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Pennsylvania

Hanover, PA – Local Wanderlust

April 19, 2017 in Everything Else

Over the last year since my fiance and I purchased our first home, we haven’t done a lot of traveling but we’ve been learning to explore our new home.  As a photographer, I’m always looking for new locations to take photos.  I’ve been pleasantly surprised to find some locally after merely walking around town.  I’ve also discovered some fantastic restaurants and general “hang out” spots in the area.  When I can’t afford to travel, one of my favorite things to do is explore nearby towns to find hidden gems.  However, I do have some really exciting travel plans in just a few months that I’ll share more about at a later date!  Take a look at some of the images from around town.

Hanover, PA Photos Hanover, PA Photos

Hanover, PA Photos Hanover, PA Photos Hanover, PA Photos Hanover, PA Photos Hanover, PA Photos Hanover, PA Photos Hanover, PA Photos

EXPERIENCING PHILADELPHIA FOR THE FIRST TIME – DAY 2

February 23, 2016 in Trips in Eastern United States

At the beginning of January I took a trip to Philadelphia with Brandon as he bought me tickets to see and meet Chase Rice for Christmas.  I had so much fun the first day in Philly and I couldn’t wait to see the rest of the city.  Check out the post from day 1 here.


Day 2 – Exploring the City of Philadelphia

La Colombe Torrefaction
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Our first stop after a night of very little sleep was La Colombe Torrefaction.  We basically run on coffee almost every single day, and on this day, it was absolutely necessary.  This little coffee shop was tucked in the first floor of a building in downtown Philly.  It was a very modern coffee shop with only a few choices (i.e. if you’re a fan of sweetened drinks – this probably isn’t for you).  Nonetheless, I believe I had a mocha and it was fantastic.  They offered real sugar rather than artificial sweeteners for people to sweeten drinks themselves.


Liberty Bell Center
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After getting our caffeine fuel, we hopped right next door to check out the Liberty Bell.  Going into the building where the actual bell is located felt a lot like getting through airport security.  Your bags are put through an x-ray machine exactly like the ones at the airport and you are required to walk through a metal detector.  It’s a little it daunting, however, you ARE walking into a tremendous part of American history.
The story of the Liberty Bell is spelled out along walls and television screens throughout the building.  At the very end of the building, you find the Liberty Bell standing tall.  We thoroughly enjoyed this stop and the historical significance behind it.  Admission to see the Liberty Bell is FREE.


Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
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This was one of my favorite stops on our trip.  The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier resides in the beautiful Washington Square Park.  If you aren’t paying attention along your stroll, this can be an easy monument to miss.  However, I recommend you swing by and pay your respects.  This is an elegant and tasteful tribute to those who passed during the American Revolutionary War.  It’s definitely worth seeing.


Philly Pretzel Factory
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This was a quick stop along our walk to satisfy our hunger!  We split the cheese steak pretzel and to my surprise, it was AMAZINGLY good!  If you have a second and need a bite to eat, I highly recommend it!  If this doesn’t sound like your thing, they have regular soft pretzels, cinnamon, and more.


John F. Kennedy Plaza AKA “Love Park” 
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I have to admit, I was a little bit thrown off by Love Park upon arrival.  I expected something different from what I was seeing.  A few tourists were there aside from us, and people trying to take advantage of them by “accepting donations” for taking photos using the tourist’s cameras.  Not a new concept, but annoying to say the least.  I was also surprised by the number of homeless lingering in the park.  I didn’t stick around long before moving on.  Nonetheless, I ws happy to kick this one off of my bucket list.
UPDATE: Love Park is now undergoing renovations and is expected to be finished in 2017.


Reading Terminal Market
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Reading Terminal Market was a fun place that we accidentally stumbled upon.  The market consists of a large variety of restaurants, baked goods, and more – all in one location.  No matter what you like to eat, I challenge you to NOT find something that appeals to you here!


Benjamin Franklins Grave
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Located directly behind the Wyndham in the Christ Church Burial Ground is the famous Benjamin Franklin’s grave. The burial ground is closed to the public unless a small fee for admission is paid. This was a wonderful historical stop along the way. Franklin’s grave happens to be at the very edge of the fence, making it easy for those on the outside to get a look at.  As you may notice, people often leave coins on his stone.  There are also plaques outside of the fence for people to read and brush up on their history.


There is SO much to see in Philadelphia and I’m sure there are many things that we missed. Fortunately, we don’t live far so getting back won’t be too difficult. I recommend everyone swing by and pursue the city if the opportunity comes around!

Experiencing Philadelphia for the First Time – DAY 1

January 19, 2016 in Food and Drink / Trips in Eastern United States

On Christmas day my boyfriend gave me the best gift he possibly could have: the gift of Chase Rice.  Quite literally.

