Lincoln Log Cabin State Historic Site

My absolute favorite part of any road trip is the unexpected. I am headed in one direction, plans on the brain, and then BAM, something presents itself that could be just as interesting, if not more. I was headed on my way to Casey, among the rows of Corn, hoping I wasn’t about to be a part of a Stephen King novel, and then I saw a sign for Lincoln’s Cabin. Having just been in Springfield and Lincoln, IL, I had been on a Lincoln “kick” so I thought, why not?LogCabin1Here’s the reality of it…and it’s still cool, just not what I thought it was. This is the site of Abe’s FATHER’S cabin, Thomas Lincoln. So its yes a “Lincoln Cabin” but not Abe’s. When Abe’s mother died, Thomas Lincoln got remarried to Sarah Johnston, they followed other family members from Indiana to Central Illinois. Abraham followed them, but decided to start his own home in Sangamon County. Thomas and his crew settled in near Decatur in Coles County. Here they built the saddle-bag type cabin, which is basically two large rooms joined together.LogCabin2LogCabin4Over the years, they would host up to 18 family members of the Lincoln line here. Abraham was busy being a lawyer and in state legislation, so he would visit when he could, making his final visit as President once the train line from Springfield was laid.LogCabin10LogCabin6Parking was free and it is free to tour the Lincoln Farm. The cabin was NOT open to tour while I was there (Covid-July 25th, 2020) YET the Gift Shop was open! I know, right? But I was able to go into the Visitors Center, look at all of the exhibits (masks required), and then walk the farm amongst the sheep and pigs just running around you.  It’s a beautiful area, I can see why they chose that spot. The cabin was recreated in the early 1900’s because the original was taken apart and displayed in Chicago somewhere. It looks original, I can tell you that, expect for the ugly blue doors someone painted.LogCabin5LogCabin8LogCabin9LogCabin7The gift shop was probably the most hilarious part as it sells of the “Abe” stuff on top of some really cute “country” type gifts. I picked up a really neat patch work pillow with the U.S. on it- reminded me of my travels.LogCabinPillowIs it worth it? Well, if you happen to be in the area, near Casey, then yes, history is important and to be where the family all were is really cool. But is it worth a detour? Well, during Covid, it’s something to do FREE and OUTDOORS so that’s a win, win. But hours out of the way for it? No. I enjoyed it and I hope you love the pictures, check it out when you are these neck of the woods. More Lincoln, yes please! Check it out HERE. Enjoy!

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Going from “What If? to “Why Not” is my life motto and I work hard at living that every day. I share everything from moving to Florida to live near Disney World to road trips across the States. I love the cool, quirky, and crazy stuff that I can find on my Adventures, and every dollar you donate helps support my efforts and hard work. Thank you to ALL who support me!

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The Darkside of Door County, WI…the Trolley Ghost Tour 2020.

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They say you believe or you don’t in ghosts…and had I not seen one before me as a child, I probably wouldn’t give two thoughts about them.  It’s been a lifelong wonder of mine of what they TRULY are and so I am always down for a Ghost Tour anywhere.  While visiting Dad up in Door County, Wisconsin, I came across a flyer that advertised the Trolley Tours, but what caught my eye was the Haunted one.  The Trolley idea itself sounded fun, but add some “spookiness” to it and I am game! Located in Egg Harbor in Door County, right off of Hwy 42, it is was easy to find and get too.Trolley23

Adults are $31.95 (with tax my total was $35.63) for this tour and children (5-16) are $23.95 (as of the date this article was written).  I paid online with no problems, got a receipt via my email, and then also got another email letting me know details for the tour. Please note that these tours are NON-REFUNDABLE and tour tickets cannot be rescheduled (Important to know during these interesting times).  I went on a SATURDAY evening, June 27th 2020 and during the COVID-19 Season. Well, we hope it’s a season right?  At the time of my tour, Wisconsin was starting too decline in cases, and so I felt safe to try this out.  They say on their website they are only filling the trolleys to 75% capacity, but every row on mine was filled except for the bench behind me. Could it be that was the 25% less? Maybe. It would have felt better to have every other bench be open for safety but I didn’t know how “full” it would be until everyone was on board and off you go. They did “reserve” the seats with your name taped to them- a simple nicety for those of us who like to meander in the gift shop, have a drink, and get on at the last possible second because there’s no rush to get a seat. I was so excited though that I was the third one on… yeah, always been like that. A side note, if you can REQUEST a seat, ask to be on the RIGHT side of the trolley, as I was on the left and most of the homes spoken about were on the RIGHT side, along with the sunset at the end of the day was on the RIGHT as well.  If you like to take pictures, it’s something you’ll want to take advantage of.Trolley21

