Things To Do In Philadelphia, PA – The Birth Of America

History buffs are very much in love with Philadelphia and for good reasons. Philadelphia is the city where the founding fathers set the stage for a new nation called the United States of America in the 1770’s. The city also served as the capital of the brand new nation for ten years from 1790 to 1800. Here are the things to do in Philadelphia, PA for learning about the founding of America and the city’s role as the nation’s capital.

(Photo courtesy of Ziko van Dijk via Wikimedia)

Independence Hall

(Photo courtesy of Captain Albert E. Theberge via Wikimedia)

Independence Hall is located on Chestnut Street between 5th and 6th Streets. It is located within the lovely Independence National Historical Park which is in the east part of Philadelphia’s famed Center City. Independence Hall is the very building that gave birth to the newly independent country that we know today as the United States of America.

This is the very building where the iconic Declaration of Independence was drafted, debated, and signed. The Declaration of Independence was the document that was used to declare America’s independence from Britain. The document was the product of the American Revolutionary War in which Americans fought against colonial rule by Britain.

The document was drafted by the Committee of Five which included John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Robert R. Livingston, and Roger Sherman. That makes them the founding fathers of the country. The document was signed by the Second Continental Congress on July 4th, 1776, effectively approving America’s independence.

(Photo courtesy of Andre Engels via Wikimedia)

The Declaration of Independence is not the only document that was adopted at Independence Hall. In fact, this is also the building where the country’s constitution was adopted. The constitution is the supreme law of the land. It serves as the foundation on which the US operates as a country. The constitution was ratified on June 21st, 1788 and went into effect on March 4th, 1789.

Independence Hall is designed in the Georgian architectural style. It is know for its red brick facade with a bell tower and steeple. In addition to visiting Independence Hall, you will want to make sure to see the Liberty Bell which is just across Chestnut Street within Independence National Historical Park. The Liberty Bell serves as an iconic symbol of American independence.

Congress Hall

(Photo courtesy of Timothy Tolle via Flickr)

Congress Hall is located just to the west of Independence Hall within Independence National Historical Park. Before there was the US Capitol in Washington, DC, there was Congress Hall. It served as the seat of the US Congress for the ten years that Philadelphia was the nation’s capital. The chamber for the US House of Representatives was located on the first floor.

The US Senate’s chamber was located on the second floor of the building. Congress Hall housed 106 US Representatives and 32 US Senators from 16 states. The House chamber featured mahogany desks and leather chairs. The chamber of the Senate featured heave red drapes and secretary desks.

The second inauguration of George Washington as well as the first and only inauguration of John Adams, the first and second US presidents respectively, took place in the House chamber within Congress Hall. Three states were admitted into the US by Congress during their time at Congress Hall. They were Vermont, Kentucky, and Tennessee.

Congress Hall was where the first ten amendments to the US Constitution, known as the Bill of Rights, were ratified by Congress. Congress also established the First Bank of the US, the Federal Mint, and the US Navy during that time period. A treaty establishing temporary peace with Britain was also ratified at Congress Hall.

As is the case with Independence Hall next door, Congress Hall is also renowned for its red brick facade. What makes Congress Hall stand out from its neighbor is that it is designed in the Federal architectural style.

Old City Hall

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Old City Hall is Independence Hall’s neighbor to the east within Independence National Historical Park. It housed the US Supreme Court in Philadelphia around the same time that Congress Hall was used by Congress. The US Supreme Court had three chief justices during that time period who officiated from Old City Hall.

These three chief justices were John Jay, John Rutledge, and Oliver Ellsworth. There were a total of six justices at any given time in the Supreme Court during the Old City Hall era. The first six justices were all appointed by George Washington, the country’s first president.

The Old City Hall building is largely identical in appearance to Congress Hall. Most of the furnishings within the building are from the 1790’s which is when the Supreme Court occupied the building. The original room in the building where the Supreme Court met, is preserved as well. Also, the building houses a gift shop for you to browse.

These are the attractions that you will want to check out for things to do in Philadelphia, PA for learning about the establishment of America as an independent country and the city’s role in being the nation’s capital. The best news about visiting these historic attractions is that they are all free for everybody.

Also, I want to point out that when Philadelphia was the capital of the US, former presidents George Washington and John Adams lived in the President’s House which was located about one block from Independence Hall. Unfortunately, it is no longer there, however, there is a memorial dedicated to the President’s House with remains including red brick walls and a foundation for the kitchen.

If you would like to also take a little road trip, Philadelphia is very close to Wilmington in the neighboring US state of Delaware. Wilmington is renowned for being home to a few breathtaking estates that once belonged to the prominent du Pont family. I have got you covered on them here.

Philadelphia Hotels

If you are looking for a place to stay overnight at during your time in Philadelphia, I have got your back. Here are the two hotels I would suggest for you.

The Windsor Suites

This is an all-suite lifestyle hotel located on Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Center City Philadelphia. It is around 1.4 miles west of Independence Hall, Congress Hall, and Old City Hall. This hotel contains two onsite restaurants: Con Murphy’s and Asia on the Parkway. There is an outdoor swimming pool and terrance on the hotel’s rooftop, offering nice views for you to enjoy.

If you are looking for a place to workout, there is a fitness center available at the hotel. The hotel’s suites contain at least 450 square feet of living and dining space. They come with full kitchens and balconies with nice views of the bustling Center City streets. The suites are designed to allow you to experience an urban lifestyle. WiFi is also offered in all of the suites.

The average rate for a standard room range from $151 to $437. You can go here to explore your booking options and/or check out some photos.

DoubleTree by Hilton Philadelphia Center City

This hotel is located on the prestigious Broad Street in the heart of Center City. All of the three attractions I mentioned earlier are around 20 minutes walk to the east on Chestnut Street which will take you to the lovely Independence National Historical Park. The hotel houses two onsite restaurants/bars. They are Breakfast on the Balcony and Standing O.

As a treat for staying at this hotel, you will receive a warm, chocolate chip cookie for free. There is an indoor, heated swimming pool on the hotel’s rooftop with an attached sundeck for stunning Center City views. A fitness center is also available at the hotel for your workout needs. All of the hotel’s rooms come with WiFi, coffee makers, and mini refrigerators.

You can also look forward to having cool views of the bustling Center City scene from your hotel room. The average rate for a standard room range from $155 to $333. You can head here to browse your booking options and/or view some photos.

What are your thoughts? Are you fascinated with Philadelphia’s role as the birthplace and capital of the US? Feel free to leave a comment below.

Atlanta, Georgia Attractions – The Top Three

Atlanta is both the largest city and the state capital for the US state of Georgia. It is a bustling metropolis brimming with plenty of things to do. So, it can be overwhelming to figure out where to start, especially if you have never visited the city in the past. If you are feeling lost as to what to do first in Atlanta, then this is for you. Here are the top three Atlanta, Georgia attractions to visit.

(Photo courtesy of Thomas Cizauskas via Flickr)

Georgia Aquarium

(Photo courtesy of Kristopha Hohn via Flickr)

Georgia Aquarium is located on Baker Street Northwest in Atlanta’s downtown. This is the place in Atlanta where you go to check out the water-based animals. This is the largest aquarium in the United States and the third largest in the world. So, there is plenty to see at the Georgia Aquarium alone. The aquarium is home to tens of thousands of water-based animals from five hundred species.

They are placed in more than sixty water-based habitats. The aquarium is divided into seven exhibits. I will run you through all seven of them. The first exhibit is called Aquanaut Adventure. If you have any children with you, you will want to check this out as they have something cool for them to do in there. This is the exhibit where children will feel like they are aquanauts.

They will go on an expedition through a variety of environments. They will study them and get an understanding of how animals thrive in them. There are seven different routes for them to go through and if they complete five of them, they will receive the George Aquarium Aquanaut certification for doing so. Cold Water Quest is the second exhibit. It focuses on the animals that thrive in cold ocean waters.

African penguins, Southern sea otters, beluga whales, and harbor seals are among the animals you will encounter in this frigid exhibit. Are you feeling charmed by dolphins? If so, you will want to make sure to head to the Dolphin Coast exhibit. This is where you can have an encounter with Atlantic bottlenose dolphins.

There is also a 1,800-seat theater within this exhibit where you can watch some cool shows involving these dolphins. Ocean Voyager is one of the largest single aquatic exhibits in the world. It is home to four whale sharks and four manta rays. Trevally jacks, small and large stingrays, enormous goliath grouper and several other sharks are also among the thousands of marine creatures found within this exhibit.

