Well, by now you may have figured out that we have been looping the Northeast for far longer than expected. We had some scheduled work to be done on the camper up in Connecticut but the parts have been delayed time and time again so we have found ourselves revamping our plans accordingly. On the bright side, we have been able to hang with some friends AND my (Erin) mom flew out to go
on some adventures with us! After New Jersey, we shot over to Leesburg, VA just outside Washington DC and set up camp at our new friends’ house. Carl and Amy were so welcoming and amazing to let us hunker down at their beautiful place and explore the area. Along with working crazy hours, expecting a little nugget and having their house remodeled, they opened their home to us without hesitation – we still wonder how we got so lucky to have such awesome friends. Thankfully, Carl gave us great directions (along with cautions to avoid certain roads) so we rolled in from the north through the most beautiful countryside and as a bonus the area is filled with amazing wineries – who knew?! Since the first couple days were filled with meetings, we stuck closer to the area rather than heading into the city. We wandered up to Harpers Ferry to check out the National Park and restored town. On our way back we stopped at a vineyard with spectacular views. Even with all the leaves turned for the season, it was still a great place to unwind with so much beauty in every direction.
With just a few days left until the election, we decided that we would brave going into DC to check out the city and the abundance of museums and landmarks. The city was surprisingly calm and nowhere near as crowded as we thought it would be which was great because we aren’t great at slow paced walking. We tried to start out at the end of the mall and work our way down, but we found ourselves zig-zagging due to museum closing times. We had two full days of walking the city and taking in as much as twelve hours a day would allow. We were really surprised at the lack of campaigning happening and we are grateful for absentee voting in Minnesota. On election day we figured we would avoid any craziness in the city and opted for the small town of Frederick, MD instead. The town itself was charming and full of people wandering around downtown because most everyone gets the day off on election day – such a great idea! Before heading out of Leesburg, we stopped by a couple more wineries; we will have quite the wine collection by the time we hit all 50 states with great stories behind each one.
Fast forwarding a couple days to when my mom joined us on the road – we were so excited to have her with us! We picked her up in Baltimore on Veteran’s Day and made the short drive to Fort McHenry since she jumps at the chance to soak up history anywhere she is. While we were there, we watched the changing of the flag at the site of the inspiration for the Star Spangled Banner which later became our National Anthem. As with pretty much everything else we were about to do over the next four days, the park was flooded with teenaged kids on a field trip without their parents – ugh! After reading nearly every sign at the fort we made our way down to Mount Vernon to check out George Washington’s estate. The estate was beautiful with spectacular views and pristine grounds; they even had a special service at the tomb of George and Martha Washington since it was Veteran’s Day. We capped the evening off by moseying around Old Town Alexandria for some light shopping and a brew. The next day looked much like the week before where we hit the streets of DC to cram in a whole bunch of museum visits. By the end of the day it felt like our feet were going to fall off but we got a lot of great museum time in. We were surprised by the number of museums we could get through despite the hordes of teenagers who could care less about being there; there is so much to see in each of them it is hard to prioritize exhibits. The day started off with a trip to the National Archives where Shea wanted to reenact scenes from the movie National Treasure but the grumpy security guards didn’t seem like they were in the mood to deal with any foolery. Even though it was a pretty brisk day, we continued to walk all over until we finished up at Ford’s Theater and a few more Smithsonians. We even avoided getting trampled by teenaged miscreants!
Next up was Gettysburg for some more history and for the sake of my mom’s back… a night in a hotel! Before we took off from DC, we got one last night in at a great RV park on the north side of the city and as a bonus my mom made us pancakes in the camper – woot woot! Moms are the best! It was a longer drive up to Gettysburg so by the time we got up there it we were just in time to grab a late lunch and head out for a ghost tour, a term we use very loosely. The un-ghost tour was really just a two block walk down the main street where the “guide” struggled to hit the punch line on some of the worst puns we have ever heard. On the bright side, we were laughing the entire time so it kept us warm. The next day we started to tour the National Park and were amazed by the incredible number of statues and monuments sprinkled throughout the fields. Before we literally had to drag my mom out of the museum at the visitor center, we checked out the Cyclorama and were blown away by how amazing it is. We didn’t have any clue that this thing existed, if you don’t know what it is, check it out on the National Parks’ website.