Before getting on, the parking was easy and I found it better behind the building where all the trolleys are parked.  I checked in with their ticket window, which is across from the drinks and beverage bar, and they gave me a colored ticket which coincides with the color that is on your trolley. Simple. Basic. Easy. They do recommend bug spray for the places you get on and off at on the tour, I bought a handheld bug spray pen for $3 that is for sale at their ticket window.  Ironically, forgot I bought it and I now own a brand new bug spray pen (seriously I never needed it). They recommend getting there 30 mins early which I was, but honestly not sure why unless they get crazy busy that the wait time to check in is that. My tour was for 7:00 pm and was to last until 9:15 p.m.. You are allowed to bring drinks purchased at the Gift Shop, its encouraged, and they have an array of delightful spirits to enjoy with the other spirits. I looked in my emails and couldn’t find anything against outside food and drink being brought on, so call ahead and ask on that one.Trolley22

Our ghost host, Ross, was promptly on the trolley to give us the 411 on what we were about to do and then jumped off to get into character for the rest of the ride.  Now, I was there on a summer evening and it was warm all day, in the 90s. But, as the sun set, it obviously got a bit cooler.  I wasn’t cold AT ALL until the ride began its 45-50 mph speed on the highway to and from the main destinations. The windows are at your discretion to open or close, and lucky me I was sitting next to the emergency exit which had to stay open.  I didn’t bring a jacket or sweatshirt, big mistake only when we were careening down the highway. So take note to just bring something to stay warm on that journey, it can be left on the Trolley as you can get off and on at stops, so its best to just play it safe and bring something.Trolley20

Our tour began at the home of Samuel Baxter and his story set in an old farmhouse off of the highway in 1897. Yes, I took notes but I will just be giving you the cliff notes version as it is far more exciting to hear them all in person for yourself (or find the attention of Sir Google himself).  We then parked inside the city of “Fish Creek” where we heard the sad story of Huey Melvin, a little boy of 5, who learned that tetanus can be deadly.  Then across from Huey’s home is the Alexander Noble Home… the most haunted home in Door County. Now due to Covid, we were unable to tour the old home but heard all of the ghost stories and he handed out pictures of the inside and the spirits they have caught on camera. Now, I know that the best way to catch something is to just start taking as many pictures in sucession as you can.  That way you have comparable evidence of the before and after of any shots you may get.  As Ross spoke, I felt like I was being watched from the doorway. So I just took pic after pic, not really thinking much of it.  But as we headed back onto the Trolley, I zoomed into the doorway pic that didn’t look normal, and low and behold I CAUGHT A FACE!!!  Below you will see the normal pic I took of some 20 plus feet away, and then the pic enhanced so you can see it better. It’s freaky but I’m still happy I caught something.  I was skeptical that maybe it was matrixing and I was just “looking for something to be there” so I went back the next day and took a pic of the same door and there was nothing (bottom pic). Leave in the comments what you see.Trolley18Trolley17Trolley4Trolley3Trolley2

The tour then took us down to the waters edge, which was gorgeous at that time of day, the view alone was worth it. He told us of a famous shipwreck and the Captain who would lose his life. Now, Ross, our ghost host, has a Shakespearian background and it shows.  I felt this part of the tour was right out of the Renaissance Faire…he is excellent, but it was a bit much for a ghost tour.  He needs to work at Bristol.   Another family home ghost story with a tragic Christmas, and then onto the State Park for a visit to one of the Cemeteries and the Eagle Bluff Lighthouse (Again not open right now).  What I loved about this part was that the sun was just setting and it was just gorgeous high in the hills.  They tie the ghost stories well to the real people that lived them who are all buried in the local Cemeteries in the Peninsula State Park. There is a large cemetery and a small one, the small one is where the little boy, Huey, rests.  The family didn’t want the tours attending it there anymore, so they only take you to the large cemetery. Keep in mind, on your own, anyone can go see the Pioneer Cemetery which is the small one.Trolley12Trolley13Trolley14Trolley15Trolley9Trolley10Trolley5

