Western Pennsylvania Trip – July 2022

This year Joe and I took a weekend trip to Western Pennsylvania in lieu of a longer vacation. He gets a day off for his birthday, so we planned it for that weekend. We left Friday and came back Sunday.

On Friday, we started out by visiting Old Bedford Village in Bedford, PA. It is an open-air museum with various old houses and other buildings that were moved to this location around 1975. Some of the buildings had reenactors in them performing various tasks such as blacksmithing or candlemaking or just sharing information about the building and how it was used. It was interesting to see the different buildings and talk to the reenactors.

On Saturday, we visited two houses designed by the architect Frank Lloyd Wright, Fallingwater and Kentuck Knob. Both of the houses were fascinating, and the tour guides were excellent. I had been to Fallingwater once before, but never Kentuck Knob. Years ago, I also did a walking tour of Wright houses in Oak Park, Illinois, which was very cool.

Here are a couple of shots of Fallingwater:

And here are a couple of Kentuck Knob:

Overall, the trip was very nice. I enjoyed the places we visited, and we also had some good food while we were there. The hotel was not very nice, and I am thinking I need to go up a level the next time I choose accommodations for a trip.

This was our first time putting Baxter in a kennel, and he did very well. The place where we take him for daycare also has boarding, so he got to go to daycare on Friday and then just stayed there until Sunday afternoon. I was worried that he would hesitate the next time I took him to daycare, but he went happily when the time came.

We are thinking we will just do a weekend trip again next year, although I’m not sure where we are going to go. I’ll have to do some research to see what would be a good option for us.

Wellsboro Trip – June 2021

I just realized I never posted about our trip to Wellsboro last year. The last travel post I have is from our trip to Illinois in 2019. In 2020, we had been planning to go to Williamsburg, VA, but canceled that trip due to COVID. In 2021, we wanted to go somewhere but decided to make it a shorter weekend trip.

Wellsboro, PA was on my list of places I wanted to see. It isn’t too far away and seemed appropriate for a weekend trip, so we chose to go there.

The big attraction near Wellsboro is the Pine Creek Gorge, which is commonly known as the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon. It is a beautiful location with amazing views from both the eastern and western rims of the gorge. Here are a couple of shots I took from the different lookouts:

The day after we explored Wellsboro and the Grand Canyon, we decided to drive up to Corning, NY to visit the Corning Museum of Glass. It was a nice drive, and we both really enjoyed the museum. They have a wide variety of glass sculptures and other creations. While we were there, we attended a glass blowing demonstration, which was very cool.

Here are a few of the exhibits we saw:

This was our first trip since getting our dog Baxter. One of my good friends who is a dog lover offered to take care of Baxter for us, and we decided to board our cat Peanut Butter to avoid any problems with the two of them being left alone in the house together. It turned out that Baxter was a little overwhelming for her, so for 2022 we will be switching things around and boarding Baxter while my friend comes over each day to check on Peanut Butter.

My son wasn’t interested in the activities we would be doing on this trip, so he went and stayed with his dad for the weekend. He will do that this year, as well. Maybe next year we can plan a trip all three of us will enjoy. I am open to suggestions!

Boston Trip Wrap-Up

As much as we enjoyed the historical sites we visited in Boston, we also enjoyed some other aspects of our trip.

On Wednesday, we went to the New England Aquarium and then went on a whale watching cruise.  We arrived at the aquarium just as it was opening and got to watch the feeding of the penguins.  They also had fur seals and sea lions as well as a variety of other exhibits.  It wasn’t a large place but it was interesting and I got some good pictures.

20180627_132950The whale watching cruise was pretty neat.  We went about 90 minutes away from Boston, out to a plateau where the whales like to feed.  I wish we had gone up to the deck a little bit earlier to get a better spot, as it was kind of hard to see for a lot of the time.  Later on, some people moved around and we were able to get to the front, although a lot of the activity was still off to one side of the boat so we didn’t see as much as we would have liked.  We did have several sightings of a mom and her calf as they surfaced several times.  I’m sharing the best picture we got; it’s just of a tail unfortunately.

20180628_172535On Thursday afternoon, we went to a chocolate factory in Somerville, the town where we were staying.  It was called Taza Chocolate, and they produce stone ground chocolate.  They have a tour which includes a video and a peek into the factory where they make the chocolate, as well as all the samples you could want.  Their original product is a Mexican style chocolate disc which has a somewhat gritty texture due to the way the sugar is ground, but they also make chocolate bars which are ground more finely and are closer to what we are used to.  We enjoyed visiting the factory and sampling the various chocolates.