(Photo courtesy of Dsdugan via Wikimedia)

There is also a 100-foot long underwater tunnel where you can view the marine creatures swimming around you on all sides. Southern Company River Scout is the exhibit that focuses on the rivers of Africa, South America, Asia, and even within the US state of Georgia. This exhibit is brimming with waterfalls, logjams, and a simulated North American river that flows above your head.

Alligator snapping turtles, archerfish, and Asian small clawed otters are a few of the animals you can encounter within this exhibit. The Pier 225 exhibit is where you can go and see the California sea lions in an environment resembling the California coast. There is also a 500-seat theater within this exhibit where you can watch some awesome shows with the California sea lions.

Tropical Diver is the seventh and last exhibit at the aquarium. This exhibit focuses on the tropical coral reef found in the Indio-Pacific region. Some of the animals found in this exhibit include seahorses, fairy bassets, and yellow-head jawfish. There are also thousands of colorful reef fish roaming the tropical coral reef within this exhibit.

The ticket price for Georgia Aquarium is $32.95. You can go here to buy your tickets for the aquarium.

World of Coca-Cola

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The World of Coca-Cola is located right next to Georgia Aquarium on Baker Street Northwest. This is a museum dedicated to the iconic soft drink brand. Coca-Cola was invented in Atlanta in 1886. You will learn about the long, storied history of Coca-Cola at the museum. The museum houses nearby 200 historical and international artifacts from throughout the soft drink brand’s history.

A few of the artifacts you can check out include a Coca-Cola syrup urn from 1896, Coco-Cola beach pants from 1970, and some of the most well-known international and historic Coca-Cola advisements. More than thirty countries, from France to Korea to Zimbabwe, are represented within the collection of artifacts.

You will also go on an exciting journey towards uncovering the famous secret formula that had been used to make Coca-Cola soft drinks. You can even take a picture of yourself in a funny bubbly form as you proceed towards the secret formula. Once you get past the secret formula, you will be led into ten galleries filled with additional memorabilia from through the history of Coca-Cola.

(Photo courtesy of Elisa.rolle via Wikimedia)

These include, but are not limited to, a 1880’s soda fountain, a 1939 delivery truck from Argentina, and the Coca-Cola contour bottle. During your time at the museum, you will be immersed into the bottling process for Coca-Cola soft drinks. Oh and also, you will get a chance to taste over 100 different Coca-Cola soft drinks from all over the world.

The admission prices to the World of Coca-Cola are $17 for adults, $15 for seniors, and $13 for youth aged 3 to 12. Those who are aged under 3 get free admission. You can go here to buy your passes. If you are looking to shop for souvenirs, you can head to the Coco-Cola Store which is located onsite.

CNN Center

The CNN Center is located on Marietta Street Northwest across Centennial Olympic Park from Georgia Aquarium and the World of Coca-Cola. It serves as the global headquarters of the iconic news broadcaster. CNN began broadcasting news in June of 1980. It was founded by Ted Turner. CNN offers a fun guided tour that lasts for about fifty minutes.

During the guided tour, you will get a behind-the-scenes look into the CNN studios and newsrooms to see how it collects and reports the news to its audience. You will also get to visit a control room theater to see first-hand how news broadcasts are put together. A visit to a special effects studio is also part of the guided tour. You can get a glimpse of CNN journalists at work in the main newsroom.

You might even get to see newscasters broadcasting live at the time of your guided tour. You will also have a chance to have a picture taken of yourself behind an anchor desk. Your tour guide will also explain the history of CNN and how it has evolved over the years. The prices for the guided CNN tour are $16.50 for adults and $14 for children aged 4 to 18.

Admission is free for those aged under 4. You can head here to buy your tickets for the guided tour. Also, the CNN Center also contains numerous restaurants and shops if you want to dine and/or do some shopping before or after the guided tour.

These are the three top Atlanta, Georgia attractions. So, if you are not sure where to start during your visit to Atlanta, I would suggest these three attractions as a starting point for spending your time in the city.

Atlanta Hotel

If you are looking for a hotel to stay at in Atlanta, I have got your back. Here is a hotel that I would suggest you to book your stay with.

Hyatt Regency Atlanta

This hotel is located on downtown Atlanta’s famed Peachtree Street just a couple streets directly east of all the three attractions. The hotel is noted for its beautiful atrium. Sway Restaurant Atlanta is the onsite restaurant at the hotel. There is also a rotating bar on the 22nd floor of the hotel. The bar is called Polaris and offers sweeping views of the Atlanta skyline. There is also a 24-hour market onsite.

There is a seasonal outdoor swimming pool at the hotel. A fitness center is also available at the hotel for you to use. All of the hotel’s rooms and suites offer nice views of either the skyline or the hotel’s outdoor swimming pool. They all also come with WiFi, coffee makers, and the hotel’s signature Hyatt Grand Beds. Certain suites will also come with balconies.

The average rate for a standard room range from $132 to $296. You can go here to explore your booking options and/or check out some photos.

What are your thoughts? Are you looking to visit these three attractions when you visit Atlanta? Feel free to leave a comment below.

Things To Do In Charlottesville, VA – Home Of The Presidents

Charlottesville is a charming college town located in the scenic Blue Ridge Mountains in the US state of Virginia. It has a special place in the history of the US as it was the home of not just one or two, but three of the country’s earliest presidents. They are Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and James Monroe.

All of the three presidents were also the founding fathers of the US, having played major roles in achieving American independence from Britain in 1776. Thanks to Charlottesville being the home to these three presidents, there are three beautiful homes for you to check out. So, these are the things to do in Charlottesville, VA that you will want to take on when you are in the area.

Monticello

(Photo courtesy of unknown via Wikimedia)

Monticello is located on Thomas Jefferson Parkway just southeast of Charlottesville. This is the picturesque residence where Thomas Jefferson lived. He was the third president of the US, having served from March 1801 until March 1809. His residence has a neoclassical architectural design. Thomas designed the residence himself after he inherited the land from his father, Peter Jefferson, when he was 26 years old.

The residence was built in 1772, about four years before the US became an independent country. Thomas owned several farms on his property. They grew a variety of crops to be sold at the market. These included such crops as wheat, corn, and tobacco. In addition to the farms, Thomas owned fruit and vegetable gardens in which fruits and vegetables can be grown for personal consumption.

There were about 140 black slaves at Monticello at any given time. This included Sally Hemings with whom Thomas fathered six enslaved children. The enslaved children were in addition to the six regular children that he had with his wife, Martha Wayles. The slaves lived in neatly lined log cabins known as Mulberry Row, named for the mulberry trees that lined up alongside the log cabins.

The fact that Thomas owned black slaves is ironic considering the fact that he was the one who wrote “all men are created equal” into the US Declaration of Independence. The main residence has about 33 rooms spread out on three floors and in a cellar. The rooms have unique architectural features that Thomas designed himself and reflect the complexities of family life at the residence.

The residence is built of red brick with limestone mortar. It is noted for its columned portico and dome. The serene landscape surrounding the residence also feature beautiful flower gardens and a reflection pond. There are at least a couple of options for touring the estate. In order to get the most out of Monticello, I would suggest that you go with the Behind the Scenes Day Pass.

You can get this for $67 for all ages. You can go here to buy your tickets for Monticello. There is a restaurant onsite called Monticello Farm Table Cafe. If you are looking for souvenirs, you can check out The Shops at Monticello, also located onsite.

Montpelier

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Montpelier is located on Constitution Highway about 25 miles northeast of Charlottesville. This was the home of James Madison who was the fourth president of the US from March 1809 to March 1817, immediately succeeding Thomas Jefferson. This stately brick Georgian home was built in the early 1760’s by the Madison family. James lived there from that period until his death in 1836.

James was the principal author of the US Constitution that is the foundation of the country today. It was at Montpelier that he formed his ideas for what the United States should be upon achieving independence from Britain. You can learn about how he formed his ideas for the country and translated them into the constitution during your visit to the residence.

In addition to the Madison family, Montpelier was also home to over 300 black slaves who performed a variety of chores in and around the residence for the family. You can also learn about the slaves and how they lived and worked during your visit there. In addition to touring the residence, you can also tour the onsite cemeteries of the Madison family and the slaves who lived and worked there.

There is also a 3.55 mile trail that loops around the residence. You can experience the scenic beauty including the formal garden, horse pastures, 150-year-old white oak and tulip trees, and gorgeous views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The admission for the Montpelier Walking Tour are $25 for adults and $12 for children aged 6 to 12.

Those who are under the age of 6 will get free admission. You can go here to buy your passes for the tour. If you get hungry during your time at Montpelier, you can dine at the onsite restaurant, Exchange Cafe. A museum shop is also located onsite.

