One of the benefits of homeschooling is that you don’t have to take vacations when everybody else does. Therefore, places that are wall-to-wall people in July are easily navigated and enjoyed in, say, May. Which is precisely what we were doing for the last week.
First, Philadelphia and the Independence Hall NHP on Saturday, after driving up Friday afternoon.
Then, Chinatown, hand-pulled noodles, and the largest sesame balls I’ve ever seen!
In the “exciting for me, but maybe not for you” category, we also found the Catholic parish that serves Chinatown. They don’t have a bookstore, but the priest kindly told us to take whatever we wanted out of a box of holy cards and stuff that he couldn’t get anybody to take. Thirty holy cards of Chinese martyrs and five or six nice, large copies of “Our Lady, Empress of China” later, and I was a happy Catholic momma, especially since we found Oof’s namesake, St. Joachim Hao Kai Zhi!
Next, it was off to Niagara Falls. We took a lovely (and expensive!) all-day, all-inclusive bus tour, including the Maid of the Mist, a boat that takes you right up next to the falls.
The tour also included tickets for the White Water Walk, which I highly recommend. The boardwalk, which gets much closer to the water at points, follows some particularly impressive rapids between the falls and the giant whirlpool.
The whirlwind tour took us to the National Toy Museum in Rochester the next day (the kids absolutely loved it, I got very tired of it very quickly), then to the Finger Lakes region for winery tours the following day (which they got tired of very quickly), getting into Lancaster, PA, Wednesday night. Thursday was dedicated to touring Hershey (if you want the museum and not the over-priced indoor rides, you want the Hershey Story Museum on the main street, not Chocolate World next to the amusement park).
We toured around Amish country, but I don’t really have any good photos of that. Lots of beautiful farms and hefty noodles.
Finally, we headed home on Friday, via Annapolis. We went to visit our alma mater, the U.S. Naval Academy. Since I already have tons of photos of that, I didn’t really take that many. But I did take pictures at Chick and Ruth’s, the deli in downtown Annapolis that was our normal “cheap place to hang out as broke midshipmen” date. Nothing says “romantic” like giant malts and kosher pickles by the bucket!
No, I won’t smile! I’m slurping chocolate shake here!
By the time we got to our exit off the freeway late that afternoon, the kids were squealing with delight, “WE’RE HOME!!!!”
We are such a bunch of homebodies. But it was fun to get out.
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