So picture this….the sun is going down, the temps are lovely, and Ross drives up to one of the bluffs that look over the Lake. It was a picture perfect moment…and he tells us another story…I kid you not, bagpipe music starts playing behind the trolley.  I wondered “I bet this trolley is messing up someone’s proposal moment” because honestly that’s how perfect that moment was up there.  Some random person was playing his bagpipes as the sun set…ok, I just went with it. Odd but beautiful.Trolley8Trolley7

The sky was just starting to get dark as we headed back to the Trolley Center, and as we drove the highway we listened to songs of “Monster Mash” and “Thriller.” Cheesy? A tad, but maybe I would’ve enjoyed that part more had I not been freezing from the wind on the highway or had I been drunk.Trolley6

So here are my thoughts on all of this. There is a HUGE difference between a ghost tour, a paranormal tour, and a haunted history tour albeit the haunted history and ghost are very similar. A paranormal tour is where you can use your ghost box, your ghost equipment that you provide or they do and you talk to them and see what evidence you can come up with. A haunted history tour is called this usually to not associate with the paranormal but add that “haunted” as a spook factor to the tour. A “ghost tour” is a tour that is a good mix of both, having the spook factor involved with a bit of history on where the spookiness was based on.  This was more of a mix between the ghost and haunted history. Now, the price was totally worth it- been on more expensive for half the entertainment so you definitely will get your moneys worth no matter what you’re looking for in it. And honestly that’s what this tour was…entertainment. I wasn’t scared, I didn’t feel spooked at all, even at the Cemetery I was more curious about the older headstones and the forest around it than the ghosts that may or may not have been there.  I would’ve liked the tour to be later at night in the dark, especially for what the subject matter is.  I understand that this would take some creative lighting with flashlights or cell phone lights, but it could be done, but it would’ve been a heck of a lot scarier. I suggest they do a midnight tour (which I think they may do at Halloween) but all year round- maybe just on weekends, but there is enough interest in it these days that I feel they would be very successful at it later. I mean this is for children as well, so that tells you the range of “scariness” of it.  1-10, 10 being fantastic, I would give this tour a 9.  Ross did an amazing job of not only telling the stories memorized and with feeling, but he also drove the darn thing! On top of the fact that these tours are perfect for Bridesmaid parties, Birthdays, etc.. that you really could have a wild time with drinks as you are driven around everywhere.  They do provide other daytime tours like a Premier Wine Tour, Family Ride, Lighthouse Tour, and other nightime ones such as the Murder and Mayhem Tour and a Haunted Pub Crawl. I hope to try another one when I visit my Dad again next month, so stay tuned to see which one I try. They do sell out, as I was not able to get into the Haunted Pub Crawl at all, but I was able to grab a ticket for the ghost tour.  My best advice is to book as soon as possible- even with Covid amongst us.Trolley1

Now, let me say something on the Covid factor with this because those who are going this summer will want to know.  The employees had masks on and our host had his on the entire tour- no one else on the trolley had one on but me. I couldn’t “distance” on the trolley, but when we exited on and off I always made sure to stand 6 feet or more away from the group.  I hand sanitized myself after every time I got off and on, and I washed my hands after I got back from the tour to my Bed & Breakfast. I did as much as I could, and now we wait and see, but I am letting you know my experience. I wasn’t scared at all about getting it, as their numbers in Door County have been small, but the reality is still there that anyone can get it and I did my best to protect myself.  Just a heads up for those of you thinking about going.

I enjoyed the Ghost Tour and I appreciate Ross and his passion for the love of his job and for being a phenomenal storyteller. Check them out at doorcountytolley.com.

Donations for Content

Going from “What If? to “Why Not” is my life motto and I work hard at living that every day. I share everything from moving to Florida to live near Disney World to road trips across the States. I love the cool, quirky, and crazy stuff that I can find on my Adventures, and every dollar you donate helps support my efforts and hard work. Thank you to ALL who support me!

$5.00

 

 

 

 

 

“Put Your Little Hand in Mine…” The Town that Built the Film “Groundhog Day.”

