Pennsylvania Travel With Kids

Off Fellas Craft Burger, Shakes, and Fries in Lock Haven, Pennsylvania


Meet my friend Sarah.  I will admit we are unlikely friends.  But I think our belief in God and having babies at the same time brought us together.  Over the past couple of years we have been through ups and downs in our lives.

In a couple weeks Sarah will be opening her a burger places called Odd Fellas, located in Lock Haven, PA.  If you are wondering, the name came from the people who use to meet on the 4th floor of their building way before they bought it.

Let me bring you back a little more.  When Sarah and I became friends she lived in a “normal” house that she lived in with her husband and 3 kids.  They then decided to sell the house, and buy a LARGE building on main street. Five floors including the basement.  The building needed lots of work.  So Sarah and her husband moved their 3 kids into one of the tiny apartments and started work.

I think each floor is 4,000 feet.  So the first floor they gutted and made into a usable business area.  Exposing the brick and wood floor.  The second floor use to be an old dentist office and some other offices.  They made that floor into two beautiful apartments where they lives and our friends live in the other one.  We get to go to bible study on this floor once a week, while the kids are in the next room over.

The third floor is 4 more apartment, and the fifth floor is still in the imagination stage.  Possibly 1 large apartment for their family in the future, but one never know.

So as they are doing this they rent out the first floor to anyone who would like to start a business.  A pizza shop moved in eventually, but after a sickness, and sadly a death, they were left with some bills and kitchen equipment.

So after lots of prayer, and consideration, Odd Fellas (Craft burgers, Sodas, and Fries) will open soon. Sarah is a minimalist and has an eye for inexpensive, industrial, homey, creative, design.  I could throw a few more words in there but you will just have to see it.  Basically she always makes you feel comfortable.   Stop is and sit at the “cool table”.

If you are wondering this picture is from when I talked Sarah into being on HLN news with me, the CNN cameras came to our house, and we built a fire pit.

I can’t wait to try it out and I hope you do too!  Please follow the facebook page for updates.

Manderach Memorial Park with Toddlers in Limerick, Pennsylvania

This park is a great free park for the kids.  Lots of space to run around.  Not may trees in the play area to hide under.  The slides and the steps were great.  Your kids will be tired after this park.  If you happen to be in the area give this free park a try.

Idlewild Review

This is written by Lisa Rusczyk, creator of the Greater Than a Tourist book series. She is a Pennsylvania native and went to Idlewild Amusement Park for the day.  Here are her tips before you go.

We tried out a new amusement park and had some great family time. We still like Knoebles better. The cost was probably 3x the price here and the food was not great. But I do think this park is worth going to at least once in your lifetime.  Some of the rides are different and the park is in a beautiful wooded setting.

But we had a great time! You pay once price to get in to not having tickets was nice. They have a storybook land, kid rides, Danielle Tiger land and then a water park.

They had a trolley ride which we waited for the longest but our 4 year old just loved it.   She watched that show the most this last year so it was really exciting all ride together. We also all went on the log flume together. 

5 Tips for Idlewild Park

Tip 1:

Get there around 10:30 when the park opens.  You can walk around storybook land at this time and there is closer up front parking.

Tip 2:

Look at the map and what you want to do before you go.  Then pick a parking lot close to where you want to be.

Tip 3:

Discount Tickets can be found at AAA and Giant Eagle.  We got the family 4 pack online but I realize that does not work for other people.

Tip 4:

There are shows you can attend but only at certain parts of the day. Plan accordingly.

Tip 5:

We had to wait for the Danielle Tiger Trolley ride but I thought it was worth the wait.  If you try out the park, don’t miss this ride.

Family Camping at Poe Valley State Park

We had such a great time camping with our little 1 1/2 year old at poe valley state park. We decided to rent a cabin at about $35 a night.  We stayed 3 nights.  Four days was enough for us, our little girl, a cavalier king charles spaniel named Charlie.  Chipmunks were everywhere in the camp ground.  We loved watching them. Our little girl and Charlie did too.
During the week we had some rain, but we had a camp fire every night.