To explain further, Bran bought us tickets to the Chase Rice show with meet and greet passes for Christmas.  If anyone knows me well in person, they would know that I have a mild obsession with the country singer.  The closest show to us, however, happened to be in Philadelphia, PA.  So Friday January 8th, we took our first road trip to Philadelphia.  I’m not really sure what took us so long, as it’s a mere 2 hours away from home!  But it was a great opportunity to check out a city that I hadn’t been to before.

Geno’s VS Pat’s

We couldn’t check into the Wyndham until 4pm, so when we arrived in Philadelphia around 12pm, we had quite a bit of time to kill.  Our first stop?  The infamous “cheese steak corner”.  Everyone told me before I went that day to make sure I tried Geno’s Steaks and Pat’s King of Steaks.  I can honestly say I had never even heard of the 2 places until then.  After doing a little bit of research, I learned that these 2 competitors seem to have their own fan bases – and usually people prefer one over the other.  I also learned there is an official lingo when ordering a Philly cheese steak!  Can I get a whiz wit….?  😉

Brandon got his hands on a Geno’s sandwich (with whiz) while I opted for Pat’s (with provolone).  The Geno’s sandwich was dripping with grease and I have to admit, it tasted a bit artificial to me.  Maybe it was the cheese whiz?  Maybe it was the steak itself?  I don’t know.  I preferred the Pat’s cheese steak out of the 2 places.  Neither one of them really impressed me, however.

My not-so-professional analysis?  They are both overrated tourist traps.  But hey, at least we can say we tried them both.


Killing Time

After our little trip to cheese steak corner, we headed across the street to kill some time at a local bar called South Philly .  We we’re the only ones in there, aside from the bartender.  Then again, it was a Friday afternoon…..and barely over 12pm!  It was a casual bar that was clearly a popular Philly sports spot, as it had sports team pennants and autographs all over the walls.  We hung out for a while before we decided to move on.


A Show We Won’t Soon Forget

That evening we caught a cab from the Wyndham to the Fillmore in Philadelphia.  We arrived 2 hours early since the show was general admission, and the line really wasn’t as bad as we had expected.  Tucker Beathard opened the show (he’s a newbie to the scene and fantastic, BTW) followed by The Cadillac Three (they were AWESOME) and of course Chase Rice being the final act, performing not only his hits like “Ready, Set Roll” and “Gonna Wanna Tonight”, but also singing some fun covers.
This show was in my top 5 for sure.  The energy of the performers was amazing and the crowd was electric.  We made a few friends, got GREAT spots, and had an unbelievable time.  I really liked this venue.  The staff was friendly and everything was smooth sailing.  Oh, and while we didn’t get much time with him, Chase Rice was a very friendly guy!  And just as gorgeous in person….just sayin’.

 

Day 1 was a blast, but I was exhausted.  Day 2 we would see much more of the city…..

THE SWOPE MANOR B&B

THE SWOPE MANOR B&B – A GETTYSBURG GEM

February 17, 2015 in Reviews / Trips in Eastern United States

I remember on New Years Eve this past year, walking by a beautiful brick building with tall windows.  I saw the Christmas tree showing off in the window with people strewn about the room holding their beverages.  I told my boyfriend Brandon, “I want to stay there some day.”  Well, it wasn’t a month later that the opportunity came knocking,  and I got a chance to stay in the beautiful Swope Manor Bed & Breakfast in Gettysburg, PA.

THE SWOPE MANOR B&B

Upon walking into the building I was intimidated.  It felt like I had just crept into someone’s private home.  There were Civil War reenactors roaming the house dressed in period attire, ready for the ball to take place at The Gettysburg Hotel.  A gentleman spotted me as I searched to find who we check in with.  Noticing me wandering in confusion, he stopped and introduced himself as Van; yes, like the vehicle.  Van was the inn keeper, and to my surprise, he knew exactly who I was.  He quickly offered Brandon and I a glass of wine and showed us to the entertainment in the other room.

There was a musician singing old songs in the room off to our left.  Guests were gathering around and singing along while drinking and snacking on appetizers.  Needless to say, this experience wasn’t going to be anything like I’ve had before.  As someone who typically stays in generic hotels, this was unfamiliar territory.

THE SWOPE MANOR B&B - Common Room

THE SWOPE MANOR B&B – Common Room

Van grabbed the key to our room and took us on a tour of the house.  The attention to detail in every room was fantastic.  They were all so beautifully decorated, maintaining their historical  charm.

Out of the 13 rooms, Brandon and I were fortunate enough to be staying in Miss Dorothy’s Suite, an absolutely stunning room with views of the main road outside of the windows.  This particular suite was dedicated to the previous owner of the home, Miss Dorothy, who had hopes of turning the home into a Bed & Breakfast.  While she was never able to make that dream come true during her ownership, the current owners have done a wonderful job of bringing her dream to life.