While planning my mom’s mini trip to see us, she said that she wanted to do a Harvest Host stay so we headed out to a beautiful vineyard in the foothills of the Blue Ridge mountains; much like our first time staying at a Harvest Host, she didn’t get a good night’s sleep. But she was a trooper and took in the full dry camping experience. We did the driving tour of the battlefields the next day, it is amazing how well the area has been preserved with a town sprawling right around it and how much has been discovered over the years. And like all good things, our adventures with mom had to come to an end. But, little did either of us know, we’d be seeing each other sooner than we thought – keep reading!
Since we were in the area, we just had to head up to Hershey to check out the land of all things good… chocolate. I’ve never understood the appeal of Disney, but after visiting Chocolate World, I think I get it now – ha! It was great to learn about the history of the town and the impact that the Hershey company had on developing the area as a whole and how they continue to give back to the community. While we were there we clearly had to load up on all sorts of goodies – mostly for Christmas presents but a few for us as well. While in the area we stayed at the Vineyard at Hershey and had a great time. The owner, Doug, was beyond welcoming and showed all around the property and introduced us to the winemaking team and brewer. If you are ever in the area, be sure to stop by one of the awesome events they put on.
In hopes that we would be able to get the camper fixes in so we could head south, we made the last stop on our route back up to Connecticut… New York City. Not only did we want to check out the city, but we had a very important package to pick up from our wonderful friends, Richard and Ross. An adorable little second grader needed some help with her Flat Stanley project and we were happy to take him with us on adventures for her. We stayed at Liberty Harbor RV Park, otherwise known as a marina parking lot with hookups, with a very distant view of the Statue of Liberty. Since it is across the river in Jersey City, we had to become masters of the subway system in order to get anywhere and luckily we weren’t too terrible at it, even with weekend schedules and skipped train stations. We made our way through all the major points of interest without too much damage to the wallets. While we could list the million things we saw and did while we were in the city, the best was getting to spend time with Ross and Richard and having them show us some non-touristy sites throughout the city. We were lucky to have them as awesome neighbors back when we lived in Minneapolis and we couldn’t be prouder of them for all the amazing work they are doing in their NYC home. And, if you need a good place for some holiday giving, we have just the place for you… check out Ross’s campaign – Fight for our Future.
While I was expecting to say that we collected a new state or two before heading home for the holidays, Connecticut was our last stop with Little Red until the new year. If you saw our last blog post, you know that we had some unexpected delays with some warranty work on the camper that landed us in a hotel for longer than we planned. Even with all the crazy delays and heartache about not being able to be out on the road, we are so grateful to the folks we are working with, they have been wonderful. To make the best of things while we were held up in Connecticut, I had a blast driving around the countryside to see all the towns that helped shape the town from Gilmore Girls. As an added bonus, we were even there when the Year in the Life revival aired on Netflix – and yes, I binge watched that like nobody’s business!
So, before I sign off I wanted to give a shout out to Keri Bender and her hubby Ricky. For all the ladies (and probably several husbands out there) who are familiar with LulaRoe, you know how comfortable and festive their clothes are. I know of Keri through some wonderful gals in Colorado (who I miss dearly) and I finally gave into the LulaRoe temptation earlier this year. If you can imagine, RV life gives me plenty of opportunity to rock some soft, super cozy clothing on both travel days as well as lounging days that are full of meetings. With holiday shopping in full force, I thought I’d give Keri a plug not only because the product is wonderful, but because of Keri and Ricky themselves. Their story is beyond amazing and the holidays seem to be the time when everyone lends a helping hand and donates just a little more to their favorite charity. Well, the Benders live the giving life every single day and inspire us to give just a little more and be better all around. So, if you are in the gifting mood or just need something awesome for yourself, check her out @lularoekeribender. We hope that their story warms your heart as much as it does ours… and happy shopping!