The other fun part of our trip was the food.  We went to two pubs, as well as a seafood restaurant and an Italian restaurant.  I had seafood at one of the the pubs and a burger at the other; both were good.  The seafood restaurant had good fish but the lobster topping was very chewy – either it was badly prepared or I just don’t like lobster, I’m not sure which!  The Italian restaurant was my favorite; it was also in Somerville and was called Vinny’s. Perhaps I was just really hungry after walking around in the rain all morning, but I quite enjoyed my pasta and meatball, and they had excellent bread.

All in all, our trip to Boston was a really good one and I’m glad we went there.  I’m looking forward to our next adventure, wherever that will be!

Boston Trip Historical Sites

Our main purpose in going to Boston was to experience as much of the history of the town as we could.  We started out on Tuesday by taking guided tours of the Freedom Trail, which is a collection of various American Revolutionary historical sites.  We did the first part in the morning and the North End in the afternoon.  The guides were costumed in period clothes and were both quite good.  I enjoyed the afternoon tour a little more because that guide talked a lot about the daily life of people around the time of the Revolution – what they wore and what they ate, stuff like that.

Our favorite part of the morning tour was the Granary Burying Ground.  It was a peaceful spot in the midst of a busy city.  The highlights of the North End tour were the Old North Church and the Paul Revere House.  Both of these sites were also available to tour inside.  By the time we finished the North End tour, I needed a little break so I rested while Joe toured the Old North Church.  Then we walked back to the Paul Revere House and toured that.  I found it interesting that they chose to restore the Paul Revere House to the original condition rather than the way it was while Paul Revere’s family lived there, given that he was the one who made it famous.

We weren’t planning to visit any historical sites on Wednesday, but the people we met on the whale watching tour recommended the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum.  We had time after the cruise, so we headed over there and went through the tour.  I had two thoughts during the experience – cheesy and hokey.  It was the most expensive historical thing we did and it was seriously overrated.  Definitely not recommended!

On Thursday, we headed over to the Charlestown area and visited the USS Constitution and Bunker Hill.  The USS Constitution has a nice little museum and then you can walk around the ship itself.  It was raining so we mainly saw the area below decks.  Bunker Hill also had a small museum as well as the monument that you could climb up inside.  It was almost 300 steps so I let Joe do it while I waited in the museum.

I would highly recommend Boston as a good destination for history lovers.  It was very walkable and offered a lot of interesting sites to see.  As I mentioned in my first Boston post, it was also easy to get around using the subway and buses, which is good because no one I talked to recommended driving or trying to find parking in the city.

Orchard HouseBefore we headed home on Friday, we decided to make our way over to Concord to visit Orchard House.  This is where Louisa May Alcott wrote Little Women.  It was a fascinating tour.  We saw a short video about Louisa and then walked through the house and saw how it was set up while their family lived there.  All of the paintings in the house except for the portraits were done by her sister May (Amy in the book) so we got to see a lot of her work as well as seeing the Civil War era furnishings and decorations.

If you’re interested in this time period or in Louisa May Alcott, there are several other sites in the Concord area to see.  We needed to get on the road, so we just went to the Orchard House and then headed home.

We did a few other things in Boston that were not historical, so I plan to write another post about those places.  Look for that in a couple of days!

Boston Trip Overview

Joe and I recently went to Boston for a few days for our summer vacation. Michael went and stayed with his dad during our trip since we didn’t think he would appreciate all the walking and the historical sites we were planning to visit.

20180624_1354098674857650037859414.jpgIt was a really nice trip despite the fact that my car got totaled the day before we left. Throughout the week, I was on the phone with different people to get that taken care of, including the police to follow up on the insurance card the other driver provided that turned out to be fake.

We stayed in a room in a house in a close suburb of Boston and got around via the subway and bus. I was quite nervous ahead of time wondering how this would go, but it turned out to be pretty easy.  It was about a ten minute walk from the place we stayed to the nearest station, and we were able to find stops close to the places we wanted to go as well.

img_20180628_142639_1777193417146913380400.jpgThe weather was beautiful most of the week, although we did have rain on Thursday. We still went ahead with our plans though. Luckily we had bought sweatshirts the day before for our whale watching tour, so we wore those to deal with the rain. I made a note to bring ponchos on our next vacation!

I plan to write a couple more posts about our trip, one covering the historical sites we saw and another for the other stuff we did, so those will be coming up in the next few days.