Taking a short mother/daughter road trip right after school gets out might be my new summer tradition! Last week I posted about our Urban Adventure Tour in Philadelphia, but I wanted to follow that with a more detailed post about the rest of our mini road trip. I thought the trip would be a good idea after the last few months of dealing with college application craziness and then graduation. Since my two older kids already had travel plans, I wanted to spend a few days doing something special with my youngest teenage daughter. The trip was a combination of farm fun (my daughter loves animals), local foods, history, a haunted prison tour and a day shopping in NYC. Other than the really hot weather, it was awesome!
Our first overnight stop was in Paradise, at Verdant View Farm in Pennsylvania Dutch country. I found the farm through the Pennsylvania tourism website, which had some great suggestions for a “Dutch Country Roads” trip, including an itinerary and places to stay. We stopped along the way at Dutch Haven, which has been serving its famous Shoo Fly Pie since 1946. As soon as we walked in, we were greeted with a friendly face and a sample of this famous local dish. You can purchase a whole pie to go, but in my case, just buying a slice of chocolate Shoo Fly Pie was plenty.
From there we headed down the road to the farm, which turned out to be my daughter's favorite place (besides shopping in NYC). Playing with rambunctious baby goats, cuddling with a family of baby kittens, and bottle feeding recently born calves were the highlights. After a fried chicken dinner at Miller’s Smorgasbord, we headed over to Strasburg Creamery for some homemade ice cream. In the morning, we sat down for breakfast with the other guests and the owners, and enjoyed a hearty meal, which included farm fresh milk, eggs and homemade muffins. My daughter wasn’t interested in the popular Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania, which is just down the road, but we did enjoy watching the Strasburg Railroad as it chugged past the farm.
It was a bit more than an hour to our next stop, the city of Philadelphia. Our goal was to try the local food favorites, while enjoying a few tourist attractions. We ended up having breakfast, lunch and dinner at Reading Terminal Market, which happened to be right next to our hotel. Normally my family would spend 30 minutes trying to agree on a restaurant, but hey, this was one of the advantages of traveling with just my daughter. We ate a cheesesteak at Carmen’s Famous Italian Hoagies and Cheesesteaks, donuts at Beiler’s, and a roast pork sandwich from DiNic’s (voted Best Sandwich in America by the Travel Channel). When we weren’t busy eating, we took a walking tour “History in HD” with Urban Adventures (you can read my recent blog post here), and a cool tour at the historic Eastern State Penitentiary. I would highly recommend the penitentiary tour, especially for older kids. Of course, since we were in Philadelphia we had to make a run up the famous Rocky steps, but it turned into a slow crawl because it was 97 degrees that day! Our best find in Philly was the all day PHLASH pass for $5, which allowed us to jump on and off the bus and easily get to all of the above attractions.
Our last stop on the mother/daughter express trip was New York City. We were fortunate to have family in nearby New Jersey, so we opted for the “free hotel, ” and took the commuter train into the city with my niece. Our main goal, besides eating local food, was shopping. Luckily it wasn’t far from the commuter train at Penn Station to several stores that fit the bill. Lunch was in Greeley Square, at UrbanSpace Broadway Bites, where I feasted on one of Red Hook Lobster Pound’s incredible Maine lobster rolls. It was a tough choice with so many tempting food vendors, but we needed to save room for ice cream later at Dylan’s Candy Bar (tip - the fastest way to get to Dylan’s is on the subway, just make sure you are on the correct train line). After lunch, we made our way down to Eataly on 5th Avenue, strolling through this large Italian food market and restaurant complex, watching pasta being made and browsing the Italian cookbooks (of course I added one to my collection).
After a quick walk around Times Square, we rounded out our wonderful day of eating with dinner in Greenwich Village at Trattoria Sphagetto with my nephew. On the way home, we were rewarded with a beautiful skyline view from across the river in New Jersey. All in all, it was a wonderful way to kick off the summer!