THE SWOPE MANOR B&B - Miss Dorothy's Suite

THE SWOPE MANOR B&B – Miss Dorothy’s Suite

Some of the unique features this room boasted were a king size bed, electric fire place, jacuzzi tub, large shower, and great views for people watching!  We instantly fell in love with its romantic elegance.

That evening, Van was kind enough to help us with any questions we had as well as providing directions and suggestions.  We even met some of the other staff who were also very friendly and helpful.  Van and Bruce were kind enough to work with our awkward schedule the next morning and made sure we had breakfast ready, earlier than normally scheduled.  They were EXTREMELY accommodating!

The home is rich in history, making it the perfect place to experience everything Gettysburg has to offer.  I would HIGHLY recommend everyone pay a visit to the Swope Manor Bed and Breakfast.  The customer service is fantastic, the rooms are unique and immaculate, and it will be a truly unforgettable experience.

Just a few tips before you go:

  • If you are a light sleeper, I wouldn’t suggest Miss Dorothy’s Suite.  Since it is right next to the road it is rather noisy.  Instead, choose a room on the other side of the house.
  • The B&B does not have its own parking lot.  You will be directed to park in a public garage behind the building, which has a rate of .75/hour – max $10.   

The Swope Manor Bed & Breakfast
60 York Street, Gettysburg, PA 17325
(717) 398-2655
Click to Visit their Website

Photos of Miss Dorothy’s Suite:

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THE SWOPE MANOR B&B

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A few of the other rooms available:

SWOPE MANOR  Gettysburg, PA

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SWOPE MANOR  Gettysburg, PA

SWOPE MANOR  Gettysburg, PA

SWOPE MANOR  Gettysburg, PA

Gettysburg Winter Fun

A GETTYSBURG WINTER GETAWAY TO REMEMBER

February 10, 2015 in Everything Else / Reviews / Trips in Eastern United States

A Girl and Her Travel BugI don’t know about you but when I think about Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, I immediately envision Civil War reenactors and battlefields – a history buff’s paradise!  While these attributes may ring true to the area, we quickly discovered that there is more to Gettysburg than meets the eye – especially in the cold winter months!  Here is how my boyfriend Brandon and I enjoyed our Gettysburg Getaway on a cold January weekend.

Gettysburg Heritage Center

Gettysburg Heritage Center
297 Steinwehr Avenue, Gettysburg, PA 17325
(717) 334-6245

We started our adventure at the new Gettysburg Heritage Center.  The Heritage Center is a small museum that focuses on educating people about the war from the perspectives of locals living in town at the time.  There are plaques filled with informational readings as well as authentic artifacts.  We loved that many of the exhibits required the usage of 3-D glasses, supplied by the Heritage Center.  If you are a visual learner (much like myself), this museum is a great way for you to better understand everything that took place during the war.  There are videos displaying real photography, and some of it is rather graphic, but of course that was the reality of the war.  My favorite part of the center was the theater on the way out.  There is an educational video that explains the strategies used by the soldiers.  The center of the theater displayed a mocked-up battlefield of fighting soldiers that lit up at times during the video.

Gettysburg Museum of History

The Gettysburg Museum of History
219 Baltimore Street, Gettysburg, PA 17325
(717) 337-2035

Perhaps one of my favorite discoveries was the Gettysburg Museum of History.  We stumbled upon this gem while we were looking for open shops (many places don’t open until 11:00am or so in the winter) and this was one of the few that was open early.  This tiny museum is free to the public and has been featured on a number of television shows such as American Pickers and Pawn Stars.  They carry a large private collection of fascinating relics.  You’ll see everything from Elvis Presley’s hair brush to writings by John F. Kennedy, and even ancient Egyptian mummy heads!  For such a small museum, there is no shortage of amazing exhibits.  This is a place you can’t miss during your next Gettysburg visit.

CAFE SAINT-AMAND - GETTYSBURGCafé Saint-Amand
48 Baltimore Street, Gettysburg, PA 17325
(717) 334-2700

By the time we finished looking around the museum, we were ready for lunch.  We headed to Café Saint-Amand, a little French inspired restaurant within minutes of the museum.  This is a family friendly little bistro with great service and yummy food for every appetite.  I tried the ham and cheese crepe and it was VERY good!