Highland

(Photo courtesy of RebelAt via Wikimedia)

The third and final presidential residence is Highland. It is located on James Monroe Parkway just a brief drive south from Monticello. This is the serene residence of James Monroe who succeeded James Madison as the fifth president of the US from March 1817 until March 1825. James lived at the residence for about 25 years from 1799 until 1825.

However, unlike the other two presidents, James didn’t die at his own residence. That is because he was forced to sell off his residence in order to pay off his debt. The history of this residence is a bit tricky to explain. The residence that is there today is a quaint two-room cottage. This was believed to be James’ residence.

However, it was recently discovered by historian and archaeologists that only the guest house portion of James’ residence still exists today. It is believed that James had a much larger house, similar in size and stature to Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello residence, but it was burned down in a fire in the mid 19th century. Later on in the 19th century, a two-story yellow wing was added to the cottage. That too still exists.

You can learn about the mysteries surrounding James’ residence during your time there. You can also view a rich collection of objects from James’ days, including imported French furnishings and finely crafted American furniture. Just like the other two presidents, James owned his own black slaves who worked on the farms growing the same type of crops as that at Monticello.

In fact, James and Thomas Jefferson were partners when it came to farming. Enslaved workers were also kept busy by spinning and weaving wool and flax. You can learn about the lives and labors of the slaves at the residence. The surrounding grounds is breathtaking. There are formal gardens, a vegetable garden, a lawn, and white ash trees within the estate.

In order to get the most out of this residence, you will want the Full Experience: Guided Tour and Augmented Reality option. You can get this for $19 for adults and $13 for children aged 6 to 11 along with locals. Admission is free for those aged under 6.

So, for things to do in Charlottesville, VA, I encourage you to visit all the three beautiful presidential residence. Also, if you are willing to drive about two and a half hours from Charlottesville, you can make it to Mount Vernon. This is the beautiful residence of George Washington, the first ever president of the US. You can go to this post from a week ago to learn more.

Charlottesville Hotel

If you are looking for a hotel to stay at in Charlottesville, I am happy to help you with this. Here is a hotel I would suggest for you.

Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, Charlottesville-UVA

This hotel is located on Emmet Street North near the campus of University of Virginia in Charlottesville. There is complimentary breakfast available at the hotel. Should you get hungry, a few dining options nearby include Brother’s Bar & Grill, Fabio’s NY Pizza, and Burtons Grill & Bar. There is a fire pit outdoors at the hotel. The hotel houses an indoor heated swimming pool and fitness center.

All of the hotel’s rooms and suites come with WiFi, coffee makers, microwaves, and mini refrigerators. The average rate for a standard room range from $100 to $236. You can go here to explore your booking options and/or check out some photos.

What are your thoughts? Have you visited any of these residences before? Feel free to leave a comment below.

Things To Do In Alexandria, VA

The city of Alexandria is located in the US state of Virginia, just across the Potomac River from Washington, DC – the nation’s capital. Alexandria is a lovely city that is rich with history. The city was founded in 1749. So, the city already existed before the United States declared its independence from Britain in 1776 and before the construction of Washington, DC was completed in 1800.

Former US president George Washington used to live in the city. Even though Alexandria lies in the shadows of the nation’s capital, it is still a destination that is worth visiting on its own. Here are the things to do in Alexandria, VA.

Mount Vernon

(Photo courtesy of Otherspice via Wikimedia)

Mount Vernon is located on Mount Vernon Highway at the southern end of Alexandria, overlooking the scenic Potomac River. That is the beautiful estate that George Washington owned and lived in. He lived there from 1732 until his death in 1799. He served as the US president from 1789 to 1797.

Mount Vernon was a generational estate that traced as far back as his great-grandfather, John Washington, when he bought the land in 1674. The residence was built by George’s father, Augustine Washington in 1726 after he bought the estate from his sister and George’s aunt, Mildred. George himself gained sole ownership of the estate in 1761.

During his sole ownership of the estate, George grew many kinds of crops on the estate’s sweeping farmland. These include, but are not limited to, tobacco, flax, hemp, cotton, silk, wheat, and corn. In addition to growing the many kinds of crops, George was a whiskey-maker who operated a whiskey distillery at his estate. He developed his own recipe for making the whiskey.

George was also known to operate other things at his estate such as a blacksmith shop, a stable, a smokehouse, and a spinning house. George owned his own African-American slaves who performed a wide variety of tasks at the estate from growing the crops to cooking meals to cleaning the rooms. The stately residence is constructed of yellow pine sliding designed to look like stone.

It is designed in the Palladian architectural style. The residence is shaped in a three sided manner. It is two and a half stories high with a total of 21 rooms. All of them can be toured and will give you a sense of what daily life was like during George’s time there. The scenery of the estate grounds is brimming with beautiful lawns, gardens, woodlands, and a few walking paths including a circle in front of the three sided residence.

When you arrive at the estate, you will notice that there are costumed guides there. That is meant to make you feel like you were there during George’s period back in the 18th century. They will help you explore all aspects of the estate’s history during your time there. The admission prices for Mount Vernon are $20 for adults and $12 for children aged from 6 to 11.

Those who are aged under 6 will get free admission. You can go here to buy your passes for the estate. Should you get hungry while you are there, you can dine at the estate’s onsite restaurant called the Mount Vernon Inn Restaurant. Those of you wanting to shop for souvenirs will want to check out the Shops at Mount Vernon which is also located onsite.

Old Town Alexandria

(Photo courtesy of Ken Lund via Flickr)

In addition to Mount Vernon, you will want to make sure to visit Alexandria’s Old Town area. This is the historic heart of Alexandria. Its cobblestone streets are brimming with vivid colonial-era architecture. These are the same streets that George Washington used to walk around back in the 18th century when he lived in Alexandria.

There are hundreds of unique shops and restaurants in Old Town competing for your attention and dollars. Many of them are located on King Street which runs from west to east through Old Town. If you prefer to get somewhere in Old Town faster, then you can take a free trolley that drives on King Street. Old Town also boasts a waterfront.

So, I would suggest you to head there and soak in the views of the scenic Potomac River and the boats that come and go from the harbor. There are plenty of dining options on or near the waterfront. One such option is the Chart House.

This restaurant offers a menu of seafood fare and has a nice outdoors dining space where you can dine while at the same time taking in the beautiful views of the river and the many boats docked just south of the restaurant. If you are looking for a peaceful place to relax, there are a few parks available on the Old Town waterfront. These include Waterfront Park, Founders Park, and Windmill Hill Park.

Art lovers should certainly check out the Torpedo Factory Art Center which is also located on the waterfront of Old Town. It was once a naval munitions factory, but now it houses 82 studios and six galleries where 160 professional artists showcase and sell their work.

These are the things to do in Alexandria, VA. Also, if you are planning to cross the Potomac River into Washington, DC and visit a few world-class Smithsonian museums, I would suggest you to check out this post from last month for my suggestions.

Alexandria Hotels

If you are looking for a hotel to stay overnight at during your time in Alexandria, I am happy to help you out with this. Here are the two hotels I would suggest you to book with.

Embassy Suites by Hilton Alexandria-Old Town

This hotel is located on Diagonal Road just west of Alexandria’s Old Town. There is free breakfast available at the hotel. If you get hungry and/or want an alcoholic drink, you can head to the hotel’s onsite restaurant and bar called The Atrium Lounge. The hotel contains an indoor heated swimming pool and hot tub. There is also a fitness center available at the hotel.

All of the suites at the hotel come with WiFi, microwaves, and mini refrigerators. The average rate for a standard room range from $142 to $321. You can go here to explore your booking options and/or check out some photos.

Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites Alexandria – Old Town

This hotel is located at the northern end of Alexandria’s Old Town area on First Street. There is an onsite restaurant at the hotel called Bistro on First Restaurant for you to dine at. The hotel is home to a hybrid indoor/outdoor heated swimming pool. There is also a fitness center at the hotel for your workout needs. Many of the hotel’s rooms and suites come with balconies which will allow for nice views of the bustling streets.

All of them come with WiFi and mini refrigerators. The average rate for a standard room range from $79 to $238. You can head here to browse your booking options and/or view some photos.

What are your thoughts? Have you visited the city that George Washington called home back in the 18th century? Feel free to leave a comment below.

Things To Do In Wilmington, Delaware – The du Pont Family Estates

Wilmington is the largest city in the tiny US state of Delaware. The vibrant city, which is located in the northern portion of Delaware near the state border with Pennsylvania, is renowned for being home to a few gorgeous family estates. These belonged to the du Pont family. The du Pont family was a prominent Wilmington family responsible for starting up the chemical company, DuPont, in the early 19th century.