RoadTripLogoDuring a Pandemic, it seemed like a great time to go on another Road Trip.  Well, not really. Having planned this over 6 months ago, I decided to go forward with my plans in the hope that the virus would start to wind down and that I could again experience freedom outside the realm of Florida. I love my Parks, I love my sunny weather, but I hate the hot summers and honestly between that and the call of cooler temps and grass I could actually squish my toes into, it was a no brainer to go.  With mask in hand, and hand sanitizer always on standby, I headed to Woodstock, IL to walk a movie set.phil3

For those who don’t know, the infamous “Groundhog Day” ritual is held every February in the town of Punxsutawney, PA.  They pull the famous critter out of his hidey hole for everyone to see and he magically tells the council if there will be 6 more weeks of Winter or not.  I was blessed to be able to see the real town, the real “Gobbler’s Knob,” and yes stand on the actual stage where they have the fun event on my last road trip in 2018.  BUT what MANY people do not know is that the movie was not filmed there at all, but in another city called Woodstock in the great State of IL.  The town, the Park, and that beautiful Bed and Breakfast in the Movie were all filmed there. So when making my plans for this summer, I wanted to really find the areas and spots of the Midwest that would be fun, exciting, and just all together interesting for the soul.rsz_img_4394rsz_img_4395Thankfully it wasn’t hard to find,  I was met with such excitement as I parked in the FREE lot. I had shown up on a Saturday and they were having their Farmers Market as well. It couldn’t get any better, a Farmers Market AT Gobbler’s Knob??!!??   Walking up, there it was. The Pennsylvania Hotel in the Movie where Rita was staying, she’s dropped off at it during the very early part of the film. What is fascinating about this is that its actually a very old Opera House in the Town who has housed many stars like Mickey Rooney and Orson Wells (who by the way is FROM Woodstock!).  It’s a beautiful red brick building and it’s near the edge of the town, so it was the first thing I saw. And then, the Park, aka Gobblers Knob, I was freaking out at the sight of it! It is the center of Town, so it couldn’t be more of a postcard image with it’s streets lined with trees and brick paved roads.  All I could see in my head were the crowds listening to the “Pennsylvania Polka” as Phil and the crew were getting ready to watch the groundhog make his appearance. The gazebo were Phil and Rita slow danced to was located in the center, and then there is an iron gateway on all four sides welcoming you to the Park.   Seriously, I could’ve sat there all day and people watched.rsz_img_4371_-_copy (2)IMG_4363 - CopyJPGIMG_4364JPGI got down to it and pulled up a virtual walking tour guide (www.woodstockroundhog.org/walk) which took me to each spot around the town on what was filmed where. It helped SO MUCH because I hadn’t watched the movie in awhile, as I should have and recommend for anyone going on this quest, as it is a heck of a lot easier to find things when you have it fresh in your mind. I headed down to 209 Main Street to the Movie Theater, known as the Alpine Theater and is home to the Harold Ramis Auditorium.  Although thanks to Covid, it wasn’t open, but it was still neat to look through the windows at the old Theater. Right on the other side of it is the ally which has a gigantic mural of Groundhog Day, along with the Opera House fame, and the character Dick Tracy, whose animator drew him and lived in Woodstock for 46 years.  Excellent photo opps here! Also towards the back of the ally are two statues, one of the famous local Orson Welles and the other of the Groundhog.rsz_img_4381rsz_img_4384rsz_img_4390rsz_img_4392rsz_img_4398rsz_img_4402 (1)rsz_img_4404I headed down to the bottom of Main Street where the railroad tracks start to cross and across the street at 109 Church Street, is the Bowling  Lanes used in the film.  They have their pic on a banner located outside of it, it was a thrill to see.  From there I headed up Madison Street to find the corner of Judd Street, this area was where Phil Connors was trying to help the homeless man over and over again in the ally-that part always broke my heart. Not a fun day when that day is someone passing over and over again. After that little tinge on the heart, I was in search of Cass Street and the infamous “Ned Ryerson” our favorite Insurance Salesman who is just too annoyingly awesome and sweet for his own good- BING!!  I have to tell you, I love a Town that acknowledges their claim to fame on plaques. First off, we all have gotten lazy on looking up things, and second, it was nice to have a selfie with these spots and know you were standing on film history.  