When we told people we went houseboating last weekend, we got a lot of questions. A lot of questions means a lot of interest, hence here’s what you need to know if you want to rent a houseboat in Pennsylvania on Raystown Lake!
We checked out Lincoln Caverns after houseboating at Raystown Lake. Lincoln Caverns were discovered in 1931. The William Penn Highway was being built just above it, and a large steam shovel machine fell through into the caves during the blasting process. It fell into what is now called Devil’s Pit. I’m not sure what damage it die to the formations below, but that area is full of wonder after wonder.
For some relatively local (to us) Pennsylvania skiing, we headed to Camelback Ski resort with kids this year. It’s funny to see the outdoor water park slides covered in snow, as this resort is also a summer destination.
Given all the crazy weather this season, we were happy to see a solid base. Plus, they make snow, and we got to experience that ourselves, with snow machines at the base and on some of the slopes. I never realized how loud they are. It’s like going past a jet engine. After one run where about 6 of them were blowing in a row, we had to go in and take a break, as our faces were so cold from the blowing snow.
I don’t think I’ve posted race tips before on my site, and don’t plan to in the future. BUT we don’t usually travel for races. My husband and his running group ran the Hershey Half Marathon this weekend, and while it’s fresh in my mind, I wanted to share some tips for runners and spectators to make it easier should you run this race.
I didn’t think it would be possible to get sick of chocolate. But after spending 27 hours in Hershey, drinking milkshakes, eating s’mores, drinking hot chocolate, eating chocolate cookies, eating candy bars, making candy bars and smelling pumped in fake chocolate aroma, my daughter declared “I’m sick of chocolate.”
While I’m not giving up on the treat any time soon, she had a point. And being immersed in Hershey land for 27 hours does make you a little jaded and longing for a salad.
Here’s our Hershey Chocolate World with families review!
We went to Hershey last weekend for the first time, and I wanted to cram in as much as we could. My husband was running the Hershey Half Marathon, which make planning a little more difficult, so I had to prioritize what we were going to do. I heard about the Hershey create your own candy bar experience, though, and knew that was top of the list.
We arrived at the entrance at our appointed time. It wasn’t a formal tour, so you literally just show up at your ticket time. They give you an apron, hair net and if needed, a beard net. My 12 year old took one of those just because it was fun. Not sure why you need an apron, since you don’t go anywhere need the food. The hair net, I kind of get, even though everything is behind glass.
It’s rare to be at an amusement park on the weekend with virtually no lines. That was the upside to going to Hersheypark on a cold October day where it hailed on us three times plus rain (of course we had no ponchos or umbrellas, though everyone in our group except for me had hoods). I’ve included some Hersheypark in the Dark tips for families here.
My family went to Philadelphia over our fall break (i.e. NJ Teachers Convention break) last November. It was a whirlwind of sightseeing and an awesome trip (I wrote a ton of posts on what to see in Philadelphia with kids here). But when a friend was organizing a girls’ weekend in May, I jumped at the chance. Though we had one overlap in activity (the Barnes Foundation), the entire weekend was a different experience than traveling there with kids, and even my visit to the Barnes was completely different.
Coming from the Northern NJ area, people here don’t think about spending the weekend in Philadelphia, given that the much larger New York City is so close. But Philly is close too – and there is so much to do and see there that you can’t cover it all in a weekend – or in a weekend plus the November break. Here’s how we spent our almost-48 hours. Continue reading “Weekend in Philly”
Recently I spent a girls’ weekend in Philadelphia with other travel writers. With six in our group, we wanted a place we could hang out, and a good location. It didn’t have to be luxurious, but it should be nice. Instead of going the hotel route, we went the rental by owner route. We hated our rental.
How can you avoid the mistakes we made when renting from an owner? Here’s how, using an in-depth review of the Perle Mesta Inn B&B in Philadelphia as our example.
How the services work
Several established companies offer room/home rentals by owner. These companies act as a listing service and do some vetting (but do not manage the properties, nor do they physically see them).
When I looked at how it works on FlipKey (disclosure: they paid for our rental), owners can create a free listing. They upload all the details and photos, and can take payment through the site. They pay FlipKey a 3% charge for each booking. Guests booking pay a 5-10% booking fee.
We’ve been very happy with our VRBO.com rentals both domestically and internationally. My friend Paige used airbnb.com extensively during her 11 month family trip around the world, and was happy with their services.
The key is to ask lots of questions. Don’t assume that the rentals are heavily vetted or inspected personally.