With the establishment and growth of DuPont, the wealthy du Pont family played a major role in shaping the growth of Wilmington. The family once lived in a few estates that aren’t just gorgeous, but are also now open to the public to enjoy. So, for things to do in Wilmington, Delaware, you will want to make sure to pay a visit to the family’s former estates.

Hagley Museum and Library

(Photo courtesy of TravelingOtter via Flickr)

The Hagley Museum and Library is located on Hagley Creek Road in the northwestern corner of Wilmington. It is in a scenic forested hill area fronting the Brandywine River. This is where the original du Pont family home is located. The first known du Pont family member to arrive was Eleuthere Irenee du Pont who immigrated to the US from France in 1800 with his family.

Around two years later, Eleuthere founded DuPont in 1802 by setting up mills on the estate property for producing gunpowder. Not only that, but he also built a village on property in order to house his employees so that they can work in the gunpowder mills. Today, you can tour the ivy-covered Georgian-style du Pont home and explore the history of the du Pont family.

You can also check out the beautiful Renaissance-era garden with terraces and statuary. You can then head to the gunpowder mills to get a better feel for how gunpowder was produced. There is also the employee village where you can learn about how the employees lived and worked.

The admission prices to visit the Hagley Museum and Library are $15 for adults, $11 for seniors and students, and $6 for children aged 6 to 14. Military members and those aged under 6 will get free admission. Should you get hungry, you have the option to dine at the onsite restaurant, the Belin House Organic Cafe. You can buy souvenirs at the Hagley Museum Store, also located onsite.

Nemours Mansion and Gardens

(Photo courtesy of Simon via Flickr)

The Nemours Mansion and Gardens is located on Alapocas Drive in northwestern Wilmington. The mansion was owned by Alfred Irenee du Pont who was the great-grandson of Eleuthere, the founder of DuPont. The mansion is designed to look like a French chateau. The mansion has approximately 77 rooms. The estate grounds contain neatly designed French formal gardens for you to check out.

The French formal gardens found at this estate are the largest of its kind in North America. There is a reflecting pool with a breathtaking fountain that reaches 12 feet in the air. The reflecting pool is connected to the mansion via a nicely landscaped area known as the Long Walk. It is lined on both sides by Japanese cryptomeria, pink flowering horse chestnuts, and pin oaks.

Whenever the fountain is turned off, the entire section of the Long Walk is reflected in the pool. You will also want to make sure to check out the chauffeur’s garage as it houses a nice collection of vintage cars that were once owned by Alfred and his family. Inside the mansion, you can find a collection of fine period antiques, rare oriental rugs, tapestries, and paintings from as far back as the 15th century.

One of the rooms you can check out is the Reception Hall. This is where the du Pont family used to gather to celebrate Christmas every year. It is one of the largest spaces inside the mansion. Another room at the mansion is the Drawing Room. On special occasions, the ladies of the du Pont family would gather in this room after dinner.

While in this room, the ladies gossiped, played cards and/or worked on their needlepoint while the men talked politics and finances over cigars in the dining rooms. These are just a few of the rooms you can tour inside the mansion. The estate was Alfred’s gift to his second wife, Alicia, who had a love for French chateaus.

The admission prices for this estate are $20 for adults, $18 for seniors, active military members, and students, and $10 for children aged 6 to 16. Those who are aged under 6 will get free admission.

Winterthur Museum, Garden, and Library

(Photo courtesy of Robert Lyle Bolton via Flickr)

The Winterthur Museum, Garden, and Library is located on Kenneth Pike in Winterthur, just northwest of Wilmington. It was built in the early 20th century by Henry Algernon du Pont and his son Henry Francis. They were the grandson and great-grandson of DuPont founder, Eleuthere, respectively. This du Pont family home was designed to resemble 18th and 19th century European country houses.

The mansion is also accompanied by a gorgeous 60-acre naturalistic garden which is among the best in the United States. The estate is surrounded by a preserve of rolling meadows and woodlands, making for a scenic setting. The mansion has an eye-popping 175 rooms. It houses a large collections of objects of American decorative arts – nearly 90,000 to be exact.

All of these objects were either made or used in the US between 1640 and 1860. They are all displayed in much the same way as they were when the du Pont family lived there. The admission prices for this estate are $20 for adults, $18 for seniors and students, and $6 for children aged from 2 to 11. Free admission is given to those aged under 2. You can go here to buy your tickets for this estate.

With the establishment and growth of DuPont in Wilmington came the growing wealth and prominence of the du Pont family. At least one legacy of the family is that their estates are open for you to explore. So, one of the best things to do in Wilmington, Delaware is to visit these gorgeous du Pont estates.

Also, are you into colonial history and theme parks? Around four hours south of Wilmington is a city in the southeastern portion of the US state of Virginia that also starts with the letter “W”. It is called Williamsburg and it is renowned for its rich colonial history along with being home to one of only two Busch Gardens theme parks in the United States. You can head here to learn more about Williamsburg.

Wilmington Hotels

If you are looking for a hotel to stay at in Wilmington, I have got your back. Here are the two hotels I would suggest for you.

Courtyard by Marriott Wilmington Brandywine

This hotel is located on Rocky Run Parkway in northwestern Wilmington which should put you in close proximity to all of the estates. There is an onsite restaurant at the hotel called The Bistro. The hotel houses an indoor heated swimming pool and hot tub. A fitness center is also available at the hotel for you to use.

All of the hotel’s rooms come with WiFi and coffee makers while the suites will also have kitchenettes in them. The average rate for a standard room range from $118 to $254. You can go here to explore your booking options and/or check out some photos.

Holiday Inn Express Wilmington North – Brandywine

This hotel is also located on Rocky Run Parkway in northwestern Wilmington. So, this is another hotel option for being close to the estates. There is free breakfast available at the hotel. If you get hungry, a few nearby options include Bonefish Grill, Corner Bistro, and Grub Burger Bar. The hotel houses a fitness center for your workout needs.

All of the hotel’s rooms and suites come with WiFi, mini refrigerators, and microwaves. The average rate for a standard room range from $110 to $211. You can head here to browse your booking options and/or view some photos.

What are your thoughts? Are you looking to visit these beautiful du Pont estates in Wilmington? Feel free to leave a comment here.

Things To Do In Pittsburgh, PA – Carnegie Museums

Pittsburgh is a remarkably beautiful city to marvel at. Not just one or two, but three, rivers flow through the city with downtown being surrounded on three sides by them. Many bridges cross the rivers within Pittsburgh. The city also contain sections with steep slopes. All of this help to make for a pretty Pittsburgh scenery.

The Pennsylvania city is packed with plenty to do. One of the things to do in Pittsburgh, PA is the world-class Carnegie group of museums.

(Photo courtesy of Jiuguang Wang via Flickr)

Carnegie Museum of Natural History

(Photo courtesy of Dllu via Wikimedia)

The Carnegie Museum of Natural History is located on Forbes Avenue in the Oakland neighborhood of Pittsburgh. It is located in a landmark building known as the Carnegie Institute and Library which is designed in the Beaux Arts architectural style. The museum is dedicated to explore the natural history of our planet. This museum is among the top five natural history museums in the US.

The museum is noted for its large collection of Jurassic dinosaurs. In fact, the museum is home to the largest collection of Jurassic dinosaurs in the world. It is worth noting that most of the dinosaur skeletons showcased at the museum are actual ones, not replicas. A few of them include Apatosaurus louisae, Diplodocus carnegii, and T-Rex.

All of the dinosaur skeletons are found in the exhibit called Dinosaurs in Their Time. In addition to this exhibit, there are currently 17 other exhibits for you to check out at the museum. These cover other aspects of the Earth’s natural history from African wildlife to polar environments and from gems and jewelry to dinosaur-era sea creatures.

The admission prices for this museum are $19.95 for adults, $14.95 for seniors, and $11.95 for students and those aged from 3 to 18. Free admission is given to those aged under 3. It is also worth noting that the passes will also grant you admission to the Carnegie Museum of Art which I will get into in a moment. You can go here to buy your passes.

Carnegie Museum of Art

The Carnegie Museum of Art is located in the same landmark building as the Carnegie Museum of Natural History. So, there is no need for you to leave the building just yet. The museum is primarily focused on contemporary art. This museum was established in 1895 and as such, it is believed to be the first museum for contemporary art in the United States.

Even though this museum is primarily concerned with contemporary art, this doesn’t mean there aren’t other kinds of art on display at the museum. You can find works of 19th century American art. There are also displays of French Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings at the museum as are works of European and American decorative arts from the 17th century to the present.

The Heinz Architectural Center, which is part of this museum, houses architectural drawings and models. It is home to the largest collection of plaster casts of architectural masterpieces in the country. The architectural center contains the marble Hall of Sculpture which resembles the interior of the Parthenon.

