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Thursday, January 18, 2018

Explore America's History at the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia

The Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia
It can be a challenge finding the perfect activity to make for a fun family day that creates lasting memories, is an educational experience and one that the entire family will enjoy.  Philadelphia and the surrounding area offers a lot of fun, educational activities and at the top of your list should be a visit to the Museum of the American Revolution.

When I was presented with two complimentary tickets to the museum, I knew just who I was going to take. My ten-year-old nephew, Joey. He has a love for American history and is always up for exploring and learning new things. The museum has a collection of several thousand objects, manuscripts, works of art, etc. on display, so I knew it was going to be a busy afternoon.
The Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia

On our drive into the city, I shared some interesting facts along the way, such as the Declaration of Independence being signed in 1776, hence why the highway driving into the city is called “76”. As we continued on with our journey we admired Boathouse row, threw our fist up as we drove past the Rocky Statue outside of the Art Museum, and before we knew it...we pulled up to the American Revolution Museum in Philadelphia’s beautiful Old City.
The Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia - The Privateer Ship

We spent a few hours exploring the museum and all of the exhibits that they had to offer. The amount of history and "wow's" we experienced while at the museum were countless! From the Boston Liberty Tree to the Privateer Ship; here’s some details on a few of our favorites.
The Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia - Washington's Diamond Eagle

Washington's Diamond Eagle - What girl doesn’t love diamonds?! Encrusted with nearly 200 diamonds, emeralds and rubies, to see this medal glisten right before our eyes was magical. This was one of our “aha moments” of the day. The Diamond Eagle was presented to Washington in 1784, just blocks from the very place that we were standing. We learned that it had been passed down and worn by every President of the United States and is currently 233 years old. This is the first time that it has ever been on display in Philadelphia and will be on exhibit until March 3rd, 2018.
The Museum of the American Revolution - Washington's War Tent

Washington’s War Tent - This 12-minute video exhibit (starts every half hour) clearly explained President Washington’s significant role in the Revolution and gave details about his house/office War Tent. You'll want to take time out of your visit to watch this short, educational video that will explain all of this in great detail.
The Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia

There’s a jaw dropping surprise near the end and was another one of our “aha moment”! I can’t spoil it, so go check it out.

When visiting the Museum of the American Revolution you'll see and learn a lot! Admission tickets are affordable and can be purchased online or at the museum. You'll find plenty of parking nearby in the 7+ available parking garages and 3-hour street parking located right out front. You can visit the museum's website to learn more about the museum, get directions and their hours of operation. You can connect with them on Facebook and/or follow them on Twitter.
The Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia - Boston Liberty Tree

Disclosure: Jennifer Y. is a guest writer for the Pennsylvania & Beyond Travel Blog and was provided with 2 complimentary tickets to visit the Museum of the American Revolution. No monetary compensation was provided. Jennifer's words, thoughts and opinions are 100% her own.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Don't Put Off Your Trip Out of Fear - Tips for Women to Travel Safely

Tips for Women to Travel Safely
The world offers endless places to explore with new sights to see, foods to try, and cultures to experience. You may be wary of taking a trip as a solo female traveler, but there are many ways to ensure that you can travel in a safe way, explore independently, and have a blast doing it. Following are five tips to ensure a safe and smooth journey, wherever you may go.

1. Do Your Research

Before going anywhere, whether for a couple days or a long period, conduct some research on the city, country, place you will be staying, activities, how you will get around, restaurants, and more. This will ensure that you know what to expect about the safety of an area. It also helps you know the quality you will be receiving when staying or eating at various locations. It will help prevent you from falling victim to scams, food poisoning, and other similar frustrating situations.

Another nice thing about research ahead of time, is it helps you understand customs. This can help you blend in and appear as a well-informed traveler.

2. Plan Out Your Timing and Activities

Though it may seem tempting to just wing it when you get somewhere, having tickets, transport, reservations, and other variables figured out will make sure that you know where you are going and make you less of a target for unwanted attention and problems. Keep an itinerary of your schedule and invest in a travel alarm clock. A travel alarm clock can help you stay on track and make sure you don’t miss out on the amazing things you have planned.

3. Invest in Travel Insurance

Though many opt out of travel insurance, it is smart to have it. It can provide you with solutions if you lose your bags, you find yourself in the midst of political tensions, your plane is cancelled, or you are injured. There are many options available, so make sure the option you pick is tailored to your needs and travel plans.

