Who Knew An Apple Butter Festival in WV Was So Popular?

Living in Pennsylvania, our family vacations are usually beach vacations. The whole family enjoys it. We always drive. I’m not a fan of the beltway so we tend to take the more scenic route to Topsail Island.

My hubby and I love the little town of Berkley Springs, WV. A quite, pretty town along US-522. We’ve often admired The Country Inn in the middle of town on our way through. We’ve said on more than one occasion that it would be a nice little weekend getaway for us.

Photo Credit: InthePanhandle.com

The idea really took shape when I drove through one year in September. I saw signs up for the apple butter festival during Columbus Day weekend. Apple butter festival? That would make an awesome addition to the weekend getaway idea. I told my husband about it and he liked the idea too.

This year, around the beginning of August we decided we were going to do it. We wanted to stay in The Country Inn in the middle of town, go to the apple butter festival, and take a short drive to Shawnee Springs Market. It was going to be my birthday gift this year. I was disappointed to see that the inn we wanted to stay in was completely booked up or that weekend. I searched multiple booking sites and not one site had a room available. Then I double checked my work schedule and realized I had to work that weekend anyway. Who knew an apple butter festival in West Virginia could be so popular? It is such a cute town though.

Who knew an apple butter festival in West Virginia could be so popular?

Me – thinking I’m the only one who ever though of it lol

We decided we’re definitely going next year and we’re going to book early. Our kids are starting to get older. My oldest is driving and my middle son will start driving towards the end of the year. My husband and I are realizing we have a little more time to relax. We’re realizing all the things we want to do together. We were never able to take a honeymoon so I think traveling more is in our future.

Another places we’d love to see is the Mohican Treehouse cabins in Mohican state park in Ohio. I can only imagine how peaceful it could be. We want to try island hopping on the Lake Erie Islands. Oh just so much we want to do. We like to try things that are different and not well known.


Tips for Preventing Motion Sickness on Road Trips

I get car sick some times. It’s a lot better for me when I drive. Unfortunately my daughter now also gets car sick. I also have a niece that gets car sick. Having Dramamine handy in my car (both adult’s and children’s) has become a staple for us. A road trip just isn’t enjoyable if you’re nauseated or have to stop all the time due to motion sickness.

We’ve found ways to prevent motion sickness and what to do if motion sickness strikes unexpectedly on a road trips. There are certain things that never worked for me like the motion sickness bracelets. There are other things that really seem to help. Check out my guest post on Humes Chrysler Jeep Dodge website on Tips for Preventing Motion Sickness.

I’d love to know your tips. Do you have a special technique that works? Maybe a drink that works better for your nausea? Share them here.


Things You Need On A Family Road Trip

I recently wrote an article for Northpointe Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge in Seneca, PA for their website.

As a family of 6 keeping everyone happy, entertained, and as comfortable as possible is a big priority for any road trip. Whether it’s a 2 hour drive to Pittsburgh or a 10 our drive to Topsail Island we follow the same rules.

I made a home made “find-it” game we keep in our car. It’s been in there for years and the kids still play with it. I don’t think I’ll ever stop buying baby wipes either. They come in handy for everything from sticky hands to clean up if someone gets sick.

If you want to check it out I’d appreciate it. Read “10 Things You Need In Your Car On A Family Road Trip” I don’t think comments are enabled on that post so let me know here if there’s anything I’m forgetting. I want to know what your must-have items are on a road trip.


National Aviary in Pittsburgh: Summer Staycation Series in Western PA

This year, our family of 6 decided to do a “Summer Staycation”. We only go away for vacation every other year at this time. When we do our staycations we love discovering, or rediscovering things in western Pennsylvania. There is so much to do in western PA so narrowing it down can be hard. I realized we had never taken the kids to the National Aviary in Pittsburgh.

I remember going to the aviary on a field trip with the school when I was in elementary school. I remember enjoying my time there. It’s something different that you just can’t find everywhere.

For a family of 6 we actually found it was slightly cheaper just to go ahead and get a 1 year membership. When you get a membership you can visit as many times as you like, you get free parking, and a 10% discount in the gift shop.

Sea Eagles in the background (yes they’re real)

We went on a Tuesday. It wasn’t very crowded at all. We got there around 11 am and there was a surprising amount of parking available. There were different themed areas like the Grasslands, the Wetlands, Condor court and more. It was an immersive experience. Some birds could roam around freely in each room.

Birds running freely in the Wetlands

Birds would fly past you. There was lots of greenery. Very lush and natural looking open habitats.

The Wetlands with Cranes and Scarlett Ibis. There were also flamingos and many other birds.

There are lots of extra experiences you can do if you choose. One I highly recommend is the Lorikeet feeding. For only $3 a person you can get in line to feed the Lorikeet. You’re given a cup of nectar and allowed in the room to feed the Lorikeets. These birds will land right on you and drink from the cup. I had one climb up my arm onto my shoulder and then onto my head. But the birds are small and very gentle. My 6 year old was a little nervous at first but she loved it. She even asked if she could do it again.