Carnegie Science Center

(Photo courtesy of Leslie Veen via Flickr)

The Carnegie Science Center is located across Allegheny Avenue from Heinz Field which is the home of the NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers. This museum is home to four floors of interactive exhibits. One place of note at the museum is the Buhl Planetarium. This is the place for you to explore the galaxy. One exciting way to do that is to take in the planetarium shows.

They are designed to make you feel like you are going on an outer space adventure. You will get to travel to at least a few places including the Moon, Mars, Saturn, and Pluto. Another place at the museum you will want to check out is called roboworld. This is the largest permanent exhibit in the world dedicated to robotics. You will be able to get up and personal with robots.

You will be able to get a sense for what the robots look like, how they think, and what they do. There are dozens of interactive exhibit stations within this exhibit. Oh and yes, you can even play against a robot in a game of air hockey. The general admission prices for the Carnegie Science Center are $19.95 for adults, $14.95 for seniors, and $11.95 for children aged 3 to 12.

Those who are aged under 3 will get free admission to the museum. You can go here to buy your tickets. If you get hungry, there is an onsite restaurant called RiverView Cafe. There is also an onsite gift store called XPLOR Store.

Andy Warhol Museum

(Photo courtesy of Cbaile19 via Wikimedia)

The fourth and last Carnegie museum is the Andy Warhol Museum. It is located on Sandusky Street just north of downtown in Pittsburgh’s North Shore neighborhood. This is another one of the art museums under the Carnegie umbrella. This art museum is dedicated to a single artist, Andy Warhol. He was a famous artist who had a deep connection to Pittsburgh as he was born and raised there.

The art museum has seven floors housing 17 galleries in total. It contains 900 paintings, nearly 2,000 works on paper, over 1,000 published unique prints, 77 sculptures, 4,000 photos, and over 4,350 films and videotaped works. All of these artwork were done by Andy Warhol himself. In fact, this is the largest art museum in North American that is dedicated to a single artist.

The admission prices for this art museum are $20 for adults and $10 for students, seniors, and children aged from 3 to 18. There is free admission for those who are aged under 2. You can buy your tickets by going here. There is also an onsite restaurant called The Warhol Cafe, should you get hungry during your time there. Those of you looking for souvenirs can head to the onsite gift shop, The Warhol Store.

So, one of the things to do in Pittsburgh, PA is to visit these Carnegie museums. They are all worthy of your time.

Pittsburgh Hotels

If you are in search for a hotel to stay overnight at during your time in Pittsburgh, I am happy to help you out with this. Here are the two hotels I would suggest you to book your stay with.

Drury Plaza Hotel Pittsburgh Downtown

This hotel is located on Grant Street in downtown Pittsburgh. The hotel is housed in a historic building that once housed a branch of the Federal Reserve Bank. There is free breakfast available at the hotel. Should you get hungry, there is the onsite restaurant called 5:30 Kickback. Oh and haven’t I told you that you can also get a free popcorn and soda everyday in the hotel’s lobby?

The hotel houses an indoor heated swimming pool and hot tub. There is also a fitness center available for you to use. Many of the hotel’s rooms offer a nice view of downtown Pittsburgh’s bustling streets. They all have WiFi, microwaves, coffee makers, and mini refrigerators. The average rate for a standard room range from $136 to $259. You can go here to explore your booking options and/or view some photos.

Hampton Inn Pittsburgh/Monroeville

This hotel is located on Mosside Boulevard in the eastern Pittsburgh suburb of Monroeville which is about 14 miles east of Pittsburgh near the junction of Interstate 376 and Interstate 76 (Pennsylvania Turnpike). There is complimentary breakfast available at the hotel. If you get hungry, the hotel is connected to Outback Steakhouse.

There is an indoor heated swimming pool at the hotel. You can get your workouts at the hotel’s fitness center. All of the hotel’s rooms have WiFi and mini refrigerators. The average rate for a standard room range from $103 to $170. You can head here to browse your booking options and/or check out some photos.

What are your thoughts? Have you visited any of these Carnegie museums before? Feel free to drop a comment below.

Things To Do In Gettysburg, PA – A Charming Small Town Rich In History

Gettysburg is a town located in the scenic south central section of the US state of Pennsylvania near the state border with Maryland. It is a lovely town that is bustling with history, especially that related to the American Civil War and former US president Abraham Lincoln. If you are a history buff looking for a small town filled with charm, this is certainly for you. Here are the things to do in Gettysburg, PA.

(Photo courtesy of Bubba73 via Wikimedia)

Gettysburg National Military Park

(Photo courtesy of Sallicio via Wikimedia)

The Gettysburg National Military Park is an expansive piece of land occupying the southern reaches of Gettysburg. The park is famous for being the site of the Battle of Gettysburg which took place during the first three days of July in 1863 in the midst of the four year long civil war. It was the largest and most important battle of the civil war.

It was the Confederate Army’s most ambitious effort to invade the country’s north. The effort was led by its general, Robert E. Lee. Even though the battle didn’t end the civil war, it was a major turning point in the war. That is because not only was the Confederate Army badly defeated there, but it also defeated any hopes of them ever winning the civil war.

In total, there were more than 165,000 soldiers battling it out in a town that, at the time, had a population of 2,400. It was also the civil war’s bloodiest battle, resulting in the death, injury, capture, or disappearance of over 51,000 soldiers. Within the park where the battle took place, you will want to stop at the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center.

This museum houses many of the 43,000 artifacts from the civil war. You will want to make sure to check out the big, beautiful oil painting within the museum called the Battle of Gettysburg Cyclorama. The oil painting is larger than a football field and as tall as a four-story structure.

It is presented through an overhead canopy and a three-dimensional diorama foreground featuring stone walls, broken fences, shattered trees, and a cannon. It is meant to heighten your sense of being in the midst of the Gettysburg battle. Entrance into the building is technically free, but there is a fee for entering the museum and the oil painting area.

The entrance fees are $15 for adults, $14 for seniors and veterans, and $10 for youth aged 6 to 12. Those who are active military members or aged under 6 will get free admission. There are also guided tours of the battlefield’s most notable sites, including Little Roundtop, Devils Den, Cemetery Hill, The Angle, and Copse of Trees. You can choose to do the guided tours via car, bus, or bicycle.

You can buy your passes for the guided tours for $35 for adults and $21 for those aged 6 to 12. The guided tours will start at the building housing the museum and visitor center. You will also want to head to the Gettysburg National Cemetery which is also located within the battlefield park.

This is where more than 3,500 Union soldiers from the civil war are buried. This is also the site where Abraham Lincoln delivered his iconic Gettysburg Address in which he looked ahead to unifying the war-torn nation.

(Photo courtesy of Leslie Johnston via Flickr)

There are numerous monuments, memorials, and markers dedicated to the Gettysburg battle throughout the cemetery. That includes the cemetery’s centerpiece, the Soldiers’ National Monument, which is a 60-foot tall granite monument. You can enter the cemetery free of charge. You can go here to buy your tickets for all the paid attractions within the battlefield park.

Eisenhower National Historic Site

(Photo courtesy of Carl Grant via Flickr)

Eisenhower National Historic Site is the beautiful farmhouse that was the home of Dwight D. Eisenhower who was the president of the United States from 1953 to 1961. Before he became president, he had a long career serving in the US Army. This included a stint as a five-star general during World War II.

Because he moved around a lot during his time in the US Army, he was never able to own a home until just three years before he became the US president. It was in 1950 when Dwight and his wife, Mamie, bought the 189-acre farmhouse for $40,000. During Dwight’s presidency, the house was used as a weekend retreat from the pressures of Washington, DC.

The farmhouse was known to host numerous high profile guests during Dwight’s presidency. That included former Soviet leader, Nikita Khrushchev, whose country was the arch-rival of the US during the Cold War. With its scenic surroundings, including breathtaking views of the South Mountains, the farmhouse served as a backdrop for negotiations between the two leaders to cool down tensions between their countries.

After leaving the presidency, Dwight and his wife moved to live in the farmhouse on a full time basis. Today, you can enter the farmhouse and see it the way it was during the time that Dwight and his wife lived there. It contains gifts that were given to the couple by leaders of other countries who visited them there.

In addition to the farmhouse itself, you can check out the presidential putting green, acres of cropland, barns, and Angus-grazed pasture. The entrance fees are $9 for adults and $5 for those aged from 6 to 12. Free admission to the farmhouse is given to those aged under 6. You can head here to buy your tickets. The farmhouse is located on Eisenhower Farm Road southwest of Gettysburg.