The reason we choose this Pennsyvania State camp ground was because you could rent a cabin and bring your dog.  The state park also have a beautiful resivor with a beach.  The beach area was beautiful on a sunny day. The beach was large.  You could choose to sit on the grass in the shade or the sand. The area has nice new facilities.

We invited some friends up for some sand play and a camp fire the first night.  12 of us enjoyed a camp fire, each others company, and good camp fire food (mostly mountain pies, smores, and oranges).

The cabin did not have a stove or a refrigerator which I was upset about.  The cabin did have a very nice front deck with a picnic table that I did enjoy.  We had mountian pies one night, and hot dogs the next for dinner.  This place sure makes me miss my kitchen at home.

I think that what camping is all about.  To get away from the internet, cell phone, and modern kitchen amenities and enjoy your family.

Even though we did get some rain it was not too it was 70 in Pennsylvania in June.  On June 10th 2013, a Monday, there was only 1 cabin and 2 campers here out of 50 camp sites all together.

The sound of the waterfall over the spillway, crackling fire, and the birds is amazing.The smell and warmth of the fire makes me enjoy being in the woods.  The chipmunks chasing for our food make me realize leave such a great impact on the wilderness in each place we stay.

I am happy to have a sleepy toddler, a relaxed husband,  and a tired dog as I write this.

I feel very blessed to be in part of Gods beautiful creation. Sometimes I need to go an hour away from home to realize that.

More pictures of Poe Valley State Park.


Fly In Lock Haven, Pennsylvania

Yesterday, my friends and I went to dinner and then visited the SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY FLY-IN.   For those of you that don’t know, I live in Lock Haven, PA, located in central PA.  To quote Wikipedia “William T. Piper, Sr., built the Piper Aircraft Corporation factory in Lock Haven in 1937″.Mike, our unoffical tour guide gave us a tour.  To quote the Lock Haven Express “Last year 230 airplanes from 30 states and Canada attended during the four-day fly-in, and more are expected for the 25th anniversary of the event that brings in Piper airplane owners in from all over the county to the birthplace of the Piper Cub.”


Amanda is showing you the C54 Spirit of Freedom that helped with the Berlin Airlift.We walked around for a little.  Here is my Husband George smiling for the picture.The guys also had to get their “boy band” pose in.Overall it was a beautiful night.  What a great little city to live in.

Bald Eagle State Park

This state park really has it all and is close to home.  Beautiful views, a beach area to play, and not too many people.  When the weather is just right, I love to go here to hang out.  Even if it is not real sand or a real beach, this place is easy to get to from my house.

Riverview Park Lock Haven, PA 

We had our wedding rehearsal dinner at this park. A great place to walk and bring your kids to play on the slides.  I love the views all year around of the changing seasons in Pennsylvania.

Children’s Garden, The Arboretum at Penn State

This garden has a really fun children’s area.  A great place to walk around with the kids, get some exercise, see the plants in seasons (without work on your part), and the kids can interact with things outside.

Avenue 209 Coffee House / The Common Place Church

This place is my favorite place to go get some coffee, play board games, and be with our church family. Nice and open, great light, and my favorite coffee.  The people are always welcoming here.

Knoebles Amusement Park

This place is so much fun.  We love to eat here, go on rides, and just walk around.  I always feel like I am getting my moneys worth here.  A great place to spend time with any group of people.  There is really something for everyone, even if you don’t like to go on rides.  I can’t wait to go here with the girls for years to come.

Knoebles is one of my favorite places in the world! This place has free parking and free admission.  Then you need to buy tickets for the rides.  We get discount tickets at Weis markets.  You can bring your dog with you too!

My husband and I love the food.  There is just something for everyone at this park.  There is also a bald eagle exhibit.  Bring your own food to save money.

One time we went to the park and had trouble finding our car.  So remember where you park.  There is a tram that will help you get from your car to the park. I love the frozen ice tea.  My husband loves the perogies, and the waffle and ice cream sandwiches.  We usually have a bag of popcorn for the ride home.

This is a great place to bring grandparents.  They can watch and not ride anything or ride a few rides if they find something that interests them.


