let’s get you prepped in case you are planning to travel to the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library. If you’ve never been to a presidential library, the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library is a good place to start because it holds a special place in history. Prior to Franklin D. Roosevelt’s presidency (1933 – 1945), a president’s documents and items procured from his time in office were considered personal property. As such, at the end of a presidency or at the end of a president’s life, these items might be sold or dispersed. Many were…

  • travel

    10 Must See Places in Ireland if You Like Castles and Nature

    I routinely receive emails from people asking what they should do when visiting Ireland. It’s an impossible question! Especially if you are only visiting for a week. For a small country, Ireland has a lot to see, experience and savor. I should know – I lived there for two years and didn’t see or do everything on my list. Oh, the regrets! With St. Patrick’s Day only a few days away, I thought it would be fitting to round up my favorite, must-see places in the Republic of Ireland especially if you like castles and nature. I’m leaving Northern Ireland off the list (this time!) only because I’m trying to help you…

  • travel

    Travel: Washington’s Headquarters and Ford Mansion

    When I used to think of New Jersey, I thought of Jersey Shore (the reality tv show, not the actual shore). As it turns out, an over-the-top reality show does not do New Jersey any justice – at least not in the historical sense. New Jersey actually played a very important role in the founding of the United States during the Revolutionary War. Think about where New Jersey is located between New York and Pennsylvania and you’ll have an ‘ah-ha!’ moment like I did. New Jersey was centrally located among the American colonies. It had a decent transportation and provisioning system. It had also developed defense systems that would play an…

  • travel

    Travel: Niagara Falls in Winter

    Niagara Falls has been on our Travel Bucket List for awhile now. Have you been? There are pros and cons to visiting Niagara Falls during the off-peak season or, as I affectionately refer to it, the cold, frozen winter. The pros include lower prices on lodging and fewer tourists to contend with. The cons involve possibly bad weather and not all tourist attractions will be open. Can you guess which option is more appealing to our family? Let me grab my coat and scarf because I really loathe long lines and I’m a big fan of saving a buck! The only caveat that would make this a dealbreaker for us…

  • travel

    Travel: Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania

    I hope you know by now I wouldn’t recommend taking a trip to visit a small town in the middle of nowhere without good reason. When I say small, I’m not exaggerating. (Not this time!) And when I say good reason, I have more than one! Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania, is a historic Victorian town (population 4,633) in the Pocono Mountains. It is situated approximately 1.5 hours from Philadelphia and 2 hours from New York City. (Unless you are leaving on a Friday night at 5 p.m. Then it might take half a lifetime a little longer.) If you don’t like 19th century architecture, great restaurants, quirky shops, eye-opening museums, outdoor recreation…

  • travel

    Travel: Hershey, Pennsylvania

    Are you a chocolate fan? Would it be blasphemy to say if you offered me a piece of chocolate or a gummy bear I’d probably take the gummy bear? Yes? Then I won’t say that. I’ll just tell you we visited Hershey, Pennsylvania. Do you know what’s located in Hershey, Pennsylvania? You do?!?! Was the clue in the name? Did I give it away? I did. I knew it. That’s right. Hershey is the home to The Hershey Company, which is known for its chocolate treats like Hershey Bars and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. It is also home to several tourist attractions and since they all have the name “Hershey”…

  • Crafts,  travel

    Souvenir Penny Magnets

    My son collects souvenir pennies when we visit tourist attractions. Souvenir pennies are small, inexpensive and apparently not illegal to make, so I feel like we are winning on all fronts. Much like the playing cards that I collect, a souvenir penny is a neat reminder of a visit to a specific place. Plus, this is something my son can collect his entire life. I’m not knocking the souvenir stuffed animal with this comment either. Okay, maybe a little, but we have more stuffed animals than Noah and his ark and at some point kids outgrow stuffed animals. Right?!?! Now, the problem with 8-year-olds and teeny tiny souvenirs is that…

  • travel

    Travel: Valley Forge National Historical Park

    We travel for pleasure and entertainment, sure. But we also travel to learn. I grew up in a rural area of the West Coast and didn’t travel much as a kid. I learned about history from school textbooks. It was a good foundation, but there is nothing, short of being there for the event itself, like seeing a historical site in person. Last month we visited Valley Forge National Historic Park in Pennsylvania. It’s not far from our house and made a great day trip. If you decide to go, here are some tips I picked up to help you plan your trip. WHAT IS VALLEY FORGE AND WHY IS…