Downtown Gettysburg

(Photo courtesy of denisbin via Flickr)

Gettysburg has a charming downtown filled with Federal-style architecture. It is brimming with plenty of compelling restaurants and shops to check out. Also located downtown are three attractions that has something to do with Abraham Lincoln. The first one is the Lincoln Train Museum which is located on Steinwehr Avenue.

Abraham Lincoln played a key role in shaping the nation’s railroad system. As a lawyer in Springfield, Illinois, he dealt with cases that concerned the railroad. As president of the US, he believed that the railroad was the best way to connect a broken nation. He had travelled on the railroad himself at least a couple times, including his historic trip to Gettysburg.

So, the Lincoln Train Museum is inspired in part by Abraham’s relationship with the railroad. One key feature of this museum is a life-sized model of a train car. You can enter the train car and making use of digital technology, you will be taken on a Lincoln-era train journey. You will even get to sit next to a version of Abraham being played by a local actor who will narrate his love of the country as you go along.

Another thing to check out at the museum is a gorgeous model of railroad tracks with trains on them. You can watch as the trains move around the model area inside the museum. The admission prices for the museum are $8.50 for adults and $6.50 for seniors, active military members, and children aged from 5 to 12. Those aged under 5 will get free admission.

The second downtown attraction is the Gettysburg Lincoln Railroad Station, located on Carliste Street. It was a train station in the 19th century. It is notable because this was the train station that Abraham Lincoln arrived at on his Gettysburg trip. It is now a museum containing exhibits related to Abraham and the role that the railroad played in Gettysburg’s history. The admission to this museum is free to everyone.

The third attraction downtown is the David Wills House. This is where former US president Abraham Lincoln stayed the night and put in the finishing touches of his iconic Gettysburg Address. He stayed there in November of 1863, some months after the battle was over.

The home that Abraham stayed at, was owned by David Wills who was a local attorney and school superintendent at that time. You can tour the home, including the bedroom that Abraham stayed in. The exhibits focus on the events surrounding Abraham’s historic visit to Gettysburg. The tours are priced at $7 for adults, $6 for seniors and military personnel, and $4 for those aged from 6 to 12.

These are the things to do in Gettysburg, PA. Also, if you are looking for somewhere sweeter to go to, may I suggest the chocolate-loving town of Hershey? It is only an hour drive northeast of Gettysburg and I talked about it in my previous post.

Gettysburg Hotels

If you are looking for a hotel to stay at in Gettysburg, I am happy to help you out with that. Here are the two hotels I would suggest for you.

Wyndham Gettysburg

This Federal-style hotel is located on Presidential Circle just east of US Route 15 in Gettysburg. The hotel houses an onsite restaurant called 1863 Restaurant. Those of you who are carving for an alcoholic drink can head to Lobby Bar which is the hotel’s onsite bar. There is an indoor heated swimming pool and hot tub at the hotel. The hotel also houses a fitness center for you to use.

All of the hotel’s rooms and suites have WiFi and coffee makers. The average rate for a standard room range from $81 to $246. You can go here to explore your booking options and/or check out some photos.

Best Western Gettysburg

This is Gettysburg’s newest hotel, having opened in May of 2017. This hotel is located right next to the Lincoln Train Museum on Steinwehr Avenue in Gettysburg’s downtown. There is complimentary breakfast available at the hotel. Should you get hungry, a few nearby dining options include Dobbin House Tavern, Tommy’s Pizza, and Gettysburg Eddie’s.

The hotel houses an indoor heated swimming pool. A fitness center is also available at the hotel for your workout needs. All of the hotel rooms and suites have WiFi, microwaves, mini refrigerators, and coffee makers. The average rate for a standard room range from $98 to $204. You can head here to browse your booking options and/or view some photos.

What are your thoughts? Are you planning to visit Gettysburg? Feel free to leave a comment below.

Hershey, Pennsylvania Attractions – America’s Chocolate Town

When you think of Hershey, you will most likely think of those tasty chocolate candy bars. But, there is also a town in the US state of Pennsylvania called Hershey. A suburb of the state capital of Harrisburg, Hershey is the birthplace of the iconic Hershey’s chocolates.

As a result, this tasty town has developed itself into a world class destination that revolves around chocolates. Here are the Hershey, Pennsylvania attractions to sweeten your time in this town of chocolates.

The Hershey Story

(Photo courtesy of The Hershey Story via Wikimedia)

The Hershey Story is located on West Chocolate Avenue in Hershey. This is a museum that is dedicated to telling the story of Milton S. Hershey. Milton was a famed chocolatier who invented Hershey’s chocolates in 1900. This museum explores all aspects of Milton’s life, including how he transformed Hershey’s chocolates into the iconic brand that it is today.

In addition to the exhibits that explore the life of Milton, this museum contains a couple areas of note. The first area is called the Chocolate Lab. This is the place where you can create your own treats made from chocolate. Whatever chocolate-based treats you create there is yours to eat and/or take home.

This process lasts for about 45 minutes and was inspired by Milton’s candy-making apprenticeship program and his love for experimentation. The Chocolate Lab requires a paid ticket to enter which you can get for $13.50 for adults, $12 for seniors, and $9.50 for youth aged 5 to 12. The second area of note at the museum is known as Chocolate Tastings.

This is the place where you can go and sample a wide variety of chocolate-based drinks from different parts of the world. The drinks range from fruity African chocolate flavors to Indonesian chocolate with caramel overtones. As is the case with the Chocolate Lab, this area will require a paid tickets to get into.

Tickets can be bought for $10 for adults and seniors, $7.50 for active duty military members, and $6 for children aged 5 to 12. The prices apply to the full flight of six. As for the museum prices, they are $13.50 for adults, $12 for seniors, and $9.50 for children aged 3 to 12. Active duty military members and children under the age of 3 get free admission to the museum.

Just for clarity, the museum tickets doesn’t include admission to either the Chocolate Lab or Chocolate Tastings areas. You can go here to buy your tickets. There is also an onsite restaurant called The Pantry Cafe. For those of you looking for souvenirs, the museum also houses a gift shop.

Hershey’s Chocolate World

(Photo courtesy of Hmich176 via Wikimedia)

Another sweet attraction you will want to go to is Hershey’s Chocolate World. It is located on Chocolate World Way in Hershey. It is located right next to Hersheypark which I will be talking about soon in this post. Hershey’s Chocolate World is basically a chocolate themed entertainment complex that is home to multiple attractions within.

The first attraction is called Hershey’s Chocolate Tour. It is basically a theme park-style ride through a chocolate-making factory. You can observe the chocolate-making transformation from cocoa beans into the iconic Hershey’s chocolates during your ride. The journey lasts for about thirty minutes. You will also get a free sample of a Hershey’s chocolate product upon completion of your ride.

The second attraction is called Create Your Own CANDY BAR. It is what it sounds like. You will be immersed into a factory setting where you will get to create your own candy bar working with a variety of ingredients. You will also get to design your own wrapper. This process will last for about 45 minutes. This is a ticketed attraction costing $26.95 per person.

The third attraction is the 4D Chocolate Movie. It is an immersive digital show in which you not only watch, but also help the Hershey’s candy-based characters to solve a mystery. There are over one hundred possible variations of the digital show. So, it will probably look different every time you experience it. This is another ticketed experience costing $7.95 for adults and $6.95 for children aged 3 to 12.

The fourth attraction is Hershey’s UNWRAPPED. This is the place where you can challenge your taste buds by tasting different kinds of Hershey’s chocolates. This is done in a theatrical manner. This is another one of the ticketed attractions which you can buy for $15.95 for adults and $12.95 for children aged 3 to 12. The tasting experience will run for thirty minutes.

The fifth and last attraction is Hershey Trolley Works. This is where you can go on a trolley tour of Hershey. There are a few variants of the trolley tour, but I would suggest the Original Trolley Show as this is the best trolley tour that they offer. Basically, they use a show of two actors to tell the story of Milton Hershey and the town that he helped establish as part of his historic journey in inventing Hershey’s chocolates.

The show is sprinkled with jokes and old songs to help make the show more entertaining. You can buy the tickets for $17.95 for adults and $14.95 for children aged 3 to 12. The Original Trolley Show will last for 45 minutes. Entering Hershey’s Chocolate World is itself free for everyone. However, as I noted, all attractions with the exception of Hershey’s Chocolate Tour will require a paid ticket to enter.

You can buy your attraction tickets by going here. There are also a few shops onsite offering a variety of Hershey’s treats from candies to milkshakes to s’mores. For those of you who are hungry for more than a treat or two will want to head to the Food Hall section of Hershey’s Chocolate World.