More towns, cities, etc.. need to do this.  So I round the corner and there is the plaque “Ned’s Corner” and I freak out!!  Yes, it’s the little things in life. The puddle also that he continually falls into is on the same Cass Street- at least it is in the movie.rsz_img_4415 (1)rsz_img_4419rsz_img_4426Now if you head up Cass Street you run into the Courthouse and Jail at the top of this Town Square, located on Van Buren St, just adjacent to the Opera House. I am a sucker for the old buildings and architecture, did get to go inside but most of it was roped off for Covid. The Public House located next door to it is now a Restaurant, and is the spot where they filmed all of Bill Murray’s bar scenes.  They weren’t allowing anyone to eat indoors in IL at the time of my visit, so I wasn’t able to sneak a peak. But hey, still I got to see where he filmed it.IMG_4366 - CopyJPGIMG_4368 - CopyJPGrsz_img_4374_-_copyDown the way from this on the same street is the location of the “Tip Top Café” which is now a bunch of businesses combined. Here is where he famously sat with Rita and listened and recorded all of the details about her, along with the infamous breakfast where he didn’t care what he ate and how much he ate because, hey, there were no consequences for a day on endless repeat.IMG_4369 - CopyJPGI walked around Gobblers Knob for a bit, walked inside the gazebo where Rita and Phil slow danced while it snowed, and among the spots where they built the snow man and he made the ice sculpture. It was pure magic.IMG_4365 - CopyJPGrsz_img_4433But there was one more stop that was the pinnacle of my adventure….the icing on the cake, if not the cherry. And that was the Bed and Breakfast on Cherry Tree Lane in which he woke up at….over and over again.  On the way, up the infamous street seen on the movie over and over again, you can find the piano teachers home at 348 South Madison. There is a plaque on the house, but it’s a private residence so I just grabbed a pic and left.rsz_img_4436rsz_img_4435I walked down Madison to Fremont Street, the Bed and Breakfast (Cherry Tree Inn) coming into view like a red carpet to a Broadway Premiere. It was beautiful, and I was in awe of how I was standing on movie history.  I just started to take pictures when a woman approached me and asked if I would like my pic taken, I said oh no worries, and she then said “I own this.”  The smile that was already on my face grew ten times bigger as I asked question after question about the movie and her beautiful home.  And then she offered a free tour, and my heart raced with glee!  For the next hour I was shown the first and second floor, the view down the road, where the movie cameras were set up, the famous area where he walked into for breakfast every day, the front door he touched, the old newspaper article about the house on the wall, and memorabilia from the movie- including the clock, the Cherry St sign, and the coffee carafe from the Café.  Honestly I couldn’t believe my luck.  I was not only getting a tour, but a FREE tour, and it felt like an exclusive, behind the scenes one at that!  Did you know this is a real, active B&B? Yes!! You too can stay at the movie magic- beautiful rooms, fresh homemade breakfast made for guests, Wifi and Cable in all of the rooms, also a copy of the movie to watch while you stay there, huge common rooms to enjoy with other guests or your family, back massagers in all of the showers, along with big comfy beds and a beautiful grounds area to walk or sit on the patio.  Open all year and the owner could NOT be more nice and friendlier – my shout out to her and her amazing job on this place!rsz_img_4441rsz_img_4442rsz_img_4503rsz_img_4497rsz_img_4488rsz_img_4483rsz_img_4486rsz_img_4474rsz_img_4471rsz_img_4461rsz_img_4460rsz_img_4456rsz_img_4451I left Woodstock feeling so amazing…I would live here in a hearbeat if they didn’t have this thing in the Midwest called snow. I highly recommend a visit to Woodstock…it was a great thing for me to do during Covid because it was a lot of outside things, people wore masks all over the place, and there wasn’t a way for any of it to be “closed” – it’s all public. If you loved the movie, you’ll love Woodstock.  Who doesn’t love a walk inside a Norman Rockwell painting? Yeah, it’s that good. Enjoy!

Donations for Content

Going from “What If? to “Why Not” is my life motto and I work hard at living that every day. I share everything from moving to Florida to live near Disney World to road trips across the States. I love the cool, quirky, and crazy stuff that I can find on my Adventures, and every dollar you donate helps support my efforts and hard work. Thank you to ALL who support me!