Hyner View

A beautiful sight, and park. This weekend we went up to Hyner Run State Park.  This park is only about a half hour outside of Lock Haven.  We had a girls bible study trip one night and then George’s birthday party the next.  The cabin sleeps 8 and is only $120 a night for PA residence and $73 for weekdays on non-peak season. While we had plans to go up to Hyner view and go outside, both nights we just talked and ate.  The kitchen was well equipt!  Even a coffee pot, toaster oven, microwave, and ice maker!  Everyone was impressed when they walked in the door.  The dinning room would be a great place for a craft of scrap booking night. At the cabin was a notebook that included some of the people who stayed in the cabin the past couple years.  Many returned visitors.  There were great stories and a poem from a little girl.  We added our little story to the book too. For George’s Birthday I bought out the “Show your Disney Side” decorations.  Our little girl loved the balloons.  The Disney decorations were nice because they were easy to pack.

Walk in the Woods- Lock Haven University Nature Trail

This is a great place to walk only a few minutes from my house.  A great place to enjoy the woods but only a few minutes away.  I did see a bear here once running the other way.  But we enjoy bringing kids on walks here, and walk with friends.  My husband loves to run here.

Ross Library – Lock Haven, PA

A great place for the kids to play, learn about books, and have story time.

Hiawatha Riverboat Cruise with Kids

My family and I had a great night on the Hiawatha riverboat.  We did the princess party cruise and really enjoyed it.  The boat went out for about 2 hours.  The girls colored, listen to the princesses sing, and got pictures with the princesses.

There was food on the boat, and alcohol.  The price for the trip and the items on board were not expensive.

We brought water for the girls and bought some snacks.  The top deck was nice to be outside but bottom deck did have air conditioning. Before you go you can check all the different events that the boat has.  There is really something for any group of people.  We really enjoyed this trip and think is would be fun for other families.

We brought our 2 year old and 5 year old.  I thought this was a fun quick trip.



Tip #1: Find Discounts: 
You can find discounts on their website by getting a room package or find them on Groupon. There are also discount tickets at their website 24 hours in advance.

Tip #2: Bring Your Own Towels

Tip #3: No Outside Food is Permitted
Something to keep in mind before you get there. They do sell food there. You can also eat somewhere else or in your hotel room before you begin.  I bought water bottles for the girls.Tip #4: Life Jackets are Available
They are in a limited supply.  You can bring one that is a child is comfortable with.  I just like to watch my kids carefully without one.Tip #5: 42 Inches
This is the height they need to be to ride the three tube slides while accompanied by a person over 48 inches.Tip #6: Observer Tickets
If you have someone that does not want to swim, they can buy an observer ticket.Tip #7: Air Temperature
They have the air temperature listed at 82-84 degrees.Tip #8: Snacks
I like to bring snacks and water for the ride there and the ride back for adults and children.  You will get a workout running around here.Tip #9: Locker
There are lockers available for use.Tip #10: Different Age Children
I think it is best to have an adult with each age group of children.  This can be difficult but then kids can stay in groups.

This is an honest review and no discount was given from Split Rock Resort.


And if you need to be away from the kids for a weekend.


Weekend Away- A Trip to Mount Airy Casino Resort

My little girl turned 1 this week!  I actually have not been away from her from one night.  We brought her on a cruise, to the shore,  and to an all inclusive.  So we did get to go on a few vacations, but none alone.  I have two children and for the weekend my Mother in Law is watching them while I go with my husband to Mount Airy Casino and Resort.  Before kids we have been to different casinos and trips.

We dropped of the kids at my husband parents that live 50 minutes away, and off we went.  When we got there the entrance was beautiful.  We were excited for our weekend away. After an easy check in got to our room and we were more excited. The room was beautiful, clean, and had a nice view. The towels were extra soft, and the linens on the bed were just how we like them at home.  There were no cribs in the room either! If you can’t tell already, we probably needed this weekend away. We have been to many other casinos but not this one (Vegas, Atlantis, AC, Mohegan Sun).