Hersheypark

(Photo courtesy of Paulo Ordoveza via Wikimedia)

If you are more into theme parks, then Hersheypark is for you. It is located on Hersheypark Drive in Hershey. There are at least a few things that makes Hersheypark stand out among all other theme parks in the United States. The first is the mascots. All of the mascots that you will encounter at the theme park are based on Hershey’s chocolate products.

These include Hershey’s Bar, Hershey’s Kisses, Ice Breakers, Jolly Rancher, Kit Kat, Milk Dud, Reese, Rolo, Twizzler, and York Peppermint Patties. You can have your photos taken with any or all of these mascots. They are commonly found in the Founders Way and Kissing Tower Hill areas of the theme park.

Another unique thing about the theme park is its height measurement boards which measures the height of guests before a ride to ensure that they are tall enough for that ride. Each height category is named for a Hershey’s chocolate product. In the order from shortest to tallest, the height category names are Miniatures, Kisses, Reese’s, Hershey’s, Twizzler, and Jolly Ranchers.

The must exciting thing that makes this theme park unique is the new themed area called Hershey’s Chocolatetown which is set to open this summer. As you can imagine, this area will be architecturally designed around the theme of chocolate.

This area will be home to attractions uniquely themed around Hershey’s chocolate such as the Candymonium roller coaster, the Chocolatier restaurant, and a Hershey’s Kisses fountain. All of these things combine to help give Hersheypark a chocolate feel to it. The one day ticket price for Hersheypark is $49.95 per person.

Also of note is that this ticket will grant you access to The Boardwalk and ZooAmerica which are the theme park’s onsite water park and zoo respectively. You can head here to buy your theme park tickets.

These are the Hershey, Pennsylvania attractions to sweeten your time in this chocolate-loving town. It is no wonder that Hershey is the sweetest place on Earth as its motto would indicate.

Hershey Hotels

If you are looking for a hotel to lay your head during your time in Hershey, I have got your back. Here are the two hotels I would suggest for you.

Days Inn by Wyndham Hershey

This hotel is located on West Chocolate Avenue in Hershey, close to all of the attractions I mentioned. There is free breakfast available at the hotel. Should you get hungry, a few nearby options for dining include Phillip Arthur’s Cafe, The Chocolate Avenue Grill, and Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant. The hotel houses an indoor heated swimming pool and hot tub.

There is also a fitness center available for you to use. All of the hotel’s rooms come with WiFi, microwaves, and mini refrigerators. The average rate for a standard room range from $67 to $289. You can go here to explore your booking options and/or view some photos.

Hampton Inn & Suites Hershey

This hotel is located on East Chocolate Avenue in Hershey, also close to all the attractions I mentioned. There is complimentary breakfast available at the hotel. Also onsite are BBQ facilities for cookouts. If you get hungry, a few places to eat nearby include Lisa’s Cafe, Babes Grill House, and Piazza Sorrento. The hotel has an indoor heated swimming pool and hot tub.

You can get your workouts at the hotel’s fitness center. The hotel’s rooms include microwaves and mini refrigerators while the suites include a full kitchen and separate dining and living rooms. WiFi is available in all the rooms and suites. The average rate for a standard room range from $125 to $282. You can head here to browse your booking options and/or check out some photos.

What are your thoughts? Have you been sweetened by Hershey before? Feel free to drop a comment here.

Washington, DC For Museums – Museums To Check Out This Year

The gorgeous city of Washington, DC is first and foremost recognized as being the capital of the United States of America. In fact, the city is home to the US Capitol, the White House, and the US Supreme Court – the iconic buildings that house the three branches of the US federal government. So, even though the city is most known for being the capital of the US, it is also renowned for being home to many museums.

Many of the museums in the city are administered by the Smithsonian Institution. The Smithsonian Institution currently oversees a collection of fifteen museums within the city. Nine of them are located on the iconic National Mall. Not only are these museums nice, but they can also be visited for free. So, I would suggest you to go to Washington, DC for museums. Here are a few museums to visit this year in the city.

(Photo courtesy of Sebastian Bassi via Flickr)

National Air and Space Museum

(Photo courtesy of David Bjorgen via Wikimedia)

The National Air and Space Museum is located on Jefferson Drive SW on the eastern section of the National Mall. If you are fascinated with both aviation and outer space, this is the perfect museum for you in town. An exhibit at the museum called 50 Years from Tranquility Base tells the story about Apollo 11 in which Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin became the first humans ever to walk on the Moon.

That took place on July 20th, 1969. This exhibit houses artifacts from the historic journey to the Moon. These include, but are not limited to, the US flag that was planted on the Moon, the Omega Speedmaster chronograph that Neil used during his Apollo 11 mission, and an inflight exerciser for stretching and exercising the muscles during the mission.

Those of you who are looking for airplanes, rockets, and spacecraft on display should check out the Boeing Milestones of Flight Hall exhibit. One of the airplanes on display is the Spirit of St. Louis which was piloted by Charles Lindbergh who became the first person to fly across the Atlantic Ocean solo in May of 1927. One of the spacecraft on display is the Explorer-1.

The Explorer-1 was the first successful orbiting satellite to be launched by the US. It was launched into orbit in January of 1958. Another exhibit at the museum is Explore the Universe. This exhibit explores the progress that we as humanity have developed our understanding of the universe in which Earth is just a small part of.

Our understanding of the universe has improved with the help of astronomical tools including telescope, photography, spectroscopy, and digital technology. These are on display within the exhibit. These are just a few of the exhibits you can look forward to upon visiting the National Air and Space Museum.

There are currently around nine exhibits to check out at the museum. There is also a cafe and a store onsite at the museum.

National Museum of American History

(Photo courtesy of Carol M. Highsmith via Wikimedia)

History buffs who are interested into American history will feel at home at the National Museum of American History. This museum is located on Constitution Avenue NW on the central section of the National Mall. This museum is home to over three million artifacts from throughout American history from the war for independence in the 18th century to the present day.

There are three categories of exhibits at the museum. The first category of exhibits focuses on transportation, technology, science, and innovation. This category covers the first floor of the museum. A few of the exhibits you can explore on this floor include Inventing in America, America on the Move, and Lighting a Revolution. The signature artifacts on this floor are the John Bull locomotive and the Vassar telescope.

The second category of exhibits at the museum is concerned with the American ideals. This category covers the museum’s second floor. American Democracy: A Great Leap of Faith, Creating Icons: How We Remember Woman Suffrage, and Many Voices, One Nation are some of the exhibits that are available to explore on this floor.

A few artifacts from the second floor to note are the original Star Spangled Banner Flag, the George Washington statue, and the Greensboro lunch counter. The third category of exhibits at the museum shines a spotlight on the military, the public and private lives of presidents, entertainment, sports, and music. This category covers the third floor of the museum.

On this floor, you can explore exhibits such as The Price of Freedom: Americans at War, The American Presidency: A Glorious Burden, and Thanks for the Memories: Music, Sports, and Entertainment History. A few notable artifacts on the third floor include The Gunboat Philadelphia, the dresses of first ladies, and a car from the Disneyland ride called Dumbo the Flying Elephant.

Should you get hungry, there are two onsite restaurants at the museum. They are Eat at America’s Table Cafe and LeRoy Neiman Jazz Cafe. Shoppers may want to check out Main Museum Store, Mall Museum Store, and The Price of Freedom Store – all of which are located onsite at the National Museum of American History.

National Museum of Natural History

(Photo courtesy of Melizabethi123 via Wikimedia)

If you are curious about how our planet, Earth, came to be, the National Museum of Natural History is the museum in Washington, DC to be. The museum neighbors the National Museum of American History to the east on the National Mall. The museum is home to the largest natural history collection in the world.

It contains a collection of over 145 million specimens of plants, animals, fossils, minerals, rocks, meteorites, human remains, and human cultural artifacts. The museum is home to a total of twelve permanent exhibits for you to check out. I will go over a few of them. The first one is the Hall of Geology, Gems, and Minerals is home to a massive collection of gems, minerals, and rocks.

That include the Star of Asia Sapphire which is one of the largest sapphires in the world. Another notable gem to look out for in this exhibit is the Hope Diamond. Another exhibit to mention is the Hall of Fossils – Deep Time. This exhibit is notable for housing over 700 fossil specimens that showcase life as far back as 4.6 billion years ago.

These include fossils that once belonged to an Alaskan palm tree, early insects, reptiles, and mammals. Also of note are the fossils for a T-Rex dinosaur called Diplodocus and a giant woolly mammoth. The museum is notable for being home to an exhibit called Mega-toothed Shark. This is where you can see a giant shark that is suspended above you.