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My Journey to Meet Punxsutawney Phil

RoadTripLogoEverything starts with an idea right? Well I had been blessed with a Road Trip in 2017 where I drove up from Florida, into the East, up into the Midwest and back. It was life changing, and I knew that I had the travel bug, or as my Uncle Curt would say “Wanderlust is strong with this one” meaning me. So when I planned a bigger, longer road trip for 2018, I wanted to plan as much as possible, while still leaving in the dreaming and surprises. One of the stops that I have had on my bucket list for quite some time, was meeting the Groundhog, Phil himself, and getting to see where they host the ever famous “Groundhogs Day” Celebration. So hop in my car with me, there’s room for one more, don’t mind the fast food wrappers and red vines, and let’s head to Punxsutawney.

The day was July 31st, 2018..so about 18 months ago from this post being written. I had just been to the 9/11 area the day before, so I had driven about 3-4 hours to get to Punxsutawney to check-in around lunch. A beautiful hotel, I quickly grabbed the stuff I needed and headed up to the Park (It’s up on a large hill). The Park? Gobblers Knob, which seriously is the best name of a Park by far! I was so geeked out of my mind rolling up to the sign, I couldn’t contain my happiness.IMG_0871
It was a warm day in July, I honestly didn’t expect to see much of anyone or anything because it wasn’t the Season for it. I thought I’d grab some pics, go find lunch, and then chill at my Hotel. But what I found after I drove in a bit farther, was a Man who was greeting myself and others who came in after me, as an almost Council man type figure for the groundhog himself. He brought us all up to the stage where they have the ceremony, and right away I could feel the fun energy in this place. He told us the story of how Phil drinks a special “elixir” every couple of years, which makes him live forever. I loved this part of the story, because it just added that something magical for especially children to believe in. They said that the stump they remove him from for the big reveal moment, at first, Phil had learned to burrow into the ground underneath it and they panicked trying to find him one year. So they had to build a bottom into it, and I believe they said it is heated. They only put him in a couple of hours before the reveal, and then whisk him away right after the celebration. The Council of Men who take care of him and this sacred place are not only very serious about their furry friend, but passionate about the celebration. Honestly it was refreshing to hear someone so love their hobby and somewhat job without sarcasm, just pure joy. IMG_0890
He took my picture on stage, and by Phil’s reveal spot, and told us more about Bill Murray and how he came out one year to watch the Festival quietly in the background so that he wasn’t recognized. It was the year before the movie was made, so he was researching for the part. Also fun fact, the home that is the Bed and Breakfast that you repeatedly see in the movie is in Woodstock, Illinois, where a lot of the movie was filmed. I was surprised at how small this area was, for when you see it on TV, I thought it was a baseball stadium sized area, and it’s more like a public park area.


He handed out coins, stickers, bookmarks, buttons and a brochure about Phil. The coin was my favorite and I put it in a special place in my car that day, and it’s still there today! It’s just one of those things that’s just really cool to look at and remember what a cool day that was. After, I headed into town to have lunch at the infamous “Punxy Phils” which is your normal diner, but while there, you must partake in all that is Phil.IMG_0873

After I had a delicious Chef Salad, I headed downtown to find the furry guy myself. He is kept in the towns library, in a very nice, large habitat. He wasn’t up for autographs or pictures that day, so honestly I probably saw Phil’s butt. Meh, it’s something. I asked him to turn around but he wasn’t having it.

So after meeting Phil’s butt, I headed into the town more, and it’s about the size of every little town you can think of. It’s Main Street had the typical bank, gas station, and McDonalds. Yes, Phil likes his burgers, I can only assume. They had one tiny little gift shop dedicated to Phil, and it was donned with all sorts of Groundhog merch. I bought a magnet because that’s all I felt I wanted there. And that was basically it for my day. The rain started up and I just hunkered down in my hotel room with my laptop and Netflix and streamed the rest of the day while grazing on red vines.IMG_0877
Is it worth it? Heck yeah! It’s cool to see it without the stampede of people there for the Celebration, but I heard its an amazing party if you can make it for the actual day. I also loved being in shorts and not freezing my arse off for it, so you know, you do what you want to do. I hope you enjoyed this walk down memory lane with me today, as it is GROUNDHOGS DAY today and he DID NOT see his shadow….early Spring y’all. Yeah it doesn’t affect me in Florida but YAY for everyone else! On a side note, I now know how to spell Punxsutawney over and over again.