We ate at Guy Fieri’s Mt. Pocono Kitchen for breakfast.  The fruit was amazing.  My husband had the treat of having pulled pork on his breakfast which he loved.  The coffee and relaxed feel was nice.  Eating breakfast without kids was a treat for us too! We then went for a swim in the pool.  The pool goes indoors and outdoors.  After breakfast, we had the pool to ourselves.

Bistecca by Il Mulino was delicious.  Our steak and lobster was cooked just how we asked for it.  The atmosphere was great.  Each person that is working here definitely it great at what they do.

My husband does happen to like to gamble.  On the slot machines the first night he won $100!  He got to a bonus game, which created many more bonus games.  I got a mount airy casino card which gave me $10 of slot play.  I lost the $10 but that is all.  Before bed we had some soft serve ice cream.  We both got peach which was really good.

The resort also has a lakefront 18-hole golf course.  We don’t play golf but we enjoyed the view from the 6th floor of our room. There is nightly entertainment at the pool and  Gypsies Nightclub and bar but we decided not to go. We did drink and loved what we got.  I always like a rum and coke.  My husband needs to be gluten free.  They had a gluten free beer which he enjoyed.


The spa is not an after-thought.  I had an amazing hour massage.  They also have a eucalyptus steam room, and sauna.  This was great for the cold that I went into the weekend with.  While I was relaxing my husband played in the casino.  We were both happy with our choice.  We then got together and ate at the lunch buffet.  I loved the soup and my husband liked the mussels the best.

I was asked to give an honest review of the Mount Airy Casino Resort at a discounted price.  All viewpoints are my own. Mount Airy Casino Resort, located in Mount Pocono, Pa., is less than 90 minutes from Philadelphia, New York City and northern New Jersey. For reservations, call 1-877-682-4791 or visit


Steamtown Historic National Site- Trains and a Toddler


Ok I brought my husband and my toddler with me.  But we had an amazing time at Steamtown.  This was a great place to go with my family while I am 7 months pregnant.  There was a small amount of walking and we all learned so much.  There was something for each of us there.  We paid $14 for two adults and one child.

As an instructional designer, I loved this place.  The museum was built around the round house.  How cool was that.  There was actually 31 options around the circle for the trains to go.

The first place that I loved was the caboose.  I will call this the first tiny house.  There are many great ideas that can be used in a tiny house in this caboose.  Folding tables, hidden cabinets, going up when you can’t go out, and more.  As someone who loves interior design I also loved the light yellow walls and black floor.

Then we went to see GIANT steam engines.  These had so much metal on them.  I have seen some engines before but nothing this big.  They are definitely amazing machines.

Then we got to see a luxary car.  This had a little sitting room, dining room, and sleeping cars.  These cars could also be used to understand tiny home construction.  different organization techniques used.

There was then some places for kids to get a little dirty.  They could look for items like the ones found on the site before it became a museum.  Also there was a playroom with wood trains and tacks they could play with.

During certain parts of the year there are actual steam train rides.  Check the website for times.  We thought we could park at the mall and walk over to the museum but the bridge was closed.  Also the bridge was pretty long, so we suggest if you have children to just drive over instead of parking at the mall.  We were there a little more than an hour in the museum.


Otts Plants – Schwenkesville, Pennsylvania


We had a great time this fall at Otts Exotic Plants in Schwenkesville, PA. Not only is there a beautiful hill of mums to take pictures with in the fall, but there is a wonderful green house.  There are large old plants as well as new ones you can purchase there.  I think the best time to take a trip it the fall.  A great warm place to walk around.  Remember to wear your walking shoes.


Elmwood Zoo- Norristown, PA


My daughter, family, and I went to the Elmwood Zoo in Norristown PA two times.  A great way to go to the zoo without being stressed with big city zoos.  This zoo definitely has enough for the little ones and adults.  With one meal here and walking around we were all tired.

We had a great time looking at the different animals.  There are many different types.  Even some animals that come in from the local woods.  The park is in a beautiful setting by a stream and in the woods.  Great for hot days.  Our little girl even got to feed the giraffes this year.