4. Carry Only the Essentials

When you leave for the trip, try to avoid bringing all your valuables. When on your trip, don’t wear flashy jewelry or carry excessive amounts of cash. If you are carrying a purse or camera, keep them on you in a position that is out of reach of cunning pickpockets. Keep and carry copies of passports, visas, and cards, and only bring these out with you if necessary.

Instead of taking these items out with you, plan your excursions and only take what you need. Many hotels have safes and hostels offer lockers that you can put your own lock on.

5. Let People Know Where You Are

If anything happens, it never hurts to have somebody know where you are and what your plans are. Check in with friends or family often, and also use other resources, such as a local embassy, tour providers, and even local staff. This way, you can be reached and helped if a situation takes a turn for the worse.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

A Romantic Weekend Getaway to Niagara Falls

A Romantic Weekend Getaway to Niagara Falls
Looking for a romantic weekend getaway? If so, we highly recommend visiting Niagara Falls in New York. If you live in central Pennsylvania, you can reach Niagara Falls by car in 6 to 7 1/2 hours, depending on the route that you take and traffic. We wanted to celebrate our wedding anniversary so we arrived around 1 PM on a Friday and checked out of our hotel around lunchtime on Sunday.

We stayed at the luxurious Seneca Niagara Resort and Casino which is beautifully located within a short walk from Niagara Falls State Park. Our suite was spaceous and included a whirlpool tub, sitting area, comfortable bed, large shower & bathroom, and we had a scenic view of the area. Our room was beautifully decorated and extremely clean!
Seneca Niagara Resort and Casino in Niagara Falls New York

La Cascata Restaurant at Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino

During our stay we had fun playing games in the casino, visiting the spa and on one evening we enjoyed a delicious dinner at La Cascata, which offers fine Italian dining. If you love Italian food, La Cascata is definitely the place to be. Everything about this restaurant is top-notch and then some! We loved the Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino and will definitely stay there again when visiting the area.
Niagara Falls Haunted House in New York

Friday evening we took a walk and stumbled upon the Niagara Falls Haunted House attraction. It's located within walking distance from the State Park. You pay an admission fee and go inside the haunted house for some scary fun. Okay, it wasn't too scary at all, but it was definitely a fun thing to do during our trip!
Niagara Falls State Park in New York

On Saturday we headed down to Niagara Falls State Park and walked around for several hours. There are monuments, park benches and tourist attractions right inside the park. We enjoyed the "paid" trolley tour through the park which was really nice. You'll find a gift shop, walking trails, the trolley tour and the Maid of the Mist boat tours all located within the park.
Maid of the Mist Niagara Falls in New York

Niagara Falls in New York

The weather on Saturday was beautiful, so we decided to pay the admission fee and take a ride on the Maid of the Mist. This boat tour gets you up close and personal with the bottom of the waterfalls. You'll get stunning views of the American Falls, Bridal Veil Falls and Horseshoe Falls. They will give you a plastic rain jacket to wear during your boat ride and trust me, you want to wear it. You will get wet!!! We highly recommend the Maid of the Mist boat tours when visiting the falls.
Niagara Wax Museum in Niagara Falls New York

While walking back to our hotel we stumbled upon the Niagara Wax Museum of History and decided to go in. On the day that we visited, we were the ONLY customers there. We were able to take our time through the entire museum checking out all of the beautiful exhibits. If you enjoy wax museums, you'll enjoy this one, especially with its Niagara Falls twists and history. After visiting the museum, you can do some souvenir shopping in their on-site gift shop which offers jewelry, home decor, toiletries, gifts, books, souvenirs and collectibles.
Hard Rock Cafe in Niagara Falls New York

To round off our day...we decided to have dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe which was pretty busy when we arrived. It took awhile for us to get seated and the wait-staff was a tad slow. Regardless, we ordered burgers and fries, and enjoyed our meals. If you're looking for casual dining that offers your classic American cuisine, the Hard Rock Cafe is the place to be.

We spent 48 hours in Niagara Falls, New York and had a wonderful time. There are a lot of cool things to see and do in this old, historic town and Niagara Falls should be on every traveler's bucket list. We are hoping to visit again in the very near future, perhaps on our upcoming 35th wedding anniversary next year.