Donations for Content

Going from “What If? to “Why Not” is my life motto and I work hard at living that every day. I share everything from moving to Florida to live near Disney World to road trips across the States. I love the cool, quirky, and crazy stuff that I can find on my Adventures, and every dollar you donate helps support my efforts and hard work. Thank you to ALL who support me!

$5.00

How We Did Washington D.C.

rsz_img_3226Over the last two road trips I traversed, I was blessed to be able too visit Washington D.C. on each.  I fell in love with the history, the patriotism, and the overall city.  I was truly hooked.  So when Craig and I discussed what we could travel too before our next chapter, we decided on D.C. so that he and Emily could experience it for themselves. Thus the planning began.  And since all I have done since 2011 is move across the County 4 times with my family and no real vacation with them, it was exciting to plan a joint venture together.

D.C. isn’t Disney….obviously…but I hadn’t planned anything like it since my move and Mickey trips. So I decided to make a list of everything I had enjoyed, and everything I hadn’t done yet. Then I had Craig and Emily each make their lists and that was the base of the planning.  I had been fortunate enough to have a dear friend live near DC that I had been driven in and out both trips, so doing it on our own was going to be a challenge.  There is so much information out there, like a Disney vacation, that it did become overwhelming. I didn’t know what areas were safe, or the best play to stay or heck even whether to use LYFT or UBER.  So, here’s the real of it – we winged most of it.

If you want to do things like the Holocaust Museum, the Capital, the White House, and specialty Museums, tickets need to be reserved/purchased well before you head there. We planned around 60 days out, and I mean REAL planning, and we lost out on getting into several places because the tickets were already sold out.  Some places you can check the day of your touring to see if tickets are available, as some are offered the day of.  I am sure this is more of a summer issue, as this is the busiest time. So pick your week, book the tickets, and then work around those times.  Those times are in stone so you can find what is located near those places and tour them each day in blocks, so you aren’t running across town wasting time and energy.

So this is what worked out for us, we had our locked in times for certain things and then just toured around that.  For transportation, we parked at Arlington every day and walked in and took LYFT back to the car.  It was easier doing this because you stay out of the busier traffic from the city in this area, on and off the highway nearby, and the parking was reasonably priced. A LYFT ride back to Arlington from the Mall area usually was around $8-$10- well worth it when it feels like your feet are about to fall off.

We did a week in DC and it was plenty of time. Spending 2-3 hours per Smithsonian, we took our time. The popular Natural and American History ones were over run with school groups, so it was difficult to really enjoy those, whereas the African-American, Art, and others were quieter and you could actually read and enjoy the calmness. The Spy Museum took about 3 hours and was worth EVERY PENNY!  We filled a backpack every day full of snacks and drinks, something you will want to do if you are out and about touring for 6-7 straight days. Bottled water and drinks are available in most gift shops and food trucks, but there are “Dollar Guys” on most corners who are selling bottled water and Gatorade for $1.  We went that route when our drinks were gone, or we tried to save our bottles and refill them at drinking fountains.  Food trucks offer a large variety of foods, and we found they were mostly there on the weekends only. Many offered samples, so ask to try something if you aren’t sure.

I don’t think there really is a “bad way” to do D.C. I think there is so much to see that you truly do need a plan so that you don’t miss anything, but we did so much more than we had hoped.  It is set up in a way that on your way (by foot) you come across something else, and so on.  I HIGHLY recommend walking it (if possible) because you just get to feel the city so much more.  One of my favorite days was walking Constitution Avenue on my own and just enjoying the sights and sounds.  My favorite building by far was the Library of Congress- soooo beautiful- like being in a Castle.  I can’t say anything was really a negative, as much as a disappointment was that the reflection pool was being cleaned so it was empty and the National Cathedral had a commencement so they only gave us certain angles to see it.  Stick to the Avenues to stay in the shade, walking around the bottom of the Washington Monument is awesome the first time, but it is incredibly hot and in zero shade of anything to walk past more than once. Scooters and bikes are left all around the Mall to use to get around as well- we didn’t use them.  LYFT worked 3 out of 4 rides. The last ride she got lost taking us back to Arlington and winding up near the Pentagon, so we are disputing the charges since we were about a mile from Arlington and a ride of about $8 wound up being $22 because SHE got lost.  Seems shady so we shall see what happens with that dispute. One driver actually told us she doesn’t know the city at all…. WHY would you tell your riders this? She was super kind and did wind up getting us where we needed to go, but I was shocked she said it.