Me feeding a Lorikeet and my son in the red shirt.
My 6 yr old participating in the Lorikeet feedings. She loved it.

Another affordable experience that ended up being my husband’s favorite was the SOAR! Birds of Prey presentation. For $5 per person you can go to the sky deck on top of the building. Trainers give a presentation on different birds of prey. Our presentation included a falcon, vultures, and black kites. The birds are well trained. They swoop in and catch treats, perch on the trainers arm, and more. You are not able to touch the birds but you get pretty close.

Vultures taking treats from the trainer.

If your budget’s a little bigger you can get in on experiences like the Sloth Experience, Armadillo experience, Penguin feedings, and more. There is also a theater on premises that shows different films and presentations.

There are two small gift shops and a food court available as well. If you’re not doing any of the added experiences you only need about 2 hours to see all the birds. If you are doing the experiences add at least 30 minutes for each experience. We got there around 11 am and left about 2:30.

If you want there is also the beautiful Allegheny Commons park surrounding the Aviary with a playground area, picnic tables, ponds with bridges, and lots of shady spots for a hot day. We let the kids stretch their legs at the playground and explored the park a little before heading out.

The National Aviary is located on the North Shore and is close to the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh and not too far from the Carnegie Science Center, It’s also only a 15 minutes drive from Phipps Conservatory.


Affordable Family Fun: Johnstown Tomahawks Games + tips when attending the game

A couple years ago, I was looking for something to do with the kids. I asked the little ones if they had any interest in going to a Johnstown Tomahawks hockey game. They said, yea sure. For some reason I found that the tickets were actually cheaper through Tickemaster than buying them directly from the 1st Summit Arena site, like half the price cheaper.

I was able to get really good seats, 2nd row from the glass seats, for $13 for adults and I think it was $10 for the kids. I wasn’t a huge hockey fan, but it was something to do. I could not believe how much the little ones and I enjoyed the experience. They really knew how to make it fun. The kids were cheering, there was a lot of action, they got the crowd involved, it was really a good time. Even the refreshments were reasonably priced. The experience made me a Johnstown Tomahawks hockey fan.

We had such a good time I had to tell my husband (who couldn’t go because he had to work). We decided for the whole family to go, even take my older boys girlfriends. That was 8 of us going and it still was under $100 for all 8 of us to get tickets when buying through Ticketmaster. To be clear, this was for regular season games not playoff games.

The Johnstown Tomahawks do theme nights. We planned that big family trip for the Star Wars themed night. All kids 12 and under received a free Star Wars light saber toy. They had tons of costumed characters and lots of vendors set up.

Since then we’ve made it a point to try to get to a couple games a year at least. Season ticket are still a little out of our reach for a family of 6 but there are definitely perks to getting season tickets.

We hadn’t made it to a game this year and we actually won a 4 pack of tickets from a facebook giveaway thanks to Pennhighlands Community College. These weren’t just any tickets though, they were Robertson cup playoff tickets! The first time we had a chance to go to a playoff game. A lot of action at this game. I have no idea how much playoff tickets usually run since we won our tickets. We had a good time though. My husband and I have talked about doing a couple Tomahawks games for a date night here and there.

Tomahawks hockey season runs from about the end of September and can run into April with playoffs. Get a Johnstown Tomahawks schedule to see when their theme nights are. They have lots of them: Star Wars, hero and princesses, and more to get more bang for your buck for the kids.

Johnstown Tomahawks game April 13. 2019

Tips for going to the game:

  • You can purchase blue and red hockey pucks for a small donation. These will be thrown out onto the ice during an intermission. If you hit the target they put on the ice you can win big money!
  • There are tons of food vendors all around the building from funnel cakes, to shrimp and fries, to dippin dots ice cream. Some vendors are more affordable than others so shop around.
  • There are always lots of marketing tables with raffles to win things like hockey sticks, jerseys, gift cards, tickets, and more. Some are for a fee and some are free you just have to check.
  • There are always vendors giving away free stuff. The kids got yoyos, we all got free raffle tickets for a chance to win a hockey stick, I got chapstick, and a sunglass pouch. All free.
  • The Johntown Tomahawks merchandise is more affordable than you would think. The kids can easily get a souvenir like a branded cowbell, foam hand, and more for $5 or less.
  • PARKING: The 1st Summit arena itself doesn’t really have it’s own parking. There are many local businesses that open up their lots for parking for a fee. This usually ranges anywhere between $3 – $5. If you can find meter parking it’s free after 5 pm on week days, on Saturdays and Sundays, and federal holidays. You can see this info on the city of Johnstown website
  • Get a schedule so you can see when theme nights are scheduled for even more fun for the kids and bonus freebies.