This model of the extinct shark measures at 52 feet long. The name of the shark is Carcharocles megalodon, but is referred to as just megalodon because of its giant teeth. There are two restaurants onsite at the museum – Ocean Terrace Cafe and Atrium Cafe. The museum’s onsite stores include Gem and Mineral Store, Gallery Store, Family Store, Dinos and More Store, and Natural History Kiosk.

So, these are a few museums that you should visit this year. The nation’s capital is a heaven for museum enthusiasts, especially those looking to visit the Smithsonian museums. So, I would suggest you to visit Washington, DC for museums.

Oh and before I move on to my hotel suggestion for you, I have something bonus to mention. There is that one beautiful building I would like for you to feast your eyes on and it is called the Smithsonian Institution Building. It is like a headquarter for the Smithsonian Institution itself. It is renowned for its red castle-like building design. That is how it received the nickname of The Castle.

It is built of red sandstone in the faux Norman architectural style. It is not exactly a museum in of itself, but it does contain a visitor’s center where you can sample the collections from the Smithsonian collection of museums as well as learn about the iconic building itself.

So, you will want to be sure to visit the building, even if just to appreciate its beauty. It is located on Jefferson Drive SW on the eastern section of the National Mall. Oh and I almost forgot, if you are planning a quick getaway from the hustle and bustle of big city Washington, DC after visiting these museums, you may want to consider visiting Annapolis which is only 32 miles away in the US state of Maryland.

Annapolis is the closest state capital to the nation’s capital. It is brimming with charm on the shores of the scenic Chesapeake Bay. You can head to this post for ideas for what to do there if you are planning on visiting.

Photo courtesy of Jeremy Peschard via Wikimedia)

Washington, DC Hotel

Now on to my hotel suggestion for you. If you are in need of a hotel to stay at in the nation’s capital, I am here to help you out. Here goes my hotel suggestion.

Washington Marriott – Metro Center

This stylish hotel is located on 12th Street NW in downtown Washington, DC just a short walk north of the National Mall. The hotel houses an onsite restaurant called Fire and Sage. There is also an onsite Starbucks Coffee available. The hotel offer two breakfast types. The first one is Continental breakfast for a fee of $16. The second type is Full American with a fee of $25.

The hotel contains an indoor heated swimming pool for you to enjoy. The hotel’s fitness center is available 24 hours per day. Many hotel rooms and suites offer a nice view of downtown Washington, DC’s bustling streets. They all come with WiFi and mini refrigerators. The average rate for a standard room range from $171 to $516. You can head here to explore your booking options and/or view some photos.

What are your thoughts? Have you been to any of these Smithsonian museums in the nation’s capital? Feel free to leave a comment below.

Things To Do In Augusta, Maine – The Small Town State Capital

The US state of Maine is notable for its scenic beauty, especially along the state’s famed coast. But, if you look a little bit inland from the coast, you will discover Maine’s state capital of Augusta. Located on the scenic Kennebec River about 55 miles north of Maine’s bustling seaside city of Portland, Augusta is the state’s capital and a quaint small town at the same time. Here are a few things to do in Augusta, Maine.

Maine State House

(Photo courtesy of MonsieurNapoleon via Wikimedia)

The Maine State House is located on State and Capitol Streets in Augusta. It was built in 1832 which is about one year after the state capital was relocated to Augusta from nearby Portland. It was designed by renowned architect Charles Bulfinch of Boston who was responsible for designing the Massachusetts State House.

With the passage of time, the Maine State House went through successive projects of enlargement and renovation. The most recent renovation took place in 2014. The state house has a Greek Revival architectural design. It is built using locally sourced granite. The state house’s dome is made of copper and has a brownish appearance. It stands at around 185 feet high.

Located on the top of the dome is a glided gold-clad copper statue of Lady Wisdom which stands at around 13 feet high. The state house has three wings to the north, south, and west. It house the office of Maine’s governor, Janet Mills, along with two chambers of the state legislature. Inside the state house, there are art exhibits for you to explore along with collections of Maine battle flags.

There are also portraits throughout the state house of governors and other men and women who have served Maine throughout its history as both a province and a state. If you head to the state house’s visitor’s center, you can check out the state’s collection of butterflies. The state is connected to the Kennebec River via the scenic Capitol Park. Entrance to the Maine State House is free of charge to everyone.

Maine State Museum

(Photo courtesy of Stilfehler via Wikimedia)

The Maine State Museum is located on State Street just south of the Maine State House in Augusta. This museum is dedicated to exploring the history of Maine. One of the exhibits you can check out at the museum will have you exploring the struggles that Mainers endured in their battle to establish Maine as an independent state from the state of Massachusetts in the early 19th century.

You will learn about the difficult decision that needed to be made in establishing Maine as an independent state because doing so meant that slavery would also expand westward to new states in the US west of the Mississippi River in what is called the Missouri Compromise. The exhibit I just talked about is known as Maine’s Path to Statehood.

Another one of the exhibits at the museum is Back to Nature. In this exhibit, you will explore aspects of Maine’s nature, including its seasons, environments, animals, birds, and plants. This exhibit also houses a collection of gemstones that are found in Maine. They are displayed in both their original and faceted forms. Made in Maine is another exhibit that is available at the museum.

In this exhibit, you will hear stories about Mainers at work and the variety of products that they created. You can explore a variety of historical settings within this exhibit such as a sewing room, blacksmith shop, wood carding mill, and shops for making furniture, shoes, and fishing rods. The exhibit is also home to a working water-powered woodworking that has three floors.

These are just some of the exhibits that are available for you to check out, but that should give you a better idea of what you can expect at the museum. The admission fees for the Maine State Museum are $3 for adults and $2 for children and seniors. Those who are aged under six get free admission.

Downtown Augusta

(Photo courtesy of Dave Dostie via Wikimedia)

One place you will want to check out, especially if you are looking for a place to eat, is downtown Augusta. The historic riverside downtown is brimming with Victorian architecture. Water Street is the main drag in downtown Augusta, running just west of the Kennebec River. It is home to some of the delicious restaurants that the state capital of Maine has to offer, including a few new ones that opened in recent years.

One such restaurant is called Cushnoc Brewing Co. This restaurant is known for serving wood-fired pizzas. These are called pies at this restaurant. So, take care not to confuse these for dessert-oriented pies. Also, if you are looking for something alcoholic to drink, this restaurant also offer a variety of locally crafted beer.

If you are looking for a restaurant that offer gorgeous views of the Kennebec River, you will want to check out Otto’s on the River. This restaurant specializes in seafood, pasta, and vegan cuisines. There is an outdoor patio overlooking the river at this restaurant.

Once you are done with a restaurant, I would suggest that you take a short walk on Front Street from Water Street toward the river just behind the downtown buildings. That way, you can get up and personal with the river. There is a brief riverside sidewalk that travels along Front Street.

These are the things to do in Augusta, Maine that I would suggest you to take on. With a population of 19,136 as of the 2010 census, Augusta is the third smallest state capital in the country behind Montpelier, Vermont and Pierre, South Dakota.

Augusta Hotels

If you are in search of a hotel to stay at in Augusta, I have got your back. Here are two hotels I would suggest you to book with.

Homewood Suites by Hilton Augusta

This hotel is located on Western Avenue in Augusta. There is free breakfast available at the hotel. If you are looking for a nearby restaurant, a few options include Cloud 9 Restaurant, Texas Roadhouse, and Domino’s Pizza. There is an indoor heated swimming pool at the hotel. The hotel also houses a fitness center for your workout needs.

All of the hotel’s suites come with WiFi, full equipped kitchens, and dining and living areas. The average rate for a standard room range from $126 to $304. You can go here to explore your booking options and/or check out some photos.

Senator Inn & Spa

This is arguably the nicest hotel that Augusta has to offer. The hotel is located on Western Avenue in Augusta. There is complimentary breakfast available at the hotel. If you get hungry, Cloud 9 Restaurant is the hotel’s onsite restaurant. There is also an onsite lounge with oysters in the half shell. The outdoor and indoor areas of the hotel each have their own heated swimming pools and hot tubs.

The hotel also houses a sauna, a full service spa, and a gift shop. If you are looking for a place to exercise, you can do so at the hotel’s fitness center. There are four categories of rooms and suites, most of the categories have government themed names. They are Spa Luxury Rooms, Presidential Wing, Congressional Wing, and Legislative Rooms.

The first category is the most luxurious offering, coming with amenities including spa privileges, gas fireplaces, and jacuzzi jet tubs. All of the hotel’s rooms and suites come with WiFi and mini refrigerators. The average rate for a standard room range from $82 to $142. You can head here to browse your booking options and/or view some photos.

What are your thoughts? Have you been to Maine’s small state capital before? Feel free to leave a comment below.