Reid's Orchard & Winery

Reid’s Orchard & Winery
400 Baltimore Street, Gettysburg, PA 17325
(717) 334-7537

After lunch we made our way to Reid’s Orchard and Winery Tasting Room.  I have to admit, I have been to Gettysburg quite a few times before and this is  a place that I had never even noticed until this trip.  The place was a bit busy when we arrived so there was only one person (Nick) behind the bar at the time.  Apparently there is typically more help there but something came up that day, keeping staff a bit tight.  Despite this, we were able to try some delicious wine and we learned about how Gettysburg is carving a pretty significant niche in the East Coast wine world.  We learned a lot from Nick and he made some great wine suggestions to suit our tastes!  I recommend the Abe’s Army Apple wine!

Gettysburg Day SpaGettysburg Day Spa
730 Chambersburg Road, Gettysburg, PA 17325
(717) 334-8423

Our next stop was a great way to cap off the day – a trip to the Gettysburg Day Spa!  We were greeted by very friendly and enthusiastic staff upon our arrival to this beautiful spa.  Shortly after, 2 massage therapists escorted us to a quiet area in the back of the building (which is larger than it looks, by the way) and we were on our way to a relaxing couples massage.  My massage therapist was very knowledgable and did a fabulous job.

Appalachian Brewing CompanyAppalachian Brewing Company
70 Presidential Circle, Gettysburg, PA 17325
(717) 398-2419

We ate dinner at the Appalachian Brewing Company that evening.  This bar/restaurant is tucked between a couple of hotels and a movie theater, making it a convenient hot spot for travelers staying nearby.  This is the perfect place for the beer lover looking for a casual atmosphere!  While we both opted not to drink (the wine earlier was plenty!) we heard many positive things about their popular beer sampler.

THE SWOPE MANOR B&BThe Swope Manor Bed & Breakfast
60 York Street, Gettysburg, PA 17325
(717) 398-2655

We eventually checked into the Swope Manor Bed & Breakfast for the night.  It was a beautiful and elegant home in the heart of Gettysburg, just a short walk away from the square.  We absolutely loved this place!  Van and Bruce treat their guests like family and create a comfortable environment.  Each room is unique and meticulously maintained. We stayed in Miss Dorothy’s Suite, a suite dedicated to the previous owner of the home, and we couldn’t have been more pleased with the accommodations.  We wouldn’t hesitate to go back!

Swope Manor GETTYSBURG

Swope Manor RoomSWOPE MANOR Gettysburg, PA

Ski Liberty – Snow Tubing
78 Country Club Trail, Fairfield, PA 17320
(717) 642-8282

The next morning we drove to Ski Liberty, which was about a 25 minute drive from Gettysburg.  Even though we made it there around 10am, the parking lot for tubing was full.  We had to find a place in the main lot and be shuttled up to the tubing part of the mountain.  We waited a little while since time slots filled up incredibly fast, but we had a blast when we finally got to start tubing!  If you go, be sure to get there a little early to ensure you get a good time slot.  Take a peek at the video below I took using my GoPro Hero 3 Silver.  You can practically experience it for yourself…..

IMG_1004Adams County Winery
251 Peach Tree Road, Orrtanna, PA 17353
(717) 334-4631

Adam’s County Winery was probably my favorite stop on this weekend adventure.  When we arrived, the manager Dan was kind enough to give us a tour of the facility and some background on how the machinery works.  We were then taken into a room where they were holding their first Sweet Sunday event of the month.  In this particular event, they were pairing wine with dessert.  We could choose from 3 kinds of cakes and a variety of wines on the list.  I tried the coconut cake and Moscato, which was a delicious pairing.  We then sampled a few of their other wines.  Dan was extremely knowledgable about wine, and it turned out to be an educational experience for us (Since we are hardly wine connoisseurs!)  There wasn’t a single “bad” wine that we tried.  I may even go as far as saying that they had some of the best wines I’ve ever tasted.  Particularly, if you are a fan of sweet wines, you have to try some of theirs!  I highly recommend trying Tears of Gettysburg, one of their popular award-winning white wines.

The Ragged EdgeThe Ragged Edge Coffee House
110 Chambersburg Street, Gettysburg, PA 17325
(717) 334-4464

Our last stop before departing back to Baltimore was the Ragged Edge.  This was not our first visit to the Ragged Edge, but we hadn’t been there in a while.  We’ve always enjoyed stopping in there. It is a super artsy coffee-house with great coffee choices and a cozy atmosphere.  It has 2 floors, a warm fireplace, books to read, and a piano upstairs.  It’s also a great place to watch local musicians play.

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Bran and I had a GREAT trip that weekend.  You could also say it was very eye-opening, as it included things we may not typically consider while visiting Gettysburg.  We found it to be a fun winter destination for couples, families and solo adventurers alike.  When you’re considering your next winter trip, consider visiting Gettysburg.  Now is the perfect time because there are many specials and packages being offered.  Click here to see the specials that you could enjoy this weekend!

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