I don’t know if we will ever go back, as we have some big things coming up next year, but I am happy we had this family trip together, although we missed our Kyra very much.  I highly recommend a visit!RoadTripLogo

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Going from “What If? to “Why Not” is my life motto and I work hard at living that every day. I share everything from moving to Florida to live near Disney World to road trips across the States. I love the cool, quirky, and crazy stuff that I can find on my Adventures, and every dollar you donate helps support my efforts and hard work. Thank you to ALL who support me!

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The Distracted Parent at the Parks

rsz_img_e6378Recently on a trip to the Parks, I was waiting in line at Slinky Dog with the family.  As we all know, the culmination of tired guests at the end of a long day, can make those lines seem even longer. I GET IT.  But that being said, I watched as a couple were in deep discussion over a map or kissing, whatever, as their small children of probably 5 years old, played around my family and I behind them… at first it’s cute. You tell yourself that kids will be kids and let them have their fun.  Then they step on you….they don’t mean it so you try to keep your cool and again convince yourselves that these little humans don’t realize they can be jerks.  But as I watched the parents, time and time again over the next 90 minute wait we had, my blood began to boil.  If you say something, you’re the bad guy.  PLUS you get the added bonus of waiting in line with the people you just asked to stop for however long and that’s just as uncomfortable. At one point we had moved forward a good ten feet and their kids were playing on the poles and Mom and Dad didn’t even notice they were a good 4 parties behind them. Nothing. It wasn’t until the kids ran up to join them that they even looked down.

I get it folks, people want to celebrate with their kids in this happy place.  But you know what doesn’t make it happy anymore? When I constantly have to watch your child for you because you are too distracted.  Parenting is rough, many of us have been through it or are still in the trenches. And yes, it does take a Village. Here’s an example of when I was more than happy to help. I have found that the parade environment, at Disney especially, can be a very toxic place. The reason is that EVERYONE feels entitled to see, have the perfect spot, and it doesn’t matter who around them has to deal with it.  I have sat hours beforehand to get a perfect picture or that “just right” experience and I don’t mind standing to let little ones sit or stand in front of me.  When parents ASK ME I have totally ok with it- as long as the kids are going to sit still and I am not having to babysit. But when parents decide to SHOVE their little human in front of me and yell “Its just a child, it’s just a child” I truthfully want to shout back at the parent “It’s my foot, it’s just my foot.” Read into that how you want.  I was sitting on Main Street with the family on a vacation back in the day and a stroller came behind us, parked, and the child’s ice cream dripped down my back.  Nothing like getting my spot early only to have to deal with a sticky backside and parents who didn’t care as I looked back at them with “the look.”  Or holding a place for hours on end just to be made to feel like you’re a bad human because you got there first and did the time and they can’t believe they can’t just walk up and sit in your spot. Oh and on a side not, for Pete’s sake if you need to put your child up on your shoulders to see, stand in the BACK.

What people get wrong about the Parks is that they are for EVERYONE. Not just families, not just the single rider, and certainly not just for the kids- EVERYBODY. So it just takes a little time and respect to watch your kids in line, say sorry when your kid does something to a stranger, and please don’t play it off when they do and think “It’s just my kid being a kid.”  Most people, like myself, will give the benefit of the doubt repeatedly because we don’t want to come off looking like jerks either.  We want your kids and your family to have a GREAT time, just be aware that you’re not the only one enjoying the magic.

Donations for Content

Going from “What If? to “Why Not” is my life motto and I work hard at living that every day. I share everything from moving to Florida to live near Disney World to road trips across the States. I love the cool, quirky, and crazy stuff that I can find on my Adventures, and every dollar you donate helps support my efforts and hard work. Thank you to ALL who support me!

$5.00